Rochester alpaca farm launches gift shop, self-guided tours for winter

Written By: Anne Halliwell | Jan 13th 2021 – 2pm.

The farm has been around for about eight years, but 2021 is the first year they’ve been open during the winter.

Alpacas are pictured Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, at Pauley Alpaca Company in Rochester. (Traci Westcott /

The latest addition to Pauley Alpaca Company is the first building visitors see when they pull in — just stop right at the “Alpaca Lover Parking Only” sign.

Co-owner Brett Pauley said that over the past few years, the Rochester farm (4220 Eastwood Road SE) has clocked visitors from about 40 countries.

And they’ve managed that with mandatory wintertime closures — until now.

The farm, which keeps alpacas (and goats, chickens, rabbits and a couple extremely friendly barn cats) will celebrate the new gift shop with an open house and bonfire Saturday.

The farm has been around for about eight years, but 2021 is the first year it’s been open during the winter.

Previously, the family kept their gift shop in the barn near the goat pens, which has a slope leading up to its entrance in the back.

“As soon as the snow fell off the roof, it’d block our way up, and we’d basically be closed until the spring,” Pauley said.

However, the new gift shop serves as a hand-washing station, a warming center, and a place to buy and sell those super-soft yarns and fiber products — all necessary parts of staying open over winter in Minnesota.

Although the Pauleys are advertising “self-guided” tours of the farm over the winter, the family does live there, so visitors may find themselves in an impromptu guided tour, depending on when they come.

“The most gratifying thing I think we get out of it is the laughter and smiles, and the selfies people take with the animals,” Pauley said. “We love to share that.”

If you don’t catch them around, though, here are a few things to check off your list before you leave:

🔲Give the alpacas a pet. The most recognizable two are Eleanor (who has a mop of caramel-brown hair and is likely to crane her head out for a pet) and Ruby (all-black and gorgeous). But they all have names you can learn at

Say hello to the “Department of Land Development.” That’s what the Pauleys call their goats, who eat the buckthorn and other invasive plants growing on the hillside. Right now, they’re working on this year’s Christmas tree, but they’ll have that land cleared in no time!

Watch out for the security team! Luna and Nemo, the Pauleys’ cats, like to follow visitors through open doors. Keep an eye out!

🔲Find your friends in the gift shop. While the lighter-colored wool is dyed bright colors, several of the alpacas’ yarn is undyed (and marked with their faces).

If you go

What: Gift shop opening and self-guided tours

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16 and 30

Where: Pauley Alpaca Company, 4220 Eastwood Road SE, Rochester

Cost: Free

More information: Keep an eye on for hours.

Minnesota Wild Crossword

Tired of binge watching television and scrolling through social media while you wait around for the vaccine? Want to give your brain a little boost in activity? Looking to celebrate the Minnesota Wild’s 20th anniversary in a different kind of way? Check out our Minnesota Wild crossword puzzle.

Think you know the Wild? Here’s your chance to find out. Every answer is in some way connected to the team. Good luck and most of all have fun!

(If you’ve solved it, or given up, feel free to click on the answer key provided below.)

FOX Sports North Minnesota Wild crossword puzzle answer key:…/Wild-Crossword-Puzzle-ANSWER-KEY.pdf

Don’t underestimate the power of a blizzard.

Watching the snow fall from the sky can be calming and therapeutic, but don’t underestimate the power of a blizzard.

Blizzards can cause power shortages, treacherous roadways, and sub-zero temperatures, and if you’re not properly prepared, you may be caught in a dangerous predicament. After a snowfall, the roads are especially slick, and it’s easy for your car to slip off the road. Power outages are also common during extreme weather, and without electricity a house can quickly become unbearably cold. 

But there’s no reason to be a victim of these blizzard hazards. By employing some simple remedies and precautions, you can enjoy the coziness of the snow storm rather than worry about your safety.

Here are 10 ways to stay safe during a blizzard.

Avoid Alcohol (Seriously)
A “whiskey jacket” is a popular way to stay warm, but drinking too much alcohol is not a good idea in extremely cold temperatures. Alcohol is dehydrating, which is less noticeable during the winter. Alcohol also interferes with the body’s internal thermometer, which can prevent shivering (not a good thing), and result in an accelerated loss of body heat.

Charge Your Cellphone
The importance of a cellphone can’t be overstated. These are the ultimate emergency devices, so make sure yours is charged and ready to go.

Don’t Forget About Your Pets
Blizzards can be especially hazardous for pets. During heavy snowfall, keep your dog on a leash during walks and add some colorful identifying tags to the collar. Also, be wary of melting ice; it can be very painful for dogs to walk over and is potentially toxic if ingested.

Exercise Caution When Shoveling
Shoveling is a necessity, but it’s also an easy way to throw out your back and even induce a heart attack. Remember to take constant breaks and stay hydrated; it’s a workout after all.

Layer Up
Wearing three to four layers of clothing is the most effective way to insulate your body. Packing on some light-weight jackets or vests underneath a winter coat and wind breaker will allow you to tolerate the winter chill. Runner’s tights and earmuffs are also useful for making sure no part of you is exposed.

Never Use a Generator Indoors
If you have an alternative power source such as a generator, make sure not to use it inside, even if it’s located in a basement, garage, or crawlspace. The fumes it creates contain carbon monoxide, which can be especially dangerous to children, the elderly, and pets.

Prepare a Blizzard Survival Kit
Stock a bag with all the essentials that can help you outlast a long power outage. Batteries, flashlights, a battery-operated radio, bottled water, canned goods, any medications you take, and lots of toilet paper are some of the essentials, but cater your survival kit to your own personal needs.

Stay Inside
Staying off the roads and remaining indoors is the best way to avoid winter hazards, and the perfect chance to whip up some soup, but once the wind and the snow taper off, don’t be afraid to step outside and enjoy the snow.

Use Flashlights Not Candles
During a power outage, avoid using candles if possible. Flash lights are a much safer alternative, especially in a household with children and/or pets.

Watch for Frostbite and Hypothermia
Symptoms for hypothermia include dizziness, exhaustion, and severe shivering. Symptoms for frostbite include numbness; flushed gray, white, blue, or yellow skin discoloration; or waxy-feeling skin. If you think you’re afflicted with either, call 911.

This story was originally published February 9, 2017 on  10 Tips to Stay Safe During a Blizzard (

New COVID-19 antibody test developed in Rochester

Updated: December 09, 2020 07:24 AM

(ABC 6 News) — While many wait for news of a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, a Rochester company says it has created something that can help figure out if you can fight the virus off on your own. 

Imanis Life Sciences in Rochester has developed a new COVID-19 antibody test called IMMUNO-COV. 

“This is a test that specifically looks for antibodies that are able to neutralize the SARS coronavirus 2 which is the virus that causes COVID,” Imanis Principal Scientist, Rianna Vandergaast said.

Imanis Life Sciences has been working on this test for months after releasing the first version at the beginning of the pandemic. 

“It really gives you a better idea of what kind of level of protection you’re going to have against future infection,” Vandergaast said.

It is done through a blood test and Vandergaast says they look at something called the “Titer.” 

“The titer is going to be how much of these neutralizing or protective antibodies do you have in a certain amount or volume,” Vandergaast said. 

The science may seem complicated, but what it does is tells you if you have antibodies in your blood to protect you from COVID-19, If you do have the antibodies, this test will also tell you how many you have, which can determine how protected you may be.

“The higher your titer the more of these neutralizing antibodies you have and the better you are going to be protected from future infection,” said Vandergaaast. She sais these antibody levels can drop quickly, and with news of a vaccine arriving at any moment in the U.S., Vandergaast says these tests can benefit us. 

“Having a test like this where you can monitor and see is this something where I am still potentially susceptible to infection or not is going to be very important even as we start to get vaccines and have more of that herd immunity,” Vandergaast said. 

She says tests like this will work hand-in-hand with the vaccine as scientists and researchers work to learn more about COVID-19 and stop it from spreading.

“I do think developing these kinds of neutralizing antibody tests and running them is just a critical part in understanding how efficient these vaccines are going to work, especially in the long term,” Vandergaast said.

Imanis says it has created enough material for 5 million tests. The tests became available to the public on December 3rd. They can only be ordered by a physician, and the cost is $300. To learn more about the IMMUNO-COV test click here.

Published by Samantha Boring

Rochester Minnesota Drive-In Theater to Show Holiday Classic’s All Month

Things are different this year, but different doesn’t have to be bad. There are still fun, festive events planned this month to get you in the Christmas spirit including holiday movies at the drive-in!

Rochester My Home, Pro Image, and Townsquare Media have teamed up to present classics like Elf, Home Alone, and The Polar Express all month at the Olmsted Co. Fairgrounds.  (Check out the schedule, link below)  All profits will go to area schools for after-school social programming and to the Channel One Food Shelf.

Drive-In Theaters provide a safe fun experience for your family and have become extremely popular this year. Space is limited so don’t wait to get your tickets. Click here to order tickets. If you have our app you can enter to win free tickets.

Read More: Rochester Drive-In Theater to Show Holiday Classics All Month |

Showtimes are 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM – You could make a night out of it by taking your family on a drive to see Christmas lights around town before or after the movie!

Wonder of The Nativity

Dates: December 4th- December 25th, 2020 (Recurring Daily)

Time: 9:00AM to 9:00PM

Price: Free

A free drive-by journey through the Nativity. Search for 7 outdoor Nativity displays scattered throughout the community that tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Collect a picture card at each site that includes an inspirational message, a community service opportunity, and link to a website with uplifting music, images, and activity ideas.

Official Website: Friends of Rochester, MN Stake

Sudha Alvakonda

By Eric Anderson
Lifeline: Portraits of Rochester Essential Workers by Local Artists honors local heroes. Eighteen local artists were brought together to create portraits currently exhibited at the Rochester Art Center in the second floor City View gallery.
During this public health crisis when most of us have retreated into the safety of our homes during the shelter-in-place order, brave essential workers risk exposure to COVID-19 or support our community during this time of need. Essential workers were nominated by our community through a call for nominations. We received many worthy candidates! Eighteen were selected and paired with artists who generously donated their time and creativity to honor the daily sacrifice and the stories of these heroes workers. The artistic community of Rochester and the Rochester Art Center are proud to support this worthy tribute to those who have helped us through the crisis.

Northwoods Orchard

Established in 1987, strawberries were the main crop at Northwoods Orchard for over ten years while our apple trees matured. We are long-time vendors at the Rochester Downtown Farmers’ Market, direct-marketing our produce for over three decades. Fall 2002 marked the transition to an on-the-farm family adventure at Northwoods Orchard.

The Northwoods crew has worked hard to create an opportunity for a fun family adventure. Bring your camera, and come explore Northwoods Orchard!

For the safety of our guests, staff and farm animals, we ask that you leave your pets at home when you visit Northwoods Orchard.  Service animals are always welcome!


We’ve worked hard to make your fall experience fun and safe – you will notice some changes this year.

  • We are open Tuesday – Sunday from August 29 through November 1.  This will allow you to enjoy the Orchard during the week if you prefer a quieter visit.  Tuesday – Saturday hours are 10 AM – 6 PM.  Sunday hours are 1 PM – 6 PM.
  • Because of the need for household groups to be socially distant, we are unable to offer wagon rides.
  • We’ve retooled our corn mazes – you’ll still be searching for boxes, although with a pencil rather than stamps and, unfortunately, the beloved treasure box is a victim of the current climate.
  • On-site consumption of food is not an option this year, but you will still find those don’t-miss donuts and caramel apples, packaged and ready to go!
  • We’ve tried to arrange our produce so that everything is available outside, but you will want to bring your face coverings – there’s an abundant crop of apples this year, and we may have to use some indoor space.

Please bear with us, enjoy the fresh air, and look forward to having all the things you love about Northwoods back again in 2021 (we’re all hopeful!).


Spend an afternoon with Northwoods Orchard, and get lost in the labyrinth as you wind your way through our contactless “Quarn” maze looking for those hidden boxes.  Or try the smaller maze  – just the right size for younger guests, with hidden boxes in a smaller and more confined area.  Take a walk through the woods and orchard, and experience a beautiful rural Fall day!

Northwoods Orchard is just  place for your Minnesota apples, pumpkins and other fall ornamentals.

There’s plenty of parking, so come visit us every week through October.  E-mail us to reserve your gathering area and take advantage of special pricing for larger groups, or for weekday school field trips.

For the safety of our guests, staff and farm animals, we ask that you leave your pets at home when you visit Northwoods Orchard.  Service animals are always welcome!

PHONE NUMBER: (507) 280-0591

ADDRESS: 8018 75th Ave NW Oronoco, MN 55960

7 Things You Can’t Recycle in Olmsted County Read More

By: Dunken from Rochester Minnesota’s radio station 106.9-KROC

The Olmsted County Recycling Center Plus is great for individuals that want to drop off their garbage and recyclables. Their staff is great and will help you figure out where everything goes. But, what if you use curbside pickup? What should go in the recycling and what should go in the trash? You can check the waste wizard if you aren’t sure and keep scrolling to see things you should never place in your recycle bin.

Here are those 7 things you can’t Recycle in Olmsted:
1) Plastic Bags
Plastic bags should never go in your recycle bin. If you want to recycle them you should bring them to the bag return bin at your local grocery store.

2) Plastics- Not all plastics can go in your bin. There are 7 types of plastic (photo in link to website at bottom of the page).

3)Shredded Paper
Shredded paper should not be placed in your bin. If you want to recycle it you should deliver it to the Olmsted County Recycling Center.

Not all glass can be recycled. Bottles and jars are OK but dishware, mason jars, and window glass can not be and should be placed in your garbage.

Lithium and rechargeable batteries should not be placed in the bin. Instead, deliver them to the Olmsted County Hazardous Waste Center.

6)Packaging Materials
Packing materials like Styrofoam, packing peanuts, and bubble wrap should go in your garbage can.

“Tanglers” are a big no-no. Items like extension cords, Christmas light strands, and hoses should not be placed in your recycling bin. Instead, deliver electric cords and strands of lights to the Olmsted Co. Recycling Center. Garden hoses and rope should go in the garbage.

Read More: These Items Can’t Be Recycled In Olmsted County |


Rochester Public Library still busy despite pandemic

Written By: Emily Cutts | Jul 25th 2020 – 12pm.

The library and its staff have adapted to life during the pandemic but are still busy helping patrons.

In many ways, it’s business as usual at the library — staff are shelving books, and patrons are eagerly waiting for the day to begin.

But instead of waiting in the library’s entryway, there’s a line of cars around the corner, staff are wearing masks, and each reader’s order is waiting to be hand-delivered. It’s been months since the library opened its curbside pickup operation, and if this were a book, they’d finally be getting to the good part. After ironing out a few kinks, staff have gotten the curbside service down.

On Saturday morning, 40 minutes before curbside pickup was set to open, a handful of library staff were busy inside preparing for the day ahead. In one backroom, carts of quarantined books were waiting for their 72-hour hold to expire so an employee could put them back on the shelf.

Out on the main library floor, employees worked to empty carts and carts of books onto hold shelves that had been constructed after the pandemic started.

With 30 minutes until the clock hit 10 a.m. and curbside pickup opened, three cars were already waiting. As the minutes ticked closer to opening, library assistant Ameyo Campbell grabbed the curbside signs and headed outside to place them in the appropriate spots.

Inside, staff turned on the phones and prepared for calls to come in.

Seated at one of the three computers set up for the occasion, Lynn Pentek, who works in circulation, answered her first call of the day.

“Rochester Public Library, this is curbside pickup. Which number spot are you parked in?” she asked.

After taking down the necessary information, Pentek got up from her seat to look for the patron’s requested items before placing them into a bag and handing them off to the runner who would deliver them to the waiting car.

When orders are filled and spots open, it’s a cacophony of ringing phones as the next three patrons place their calls.

“It feels very, very good to have some kind of contact with patrons again,” Pentek said.

Campbell felt the same way.

“I miss my patrons,” she said, adding that working as line manager for the curbside pickup allows her to see some of the people she hasn’t seen in a long time. “It makes my day better.”

More than reading materials

As the pandemic arrived in Rochester and city and county officials began ramping up to respond to COVID-19, library staff stepped up.

Just as before, they continue to help people access information and resources, but the delivery of those devices has changed, Karen Lemke, head of marketing and community engagement for the library, wrote in an email.

“At the heart of what RPL teammates do is serving the community and that service and dedication to helping hasn’t changed,” she wrote.

Lemke said Saturday that during a typical month before the pandemic, the library had about 20,000 books that were put on hold. Now, that number is closer to 31,000, she said.

In June, the bookmobile was back on the streets offering pickup of held materials and Wi-Fi access to patrons. An additional van accompanies the bookmobile to keep returned books separate from those waiting to be picked up by patrons, according to Lemke.

That same month, the library began offering internet service to patrons by appointment. A makeshift computer lab was moved into the library’s auditorium to allow for adequate spacing between patrons.

Beyond the library walls, library staff work the city’s Day Center operation, and they answer calls for the COVID-19 Information Hotline.

“Like the rest of the community (and the nation, world for that matter), we miss the ‘normal’ days: packed Storytime events, the packed lobby before our doors opened, the groups studying together,” Lemke wrote. “There’s no doubt we miss our patrons and we look forward to a time when things return to normal.”

Earlier this month, Library Director Audrey Betcher told the Library Board plans for reopening remain in the works.

“There’s a lot of conversation about how we do it safely,” she said, adding that the plan needs to ensure patrons can maintain safe physical distances.

“It’s one thing if someone walks in and checks out a book using the self-check and walks out the door, but that’s not how everyone uses the library,” she said.

No date for an opening has been set, but Betcher said the library is likely to require appointments for access with a limited number of people in the building at a time, along with steps to ensure the patrons allowed in the building are not going to bunch up in a single area.

“We will be communicating as the plans develop, but it’s getting closer,” she said.