Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.
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After considering whether to add gas and electric fees for 2012, the Red Wing City Council ultimately rejected them Monday with a 4-3 vote. The fees were introduced at the Aug. 22 meeting with a 5-1 vote -- Council member Lisa Bayley voted no and Council member Dean Hove was absent. The franchise amendment came back to the council Monday for a new first reading after Xcel Energy made some changes.
Red Wing City Council settled Monday at a preliminary 5 percent increase in the tax levy for 2012, but emphasized a plan to push the amount to less than 4 percent by the time it's adopted in December. The proposed levy increase from this year was originally 4 percent, but just before voting on the levy and budget the council rejected gas and electric franchise fees for 2012, which were included in the draft budget. To raise the same amount of money -- without any other changes -- the levy increase would have had to jump to 6.72 percent, Finance Director Marshall Hallock told the council.
Marilyn Olson was sitting near the band shell in Central Park Saturday, waiting for the winner of this year's Amos Owen Award to be announced. "I was really curious to hear who won the award," she said. "Then they started reading the bio info and I thought, 'This sounds familiar.'" Citing work on the Human Rights Commission and planning the Diversity Festival, the commission honored Olson as the winner of this year's Amos Owen Award. "I was flabbergasted," she said.
Ranked-choice voting will go before Red Wing voters in 2012, and the Charter Commission is gearing up for a public educational campaign on the issue. Also known as instant-runoff voting, the process involves voters ranking candidates and aims for a majority winner. "The primary advantage is more representative government," Kent Speight, Charter Commission chair, said at a workshop Tuesday. "It gives voters a sense that their vote is more likely to count." Ranked choice also eliminates the need for primary elections.
The days and weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, no doubt held many questions for most of the country. "Once it was determined what had happened, there was a feeling of 'What could happen next?'" Red Wing Police Chief Tim Sletten said. Closely following the attacks, law enforcement and the public were on edge, Sheriff Scott McNurlin said. "There was a hypervigilance going on, not only with law enforcement but also with the public," he said.
Crews recently resumed work at U.S. Lock a&nd Dam No. 3 near Red Wing after high water delayed the project earlier this summer. "High water - that's kind of been our mantra for the past few months," said Tom Novak, project manager with the U.S. Corps of Engineers. The more than $70 million project -- which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- also aims to improve safety at the lock and dam.
Matt and Joan Majovski try to be environmentally friendly where they can. They drive small, fuel-efficient cars, switched to a push lawn mower, use a rain barrel and are thinking about getting Energy Star appliances.
The city of Red Wing continues to look for citizen input on its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which aims to make the area safer and more pleasant for pedestrians. At an open house Wednesday, locals are invited to share their thoughts on proposed bike and pedestrian routes throughout the city, as well as projects and their priority in the plan. Improvements could include adding bicycle lanes, medians and bump outs and pedestrian crossing signals at certain intersections.
The 2012 Red Wing budget process is still surrounded by many uncertainties, but City Council members and staff continue to work toward finalizing the plan. "Even though we're late in the process, we're early in the process," Council administrator Kay Kuhlmann said, reminding the council that staff needed to wait for the state Legislature to finalize funding before really digging into next year's budget. At the Sept. 12 council meeting, a possible levy increase of 5 percent will be proposed, Kuhlmann said. The levy set on Sept.
MINNEAPOLIS - President Barack Obama on Tuesday told thousands of American Legion members what many had hoped to hear as he pledged to improve care and fight unemployment and homelessness among veterans. "As today's wars end, as our troops come home, we're reminded once more of our responsibilities to all who have served," he said Tuesday during the Legion's National Convention in Minneapolis. In his second Minnesota visit in 15 days, Obama touched those major issues, saying America must take care of veterans "as well as you have taken care of us." VA benefits and unemployment were on th