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Cute animals drive the news

Anyone who watches FOX Channel 9 news knows that their editors have a certain formula for every newscast. Somewhere within the hour-long program, at least one "cute" animal or animal-in-peril story is aired.

It doesn't matter where the pet or animal story comes from (the U.S. or elsewhere), the news officials obviously believe people like the soft, cuddly feel of a good animal story.

We'v tried our best to follow the formula the past two weeks. On the front of last week's issue we had a story about a pet alligator that was evicted from Star Prairie. Seems communities don't like residents to own animals that could potentially eat someone for lunch.

This week we're working on a story about area beekeepers, who harvest the honey created by this little creatures.

I have to admit that my camera shook as I took close-up pictures of the buzzing bees. The ladies in the protective white suits kept assuring me that I was perfectly safe. Easy for them to say - I just had a Hawaiian shirt on. In retrospect, the clothing choice was a little stupid -- it had flowers on it.

We've heard a bunch of other animal stories the last couple weeks.

One reader called our office excited that he'd seen several pelicans roaming around Three Lakes south of New Richmond.

Sure enough, six of those big white birds were catching something to eat along the westernmost shore. I couldn't get close enough for a decent picture.

The white egrets on the pond east of Highway 65 north of town have been a nice surprise the past month. Motorists can usually get a good look at them in the mornings.

Alice Michels of New Richmond dropped by the office with a photo of her cute animal find for the week. Seems she's spotted black squirrels with a touch of white on their tails.

I've seen a number of white albino squirrels in Osceola, but had to admit I'd never seen a black squirrel like Michels' picture showed.

A family near Cedar Lake spied a black bear in their back yard recently. They said the bear enjoyed a snack at the bird feeder and then moved on.

Actually, the bear sighting was just one of several we've heard on the police scanner over the past two weeks. The bears must be out browsing for food.

News publisher Mike Burke and his family had a close encounter with a bear. He reported it was a rather large specimen, with a radio collar around its neck.

I don't expect us to follow the cute-animal-story formula every week in The News, but if you've got something to share drop me a line. I'd like to share animal stories with our readers; it's one of the benefits of living in a rural area.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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