Ending on a high note - First babies of 2021 make surprise appearances

After a very unusual year, two Kasson families started 2021 with happy surprises.

The parents of the first two babies born in Olmsted County in 2021 didn’t expect to be in the delivery room on New Year’s Eve. One baby came later than expected and one arrived much earlier.

Payton Bailey was the first to arrive this year, born at Mayo Clinic to Paul and Sara Bailey of Kasson. She weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces.

Read the full story by Jeff Kiger here.

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Rochester's newest parking ramp needs $100,000 fix

The first step toward ensuring the structural integrity of the city’s newest parking ramp will be in front of a new Rochester City Council on Monday.

The council will be asked to approve a search for a contractor for a project to address an estimated $100,000 in repairs after waterproofing concerns and other deviations in construction were discovered after the ramp opened in 2019.

The ramp opened with plans for eventual vertical expansion, but City Administrator Steve Rymer later said added work would be needed to support the planned eight floors of housing proposed by St. Paul-based Common Bond Communities.

Read the full story by Randy Petersen here.

Post Bulletin Sports People of the Year: Madsen twins on a mission to speak out for social justice

Twin brothers Gabe, left, and Mason Madsen have been social activists since they were 9 years old. The 2020 Mayo High School grads are now freshman on the University of Cincinnati men's basketball team, and do all they can to speak up for others who may not have the voice to do so. (Photo courtesy of University of Cincinnati)
Twin brothers Gabe, left, and Mason Madsen have been social activists since they were 9 years old. The 2020 Mayo High School grads are now freshman on the University of Cincinnati men's basketball team, and do all they can to speak up for others who may not have the voice to do so. (Photo courtesy of University of Cincinnati)

Twin brothers Gabe and Mason Madsen were 9 years old when they first became social activists.

They were in second grade when they joined their parents (Luke and Jennifer) and older sister (Hattie) to protest at the Capitol Building in Madison, Wis.

That was a decade ago and since then a lot has happened to shape the minds, views and opinions of the two 2020 Rochester Mayo High School grads. The Madsen twins are elite basketball players who are now freshmen on the University of Cincinnati men’s team.

Read the full story by Guy Limbeck here.

Mayo Clinic buys empty Days Inn lot for $10 million

A banner that combines protest with advertising appeared without permission on a fence at First Avenue Northwest and Center Street surrounding the empty lot where the former Days Inn/Carlton Hotel building once stood in downtown Rochester.
A banner that combines protest with advertising appeared without permission on a fence at First Avenue Northwest and Center Street surrounding the empty lot where the former Days Inn/Carlton Hotel building once stood in downtown Rochester.By Jeff Kiger

The open lot where the Days Inn/Carlton Hotel once stood in downtown Rochester, was sold for $10 million this week.

The buyer? Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was purchased by Mayo Clinic. The buy adds a prominent spot to Mayo Clinic's already significant downtown property portfolio. The sale document shows that Mayo Clinic paid the full price in cash.

The five parcels that make up the almost one acre lot at 17 West Center St. were purchased from Iowa developer Mark Kramer’s MKDI LLC on Dec. 29. This is Kramer's second sale of prominent open Rochester land of 2020. He also sold five empty parcels at Civic Center Drive and North Broadway for $2.15 million in September.

Read the full story by Jeff Kiger here.

Kristi Noem’s big bet: How COVID-19 challenged South Dakota’s governor

Screenshot during Gov. Kristi Noem's speech at the Republican National Convention.
Screenshot during Gov. Kristi Noem's speech at the Republican National Convention.

In early April, with COVID-19 sweeping across the nation, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem made a big bet.

The state had yet to be hit by an explosion of the virus. But it expected one. Its modeling showed an overwhelming surge arriving in mid-June, one that would require 5,000 hospital beds, far more than the state had.

Many other states’ governors were fighting the pandemic by instituting lockdowns, a bludgeon of a policy meant to slow the spread of a relatively unknown virus and protect beleaguered hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with critically ill patients.

Read the full story here.