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Local/state briefs

Student-operated restaurant, ‘Taste @ Southwest Minnesota State University,’ to debut Nov. 4

A student-operated restaurant, “Taste @ Southwest Minnesota State University,” will open to the public on Nov. 4.

The restaurant will be open Thursdays and Fridays during the academic year, according to Ronnie Walker, chef instructor for the Culinology and Hospitality Management programs.

Hours will be 5-9 p.m. Reservations can be made online at: www.smsu.edu/go/taste. The dining room is located in the Individualized Learning (IL) building, room 116.

Walker said the meal will include four courses — “a starter, salad, main, and dessert.” The main course will turn over regularly, he said, and it’s his goal to use as much locally-sourced product as possible.

Walker comes to SMSU from North Carolina. He had been an adjunct instructor for a year-and-a-half before moving into his current position. He attended the Art Institute of Atlanta, and earned a degree in culinary arts.

“I’m loving it,” he said. “The students are always learning, and I’m able to work with many academic areas, including ag and science. We are getting fresh products wherever we can. For instance, we’re growing herbs in the greenhouse, and we are using vegetables grown at the university’s test plots north of town.”

Walker said that Culinology and Hospitality Management students make up a good percentage of Taste’s workforce, “but we have broadened the umbrella,” he said, indicating that students from other academic areas, and clubs/organizations, are involved with the operation.

“It’s going to be a very unique experience,” said Walker. “Something you would not normally find in Marshall, or the region.”

For further information email: Taste@smsu.edu, or call 507-537-6223.

COVID-19 wave overwhelms rural hospitals short on ICU beds

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The case of a rural Minnesota man who waited two days for an ICU bed and later died is among several examples that have frustrated officials in rural hospitals whose facilities are overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

Bob Cameron, 87, spent two days in his hometown hospital in Hallock, Minnesota, where caregivers searched nonstop for space in a larger hospital that could find and fix the source of his severe gastrointestinal bleeding and treat his COVID-19.

The bleeding exhausted the hospital’s blood supply, so state troopers shuttled new units 130 miles from Fargo, North Dakota to Hallock to keep Cameron alive. A bed was secured Oct. 12 at Sanford Health in Fargo, but his condition worsened after surgery there to find the source of his bleeding. He died Oct. 13, the Star Tribune reported.

“We can’t say for certain, of course, that if he got to an ICU bed sooner that he would have survived, but we just feel in our hearts that he would have,” said Cameron’s granddaughter, Janna Curry.

During a three-week stretch this month, rural hospitals were caring for more COVID-19 patients than Twin Cities hospitals.

“We’re playing tag back and forth between Aitkin, Crosby, Brainerd and Princeton,” said Dr. Arden Virnig, supervisor of a five-bed ER at Mille Lacs Health System in Onamia, Minnesota. “Basically, we’re calling each other all day long to say, ‘Who’s got a new bed open?’ ”

Small plane crashes into Wisconsin home, kills 2 onboard

MARENGO, Wis. (AP) — Authorities say two people died when a single-engine plane crashed into a home in northeastern Wisconsin.

The Ashland County Sheriff’s Office received numerous 911 calls about 2:40 p.m. Saturday with reports of the crash in the town of Marengo, located about 80 miles from Duluth, Minnesota. No one on the ground was hurt, authorities said.

The sheriff’s department said the victims are a 29-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman from Marengo. Investigators do not believe anyone else was in the plane.

A news release from the sheriff’s department offered “deepest condolences to the family of the victims” and said the office will “share further information with the public regarding this incident as it becomes available.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Lawmaker wants donations for family charged in Jan. 6 riot

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota lawmaker is encouraging supporters to donate to a Lindström family facing federal criminal charges in connection with participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Sen. Mark Koran, a North Branch Republican, on Friday posted a link to a crowdfunding site launched by a member of the Westbury family — four members of which are now among the eight Minnesotans to be charged so far with crimes related to the deadly Capitol riot.

“Here’s a local family in Lindstrom who can use some help,” Koran wrote

The Star Tribune reports Prosecutors in the District of Columbia charged Robert Westbury, 62, Isaac Westbury, 19, and a third man, Aaron James, 35, with crimes ranging from assaulting Capitol police officers to disrupting government business. The arrests occurred barely six months after another son, Jonah Westbury, 26, was charged in connection with the Capitol siege.

The new indictment linking three of the four relatives included allegations that two of the men — Isaac Westbury and Aaron James — used a shield to assault and impede a law enforcement officer at the Capitol.

The crowdfunding campaign has a goal of raising $50,000.

2 of 5 victims in Cambridge house explosion seriously hurt

CAMBRIDGE (AP) — Authorities said Sunday that two of the five people who were inside a Cambridge house when it exploded were seriously injured in the blast.

Capt. John Elder, spokesman with the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office, said all five victims were taken to local hospitals following the explosion, which happened shortly after 5:30 a.m. Saturday. Two of them were later transported to North Memorial in Robbinsdale for further treatment.

The two-story house in a residential neighborhood of Cambridge is a total loss, Elder said. There was no damage to any other nearby homes and a large propane tank in the backyard of the home did not explode. Debris was found up to a block away, the Star Tribune reported.

The cause of the blast remains under investigation.

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