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It's a Disaster!


Fri, Oct 26th, 2001
Posted in

Monday, October 29, 2001

We see the birds flying in V's overhead with their long white necks stretched to their full lengths. We are close to our destination--Rieck's Lake, three miles north of Alma, Wisconsin along the Mississippi River. We roll down our windows and hear a cacophony of hi-pitched whooping mixed with a few quacks. It's a wild sound that touches something deep within us, something very old.

When we reach the lake, we see a flock of swans coming in for a landing. Each swan cups its wings downwards, drops its landing gear in the form of black feet and floats in a rocking motion to the lake. At the same time, other swans are taking off. To achieve flight, they face into the wind then run along the surface of the lake flapping their wings and beating the water with their feet until they gain enough speed to fly.

It is the second week in November 2000. My husband and I are on our annual pilgrimage to see the tundra swan migration at Rieck's Lake. We aren't the only ones here today. People of all ages, some with binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras, line the shores and mill about on the observation deck. We smile and nod to complete strangers who don't seem like strangers today. Our common bond is our desire to experience the swans.

Every fall, large concentrations of tundra swans, formerly called whistling swans, arrive at Rieck's Lake and other places along the Mississippi River including Weaver Bottoms on the Minnesota side. The birds begin arriving from their nesting grounds in the Alaskan or Canadian tundra in mid-October and will stay until late November or freeze-up. They will then move on, flying at speeds up to 100 miles an hour, to their wintering grounds along the East Coast near Chesapeake Bay and in the marshes of Virginia and North Carolina.

Swans mate for life. Only if one partner dies, will the other seek a new mate. Courtship includes bowing, calling and the male's high-stepping walk with arched neck and outstretched wings. The male, or "cob," chooses the nest site and helps build the nest. The female, or "pen," lays 2 to 8 eggs, which hatch in about 32 days. During incubation, the female cares for the eggs while the male stands guard nearby. The young, or "cygnets," hatch in late June and will stay with their parents for about one year.

Adult tundras are all white except for black bills and feet and, sometimes, single yellow spots in front of their eyes. Immature birds are b .....
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On the Move

Fri, Oct 26th, 2001
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By John LevellMonday, October 22, 2001

The chill in the night air leaves little doubt that summer is actually gone. Area trees are trading their vibrant warm weather greens for more multi-hued autumn clothes. Our woodland ..... 
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Searching for Canadian Explorer

Fri, Oct 26th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, October 29, 2001

Last week I visited my mother who lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. One of our favorite things to do is shop in Canada. We have discovered a wonderful garden center full of hardy plants grown to ..... 
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Fall is Apple Time

Fri, Oct 26th, 2001
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Monday, Octovber 22, 2001

It’s Sunday afternoon. Time to watch theVikings if they are winning. This usually leaves time to do something else. This particular October Sunday is cold and wet, too nasty to do much outside. I happened to stop at J ..... 
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Contemporary Bunkshooters

Fri, Oct 26th, 2001
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Monday, October 1, 2001

The Rev. Jerry Falwell is what poet Carl Sandburg would call a bunkshooter. Pat Robertson is one too.

Full-flushing, bonafide bunkshooters. Conjurers, magicians, illusionists, pulling the wool over many people’ ..... 
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Fri, Oct 26th, 2001
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Fri, Oct 26th, 2001
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To the Editor,

I am writing to share with each of you the perspective of a Fillmore Central graduate.

You, as taxpayers, have the opportunity and the responsibility to help provide the upcoming citizens of the community a greater cha ..... 
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Fri, Oct 26th, 2001
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To the Editor,

The Fillmore Central School Board is asking our taxpayers to approve a levy of $350.00 per weighted pupil unit. This amounts to approximately $378,000 the first year and this amount will decrease as our enrollment declines in f ..... 
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Fri, Oct 26th, 2001
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To the Editor,

I have lived my entire life in this community. I have paid taxes on a farm as well as a home in town. I have raised four children here and worked in Preston and feel a strong need to write this letter.

The State of Minn ..... 
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