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As the Minnesota Department of Health, Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources begin forming a working group that will eventually designate where the $850 million are deferred from the state's settlement with 3M Corp., department commissioners are tasked with testifying to House committees on their plans. The settlement agreed upon by the Attorney General's office and 3M was completed in the early hours of the morning Feb. 21. Since then, east metro communities, state agencies and the Legislature have been wondering where that money will be directed.
Dakota County is proposing a new facility — the SMART (Safety and Mental Health Alternative Response Training) Center — for law enforcement and first responder training and offices. Dakota County's proposed SMART Center came in part due to space needs and new training requirements. It would provide space for mental health, diversity and crisis intervention training, as well as space for the growing electronic crimes and drug task forces to work, Sheriff Tim Leslie said. Construction is proposed in Inver Grove Heights.
Legends of Cottage Grove will become home to dozens of new residents when move-in begins Feb. 1. The four-story, 184-unit senior living facility is currently about 60 percent booked, Legends Community Manager Bailey England said. The developer, Plymouth-based Dominium, took a little over a year to construct the building which includes amenities such as a theater, library, meeting rooms and event space with kitchens. Each of the one-, two- or three-bedroom independent senior apartments available for rent also have a living room, kitchen and laundry.
Three candidates are battling it out in a state Senate special election Feb. 12 that could narrow control of the Senate. The Senate seat was vacated when then-Democratic Sen. Dan Schoen resigned in December amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Former state representatives Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, and Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove, are facing off in the Senate race, with Hastings Libertarian candidate Emily Mellingen also running.
Longtime Legislator Denny McNamara beat out newcomer James E. Brunsgaard III in a Republican primary challenge Jan. 29. After winning 85 percent of the vote in the primary, McNamara earned his spot on the Feb. 12 special election ballot for the vacant District 54 Senate seat. The seat was opened after former DFL Sen. Dan Schoen resigned in December amid allegations of sexual misconduct. "I really am humbled by the support throughout the district; it's cool to see," McNamara said. About 1,500 votes were cast in the Republican primary.
Another domino to move the Gateway Corridor bus rapid transit Gold Line forward has fallen, after the Federal Transit Administration accepted the project into a program Jan. 19 that could lead to matched funding. The Gold Line is now part of the FTA's "New Starts" program, which assists transit projects that exceed $300 million. With the Gold Line estimates ringing in over $420 million, the designation into the program helps it gain eligibility for federal matching funds, allowing up to half of the tab to be picked up by the FTA.
Cottage Grove Officer and EMT Jeff Rydeen was on call when an overdose call came in last June. On arrival, he found a 24-year-old man lying in the street next to his truck, sweaty and unresponsive. His breathing was so low it was barely there. "He showed all the telltale signs (of an overdose)," Rydeen said. The man's girlfriend told Rydeen he had taken an abnormal looking Oxycodone pill before he fell to the ground.
Newport's Opinion Brewing Co. building was condemned by the city Jan. 1. The city had given them a six month temporary certificate of occupancy to work out fire code issues.
Judy Sturgill waited until Christmas to receive her birthday gift: a photo of with her grandson and great-grandson, all three of whom turned 19 in 2017. Sturgill, born Feb. 29, 1940, has only celebrated her birthday on the actual leap year day 19 times. Her grandson Jaden Bingen and great-grandson Michael Sturgill were born about six months apart, both turning 19 years old on their birthdays this year. Judy Sturgill revelled in the idea of being the same age as the two boys all year, finally getting a moment to get the trio of 19-year-olds together on Christmas day.
Newport is reaching across the river to South St. Paul to combat odor emissions from the the most complained about facilities: Sanimax and the Washington/ Ramsey Recycling and Energy Center. The City Council is sending a draft odor ordinance back to the Planning Commission and for staff to revise and refine the draft based on an ordinance recently written by South St. Paul. "We looked to the South St. Paul ordinance, which is kind of state of the art, and did a Newport ordinance that is very similar," Planner Sherri Buss said.