Where’d that extra penny come from?

Dear Answer Man, I see the Minnesota sales tax has been raised 0.375 percent, so the total in Rochester now is 7.375 percent. If I buy something for a dollar, will the tax be rounded up to 8 cents or down to 7 cents? Thanks. — Terry Thul

An excellent question — I was wondering why the cost of my cup of coffee abruptly went up from $2 on the nose to $2.01. As you’ve probably figured out, the new Legacy Amendment tax approved by voters in November kicked in on July 1. The tax will raise an estimated $234 million for environmental and arts projects over the next quarter-century, when it expires.

Kit Borgman, a spokeswoman for the state Revenue Department, says the amount you pay will get rounded down a penny or up a penny, whichever is closest, "so it all works out in the wash."

Answer Man, do you know what an average total collection might be when they pass the hat at the Down by the Riverside concerts? There seemed to be a lot of people digging in their pockets last night to make a contribution. Thanks. — Laurie

The city Music Department says people dug nice and deep Sunday at the first of the summer’s free Down by the Riverside concerts. The crowd was estimated as large as 18,000 people, about the same size as the crowd for Tommy James’ concert last summer, and fans were equally generous, according to a bashful Music Department employee who asked not to be named.


The average freewill donation from Riverside concerts is about $1,500, and the take has never topped $5,000. The city music people are happy for whatever people choose to contribute — it all helps pay for a program that’s become a big part of Rochester’s summer fun.

Satchmo in Rochester

Last week I mentioned that Louis Armstrong, the great jazz trumpeter, played the Valencia Ballroom in the mid-1950s. I asked my always-helpful fans to tell me more, and several did.

David E. Swenson, president of a consulting firm in Round Rock, Texas, was visiting Rochester last week and saw my column. He sent this note:

"Dear Answer Man: My father, E. Donald Swenson, was the P-B photographer from the mid-’50s to mid-’60s. I remember that he spent pretty much a full day with "Satchmo" and took dozens of pictures ... of course, this was back in the day of the 4 x 5 Speed Graflex camera. There were pictures of Satchmo doing the most mundane things during his day in Rochester, including getting ready in his hotel bathroom."

David Gottschalk of Byron wrote, "Back in the ’50s, my girlfriend Rose and I went to the Valencia with Louis Armstrong playing. Must have been a good date as we have now been married for 55 years. We were both fans ... during the evening we talked with him several times."

And Dulcie Berkman recalls, "Louis Armstrong’s music, along with that of other jazz greats, was frequently heard in my home when I was growing up. I must have been 11 when Armstrong was in concert at Mayo Civic Auditorium and my mother took my sister and me to the concert. It was big excitement for us, and an experience I fondly remember."

Blame it on the geese


A few weeks ago, a reader asked how fish get into holding ponds such as those along U.S. 52 near Apache Mall. I guessed that some anglers did some unofficial stocking of those holding ponds, but a few readers blamed it on ducks and geese.

"It’s not a matter of people stocking it, it’s a matter of fish eggs getting stuck to goose and duck feet and transferring them to the holding ponds," says a reader named Dean. "There’s also great fishing behind Kohl’s (store on U.S. 63 South). Our Boy Scout troop goes there for our fishing merit badge and they catch enough different types of fish to quality for the badge. Additionally, the fish are filleted by the kids right there and cooked on a camp stove for immediate consumption. Quite tasty."

Generally speaking, kids shouldn’t be encouraged to fish in holding ponds, and I would question eating fish caught in such ponds. But is it likely that geese and ducks are transferring fish eggs to drainage ponds?

Aye, says Vaughn Snook, assistant supervisor of the DNR’s fisheries office in Lanesboro. It’s perfectly possible that eggs were transferred to fishless ponds by birds or drainage from some other water source where fish live.

"Let’s hope they were introduced by ducks and geese, because you need a permit to legally introduce fish into a pond," Vaughn says.

The A-Man needs no introduction. Send questions to P.O. Box 6118, Rochester, MN 55903 or Don’t miss his daily bits of wisdom on the front page.

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