Warm weather draws residents outdoors

·3 min read

Dec. 2—MANKATO — Area residents are making good use of this week's mild temperatures. While some were working outdoors, others relaxed by fishing in open waters or sneaking in a few rounds of golf.

One industrious Mankato woman found her yard's soil was soft enough to dig holes.

"I planted tulips before I came here," said Jane Craig, a member of Mankato Peace Vigil.

Wednesday morning's 40-degree temperatures found her standing near Jackson Park in downtown, where she planned to spend an hour showing passers-by a sign advocating resistance to oligarchies.

Craig's feelings were mixed about such nice weather on a Dec. 1 — a good thing for gardeners but not for the planet, she said.

"Every year, Minnesota winters are getting warmer ... Some day it (the state's climate) will be like Missouri's," Craig said.

Salvation Army bell ringer John Reinhart stayed cozy Wednesday at his station in an entryway to the downtown Hy-Vee store.

A three-year veteran of volunteering for the nonprofit, Reinhart said people are being generous with their contributions to the Red Kettle campaign.

"This is the best year so far. Warm weather might have contributed, but so did inflation and COVID. People know how much more groceries cost and they want to help those who are not as fortunate," Reinhart said.

John Peterson, of Schmidt Brothers Roofing in Mankato, had a crew working on a building in Belle Plaine Wednesday, a sunny day that reached into the 50s. He trusted the newly installed shingles would seal properly.

The company's 2021 roofing season will wrap up when slippery snow and its removal become problems.

"Last year, we worked well into December," Peterson said.

Another roofing business' owner, Thomas Morsching, of Waterville, was not on top of a house Wednesday morning; he was hunting deer. His most recent roofing job was in early November, but he's not yet committed to switching completely over to indoor jobs for the rest of the year.

"That all depends on the weather," Morsching said.

Tee times at Blaine Grunzke's golf course south of Mankato were "booked up solid" Wednesday, thanks to this week's warm weather and lack of snow.

When temperatures reach the 40s, Grunzke opens Terrace View up to golfers as soon as the frost is gone from the grounds. He then allows golf balls to be hit until the sun goes down.

Terrace View's 2020 season ended when the last game was played Dec. 23.

"That was a bit later than usual," said Grunzke, who was not anticipating a repeat of warm fall weather. "I said let's try to think realistically this year ... We planned to close after Thanksgiving."

On the other hand, staff at Mount Kato are still waiting to get skiers on its slopes. The business' snow-making machines have remained idle for more than a week.

"The rains last night melted what we had made on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving," Mandy Dake said.

St. Peter Area Chamber of Commerce offered suggestions for outdoors activities this week along with ideas for where to go holiday shopping: "Have you ever ventured to Hallet's Pond, Garner Road, or the river flats east of the Treaty Site History Center?"

Early Tuesday evening, Dave Lutterman, of Mankato, found a fishing spot to enjoy near the St. Peter Chamber office, on the shores of the Minnesota River. "I fish the river as much as I can," he said.

When the weather begins to stay consistently cold this winter, Lutterman will grab some bait and head for an ice hole on a local lake.

Temperatures should dip down into the more normal December range next week. Monday's predicted high is about 26 degrees and the low will be in the teens.

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