Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at farmbleat.areavoices.com.
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WORTHINGTON -- Here comes that odor again -- the acrid, pungent smell akin to rotten eggs. It's hanging in the air just down the shore from Sailboard Beach, but if conditions are ripe -- perhaps with the high temperature and lack of wind forecast for this weekend -- people will likely smell the effects of decaying blue-green algae all around the lake. Algal blooms happen every year, not just on Lake Okabena, but on lakes throughout southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and across the country. Typically in this region, the blooms (clustered mats of decaying algae) occur in August and September.
JACKSON -- Tanner Post led his rather calm breeding heifer through a busy walkway and onto a patch of grass alongside Olson Pavilion at the Jackson County Fair Thursday morning.
LUVERNE -- In another year, Ben Fick will be gearing up for college with plans to pursue a career in engineering. Though he isn't quite certain which area of engineering he'll focus on, one thing is for sure -- his years as a Rock County 4-H member steered him toward a career of building and design. Fick earned grand champion on his robotics project at the Rock County Fair Wednesday in Luverne.
WORTHINGTON -- The people of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington are praying for good weather Thursday night, when they open up their lawn to a free concert presented by the Christian musical group Go Fish. The guys will perform from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the west lawn of the church, at 230 Clary St. Once an a cappella group catering to adult listeners, the group has transformed into a "rock 'n roll show tailor-made for kids," according to its website. Go Fish consists of founding member Jamie Statema, along with Jason Folkmann and Andy Selness.
WORTHINGTON -- It was nearly a year ago when residents of Luverne learned of the generous gifts of Harvey Allison Ordung. The Rock County resident and lifelong farmer gifted more than $4.5 million to a dozen agencies and organizations in Luverne and Rock County. Among the benefactors was the Rock County Historical Society. On Monday afternoon, Rock County Historical Society board president Betty Mann and former board member Maurice Fitzer admired the new barn commissioned with the nearly $59,000 gift the society received from Ordung's estate.
ADRIAN -- A former sports bar and grill in Adrian has morphed into an elegant dining establishment with the opening of The Crystal, a steakhouse and seafood restaurant, three weeks ago. New owners Deb and Mike Anderson are still making changes to the décor, but they have a full menu that will tempt the taste buds of anyone who walks through the door. The Crystal is open at 4 p.m. daily, offering nightly specials and menu items until 10 p.m., with a bar menu offered from 10 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, and from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
ADRIAN -- There were times last fall when Mike Wagner looked across the farm field and saw four generations of his family hard at work. His dad Wendell was hauling loads, son Mitchell was chopping stalks and his grandpa, Andrew Wagner, was driving the combine. "That's probably one of the things we're the most proud of -- that Grandpa's healthy and is still able to help on the farm," said Mike from the kitchen of his grandparents' home Thursday afternoon northeast of Adrian. The farm in Section 34 of Larkin Township has been home to 89-year-old Andrew all of his life.
WORTHINGTON -- Two weeks after Nobles County Commissioners conducted a public hearing regarding clean out of County Ditch #2 near Bigelow, a decision was made Tuesday to move forward with the work. The decision came after Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder reported the ditch was in worse shape than expected. He said workers went through the length of the ditch and found stagnant water on the north end, along with weed growth throughout the roughly 9,300-foot-long ditch.
ROUND LAKE -- When Merle and Eunice Baumgard began hearing their patio furniture blow across the deck Saturday night, they decided to head for the basement. Minutes later, following a rather loud crash, they went back upstairs to find a pine tree draped over their deck railing. It wasn't until morning when they discovered their acreage's landmark -- a giant weeping willow tree -- had also toppled over due to high winds. Merle Baumgard said the two trees were planted shortly after he built the home 33 years ago. "I paid $5 for that weeping willow," he said Monday afternoon as he stood near
WORTHINGTON -- Six senior managers of Ito Ham in Japan and a senior marketing director for the U.S.