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Squirrelly Southeastern Minnesota


Fri, Mar 1st, 2002
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By John LevellMonday, February 4, 2002

While a select few see them as game to be hunted and eaten and some folks think they are cute and fun to observe, most Bluffland area residents view squirrels as just two or three species of tree-dwelling varmints that raid backyard bird feeders, damage field crops, and gnaw rodent-sized entryway holes into the eaves of our homes.

In reality, however, at least eight members of the rodent family Sciuridae, as zoologists call true squirrels, reside in the counties of southeastern Minnesota. The region’s apparent "squirrelly-ness" is not really all that surprising, when one considers that somewhere in the neighborhood of 260 species of squirrels currently exist in the world.

Like virtually all rodents, squirrels possess flat edged "chisel-like" upper incisors, which grow continually throughout the animals’ lives. This makes gnawing a necessity, as only the wear associated with the regular chewing of hard objects can prevent these teeth from growing excessively long. The various hard-shelled nuts, acorns and seeds many squirrels typically feed on meet this requirement well, although most must resort to supplemental gnawing on occasion.

Be that as it may, exactly half of southeastern Minnesota’s eight squirrels may be viewed as legitimate arboreal tree-dwellers. Each will, however, spend at least some time on the ground, with one species spending a significant portion of each day engaged in terrestrial foraging. None of the four tree squirrel species truly hibernates, although all will sleep away particularly cold and/or stormy winter days.

The Gray and Fox Squirrels are by far the most commonly seen and therefore the most widely known of the tree-dwellers, and are the two bushy-tailed critters most folks typically associate with the word "squirrel." Both species successfully survive in close proximity to mankind, existing quite well in City Parks, small forest plots, and even in lightly wooded backyards. The two species are both sometimes hunted for the table as well.

The Fox Squirrel is the larger of these two species, reaching an average adult total length (including tail) of just under 22 inches and a weight of perhaps 32 ounces or more. Fox Squirrels are readily recognized by the distinctive "rusty-orange" tinge to the fur, although sporadic all black individuals do crop up on occasion. Squirrel hunters further recognize the species by the color of t .....
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2002 Perennial Plant

Fri, Mar 1st, 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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Mr. Manners

Fri, Mar 1st, 2002
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Monday, February 25, 2002

I had an interesting discussion with Ellen and John the other day. We were sitting around their kitchen table conducting some business. We were having a cup of coffee in the process. I must have been looking a bit lis ..... 
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Fri, Feb 22nd, 2002
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Rushford-Peterson Wrestling Team

Fri, Feb 22nd, 2002
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Rushford-Peterson Wrestling. Front row from left: Ben Kruze, Travis Johnsgaard, Abe Wilkemeyer. Middle row: Ben Johnson, J.J. Pettit, Christian Dahl, Nick Langseth, Dustin Johnson. Back row: Matt Rislov, Darrin Dessner, Joe Rye, Lee Johnson, Ryan Agr ..... 
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Fri, Feb 22nd, 2002
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Fri, Feb 22nd, 2002
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Fri, Feb 22nd, 2002
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Rushford-Peterson Girls Basketball Team

Fri, Feb 22nd, 2002
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Rushford-Peterson Girls Basketball. Front row from left: Stephanie Baker, Lahyn Lind, Bailey Vitse. Middle row: Chelsea Kopperud, Jenelle O’Donnell, Mackenzie Halverson, Chellsey Lind, Denise Jacobson, Jen Peterson, Leah Rislove. Back row: Hali Richa ..... 
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