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ST. PAUL — Attorney General Lori Swanson announced last month that the $850 million settlement negotiated between 3M Corp. and the state of Minnesota would not be accessible to Legislators, but that has not kept lawmakers from getting involved in the process. Bills drafted by Reps. Tony Jurgens, R-Cottage Grove, and Kelly Fenton, R-Woodbury, were heard in the Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee March 20. Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove, is expected to sponsor the bills in the Senate. Well testing
COTTAGE GROVE — To better handle animal control calls, City Council approved ordinance amendments that add clarification on service animals, banned species and more. "We wanted to make sure that it was better, more well-read for law enforcement (and) community service officers so that they may be able to inform the public and enforce if necessary, but more importantly it was to provide better definition and assistance," Sgt. Mike McCormick said at the March 21 City Council meeting.
COTTAGE GROVE — Their 664-square-foot storefront just fits barely their commercial printer, desks and reception area, but Erza Design owners Lisa and Brian Chaon say it's exactly what they need. Before opening, Lisa Chaon and her mother, Maureen Burth, ran a crafting business out of the basement. When they purchased a large-format printer, suddenly the shape of their future changed.
A crash on Interstate 494 south of Valley Creek Road left one hospitalized March 20. Woodbury Public Safety responded to the crash as EMS and transported one patient just after noon. Kenneth Biggio, 57, of Littleton, Colo., spun out in his Jeep while traveling northbound on I-494, said Lt. Tiffani Nielsen of the Minnesota State Patrol. Biggio was in the center lane when he lost traction on the icy roadway, causing him to swerve into the right lane and strike a semi-truck from behind, authorities said. The truck was driven by a 30-year-old Rosemount man.
Triple Angels Healthcare, a senior living and assistance company, is proposing a new 20-bed facility along Highway 61. The building at 7150 West Point Douglas Road is a one-floor, 10-room building set up with two beds in each room. The building will be able to serve 20 seniors. Construction will be done in two phases, starting with the 10-unit building. An addition to the facility to be constructed in the future will double the size.
NEWPORT — After several months in the making, Newport has finally passed an odor ordinance mirroring South St. Paul's that will allow the two cities to work together to fight problem odor emitters. Newport's ordinance is more or less a direct copy of South St. Paul's. City Planner Sherri Buss said there will be "common implementation and enforcement of the ordinance between the two cities."
ST. PAUL PARK — The. St. Paul Park Police Department has reopened an archived kidnapping and sexual assault case from 1986. An officer found the still-active case while repackaging the evidence bag, which had been damaged due to age. The case involved the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 3 ½-year-old girl in summer 1986. This case is one of the few like it they have around, and have kept it due to the statute of limitations based on the type of case. "Because it entailed a kidnapping of a juvenile, we kept it," she said.
NEWPORT — Newport Public Works is going solar. Public Works Supervisor Bruce Hanson has been working for years on a plan to install a small solar installation near of their facility that could provide enough solar to pay its energy bills. Working with iDEAL Energies, they have developed a 40-kilowatt system that will sit in an open area on a hill straight south of the public works building, 1100 Bailey Road. The city can get use out of that land near the Bailey School Forest that Hanson said is "basically unusable," by mounting the solar panels there.
NEWPORT — The city council pulled Opinion Brewing's liquor license at the March 1 meeting following the Jan. 1 condemnation of the building, leaving owners Autumn and Derrick Lehrke without a building and without a license. The council voted 5-0 to revoke the license, an action which "effectively puts them out of business," council member Tracy Rahm said.
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.