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“Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon...”


Fri, Dec 13th, 2002
Posted in Features

Every December, as the Christmas spirit begins to fill our hearts, the city of Caledonia in Houston County, puts on their annual "Bluff Valley Balloon Rally". At this event, the people of Caledonia open their homes and share them with the balloon teams that travel from various locations to participate. This year there were 21 balloons, with pilots and crews from as far away as Sioux Falls, SD and as close as Preston.

My wife, Deb and I attended the event this year for the second time and though the weather wasn't perfect for flying, everyone had a great time, sponsors and balloonists alike. We stayed at the home of Miles & Jeanne Miller along with Curt & Jolie Shippy, from Burnsville, flying the "Phoenix" balloon, and Mike & Deb Benson from Rochester, flying "Just Duckie". The Millers took us all in as if we were family and made us all feel as if we were just "home" for a visit.

There were flights scheduled for Saturday morning and afternoon, as well as Sunday afternoon. Friday night, there was a welcome waiting for us at the town auditorium and a parade that included any balloonist that wanted to join in. The balloonists in the parade set up their baskets so they could fire off their propane burners as they drove through town, which is always a great crowd pleaser.

After the parade, everyone headed to a local tavern, appropriately named "Good Times", where we all got reacquainted with the other pilots and crews. We were also introduced to our sponsors, who would be riding with us if we were given the opportunity to fly. This year, our sponsors were Matt & Jodi Schmitz of Schmitz Refrigeration, Heating & A.C. We spent the early evening getting to know one another a bit but ballooning requires an early start in the morning, therefore an early retirement. Once back "home" at the Millers, we all got settled in and hit the hay in anticipation of our early morning flight plan.

Unfortunately, morning brought with it high winds and a bleak outlook for the afternoon as well. The information was met with disappointment from balloonists and sponsors alike. As the pilot briefing broke up, plans were made for the day's activities that included some sight seeing, a bit of napping and a lot of shopping.

To everyone's further disappointment, the wind continued to blow. It was decided that the wind speed was "borderline" so we headed for the airport to wait for .....
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Harmony City one step closer on wastewater plant

Fri, Dec 13th, 2002
Posted in Features

The city of Harmony may pass "Go" and collect anywhere from $374,850 to $624,750 in funding – if the Environmental Review Report application is approved for a U.S.D.A. Rural Development Grant explained Mike Lynch, Bonestroo & Associates, at the Harmo ..... 
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Police calls, library parking and liquor licenses discussed at Rushford council meeting

Fri, Dec 13th, 2002
Posted in Features

The December 9th Rushford City Council Meeting began with a discussion of outstanding bills for police services to Rushford Village. Calls for police assistance are received in Preston; the Sheriff’s Department then often calls on the City of Rushfor ..... 
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Report on Preston indoor pool and rec center completed

Fri, Dec 13th, 2002
Posted in Features

The Preston area has the philanthropic capacity to support a capital campaign to build an indoor aquatic and recreational center.   That was the conclusion that consultants from Crescendo Consulting of Winona reached after co ..... 
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Inherit the wind

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Over the past few months I have attended several public meetings in Preston dealing with the proposed Heartland Energy and Recycling project that, if built, will burn used tires to generate electricity. Proponents of the plant claimed that the enviro ..... 
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Minnesota faces “the mother of all deficits”

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

The latest revenue forecast from the State of Minnesota projects a $4.6 billion deficit. Journal Editor John Torgrimson spoke with State Representative Greg Davids about his reaction to that news and how he sees the state legislature working to solve ..... 
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County dips into reserves to balance budget

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Fillmore County’s proposed 2003 budget tipped the scales at $20,849,241. That was $275,566 over projected revenues, which forced the County Board to dip into its reserves to balance the budget..

"We’re going to have to do some ..... 
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Lanesboro Council: Water park given go ahead

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Raindrops? In December? The Lanesboro City Council turned its attention to a different kind of raindrops at the December 2nd meeting as RainDrop Products president Ron George presented information on "spraygrounds," water play areas. According to Geo ..... 
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Preston Council looks at economic development matters

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Joe Hoffman, Executive Director of the SE Minnesota Development Corporation (SEMDC) in Rushford, was before the Preston City Council on Monday night to discuss renewing the contract between his organization and the city of Preston for 2003.&nb ..... 
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