9-year-old turns in parents and their pot operation

A 9-year-old girl walked into the Barnesville Police Station and calmly informed officers that her parents were growing marijuana under the house and selling it to others. She was hoping police would take care of the problem because the smell of all that pot smoke made her feel ill and she worried it was going to make her dogs sick as well.

"She was a very brave, very smart, very articulate little girl," officer Ryan Beattie said. "It was almost like interviewing an adult. She appeared to have intelligence far above a normal little girl … [and] she gave some pretty specific information about things, like types of drug paraphernalia, that no young person ought to have knowledge about."

When police searched the girl's home last week, they found seven marijuana plants growing under the house, a quantity of drug paraphernalia and a substance that field-tested positive for meth. Charges have not yet been filed, pending the results of lab analysis of the plants and chemicals found in the home, Beattie said.

The child, who told police that her parents were selling as well as smoking the drugs, is now out of the house and staying with her grandparents.

Jennifer Brooks @stribrooks


Pottery center's new owners show off expanded line

The new owners of Red Wing Pottery are wrapping up what they call a grand reopening weekend Sunday at 1920 Old West Main St. The pottery company, which dates back to salt-glazed storage crocks farmers used in the 1860s, had been split up into two distinct firms, Red Wing Stoneware and Red Wing Pottery Co.

Bruce and Irene Johnson reunited the two brands under one family late last year. This weekend, they are introducing a new partnership with Minneapolis entrepreneur Eric Darling, who has designed nine sizes of mugs and glassware in the shape of the state of Minnesota. Red Wing Pottery will be the exclusive seller of the line that ranges from shot glasses to pitchers.

Also open Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: a pottery classroom, a Loons & Ladyslippers store of Minnesota products, a candy store, a photography studio and an art gallery all housed in a strip mall in the southeastern Minnesota hamlet that grew up around its fabled pottery.

CURT BROWN @stribcbrown


Tettegouche State Park visitor center opens

Visitors to Tettegouche State Park were treated to a new $7 million visitor center last week.

The 11,000-square-foot, energy-efficient building features an amphitheater, exhibit space, a gift shop, porch and patio. It will host interpretive programs and community meetings.

The 9,346-acre park has become increasingly popular; about 28,000 people visited in 1986, following the construction of the previous building. In 2012, more than 332,000 visited.

pam louwagie @pamlouwagie


Paul Bunyan statue stands tall in national poll

Bemidji's iconic Paul Bunyan and Babe statues — fresh from a supporting role in the TV series "Fargo" — placed fourth in a USA Today poll of the nation's quirkiest landmarks.

"Everyone's heard the legend of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe, but only those who visit the town of Bemidji, Minn., enjoy a photo op with the giant duo," the paper reported after the votes for the country's Top 10 quirky landmarks were tallied. "Both statues were built in fall of 1937, and Earl Bucklen, the mayor at the time, was used as a model for Paul. Babe's giant tin horns measure 14 feet from tip to tip, while Paul stands tall at 18 feet."

Paul and Babe beat out such roadside oddities as North Dakota's Enchanted Highway, Houston's Beer Can House and the Freemont Troll in Washington state. Edging it out on the list were Nebraska's Carhenge and the basket-shaped office building that is home to the Ohio-based Longaberger Baskets. First place went to another oversized gent — the 55-foot-tall Big Tex statue that greets visitors to the Texas State Fair.

Jennifer Brooks @stribrooks