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After Deadline: Creek now bears family name

Duane and JoAnn Sprick, and their daughter, Nancy Carlson, all of Lake City, sit by a creek that has been in JoAnn Sprick and Nancy Carlson's family for about 130 years. The have succeeded in getting the creek renamed for their ancestors - Zell Creek.

CONCEPTION — Zell Creek. It's got a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Zell Creek is not much as far as creeks go, beginning in the backyard of a getaway cabin up a small valley leading into the Zumbro Bottoms State Forest and thence, into the Zumbro River.

But the creek is dear to the descendants of Fred Zell who homesteaded the property in 1883. He was killed by a bull in 1898, but the land has stayed in his family. People locally kind of knew the creek as Zell Creek but when it came time to put a formal name on it, the Department of Natural Resources called it Helbig Creek in honor of Terry Helbig, a former DNR forester who did a lot of work buying land for that part of the forest.

Last year, the Zell family petitioned the Wabasha County Board to approve the name change. The matter then went to the state DNR commissioner and finally, to the United States Board on Geographic Names, said Nancy Calson, one of the descendants who pushed for the name change.

On April 9, the board approved it and it's now listed on  http://geonames.usgs.gov .


The family is planning a celebration this summer at the little cabin along Zell Creek.

— John Weiss

It's best to read before you ride

Once again, a Department of Natural Resources weekly report bears a gem worth passing on.

This is from Conservation Officer Tom Hemker of Winona: "He checked a PWC (personal watercraft, or Jet Ski) without registration. They could not get the PWC to stop. The person on the back was reading the owner's manual and trying to explain to the driver how to operate the newly purchased machine."

Hemker suggested they read the manual — and know the law — before they ride.

— John Weiss

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