Red Wing

Graffiti to be formally banned on Barn Bluff

The Red Wing City Council voted unanimously last week to formally ban graffiti on Barn Bluff, which overlooks downtown, effective Nov. 15.

High school classes started painting on the bluff in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Since then, it has evolved into a giant billboard for all kinds of messages. The city adopted an informal policy of not enforcing a ban on graffiti unless the messages were offensive or political. That raised concerns about violations of First Amendment rights.

In addition, all graffiti on Barn Bluff offended the Prairie Island Indian Community. In the Mdewakanton Dakota language, the formation is called He Mni Can (hill, water, bluffs) and is considered a sacred burial site. The community designated restoration and preservation of the bluff as one of its top priorities in 2018.

Three city commissions and city staff recommended closing the bluff to painting, though a number of residents sought to preserve the tradition.

Dan Browning


Post office reopens after mold scare

Citizens in the town of Bowlus no longer have to drive to a neighboring town to pick up their mail or send a package.

The Bowlus post office reopened Wednesday after officials shut it down earlier this month when an alleged mold problem was suspected of sickening two employees. The building’s owner — former postmaster Arnold Benusa — disputed that, however.

Postal Service spokeswoman Kristy Anderson said in e-mails last week that a third-party environmental firm came in to do an assessment and that “no environmental concerns were found.” She wrote that repairs “will be completed to remedy the water intrusion and any building damage.”

Benusa said he hadn’t been told of any water intrusion or damage.

Pam Louwagie


Four players kneel; former coach walks

Four football players at Rochester Community and Technical College chose to kneel during the national anthem before a game last weekend, drawing criticism from the team’s former coach.

Retired RCTC coach Chuck Seifert told the Post-Bulletin that he walked out of the stadium after seeing the players kneel. He equated it to burning the American flag, he told the newspaper.

The college later issued a statement of support for the players, saying it would protect students’ rights to free speech.

“We also respect our students’ right to express themselves in a peaceful manner,” the statement read.

matt mckinney