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New Glencoe feature: street bullheads

By Rich Glennie
“Look at that!” my wife exclaimed one morning last week as we walked by the intersection of 10th Street and the “Street to Nowhere” (Judd Avenue).
“There!” she pointed down at the street.
Apparently I was too interested at waving good morning to all the passing vehicles to notice the water cascading down Judd Avenue to the sewer drains on 10th Street. Amid the water were several dead bullheads. Yes, the fish! Oh, there was a sunnie among the fish carcasses as well.
Where’d they came from?
Then, I thought, what is the limit for “street bullheads?”
Didn’t know, so I asked City Administrator Mark Larson, who happened to be sidewalk superintending the work in the St. Pius X parking lots. He acted surprised. Not only by the question, but that there were bullheads just down the street from the City Center.
Shouldn’t they be in something like a creek or a lake?
If they had stopped to ask me, I could have told the fish this street went nowhere. They didn’t ask for directions. Must have been male bullheads.
With all the fish at that intersection, maybe the city can install a “Bullhead Crossing” sign.
The actual explanation was almost as odd as seeing bullheads on a city street. It seems the city is pumping the north holding ponds, and that water is being directed via the city storm sewer south toward Buffalo Creek. It seems the bullheads got caught up in all the excitement, and suction.
I got to wondering if the bullheads thought they were being abducted by aliens. One second they are swimming in the holding pond, and next a large hose from nowhere sucks them up and spits them out into a different dimension. The hapless bullheads probably thought it was either an out-of-body experience or they were in an episode of Star Trek being “transported” through time and space.
Since Glencoe is always looking for a new tourist attraction, perhaps we can pump the ponds annually and call it “The Running of the Bullheads.” Just a thought.
Needless to say, we had something to talk about that morning at the coffee shop.
The old fishermen there got all excited. Why travel to places miles away when you can wait at the south end of Judd Avenue and “hand pick” your fish. No rods, reels or bait needed. Just a little patience … and nose plugs.
Bullheads tend to stink after a bit. Is that where the old saying about visiting relatives and fish (they both start to stink after three days) comes from?
I had to send a text with a photo to my brother-in-law Gordy in Iowa. He’s a big outdoorsman. I told him about bullheads in the streets of Glencoe.
“Only in Minnesota,” was his terse reply.
Since he had never heard of bullheads on city streets in Iowa, I decided to rub it in that Minnesota is finally ahead of Iowa at something.
“It’s not something to be proud of,” he replied.
Our son Kevin, who lives in Fairmont, also offered little enthusiasm. “Sounds like another invasive species,” he replied to my text. This is the same kid who tried to fillet a bullhead as a youngster with pretty gruesome results.
As to me, I’m a little more cynical. I can smell a conspiracy at work. It’s the city’s way of taking our minds off the horde of hired lumberjacks who have been ravaging the boulevard trees in the central part of town. The great bullhead release is a diversion … a weird one, but a diversion nonetheless.
Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014.