Rochester residents gathered Wednesday to find out what was inside a time capsule that took the city by surprise.

Workers discovered the box, from 1952, while moving a statue of the Mayo brothers in April. Since then, Mayor Ardell Brede kept getting asked: When will you open it? Brede decided to tie its unsealing to the anniversary of the city’s incorporation.

The box itself was made of copper, crusty but sealed tight, Brede said. Its contents were wrapped in tinfoil, then brown paper. Inside that paper, more paper: letters, files, books. Most of it is related to the Mayo Clinic. Meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, a list of physicians. No medical instruments or anything of monetary value, Brede said. “But obviously, great value from a historic standpoint.” Mayo historians will take stock of the “treasures” in the coming weeks.

The city is now asking: What should go in the next capsule? Brede has suggested the plans for the Destination Medical Center, so that decades from now, folks can compare them against what really happened. This time, he noted, they’ll make sure to record the box’s existence.

Jenna Ross @ByJenna



State gives Martin County $44,800 for storm cleanup

A new state program is helping counties clean up in the wake of smaller-scale natural disasters.

Federal disaster assistance is available when storms or floods cause millions of dollars in damage, but until recently, there was little aid available to communities whose repair bills fell short of that mark. Martin County is one of the first places in the state to benefit from an assistance program set up by the Legislature last year.

The county will get $44,800 to offset the cost of debris removal and repairs to public utilities around the cities of Ceylon, Fairmont, Sherburn and Welcome. Thunderstorms and high winds raked the southwest Minnesota county on June 22, toppling trees, blocking roadways and power lines, and saddling local governments with a nearly $60,000 cleanup tab.

Jennifer Brooks @stribrooks



Six years later, search for missing man continues

The search continues for Peter Achermann, who left his home in Staples to run a few errands and vanished six years ago.

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch issued another appeal last week for information about Achermann, who was 82 when he went missing, one day before he was planning to speak at his granddaughter’s wedding.

Achermann was last seen on Friday, July 24, 2009, on Warner Road, by the Crow Wing River Bridge, between noon and 1 p.m. Despite extensive searches and the offer of a $20,000 reward, no other trace of him has been found. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cass County Sheriff’s Office at 218-547-1424.