Standing in downtown Winona, residents and visitors can plainly see how long it takes to walk to a nearby business or park, with the hopes that they forgo getting in their cars and driving to their next errand.

“3 minute walk to pharmacy” says one sign with an arrow. “4 minute walk to a grocery store,” reads another.

They are part of the Winona County Active Living Committee’s initiative to encourage people to exercise there and in St. Charles. All told, nearly 100 temporary corrugated-plastic signs will go up in the two southeast Minnesota cities, thanks to about $550 in design and printing funding from the Statewide Health Improvement Program.

The signs are meant to remind people how easy it is to walk during multi-stop trips “in the same amount of time or shorter than it would take to move their car to a parking spot,” said Janneke Sobeck, community wellness director of Live Well Winona.

The signs will come down at the end of October. Depending upon response, the project could bring permanent signs later.

Pam Louwagie @pamlouwagieIsanti

DNR predicts spectacular fall colors this year

Fall is coming to Minnesota, and this year it should be spectacular.

The Department of Natural Resources predicts that summer rains will pay off with fabulous fall colors, and has set up a site to help leaf peepers. The site — — is designed to help Minnesotans synchronize their fall hikes, bike rides, paddling trips and scenic drives with peak color. It will be updated weekly.

The DNR has organized a series of programs to mark the season, including a lantern-lit hike at Itasca State Park on Sept. 26.

Jennifer Brooks @stribrooks



Jury trial slated for defendant in Kolstad case

One of the two men originally arrested in the beating of Mankato resident Isaac Kolstad will get his day in court later this year.

Trevor S. Shelley, 22, of St. Peter faces two felony assault counts for his role in the May 11, 2014, fight. Blue Earth County District Judge Bradley Walker has scheduled a jury trial for Dec. 14.

Video surveillance shows Shelley throwing a punch to Kolstad’s head, according to the charging documents. Kolstad then goes limp and crashes to the pavement. Former University of Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson then kicks Kolstad in the head, court records allege.

The incident left Kolstad in a coma with a slim chance of survival. His lengthy rehabilitation included relearning how to talk and walk.

Nelson plead guilty to fifth-degree misdemeanor assault and was sentenced in March to 100 hours of community service.

Matt McKinney @_mattmckinney