YOU ASKED COLUMN Who's responsible for removing dead trees from the water at Silver Lake? It really makes the lake look awful to have dead tree limbs sticking up out of the water. Perhaps the parks department?

Bingo. The city parks department clears bigger debris from the lake on average once a year, and it's due to do it soon. After the nearly 5-inch deluge that hit the area in mid-September, some bigger timber wound up in the lake and the department hasn't had time until now to clean it up.

Dear Answer Man, do deer whistles work? You attach them to the front bumper and the theory is that when the car is moving, these whistles produce a high-pitched noise that drive the deer away.

Where can I get them (the whistles, not the deer) in the Rochester area? -- Ed

Most experts say you're whistling Dixie if you think deer whistles are going to keep you from a close encounter with a deer. There are newer (and more costly) devices that emit ultra-high frequency sounds to alert deer and other critters to your whereabouts, but it's hard to find evidence that they're worth the investment, either.

The gizmos are generally available at outdoors and automotive stores.


ANSWER MAN SCOLDED: Here's a culinary note from Elman Hanken of High Forest: "Shame on you, Mr. Answer Man, for downgrading the 'petite' White Castle hamburger, saying they are 'distasteful.' They are the best hamburgers out there, fried on a bed of onions. I never miss stopping at White Castles when in the Cities, Hinckley and Duluth. And soon to open in Rochester ... do you know if they've found a place yet in Rochester?"

Elman, you know as well as I that "distasteful" is a term of endearment for sliders, fried on a bed of onions or not. They're tiny and sweaty and distasteful and I eat 'em by the sackful.

Regarding prospects for a White Castle in Rochester, I can't get the company to return a phone call, but the rumor's out there. FYI, according to company materials, White Castle owns all its restaurants -- no franchisees need apply.

MORE ON STEEP STREETS: A well-informed You Asked reader named Andy noted, in response to the item last week regarding the steepest street in Rochester, that 40th Street Southwest has something like a 14-percent grade. That's outside the city limits, though, so it doesn't meet the precise definition.

Andy also proposes Ninth Avenue Southwest, between Eighth and Ninth streets, as another contender for the city's biggest thrill street.

CELEBRITY SIGHTING: Maybe this is of interest only to the Big Ape, but I read recently that Robert Proust, a French doctor of only minor renown and the brother of the 20th century's greatest novelist, Marcel Proust, was a visitor to tiny Rochester in summer 1906. Already at that time, a year before what was then called "the Mayos' clinic" had even formally issued patient registration No. 1, the clinic was attracting international interest from doctors and researchers.

Maybe Robert Proust was in search of what his brother described as "the voyage of discovery," which is "not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

Anyone else have a dead celebrity sighting they want to pass along?


The Answer Man has that certain "je ne sais quoi." Send questions to You Asked, P.O. Box 6118, Rochester, MN 55903, or send e-mail to

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Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.