Sunday, January 27, 2013

Another Week in Small Town America: Bright Blue Skies; Flu; and Ice Pellets

Sunday, January 27, 2013. I still haven't caught the flu, and don't mind a bit. I hear that the nursing home is still limiting visitors to immediate family who are 12 or over.

The week's cold weather and bright blue skies turned to overcast and near-freezing temperatures. Also rain. The weather report said "ice pellets," so maybe it was colder outside town. Streets and roads are slick, and I've got driving to do tomorrow. That, I am not looking forward to.

School started two hours late on Thursday. My guess is that cold temperatures and colder wind chill had something to do with it.

I see in the Sauk Centre Herald that a gas leak obliged folks living in Fairway Pines, up on the north side, to leave the building on Saturday. That'd be January 23, I think. It was cold outside, but that's preferable to waiting to see if leaking gas meets an ignition source.

Half past noon, Saturday, from my webcam. December 15, 2012.

Finally, that photo, taken through my webcam, is what most of today looked like. Right now, there isn't much to see outside, apart from a street light and what's illuminated by light from the window. Tomorrow is another day, though: and around 3:00 in the afternoon there's quite a lot of traffic as school lets out.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

School: Late Today

It's comparatively warm today. Right now, about 3:00 p.m., it's one degree above zero: Fahrenheit. With a wind of 11 miles an hour, the wind chill is minus 15 Fahrenheit.

Even so, schools started two hours late today. Maybe it was the minus-12 temperature early this morning.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wind Chill Warning and the Flu

Sunday, January 20, 2013. The influenza season is still affecting life here in Sauk Centre: restrictions on who can visit folks at the nursing home; no shaking hands in church; and, quite possibly, brisk sales of hand sanitizers. That last is just my guess: but it seems reasonable.

I posted these links before, but figure that it's about time to do so again:
Judging from a graph on the CDC page, America's flu epidemic is on the way out. I can't say that I'm disappointed.

(from Centers for Disease Control, used w/o permission)

Between a certain diffidence about testing my immune system against whatever bugs are wiggling around town, and feeling slightly less than chipper, I haven't gotten out this week, apart from church this morning. Not since Monday, that is. I went down to St. Cloud and had a tooth removed. Aftereffects of that process were a huge anticlimax. Again, I can't say that I'm disappointed:
The point is that I've got just about nothing to say about what I've noticed around Sauk Centre: apart from a cold snap this weekend.

We have a wind chill warning that's good until 9:00 Tuesday morning. (Wind Chill Warning, (Statement as of 7:05 PM CST on January 20, 2013, from

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ice, Flu, and the Ivy Brick Inn

Sunday, January 13, 2013. This year's influenza is now an epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The January 12 post has links to resources from the CDC and National Institutes of Health:
Here in Sauk Centre, the hospital and nursing home still have restrictions on who can visit: quite sensibly, I think.

I haven't caught the flu, although my wife and some of the kids have had some sort of bug. Can't say that I feel bad about being left out.

Precipitation that apparently couldn't decide whether it was freezing rain or sleet put a nice polish on streets a few days ago. Driving in town isn't nearly as exciting, now that the street department has spread their sand-and-salt mix.

Another Christmas season, and the Knights of Columbus Nativity scene is up again. January 8, 2013.

The Ivy Brick Inn on Main Street is still in business. They're the old brick house that's attached to the now-closed Mar'cette Floral.

Ivy Brick Inn - open, definitely. January 8, 2013.

That's all I've got this week. I'm looking forward - if that's the right word - to having a tooth pulled tomorrow morning: but expect to be back with more about Sauk Centre next Sunday.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Influenza: It's Nothing to Sneeze At

Sunday, January 6, 2013. Epiphany. I spent quite a bit of the weekend being with family, and wasn't feeling as chipper as I like during the week. Still, as we say here in Minnesota, 'it could be worse.' For many folks it's a great deal worse.

This winter's flu encouraged the nursing home to not allow visitors. That's been going no for weeks now. Happily, we've got telephones: so it's possible to 'visit' without actually visiting.

I heard on the radio that a hospital somewhere in Minnesota had a 'no visitors' policy now, again because of the flu. They were probably talking about the Sleepy Eye Medical Center: or some other place.

I found quite a bit of news about the flu outbreak, including these items:
"Flu death toll rises to 4 in Minnesota"
AP, via KEYC-TV, Mankato (January 6, 2012)

"State health officials say the number of flu-related deaths in Minnesota has risen to four...."

"Flu Season Hitting Hard"
Molly Miles, KEYC-TV (Updagted January 6, 2012)

"There's more evidence today of how dangerous the flu can be. The state's latest flu-related death, a 17-year-old boy who died in a St. Paul Hospital....

"So how do you avoid it? [Dr. Chris] Callahan, says for starters, get a flu shot, even if you don't think you are very susceptible....

"...After that, use fervor to avoid the fever.

"Callahan says, 'Wash your hands, good personal hygiene will go a long way in decreasing the transmission from people to people.'

"And if you aren't feeling well, stay home...."

"Sleepy Eye Medical Center Restricting Visitors for Flu Concerns"
Dan Ruiter, KEYC-TV ()

"The Sleepy Eye Medical Center has taken the rare step of restricting visitors because of the flu outbreak. That's according to the Sleepy Eye Medical Center CEO Kevin Sellheim.

"Sellheim told News 12 that the measure implemented this week is similar to what the Medical Center did back in 2009 during the H1N1 outbreak. That means until further notice, only immediate family is allowed to visit patients in the hospital...."

For more 'official' information about this year's flu:
Apart from that, there's a nice white blanket of snow. Skies are bright blue, except when they're not, and another year has gone by without the Christmas tree in Our Lady of the Angels church falling over. (December 25, 2005)