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MEDORD — Medford could soon have a digital sign to help spread various messages and news about the school district to the community.

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Unemployment was down slightly across the region from June to July, according to figures released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, with most counties showing a dip of about 0.1%.

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OWATONNA — The Owatonna school district welcomed new staff members Monday with a literal bang, as a drum corps of Owatonna students performed to kick off the morning.

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NEW RICHLAND — Dan Sorum, agriculture teacher at New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva High School, and students in his summer education class planted numerous native wildflowers last month, the culmination of a project that began this spring.

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OWATONNA — Steele County will seek mediation with the state after the Minnesota Department of Human Services rejected a proposal to provide health care to South Country Health Alliance.

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OWATONNA — I had originally intended to visit Be Ultimate Sports at the Steele County Free Fair, but the prospect of my jumping around on a bouncy house-surface playing field or riding a tricycle on a track with tight turns might seem inappropriate on Senior Citizens Day for a guy my age.

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OWATONNA — Among the most prized guests at the Steele County Free Fair are the horses, who eat, sleep, and compete — with their human counterparts — throughout the week at the northeast end of the grounds.

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OWATONNA — As the workforce shortage in trades like carpentry and construction continues to deepen, Project Build Minnesota is attempting to raise awareness about career opportunities in those fields, and the non-profit helped Steele County Free Fair attendees construct bird feeders Friday.

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OWATONNA — The death of a Michigan man on the midway of the Steele County Free Fair Friday morning is being investigated as a suicide, the Steele County Sheriff said Friday.

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OWATONNA — The 5K run that has become a local tradition on the Saturday of Steele County Free Fair week will again be contested that morning at Owatonna High School, but with a new name and a new cause this year.

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OWATONNA — In between the polka music and geriatric stand-up comedy at the fair, the Steele County Exchange Club took a moment to recognize two vital members of their community.

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OWATONNA — It has been a process that has taken years to complete, but on Thursday the residents at Koda Living Community were able to embark on the first of many adventures.

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I suppose it’s my ego kicking into to overdrive, but I’ve always fancied myself something of a Renaissance man. Yet, what the Steele County Free Fair has shown this week is that I’m not — or at least not the high-caliber Renaissance man that I always hoped I would be.

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A new bench in loving memory of Jim Gleason, the former manager/secretary of the Steele County Free Fair, has appeared outside the fair office. Gleason, who died after a brief battle with brain cancer in April, has been missed by many at the fair this week, but possibly missed the most by hi…

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MEDFORD — Students in Medford’s Spanish department traveled to Spain in June to immerse themselves in local culture, learn the country’s illustrious history, and, of course, practice their language skills.

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I’m told that in years past — long before I was born, so you know it was a long time ago — the People’s Press used to have a building out on the Steele County Fairgrounds where the reporters and editor would do their work. And, it’s said, that others from the community would hang around the …

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OWATONNA — Family members became irate and staff members began to shed tears as the Steele County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the sale of Park Place Assisted Living and the empty Cedarview Care Center to Bradford Holdings, solidifying the eventual relocation of 50 Park Place …

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OWATONNA — Perhaps the most obvious cosmetic change fairgoers have noticed this week at the Steele County Free Fair is the northeast quadrant of the grounds, where the north part of the racetrack has been removed, opening up an area that was often previously congested.

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OWATONNA — Though the number of rabbits at the Steele County Free Fair decreased slightly this year, the overall trend points upward, with more bunnies on display the past three or four years than any before that stretch.

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Hy-Vee, Inc. is investigating what it's calling "a data incident involving its payment processing systems" at some of its fuel pumps, drive-thru coffee shops and restaurants.

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OWATONNA — Fairgoers had a slight scare on Tuesday afternoon that the Steele County Free Fair would be closed down before it even officially began when a severe weather alert — including a tornado warning — popped up around 3:45 p.m.

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OWATONNA — After a $116 million bond referendum for a new Owatonna High School narrowly failed in May, the Owatonna school district will bring the issue again to voters in November, this time with a lower cost and a second question related to the future of the current OHS site.

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OWATONNA — A Dodge Center man who faces two counts of criminal vehicular homicide for his role in a crash that killed a Blooming Prairie elementary school teacher and her daughter last September has been ticketed in Owatonna for speeding.

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OWATONNA — The City of Owatonna is on the cusp of joining 40 Minnesota communities that have raised the legal minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including those used in e-cigarettes or vapes.

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At all levels, law enforcement agencies of all types are increasingly using drones to conduct their work. Outside of established protections established in the Bill of Rights and freedom of information laws like Minnesota’s Data Privacy Act, few restrictions currently exist on the use of dro…

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OWATONNA — In an unusual, if not unique, situation, firefighters took more than two hours to fully extinguish a fire — without water — at an Owatonna manufacturing plant on Wednesday evening.

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BLOOMING PRAIRIE — Jake Schwarz, who was already familiar with Blooming Prairie due to the fact his children attend school in the district, is now getting to know even more as he takes over as elementary principal.

OWATONNA — Owatonna’s Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum hosted a visitor from England last month: Jim Goddard, chairman of Care Leavers Association UK, spent roughly a week exploring the grounds and listening to stories from those who know the place best.

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OWATONNA — Neighborhoods throughout the city hosted annual Night to Unite block parties on Tuesday to bring the community together with public safety agencies in the area.

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BLOOMING PRAIRIE — Since being named Blooming Prairie’s school superintendent this spring, and officially taking over that role July 1, Chris Staloch has spent the vast preponderance of his time “listening and learning,” he says, because “I want all voices to be heard as we craft our vision …

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!