Long Prairie

TV show spurs tips in Huisentruit case

Renewed national attention to the 1995 disappearance of Iowa TV anchorwoman Jodi Huisentruit has spurred some new tips in the unsolved case.

Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley said his department received more than two dozen tips since the TV show "48 Hours" featured Huisentruit's case Dec. 15.

"I think anything that keeps it in the public eye is a good thing," said Brinkley, who took the job three years ago. He said the case has always been an active investigation for Mason City. "We've never closed it."

Huisentruit, a Long Prairie, Minn., native, was 27 years old and working for CBS-TV affiliate KIMT-TV in Mason City, about 140 miles south of the Twin Cities, when she vanished early in the morning of June 27, 1995, while heading to work. She left behind evidence of a struggle in her apartment parking lot but few clues as to who assaulted her.

Since then, investigators have chased hundreds of tips but have yet to find Huisentruit or make an arrest in the case.

Anyone with information can call the department at 641-421-3636.

The team behind FindJodi.com, a site dedicated to her case run by a former officer and a group of journalists, said it also has received more than 100 e-mails and tips after the "48 Hours" airing.

Kelly Smith

Grand Marais

Beavers take big tree, become play's stars

Town officials in Grand Marais believed conifers were safe from harbor beavers that have been gnawing at trees all over the city, but last weekend some in town were heartbroken to see the beavers reassert themselves by chewing down a spruce tree estimated at 25 feet tall near the North House Folk School.

Still, the beavers were the theme of Friday's winter solstice shadow puppet play at the folk school, put on by a group of puppeteers and musicians known as the Good Harbor Hill Players. The play was titled "Vexed by Beavers," and it was performed about 40 feet from the chewed-up spruce stump, according to group member Jim Ouray.

Pam Louwagie


City raises tobacco sales age to 21

Waseca is the latest Minnesota city to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The City Council voted 4-3 this month to approve the ordinance, becoming the 21st city in the state to do so. The ordinance will take effect in three months. The city said there are nine tobacco licenses in Waseca.

Several Twin Cities suburbs have passed similar ordinances, along with North Mankato, St. Peter, Hermantown and Otter Tail County.

Kelly Smith