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After Deadline: U of M course about 'secretive' Mayo Clinic canceled

Jonathon Wetenkamp, who plays Scrooge in the Words Players production of "The Spirit of Christmas Past: A Christmas Carol," was pictured Dec. 5 in a New York Times montage of Scrooges from across the country. He is No. 60.

The description for a new University of Minnesota journalism course promised to give students the chance to contribute "to a ground-breaking book about one of Minnesota's best-known but most secretive institutions — the Mayo Clinic."

Entitled "In-depth Reporting on the Mayo Clinic," the course description notes that "for the first time, the Mayo Clinic is seeking public funding and providing an ideal opportunity to use all of the in-depth reporting methods essential to long-form journalism."

But it turns out the course has been canceled because of a lack of interest, according to University of Minnesota spokesman Steve Henneberry. The course was added to the schedule late, and so far, only one student had signed up. He said the university's School of Journalism and Mass Communications may offer the course in the fall.

The would-be instructor for the course is someone very familiar with the clinic and Rochester. Anthony Bianco was born and grew up in Rochester, and his father was a Mayo Clinic doctor. Bianco spent 27 years working as a reporter for Businessweek and has written six nonfiction books.

— Heather J. Carlson


Local 'Scrooge' pictured in New York Times feature

Jonathon Wetenkamp, who is playing Scrooge in the Words Players production of "The Spirit of Christmas Past: A Christmas Carol," was pictured Dec. 5 in a New York Times montage of Scrooges from across the country.

Wetenkamp is playing Scrooge for the third time with Words Players. Kathryn Kuhlman, executive director of Words Players, said she was contacted several weeks ago by Erik Piepenburg, of the Times. He had found the Words Players production through an online search, and asked for a photo of Wetenkamp as Scrooge.

In the montage of four dozen Scrooges, Wetenkamp is No. 60. When viewing the page online , readers can run their cursor over each Scrooge to learn his identity.

—Tom Weber

K-M teachers

When Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School teacher Lisa Bronk volunteered to sew two anti-bullying costumes, she offered herself up as one of the two pseudo super heroes. When considering who should be her male sidekick, a room full of staff members quickly settled their gaze on Joel Olson.

The fourth-grade teacher rose to the challenge — but now admits to second-guessing himself every time he becomes the KoMets' caped crusader for school assemblies or other events.


"When I first volunteered to do it, I really didn't think it'd be like this," Olson said of the costume. "Either I need to lose a lot of weight or gain a lot of weight so I don't fit in it anymore."

K-M principal Michelle Krell arranged to have Bronk and Olson pulled from class so they could suit up for the photo that ran with Saturday's story on the district's anti-bullying efforts. Though smiles were flashed throughout the shoot, Olson wasn't overly enthusiastic about revealing his super hero identity.

"You owe me big time," Olson jokingly told Krell.

Bronk sewed the outfits to match a sketch made by a K-M art teacher.

— Brett Boese

Bearer of bad news

Kurt Kuhlers has been the emergency management director for Houston County for eight years.

In that time, he said recently, he's overseen four president-declared disasters, mainly in the form of flooding.


He was the voice for the county again on Nov. 1, when a plane crashed near the airport in Caledonia, killing three of the four people aboard.

It's not the sort of responsibility anyone relishes, but the sheer number of times he has been called on to deliver bad news is an anomaly, Kuhlers admits.

And people are starting to notice, he said.

"(Sheriff) Doug Ely asked me if it wasn't time for me to retire yet," Kuhlers said. That's still quite a few years away, he said, but he said he hopes the remaining years are quiet ones.

— Kay Fate

After Deadline is a weekly column of notes, gossip and observations that didn't make it into news stories last week. Got a tip for After Deadline? Send it to news@postbulletin.com.

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