Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Answer Man: Here's the church and here are the shingles

Astounding Answer Man, have you heard about an area church that had its roof reshingled by mistake? The contractor was supposed to do the Lutheran church and he did the Catholic church instead. I don't know the town or anything more about it.

I thought this reader was pulling my leg, but as always, I checked it out. I drove all over the area and inspected every church roof, looking for clues. (My boss was annoyed by my four-figure mileage expense report this month.) I called every rectory and church office.

Finally, I hit the jackpot in West Concord, of all places.

The United Methodist Churchin West Concord hired a contractor to reshingle the roof about a month ago, but somehow, the contractor got his shingles crossed and began tearing the roof off St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church instead. How this happened is hard to say. St. Vincent's is a modern, peach-colored brick building about eight blocks from the Methodist church; the Methodist church is white, wooden, handsome and historic, with a much trickier roof to shingle, by the way.

Fortunately, some St. Vincent's parishioners saw what was going on and stopped the workers before they got too far. They put things back the way they were and apparently no harm was done.


I talked to a St. Vincent's parish leader Friday who confirmed that it happened but didn't have much to say about it. Ironically, the church appears to need new shingles, but it probably won't get them -- it's likely to be closed as a result of the Winona Diocese's reorganization plan next summer.

I have a call in to the Methodist church, mainly to see how they like their new roofing.

Dear Answer Man, how many more farm accidents happen at night? I'm always struck by the number of combines and harvesters that are in the field after dark. This seems ridiculously dangerous to me. Are there figures from the state that support this?

No. It makes sense that accidents happen at a higher rate at night, but farming is a unique business and reporting on accidents can be sketchy.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, which keeps score of this type of thing, 374 farmers and farm workers died as a result of a work-related injury in 2012. That's a fatality rate of 20.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. Overturned tractors were the leading type of fatal accident.

The only field that's even close to as dangerous is mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction, which had a fatality rate of 14.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2014. Next was transportation and warehousing at 13.5, followed by construction (9.5) and wholesale trade (4.8), and every other industry is tiny by comparison.

Among various federal efforts to get a handle on farm accidents and deaths is the Occupational Injury Surveillance of Production Agriculture Survey. In 2012, this survey reported 61,057 injuries to workers at least 20 years old on U.S. farms. There were more work-related injuries reported in that survey in the Midwest, 18,540, than in any other region.

So, farming is dangerous work, but I can't find data related to accidents after dark. While it stands to reason that it's dangerous to drive a gigantic machine through a dark field, most accidents occur during normal business hours, between 10 a.m. and noon and between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m .

What To Read Next
Get Local