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There’s Snakes in Them Thar’ Hills


Mon, Jun 12th, 2000
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Monday, May 29, 2000

With records for at least 39 of Minnesota’s 50 or so native amphibians and reptiles, the rugged stream-dissected Blufflands of the far southeastern corner of Minnesota is easily the most herpetologically diverse region of the state. For those unfamiliar with such things, herpetology (a name derived from the Latin root word herpeton which loosely translates as crawling thing) is simply the study of reptiles and amphibians in the technical terminology so prevalent throughout the realms of science.

In any case, there is little reason to be surprised by the diversity of reptile and amphibian species found in Minnesota’s southeastern corner, as the region is most certainly both geologically and ecologically unique. Collectively known as the “Driftless Area” and encompassing much or all of Goodhue, Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona Counties as well as adjacent portions of Wisconsin and Iowa, southeastern Minnesota is one of only two (the other located in the state’s extreme southwestern corner) narrow slivers of the state to have escaped the glaciations of our planet’s Ice Age.

Geologically this has preserved an isolated plateau of ancient sedimentary rock literally scraped from the landscape elsewhere in Minnesota by the relentless, repeated advance and retreat of mountainous, all encompassing ice sheets. Composed largely of limestone, sandstones and shale deposited by a long vanished sea, this rock often likewise preserves the fossilized remains of a wide variety of aquatic, 350 to 450 million year old, “Paleozoic” (literally “Early Life”) life-forms. Fossils of many of these organisms including the clam-like Brachiopods, Crinoids (Starfish relatives), Snails, and Cephalopods (basically squids enclosed by cone-shaped or coiled shells) are, in fact, often found in almost ridiculous abundance throughout much of the Blufflands.

Free of ice, regions like the Driftless Area probably further functioned as “refugia,” sanctuaries of a sort for a wide variety of animals and plants that would otherwise have been pushed far into North America’s more southerly portions. These reproductively isolated, refugee plant and animal populations in turn perhaps serving as the seeding stock in the re-colonization of land newly exposed as glaciers retreated.

Although spared the inevitable grinding force generated by a moving wall of ice hundreds of feet thick, the Driftless Area could not escape the power of th .....
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Hoffman Stables

Play Ball!

Mon, Jun 12th, 2000
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Monday, May 29, 2000

Outside the old St. Mane Theatre in downtown Lanes-boro, the sweet strains of the Count Baise and Duke Ellington orchestras float through the warm evening air. Even before entering the theatre, you know you are about to be ..... 
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Father and son

Mon, Jun 12th, 2000
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Our oldest son had an accident at work last week. He got his finger caught between two parts of a hydraulic punch. The business of the world stopped for two days as we focused on the questions of what and when and where and how long. His injury is se ..... 
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The three year plan

Mon, Jun 12th, 2000
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Monday, June 5, 2000

It was at supper a few weeks ago, when my family was all gathered, that I told them.

"Now that we are all together, there is something I need to tell you," I said to them in a voice that was serious but devoid of e ..... 
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Sour cream apple pie

Mon, Jun 12th, 2000
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5 cups pared, cored, and diced apples
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 9” pie shell
• Chop apples in a medium dice. Combine flour and sugar, add egg, ..... 
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Monday, June 12, 2000

Mon, Jun 12th, 2000
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To the Editor,
My concern for canine officers and their handlers began when canine officer Lazer was shot and killed, along with two police officers, while apprehending a drug dealer in St. Paul. My concern resurfaced recently while watching poli ..... 
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Mon, Jun 12th, 2000
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Mon, Jun 12th, 2000
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Mon, Jun 12th, 2000
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