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Welcome, detractor: Reporter who labeled it 'ugliest' gets red carpet in Red Lake

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When Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham statistically determined Red Lake County to be the ugliest county in America, he got an earful from the locals.

Now he's getting an eyeful.

Ingraham crunched federal government numbers on climate and topography to measure "the environmental qualities most people prefer" in every U.S. county. Several counties in the Red River valley were near bottom of his rankings and Red Lake County finished dead last.

"I write a lot about contentious topics ... but I've never been disagreed with so much and so politely," Ingraham said during his visit to Red Lake Falls, KVRR reports.

The Grand Forks Herald reports Ingraham was met with a red carpet at the Red Lake County courthouse while a drumline from Lafayette High School performed for him.

Later he was picked up by a bus with a sign welcoming him to "America's worst tour," for a look at the county.

The Herald says a visit to a dairy farm and kayaking on the Red Lake River were also on his itinerary.

Much of Ingraham's reporting for the Washington Post involves scrutinizing data and revealing the stories told by the numbers.

But while statistics on climate and topography may tell us something, they don't tell the story of a county and its people.

The Herald says Ingraham acknowledged that his field trip to Red Lake County was valuable in that regard:

"It's a good reminder for me, as someone who spends most of my day at my desk doodling around on spreadsheets, that these numbers all really correlate to real people," he said.

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