Answer Man: Hy-Vee marches ahead in Twin Cities

Dear Answer Man, is Hy-Vee still planning to open stores in the Twin Cities, and if so, where?

The Iowa-based, employee-owned grocery compan y announced plans several months ago for four to six stores in the Twin Cities, and one will be in Oakdale, which is north of Woodbury along Interstate 694. The company bought a site along I-694 for $3.08 million and announced in July it would build a store; construction likely won't begin for several months.

Hy-Vee says it's going to "add several stores per year, over the next several years" in the Twin Cities. It has another site in the Twin Cities under contract already but hasn't divulged where.

Hy-Vee's also expected to get busy this month with construction of its fourth store in Rochester, along West Circle Drive just south of the driving range at Northern Hills Golf Course.

One vehicle left


A few weeks ago, a reader asked me if it was legal to leave a car on the street indefinitely with a flat tire. She was aware of a side street near a prominent Rochester nursing home where not one but two cars with flat tires had been left all summer.

The answer is no, by the way — it's not OK to leave a junk car or inoperable car on the street indefinitely.

I asked that reader to let me know if any progress was made, and she reported last week that "I see that the flat on one of the vehicles has been repaired, and the car has been moved to the other side of the street. … The other has simply been moved around the corner with its flat tire looking just as flat and deformed as before. It's been there for at least the last four days."

Daily Charter question

My column has been taken over recently by Charter cable TV customers with questions about the digital conversion, which requires most people to obtain a free box or rent additional conversion boxes for their TVs, with deadlines of Oct. 14 and Oct. 21 in Rochester. While I hesitate to bore readers who don't give a hoot about Charter's cable changes, I think of this as a public service at a time of crisis, so here's one from the weekend batch of email:

"Dear Answer Man, as dissatisfied consumers, we've been looking at dropping Charter entirely and have heard about a 'digital antenna' that would bring in all of the local channels plus some of the sub-channels that the local channels broadcast. How many channels would we get in Rochester using a digital antenna, and what is the cost of a digital antenna? -— Thank you. — E.M."

If all you want is local stations, yes, a digital antenna could do the trick, depending greatly on where you live. If you live in Possum Hollow, deep in the bluff country, TV reception will be poor, but if you live just down the street from the world headquarters of the Post-Bulletin, you might get a half-dozen stations, and if you're in Pine Island and to the north , you might get a dozen stations, including the Twin Cities biggies.

There's a crude but handy webpage, provided by the FCC, that tells you what digital signals you'll likely receive in your area. I'll add the link to this column online.


How much do the antennas cost? They range from $25 for an indoor model that probably will get you little more than a snowy screen to about $150 for an outdoor contraption that should do the trick.

You'll want to make sure everyone in the house agrees, though, before you go off the grid.

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