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Answer Man: Lake City aims for destination visitor center

Dear Answer Man, what's going on at the old gas station in Lake City? They're either fixing it up to reopen or tearing it down.

They're doing neither. There's an effort underway to turn the former filling station at 303 Lakeshore Drive into a Lake Pepin Interpretive Center -- a great idea, and the time is now before a town on the other side of the lake gets motivated. The building was donated to the city's economic development agency by Kwik Trip in November and workers were removing the canopy this week.

Planning is well underway by a group called Destination Lake City, headed by real estate broker Don Grundman . Stay tuned -- you'll be reading more about this.

Dear Answer Man, I don't know if you have any chicken ranching experience or knowledge, but it probably doesn't matter, since I'm sure your curiosity must have caused you to research this already. How in the world does one go about killing and safely disposing of more than 2 million chickens infected with some sort of chicken disease? I just can't imagine how this is being done. -- KFC Lover

You don't want to know -- it's ghastly. They call it "depopulating" the barns -- and to be clear, the problem with bird flu in Minnesota has been mostly about turkeys so far, not chickens, with 2.5 million turkeys destroyed since the outbreak began.


Gov. Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency Thursday to deal with the crisis; Minnesota is the nation's top turkey producer.

According to a National Public Radio story, the flocks are killed by filling the barns with "suffocating foam." The carcasses are then composted for about four weeks and the heat from the compost destroys the virus. Some farmers have sought permission from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to bury the carcasses instead.

Hi, Answer Man, I follow your column for valuable insights and would like your take on this one. I have been looking around for info about the annual rain barrel sale and saw no sign of it. I know it was not held last year, but many cities and counties are still doing this. Has the area taken a step back in conservation efforts? Thanks in advance for your reply. -- Rashid

Rain barrels were all the rage a few years ago, but that movement does seem to be draining away. The city of Rochester's stormwater educator Megan Moeller says she isn't aware of any sales this year. A sale was planned last spring by the Zumbro Watershed Partnership but they pulled the plug when they couldn't find a vendor.

If you know of an upcoming sale, let me know and I'll tell the world.

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