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"Taming a Shrew is Highly Unlikely"


Fri, Apr 5th, 2002
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Monday, April 1, 2002

Despite a superficial mouse-like appearance Shrews are not rodents, the mammalian group characterized by chisel shaped incisor teeth to which mice, rats, squirrels and a host of other plant eating species belong. Instead, Shrews are members of the order Insectivora; a scientific alias that in this instance at least should require no further clarification. "Insect-eater," however, fails to adequately describe exactly how unlike rodents Shrews actually are.

Granted, Shrews are tiny animals that lead furtive secretive lives. Their resemblance to mice though, is purely a matter of size. Other similarities between Insectivores and the rodents, milk suckled young and fur-covered bodies for example, are simply the result of both groups being mammals. As is the case with most of the so-called "higher mammals," rodents included, developing embryonic Shrews are nourished directly from the mothers womb via a placenta. This evolutionary leap past the egg-laying Platypus and Echidnas, known collectively along with their extinct relatives as the Monotremes, and the pouched Marsupials was almost certainly first achieved by some ancient shrew-like Insectivore.

Assorted "micro-fossils" including tiny teeth, bits of jaw, and some skulls and skeletons of animals best described as Shrews dating back to the late Cretaceous amply demonstrate that the Insectivores are an ancient order indeed. This places Shrews, or something closely resembling the Shrews of today, squarely beneath the thundering feet of Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, and other now long extinct dinosaurs. It also places Shrews and their Insectivore allies at the very base of the multi-branched evolutionary tree leading to all other placental mammals. Traced forward through time, the Shrew lineage ascends most directly through bats, primates and by extension eventually mankind. This means that Shrews are most closely related to bats, monkeys and humans, with rodents more distant cousins to each of these groups.

Our modest ancestry aside, Shrews and other living Insectivores retain a number of primitive anatomical features. Most prominent of these are rather simple sharply pointed teeth, which exhibit virtually none of the modifications seen in mammals of more specialized diet. Flattened grass-grinding molars, wood chopping incisors, and stabbing dagger-like canines unknown in the world of the Shrew. The teeth of North American Shrews are further distinguished .....
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2002 Perennial Plant

Fri, Apr 5th, 2002
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of the Year
Virginia CooperMonday, March 4, 2002

The Perennial Plant Association has named Phlox 'David' to be the plant of the year. Each year this esteemed group chooses a plant whose character and grace deserve a place of honor.

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Another Man's Cows

Fri, Apr 5th, 2002
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Monday, April 8, 2002

When our neighbors go on vacation for a few days, our sons are often called upon to care for the pets they leave behind. It is rugged duty, but the boys manage. They dont seem to mind driving around the neighborhood, pla ..... 
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Margaret Mead and Gilligan

Fri, Apr 5th, 2002
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Monday, March 18, 2001

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travels sake. The great affair is to move.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Our world has sure gotten smaller.

When I was a kid, it never seemed ..... 
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Fri, Apr 5th, 2002
Posted in

To the Editor,

I am writing in regards to the April 10 referendum in Lanesboro to restore the Historic Coffee Street Bridge. This referendum is for $98,000, though this figure does not tell the whole story. It is the cost of doing nothing or ..... 
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Fri, Apr 5th, 2002
Posted in

To the Editor,

On Wednesday, April 10, the voters in Lanesboro are going to the polls to vote on a $98,000 referendum to restore the Historic Coffee Street (Old Wagon) Bridge and also to get lighting for the bass pond parking lot along with l ..... 
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Fri, Apr 5th, 2002
Posted in

To the Editor,

As a graduate of Rushford-Peterson high school, I have been following the debate over the new school. As an outsider, I may not have access to all the bits of information, but have tried to gather as much information as I could ..... 
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Fri, Apr 5th, 2002
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To the Editor,

I have read with great interest the many articles and letters to the editor surrounding the vote for a new Rushford-Peterson school coming this April 23. I think that is it human nature to want to get the best value for the mon ..... 
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Submit a Letter to the Editorhere

Fri, Apr 5th, 2002
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April 8, 2002

To the Editor,

The Lanesboro Historical Preservation Association favors the saving of the old bridge because this is an item of historical value. It will be an added site for those seeking historical treasures. [Read the Rest]
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