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Preston, Minnesota: At a fork in the river
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Main Street in Preston, Minnesota. (MPR Photo/Nikki Tundel)

Preston, Minn. — What happens when Preston, Minnesota, becomes the proposed home to one of the nation's largest tire-burning plants?

Why can't the Amish sell their renowned baked goods in the southeastern section of the state?

And just what does a teacher who collects barf bags have to say about the history of Fillmore County?

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Image The Jailhouse Inn

MPR's Lorna Benson finds out the answers to these questions and more as All Things Considered presents A Fork in the River, a special live broadcast from Preston's historic Jailhouse Inn. The program explores the southeast Minnesota city's ongoing struggle to retain its small town heritage, while also trying to ensure its economic survival.

A Fork in the River examines the local debate over whether or not Preston should be the site of a new tire-burning plant. It's an issue that's turned the quiet town of 1,500 into a hotbed of civic activism.

A Fork in the River also looks at how the area's Amish community is working to balance commerce with its cultural beliefs. It showcases 50 years of trout fishing along the region's Root River. And it profiles the local newspaper's attempt to uncover the spirit of small town life, by compiling the life stories of area residents.

A Fork in the River also steps into life on a local dairy farm, and takes a look at attempts to bring manufacturing jobs to the region.

Located along the Root River, Preston faces many challenges as it tries to remain economically, socially and environmentally sound. A Fork in the River examines the past, present and future of Preston, and offers a glimpse into life in one small Minnesota town.

The special broadcast is part of Mainstreet Radio, Minnesota Public Radio's award-winning rural reporting unit.

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