Off-The-Cuff

The Editor last issue expressed his enduring hope the Dayton Flyers would return to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. They settled for the NIT, but won all the marbles. It’s odd being an alumnus and living in a state where Dayton is a former Democratic senator. Buckle your seat belts and away we go…

First: Robert Walton Wettergren passed away at age 88 on February 19. He appeared on our September 1997 cover. Over the years, he was known as St. Peter’s best booster, which earned him the nickname among many as “Mr. St. Peter.” Wettergren worked for only two organizations in his 88 years of life: Wettergren Dairy, which Cloverleaf Dairy bought in 1973, and the St. Peter Chamber. Almost as important, while owning the dairy, he mentored the likes of First National Bank of St. Peter’s John Bresnahan, Bill Pell of Pell Insurance & Real Estate, Davisco Foods International’s Mark Davis, and others….

When asked in our interview why people affectionately called him Mr. St. Peter, he said, “I guess it’s because of my knowledge. Being fourth-generation St. Peter, I pretty well know what’s going on. Many school children ask me about certain topics, like the old brewery, the governors, and whether I knew any of them. I did know Governor John A. Johnson’s sister very well. I took her up to the cemetery twice a year the last years of her life. When with the Chamber and now, I’ve also written 150 stories on business and industry for the St. Peter Herald. I’ve had over 1,000 radio broadcasts on the KRBI “Focus on Farming and Business” show. And we’ve done 800 TV shows on Channel 7 St. Peter public access. We’ve had Governor Perpich on that show, as well as many sports heroes and politicians.” And this was all his activity only up to 1997…

Often, the Editor doesn’t have sufficient room in Business Trends and must move information to this column. Here is one example: Amish and other religious groups have been exempted from participating in the new ObamaCare, just as they were in the 1960s from paying Social Security and Medicare taxes. In general, the Amish have never used commercial health insurance; they band together as a unit to pay off doctor and hospital bills using cold hard cash. And yet, even without healthcare insurance and a centuries-long fondness for inhaling tobacco smoke, the U.S. Amish population still has nearly doubled from 1992 to the present, reaching now almost 250,000. Given angst over the new system and a desire to opt out of ObamaCare, the Editor wouldn’t be surprised should millions of Americans of faith over the next few years choose to organize their own cash-only healthcare systems, a la the Amish and others. It could make sense for some healthy young entrepreneurs seeking coverage and lower rates…

In February, the Editor and family dropped in on Bill Carlson’s 95th birthday party, held at his Mankato church on Main Street. Carlson founded Carlson Craft in 1948. The Editor has heard numerous times over the years that Glen Taylor married into the business and was Carlson’s son-in-law. But that’s simply not true. I even have heard this from people who should know better. As for Minnesota Timberwolves owner Taylor, he and wife dropped in on the birthday party, too. As for William “Dewey” Carlson, he and wife Vi looked spry…

One purpose of Connect Business Magazine since 1994 has been to showcase the many “diamonds in the rough” doing business in southern Minnesota. One of those diamonds recently moved back home to Fairmont after a tragic automobile accident: Dr. Lael Luedtke, an orthopedic surgeon is now calling Fairmont Medical Center—Mayo home. On July 22, 2009, the Madelia Times-Messenger reported that Dr. Luedtke and her husband were involved in a Highway 60 automobile accident with an elderly driver. The Times-Messenger wrote, “but Luedtke was airlifted to a nearby hospital and her condition was declared critical.”…


At the time, Luedtke was a staff physician at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare specializing in pediatric orthopedics and an assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at University of Minnesota Medical School. She is one of the best in her chosen profession.
In a Connect Business Magazine telephone interview, 48-year-old Dr. Luedtke said, “My husband and I grew up in Fairmont and we had made the decision to relocate back home even before the accident. My parents are elderly and I wanted to be close to them.”…As for our knowledge, Luedtke is the first female orthopedic surgeon residing and working in our reading area. She treats people of all ages and problems in addition to her pediatric practice at Fairmont Medical Center-Mayo. As for the accident last summer, after being extracted by the Jaws of Life and airlifted to Rochester, she spent eight days in intensive care…

Thanks once again for reading south-central Minnesota’s only locally owned business magazine. Since 1994, we have appreciated your reading and your valuable feedback.

Daniel Vance

A former Editor of Connect Business Magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *