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Beneath Tropical Seas


Fri, Mar 23rd, 2001
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Monday, February 5, 2001

Waves roll in and then recede, as the ocean endlessly caresses this lonely tropical shore. Shallow, crystal clear and deliciously warm are the waters of the all-encompassing sea. The white sand beach is deserted, polished smooth, and except for the gentle sounds of the surf is eerily silent, peaceful and serene. Not even a single insects persistent whining buzz splinters the mood of pristine tranquility.

Although reading like one of those tourist agency advertisements for some South Pacific Island paradise, the location described in the opening paragraph above is far away from any place so exotic. Could it be somewhere down in the Caribbean then, out in the Indian Ocean, or perhaps maybe one of those isolated rocks that dot the Sea of Cortez?

The answers, however, to each of these questions remains no, as our quiet, wave lapped shoreline is to be found much more closer to home. Somewhere right here in southeastern Minnesota in fact, since it is time and not distance that separates us from this seemingly mythological destination.

To reach our beach we must first travel back into the heart of the early Paleozoic, the "Era of Ancient Life" somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 million years ago. More specifically, we are in the Ordovician, a unit of geologic time lasting some 65 million years and named for a "Stone Age" Celtic Tribe that once inhabited Wales where rocks of this period were first identified.

From outer space the Earth, while certainly recognizable, probably appeared far different than it does today. For starters, all of the present day continents were most likely fused together into a single gigantic mass of land. Known as Pangaea, this island "super-continent" straddled the equator placing what was to eventually become todays Minnesota well within the worlds more tropical zones.

As was the case in the immediately preceding Cambrian Period, shallow saltwater seas cover much of future North America. The name of this earlier period 500 million years before the present has Celtic connections as well, being derived from "Cambria," which is what the ancient Romans called the Celts homeland of Wales.

The Ordovician shoreline, on dry land at least, is equally alien and unfamiliar. There are no trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, nor are there any ferns or mosses. Away from the waters edge, the landscape is barren and desolate, almost as lifeless as the moon. Without vege .....
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Escape from America

Fri, Mar 23rd, 2001
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Monday, December 11, 2000

I guess Im a snowbird at heart because every year about this time, once the temperature dips below zero and looks like its going to stay there awhile, I start yearning to go south. Way south. All the way down to Ecu ..... 
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Industrial Cooking

Fri, Mar 23rd, 2001
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Monday, March 26, 2001

You may have heard of "old wives tales". I have an "old farmer attitude" when it comes to cooking. When it is my turn in the kitchen, I tend to press on to get the job done regardless of obstacles. If I dont have an ing ..... 
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Money Well Spent

Fri, Mar 23rd, 2001
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Monday, March 19, 2001

I sat in a seat in the middle of the theatre and looked upward.

The ceiling is still up there after all these years, I thought. Masonite panels tacked up with nails and painted green. Usually the lights are lo ..... 
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Fri, Mar 23rd, 2001
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Journal Opinion

Fri, Mar 23rd, 2001
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Facilities Committee served the people well
March 26, 2001

For all practical purposes, the the Facilities Evaluation and Planning Committee have concluded their work.

Commissioned by the Fillmore County Board of Commissioners i ..... 
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To the Editor,

Fri, Mar 23rd, 2001
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Monday, March 26, 2001Please, please, Fillmore County residents, stop and think before you open our area to developers and/or new residences on "10-acre woodlots." We now, in year 2001, have fertile land, plenty of woods, and relatively unpolluted ai ..... 
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To the Editor,

Fri, Mar 23rd, 2001
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Monday, March 26, 2001I have been reading about the County Engineer not being offered a contract. I have not heard or seen anything in the paper about the commissions being dissatisfied with his work. This whole thing, to me, smacks of closed meeting ..... 
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Submit a Letter to the Editor here

Fri, Mar 23rd, 2001
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To the Editor,
Monday, March 26, 2001

In response to John Torgrimson's column on March 19, 2001, I was the Lanesboro Art Council Board member that suggested " 'apathy for the organization was so great' that perhaps it would be best t ..... 
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