Area college basketball fans got a chance to see two student-athletes from Rochester play on national television this past weekend.

Duke is consistently in the nationally televised lineup, and Matthew Hurt, a 2019 John Marshall grad, is a starting forward for the Blue Devils. Hurt, Duke's leading scorer, had a career-high 37 points in last Saturday's 80-73 overtime loss to Louisville, which aired on ESPN.

The next day, the University of Cincinnati played Memphis in a game that was televised on ESPN. Mason Madsen, a 2020 Mayo High School grad, is a freshman reserve guard for Cincinnati. He scored six points in Cincinnati's 80-74 loss.

Hurt and Madsen are just two of more than a half dozen current area student-athletes who play men's basketball at the Division I level. Thumbs up to the quality of players being produced in the area, and it's very enjoyable being able to watch them play at the next level.

Cheers to beer leftovers

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Grain is needed to brew beer, but once the sugars and flavors are extracted, brewers are left with a thick, wet mass of spent barley, wheat, oats and rye.

Forager Brewing Co. in Rochester used to throw the spent grain away, but Austin Jevne, founder of Forager, realized the grain still had use. Spent grain still contains proteins and some sugars, and is a usable food product or livestock feed.

Forager now sends its spent grain to Cannon Valley Ranch near Goodhue, where it's used for cattle feed.

“It’s a good circle relationship,” Jevne told reporter John Molseed. “Reducing waste is something we’ve wanted to do at Forager.”

Kinney Creek Brewery also finds use for its spent grain. Most of it goes to an area farmer who uses it for cattle and chicken feed. The rest goes to Barking Dozen, a pet-treat producer, and to Krohnies Crackers, which makes high-protein crackers from the grain.

Thumbs up to Rochester breweries for finding uses for what used to be trash.

Catalytic converter thefts

Three Byron school buses were among the latest targets of catalytic converter thieves.

Catalytic converters are pollution control devices found on vehicles and are a favorite target of criminal scrappers. Three rare earth metals are used in catalytic converters -- palladium, rhodium and platinum. Palladium and rhodium are worth more per ounce than gold.

Converter thefts have been rampant nationally during the pandemic as people drive less and fleets sit idle. There's little you can do other than park in a secured lot or garage and make sure you're insured.

Olmsted County Sheriff's Capt. Scott Behrns and Rochester Police Capt. Casey Moilanen said local scrap yards and recyclers have been cooperative with law enforcement. It is believed that the stolen catalytic converters, which are hard to identify as stolen or belonging to a specific vehicle because they do not have distinctive markings, are not being sold locally. Thumbs down to converter thievery.