Any private well owner in Southeast Minnesota who wants to have their drinking water checked for nitrates can bring a sample to 125 Live at 125 Elton Hills Drive in Rochester from 2-7 p.m. May 6.

The testing clinic is part of the “We Are Water MN” campaign, which offers free water testing for nitrates for those living in households that rely on private or shared well systems and the water quality at their kitchen sink.

To participate, collect a cup of water from your well in a clean plastic bag or glass container and bring it to 125 Live. There, you will be met at your car and the sample will be checked while you wait. Results will be provided within 20 minutes.

RELATED: Area briefs: Winona holds walk-in clinic for COVID vaccine Saturday

Bring a photo of your well and water treatment system to help the testers better understand your water. The Minnesota Well Owners Organization and water experts from the area will offer virtual follow-up events to answer your questions about our water resources.

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Engage Winona to host virtual Q&A on justice

WINONA — Engage Winona will host a virtual Q&A from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, bringing together local officials and community members in small groups to explore action steps on Winona County justice programs.

After the Q&A for the first hour, small-group conversations will focus on next steps to create or support existing community-based programs and services, especially for youth, treatment on demand, and crisis stabilization. Thursday's event comes a month after nearly 100 participants attended a listening session and more than 130 completed a survey to give feedback and ideas on the county’s justice programs.

To access the event via Zoom, visit using the meeting ID 954-1562-9640 or call in at (312) 626-6799 and use ID: 954-1562-9640, then dial *6 to mute or unmute.

For more information, visit or

Mower County offers funds for sealing unused wells

AUSTIN — Property owners in Mower County can again get financial help for sealing unused wells as part of a program by the county's Soil and Water Conservation District and Austin Utilities to protect groundwater.

The program has nearly $50,000 available for sealing unused or abandoned wells as part of a 50 percent cost-share payment (capped at $1,000 per well).

"After seeing great interest the past two years under a state grant for well sealing cost-share, we found other funding sources to keep offering assistance into 2022," said Tim Ruzek, Mower SWCD’s water plan and outreach coordinator.

Since August 2019, Mower SWCD and Austin Utilities have helped seal 22 unused wells in Mower County, Ruzek said. Another 10 wells are approved for sealing but are awaiting the work to begin.

For more information, contact Ruzek at Mower SWCD at (507) 460-4577 or by email at

WSU seniors create 'Visceral' art space depicting 2020

WINONA — A trio of design seniors at Winona State University have collaborated on a show titled "Visceral," an art installation depicting the 2020 emotional journey. The students sought to highlight a few of the challenges faced over the last year and create a space of expression, healing and action to build stronger and more empathetic communities.

"It’s Time" by Ellen Klismith brings forth self-evaluation for the viewer while reflecting on her actions regarding the many major events reported throughout the year. "Stasis" by Nathan Birch looks inward and discovers a personalized and healthy balance between social media and real life. "The Cost of Ignorance" by Michelle Truxal is a work about the loss of life suffered from COVID-19 using the mediums of tapestry weaving and data.

The show will be held outside with social distancing at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse in Winona from April 26 to May 7. An artist talk will be held virtually at 4 p.m. May 4 and is open to the public.

For more information, visit the Winona State Design Program website at