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Pet turns couple into amateur mushers


Fri, Feb 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

When Aaron and Natalie Harwood purchased their pet Siberian Husky, Mariah, back in 1999, little did they know their lives would soon go to the dogs.

It started out quite innocently when the couple began skijoring with Mariah on local trails. Skijoring is a winter sport where a person wearing skis is drawn over snow by one or more dogs. For those who have tried the sport, it's an exhilarating combination of cross country skiing and dog mushing. Skijoring originated in Scandinavia and literally meaning "ski-driving" in Norwegian. For outdoor enthusiasts like the Harwoods, being able to enjoy the great outdoors while exercising with their beloved pet sparked an interest that has grown into a full-fledged sled dog racing hobby.

For the past few years, the couple, who both work in genetics at the Mayo Clinic, have poured through mountains of information on the internet, talked to fellow mushers throughout the Midwest and Canada and even attended sled dog races to learn as much about their new -found interest as possible. It didn't take long before Mariah had company. "I grew up with lots of pets," Natalie said. "My parents let me have just about every animal under the sun," she said. So it wasn't surprising when their sled dog team of purebred Siberian Huskies soon grew to eight. Mariah was joined by Gus, Vail, Samurai, Willard, Chester, Boomer and Zeus. That took care of the horsepower required for sled dog racing. The Harwoods also invested in a couple of racing sleds; a large mid-distance sled and a lightweight and smaller sprint sled. Then there was all the harnessing, the cabled ganglines and the specially designed kennel crates that fit atop the couple's pick-up for transporting the dogs. It's a hobby that can come with a hefty price tag.

In addition to their sled designed for sprint races, the Harwoods own a top-of-the-line Chatmac mid-distance sled. "That sled cost $1,200," said Aaron. Money is saved in other areas. Aaron designed and built the kennel boxes that fits on top of his pick-up, as well as the racks that hold the two sleds. "A lot of mushers are engineers who are good at fixing things and sharing their ideas," Aaron said. Friends assisted the Harwoods to install special outriggers that fold down from the pick-up so the dogs can be leashed for feeding and pottying. "The dogs are all crate trained so are used to traveling in their boxes," Aaron said. "When we make a stop to let .....
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Commissioners’ Report: Proposed courthouse project suffers major blow

Fri, Feb 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

The county’s proposed courthouse project loomed precariously as a five page estimate with actual figures was passed out to the commissioners at the meeting on February 25th. It’s sub total of $3,890,519 shattering the board’s perception of a $3.8 mil ..... 
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Planning Commission approves Sumner Township subdivision

Fri, Feb 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

The Fillmore County Planning Commission voted to recommend approval for the Bruce Bucknell subdivision in Sumner Township, sending the application on to the County Board for the final approval.

In a crowded room of interested ci ..... 
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Water worries Rushford Council

Fri, Feb 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

The Rushford City Council addressed the city’s omnipresent water concerns as it met February 24, 2003. The annual water report showed that in the past year 22,901,108 gallons of water were unaccounted for (and as a result not paid for either). This w ..... 
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SWCD will look at other ways to fund conservation programs

Fri, Feb 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

When Governor Pawlenty cut $7.3 million in water and soil resource grants state-wide in his unallotment process a few weeks ago, he probably wasn’t thinking about what effect his decision would have on local conservation programs. After all, the gove ..... 
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A taste of place

Fri, Feb 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

Think of a bag of Doritos or a Big Mac. What defines fast food?

Fast food is predictable, exactly the same every time we buy it, no matter what the season, no matter where in the world. It is highly processed, made in mass quant ..... 
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MPCA expected to rule EIS not needed on Heartland

Fri, Feb 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Citizens’ Board is expected to rule on Tuesday, February 25, that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is not needed for the proposed Heartland Energy and Recycling plant in Preston. The Citizens’ Boar ..... 
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Preston City Council rescinds Heartland permit

Fri, Feb 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

A legal firm hired by the Preston City Council to offer legal advice has recommended that the council should rescind a conditional use permit (CUP) granted to Heartland Energy & Recycling in May.

Mary Tietjen, an attorney for K ..... 
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Lanesboro accepts $70,000 bid for old clinic

Fri, Feb 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

At their meeting February 18th the Lanesboro City Council accepted Lee and Charlene Draper’s high bid of $70,000 for the old clinic building at 104 Sheridan West. Charlene intends to move her beauty shop business to the building and will try to bring ..... 
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