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On the road in Panama


Fri, Apr 4th, 2003
Posted in Features

Panama, they say, is the next big destination. The next place to go once you’ve burnt out on the crowds everywhere else. It’s tropical and has pristine beaches on two different oceans. There are rain forests and exotic birds and of course, there’s the Canal. Panama is cheaper than Costa Rica and Mexico. It’s got lively, friendly people and great seafood. As a bonus, you can even drink the water straight from the tap. What more could you want for a winter getaway?

One travel article I read said that if you go to Panama RIGHT now, you’ll get there BEFORE everybody else does. You’ll see it before it’s spoiled and bulging with all-inclusive high-rise resorts and spas. With that in mind, I recently talked my old traveling buddy, Marco, who is always game for a trip, especially to Latin America, into going along with me to check it out.

Panama City is about 3 hours or so from Houston and the city from the air is a striking sight of gleaming skyscrapers edged right along the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Our plan was to spend a couple days in the city and then head out in a rental car to explore the rest of Panama.

It was at the rental car office that we met our first group of Canadians, the first of what proved be too many such encounters. There were four of them, all retirement aged men, who looked a little hungover from the night before, but still jovial. I started talking to one of them named Dick.

"Some of us were up sort of late at the casino," Dick admitted. "But now we’re going to get serious and see the country. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, eh?"

* * *

He went on to say that they were going to spend the next ten days looking for property to buy. He opened up a map of Panama and showed me several sites that he had circled after doing research on the Internet.

During previous winters they’d searched in Honduras, Nicaragua and Belize. They hadn’t found the right spot yet and now they were at the bottom end of the Central American road. They were ready to buy.

"We came this close to buying 700 acres in Nicaragua last year," he said. "But the owner’s wife nixed the deal at the last minute because she was afraid her husband would drink up all the proceeds."

"So you guys must speak pretty good Spanish after all these trips and the haggling with local landow .....
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Sheriff discusses budget options

Fri, Apr 4th, 2003
Posted in Features

"We are looking at some cuts, but not to hurt the staff," stated Fillmore County’s Sheriff Jim Connolly, as he addressed the Fillmore County Board on Tuesday regarding budget cuts, courtesy of the state of Minnesota.   Connol ..... 
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Four-day kindergarten new at Fillmore Central

Fri, Apr 4th, 2003
Posted in Features

Through the innovation of two elementary school teachers, kindergartners attending school at Fillmore Central today are treated somewhat differently than students in the past.

When my son attended kindergarten nine years ago, he ..... 
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Heartland faces local opposition

Fri, Apr 4th, 2003
Posted in Features

While Heartland Energy & Recycling recently received a favorable response from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) - the regulatory agency accepted its Environmental Assessment Worksheet and did not require a costly and time consuming Envir ..... 
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A conversation about war, taxes and the state of Minnesota

Fri, Mar 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

"Live life as it comes," Elmer L. Andersen said as we sat and talked in his St. Paul home.

Elmer L. Andersen was governor of Minnesota from 1961 through 1963 and State Senator from 1949 through 1958. In addition, he was CEO of ..... 
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An officer and a gentleman

Fri, Mar 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

"There had been a lot of talk in the wind, but we kind of knew in March that we’d be called up," Brett Corson said as he talked about his Army Reserve Unit being deployed.

Corson, who was elected to Fillmore County Attorney in N ..... 
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Paulson remembered as independent, self-sufficient

Fri, Mar 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

“Clarence was planning on putting in a crop this year,” Howard Brekke said admiringly, referring to his uncle, 95 year old Clarence Paulson. “He had no intention of giving up farming and even bought a new corn planter at a sale in Preston a few years ..... 
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County Board Report: Blasting notice creates plenty of heat

Fri, Mar 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

A newly imposed 10 day blasting notice stirred up local gravel pit owners and contractors causing them to come before the Fillmore County Board on Tuesday to express their displeasure. In the past, it has been left to the neighboring landowners to as ..... 
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Fillmore County District Court: Harstad sentenced to jail time for 2000 ATV death

Fri, Mar 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

Andy Harstad of Harmony was sentenced to 90 days in jail, placed on five years probation and fined $800 after pleading guilty to felony Criminal Vehicular Homicide and two other charges stemming from an incident which resulted in the death of Justin ..... 
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