Answer Man: Should I stay, or should I go now?
Dear Answer Man, I have heard several different answers regarding when people have to vacate their home when it is in foreclosure. The last I heard is that once the house is taken over by the mortgage company, the residents can remain living in the house for six months. Is this fact or fiction? I was told this is Minnesota law. Thanks for your help. — R.T.
From the time you're informed that you're in default on your loan to the time when the house is no longer yours, months will go by. During that time, you generally can't be evicted except by court order.
Minnesota has both a judicial and a non-judicial process for foreclosures, which take at minimum about four to six months, depending on the type of property, where you live, whether there's a redemption period and other complications. Under Minnesota law, you can postpone a sheriff sale for up to five months and continue living in the house, though that cuts into the redemption period.
The Minnesota attorney general's office has basic information on your rights if you're facing foreclosure. If you want to see that information, send me an e-mail or letter and I'll respond.
Dear Answer Man, a few of us are wondering just how the "Beltline" got its name way back when. It didn't divide south and north parts of town. It seems to me it was more like the Circle Drives are, when it went around the town. Can you find out more about that for us, please? Thanks! Enquiring women want to know. — Pam
The Beltline, in case you're new to Rochester (as in, have only lived here 15 or 20 years), is 12th Street Southeast, which is also U.S. 14. During the FDR era, it marked the southern edge of town; the airport and fairgrounds were just beyond, and then it was cornfields and pastureland the rest of the way to Stewartville. Although 12th Street was just a piece of what might have been a master plan for a ring road around Rochester's south side, the name stuck.
My immense team of researchers — her name is Gretchen — is digging into when the Beltline name was first used, but it appears to date from the 1930s. There was a Beltline Cafe (later to become the Beltline Lunch, Beltline Cafe and finally the Beltline Mobile station) at 1150 Third Ave. S.E. in 1938. Two years later and several blocks away, the Beltline Tavern was doing business at 306 12th St. S.E. A new Beltline Cafe was started up in the late '60s at 303 12th St. S.E.
For the record, the term has been spelled both as one word and two, and it lives on, especially in that part of town. Even MnDOT's planned improvements along U.S. 14 from U.S. 52 to Marion Road have been referred to as a fixer-upper for the Beltline.
Dear Big-Brained Answer Man, I saw in the paper the other day that a southeast Minnesota tour guide says he can take you to the very bottom of trees in which eagles nest. I thought it was illegal to get within a couple of feet of an eagle's nest. What's the truth? — Eagle Watcher
That tour guide may have been exaggerating, but nonetheless, P-B outdoors writer John Weisssays it's illegal to be closer than 330 feet if "the human activity can be seen." I suppose it's possible for a person to be wearing Monty Python-like shrubbery and violate that 330-foot radius, but if you get caught disturbing an eagle's nest, you'll get a big fine and hopefully a guilty conscience.
COMPUTER INVENTORS:Last week, responding to a very challenging question from a reader, I listed a few people who deserve credit for producing the first personal computers, about 35-40 years ago, when I was just a wee lad. That prompted this note from a hawk-eyed reader, regarding the origin of more industrial-strength computers:
"I am a very devoted fan of yours and I am sure you will have others respond to you about the first computer, but as a 1983 Computer Science graduate of Iowa State University , I can help you out. John Vincent Atanasoffand Clifford E. Berryhave finally been given credit for inventing the first electronic computer (the Atanasoff-Berry Computer or ABC) at Iowa State University (then Iowa State College). They developed the ABC from 1939-1941 until the war stopped their work. Previously, the ENIAC computer had been considered the first electronic computer, but a 1973 patent infringement case voided the ENIAC patent as a derivative of the ABC, thus the ABC is now considered the first electronic computer. Go ISU!!!"
CHIPS AHOY!Also last week, I produced a magnificent item on a Rochester potato chip company that operated on East Center Street about 70 years ago. I only had a few precious details on the Sterling Potato Co. and asked readers for more. Edward "Jerry" Johnston, a retired Rochester police lieutenant now living in Wabasha, did exactly that:
"My mother and father, Edward and Adele Johnston, owned and operated Johnston Food Products and Sterling Potato Chips from about late 1939 to late 1947. The business was located at 1602 Third St. N.E. in Rochester. The potato chip business was located in a two-car garage at the rear of the house. The business was called Johnston Food Products and Sterling Potato Chips was the potato chip label. Johnston Food Products made potato chips, popcorn and salted nuts.
"My parents bought the house new in 1939, removed a one-car garage that was on the property and built the two-car garage for the business. The potato chip building is still on the property. I can still remember my mother and a family friend, who was an employee, frying the potato chips in a huge vat of oil, and then placing the chips on a large drying table. The potato peeler for the business was mounted and bolted to a cement pedestal in the basement of our house. I was always told my father would travel throughout Southeast Minnesota to sell and deliver the products to the customers. I was always told that the only competition for the business in those years was from Old Dutch Potato Chip Co. and that our chips were better then their chips.
"The business was sold in late 1947 to Mr. Postier of Postier & Egger Buick garage. My mother told me that Mr. Postier never restarted the potato chip business...my mother started working at the Zumbro Hotel in 1947 and retired in 1971."
When the chips are down, people like Jerry always come through. Thanks for the details!