MANTORVILLE — Dodge County Public Health will offer flu vaccinations at four locations at the end of September.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control is recommending people get a flu vaccine this year because the current pandemic has put additional stress on healthcare resources. Getting vaccinated helps protect from the flu, and also protects others in the community such as older adults, young children, people with certain health conditions and infants under 6 months who can’t be vaccinated yet are at high risk for serious flu complications.

The Dodge County drive-thru clinics will be held Sept. 29 from 10-11:30 a.m. at Kasson Fire Hall and from 1:30-3 p.m. at Mantorville Fire Hall. On Sept. 30, clinics will be held from 10-11 a.m. at the Hayfield City Maintenance Building (old Fire Hall) and from 1-2 p.m. at the Dodge Center Fire Hall.

The cost of the shots is $40 for a standard shot or $80 for a high dose. Individuals covered by Medicare Part B must bring their Medicare card and/or Medicare Advantage card for billing. Receipts for insurance reimbursement will be available.

For more information, call Dodge County Public Health at (507) 635-6150 or (888) 600-5169.

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Saint Elizabeth's in Wabasha to host virtual Alzheimer's program

WABASHA — A free virtual community outreach program to draw attention to dementia and Alzheimer's disease will be hosted by Wabasha County Senior Health Action Team, a group of local and area agencies, organizations, and individuals that is dedicated to improving the quality of life of Wabasha County’s aging population.

Dr. Robyn Birkeland
Dr. Robyn Birkeland

Dr. Robyn Birkeland, a University of Minnesota clinical psychologist, will define dementia and its most common forms. She will also discuss Alzheimer’s disease and how the disease affects the brain, common behaviors at each stage, its risk factors, and warning signs. Attendees will gain knowledge of the diagnosis process and effectiveness of current medication options.

Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease 101 will be offered through Zoom from 6:30-8 p.m., Sept. 29. The program will be available through umn-private.zoom.us with a meeting ID of 959 7317 1543 and password of ab12cd.

Monday was end of trout harvest in SE Minnesota

AUSTIN — If you're planning to dine on trout one of Southeast Minnesota's streams, you may have to wait to harvest a fresh rainbow trout.

Across Southeast Minnesota, Monday was the last day of the trout-harvesting season in Mower, Houston, Fillmore, Dodge, Olmsted, Winona, Wabasha and Goodhue counties.

The end of trout harvesting represents the end of the first year of the state's new rainbow trout fishery – a put-and-take program – in Wolf Creek, which flows through Todd Park to the Cedar River in Austin. The creek received 900 rainbow trout this spring from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ fisheries division in Waterville, which has encouraged the public to harvest the stocked rainbow trout.

Starting Tuesday, trout in those counties can only be fished on a catch-and-release system through Oct. 15. That season then will close until catch-and-release reopens Jan. 1 through April 16 followed by the start of catch-and-take.

James Fett, Cedar River Watershed District’s watershed technician who proposed the idea to the DNR to stock trout in Wolf Creek after he measured the creek’s temperature for a few years, is pleased with the results of the first year.

“We’re really happy to see that there was a great turnout for trout anglers this season at Todd Park,” said Fett, who caught several rainbows in Wolf Creek during the April 18 opener. “It’s a huge success to have heard reports of trout being harvested throughout the month of July when Wolf Creek is at its warmest.”

Land Stewardship Project asks for EIS on mining project

LEWISTON — Land Stewardship Project, an agricultural and environmental group, has asked the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board to continue to enforce its requirement of a comprehensive environmental review of a proposed frac sand mining project in southeastern Minnesota.

Minnesota Sands has requested moving forward with a frac sand mining operation at the Dablestein Mine in Fillmore County. During an EQB meeting on Sept. 9, LSP called for an environmental impact statement to be ordered for the project.

In 2012, Minnesota Sands proposed constructing facilities in the region to extract frac sand, a process that consists of removing and exposing large portions of the landscape. Residents of rural Southeast Minnesota have expressed serious concerns about the proposal’s potential impact on the land, water, and soil, as well as human health and local economies.

In 2013 and again in 2017, the EQB ordered Minnesota Sands to undertake an EIS before any aspect of the project could move forward. Minnesota Sands has consistently fought placing restrictions on frac sand mining in the region, including suing Winona County in 2017 over its frac sand ban and attempting to present the company’s proposal for numerous facilities as piecemeal projects that are not connected to each other.

The Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the Winona County ban in March 2020. Still, Minnesota Sands has made some changes to its plans, and during the Sept. 9 EQB meeting, staff supported the company’s claim that an EIS was no longer required.

According to the Minnesota Attorney General’s office, the EIS requirement for Minnesota Sands’ proposal is still in place.

“Given this company’s history, it would frankly be naïve to accept at face value the claim that Minnesota Sands has suddenly changed it project enough to avoid an EIS,” said LSP organizer Johanna Rupprecht.