Today's You Asked...digging deep for the truth on Fleet Farm vs. Farm & Fleet:
What is the speed limit on U.S. 52 through Rochester, 55 or 65 mph? I drive 55, yet other drivers whiz on by -- did the speed limit go up when we expanded to three lanes? -- Curious, Rochester
Nope, the speed limit remains 55 through the city, but the potential for lawbreaking obviously grew with the number of lanes. Now that the barrels and cones are coming down, the average speed clearly has gone up.
Curiously, between 55th Street Northwest and 75th Street Northwest, you can go 10 mph faster on the northbound lanes than on the southbound lanes. I suspect some calibration of speed limits will be done after the road work is complete; for example, there’s no speed limit sign on northbound U.S. 52 from Civic Center Drive to nearly 55th Street.
Dear Answer Man, I’ve noticed an increase in road noise from U.S. 52 since the new road surface was applied. Is it my imagination or is the surface more rough, causing tire noise to be louder? -- Tom Most
The highway gurus assured us the new pavement would be as “whine-free” as humanly possible, but whining is all in the ear of the beholder. The old pavement was finished with “transverse tining,” or grooves that ran crossways to traffic, which made the noise problem worse. The new pavement was supposed to be an improvement, but with the expanded number of lanes, the relandscaping, the new noise barriers, etc., I’m not sure we’re comparing apples to apples.
Both Mills Fleet Farm and Blain’s Farm & Fleet are celebrating their 50th anniversaries this year. In both stores, the layout is virtually the same, as is the merchandise. Are they owned by the same company? -- Peter
Though it’s often rumored in farm country that the Mills and Blain’s chains are the result of a family feud, they’re not, says Blain’s spokeswoman Renee Tarnutzer. “In fact, we chuckle every time we hear the rumor that there was some sort of family dispute between two brothers,” she says.
The Mills Cos. opened a farm merchandise store called Fleet Wholesale Supply in Marshfield, Wis., in 1955, and that piece of the Mills family empire morphed into Mills Fleet Farm in 1960. It has 30 stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Iowa.
Blain’s Farm & Fleet also dates from 1955 and was founded by brothers W.C. Blain and N.B. Blain. The chain has 33 stores in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa; the closest to Rochester is in LaCrosse, Wis.
Unlike Fleet Farm, Blain’s has a company song, recorded in Nashville by members of Eddie Rabbitt’s band, with lyrics such as, “We're making it easy to save you time...we're bringing you quality...the top of the line.”
CARD SHUFFLING: Here’s more on what to do with used greeting cards, rather than just toss them in the trash:
-- “I teach second grade at Rochester Central Lutheran School and I use the fronts of Christmas cards each year for art projects. I know other teachers at my school would be willing to take some as well. I don’t think we want TWO TONS of old cards, but we would gladly take some. -- Corey Nelson, RCLS, 2619 Ninth Ave. N.W., Rochester, MN 55901.
-- Another reader points out that Stewartville Care Center also accepts used cards. The address is 120 Fourth St. N.E., Stewartville, MN 55976.
-- Ditto for the Albert Lea Senior Citizens Center, 1739 W. Main St., Albert Lea, MN 56007. Make sure you send the whole card, not just the front.
If Eddie Rabbitt were to record a song for You Asked, it would include the lyric, “The Answer Man makes it easy and saves you time, he gives you the answers and sometimes a rhyme.” Send questions to P.O. Box 6118, Rochester, MN 55904 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out the Web log Furst Draft at www.postbulletin.com.