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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Red Wing City Council members have been taking the city's proposed strategic plan on a tour throughout the community and to different groups, including a general public meeting Tuesday. City Council members have presented the plan to more than 30 different organizations, boards and commissions, Council President Ralph Rauterkus said Tuesday. Rauterkus said the presentations and feedback likely will last through September before the council officially approves the plan. Tuesday's public meeting drew about a dozen residents along with council members and city staff.
The Winona County Red Cross chapter will take on Goodhue County's branch in an effort to address tight budgets and streamline operations, officials said this week. The Rochester-based Southeast Minnesota Regional Office made the decision to merge the branches based on a variety of factors, including funding. "We're in the same environment everyone else is with the economy and costs continuing to go up year after year," said Melanie Tschida, executive director of the regional office.
The city will look for new bids on a project to rebuild the East Fifth Street underpass after a contractor's estimate came in nearly $756,000 more than anticipated. The Minnesota Department of Transportation, which already has contributed $2.8 million to the project, has agreed to add $200,000. But that still left a more than $550,000 funding gap, which likely would have to be filled by the city.
The City Council on Monday upheld Mayor Dennis Egan's first veto, which came on a building project for Canadian Pacific Rail approved in July. The City Council granted a permit allowing the rail company to build a new office and storage building west of Broad Street and south of the tracks at the July 25 meeting. But Egan vetoed the approval, saying the rail building would be detrimental to developing businesses in the old Fleischmann building. Plans for the location include a restaurant with a deck and river view, Egan said.
Local contractors and homeowners might have to find another place to dump debris if the Red Wing City Council rejects a plan to erect a building to handle construction and demolition materials. In order to meet Minnesota Pollution Control Agency policies, the solid waste campus must have a building - that meets specific requirements - to house construction and demolition materials that come in. Items dumped there include brick, wood and plastics from building and demolition sites.
The Goodhue County Board is moving forward with plans to build a new Health and Human Services building that will replace two older, run-down structures. On Tuesday the board approved a nearly $500,000 contract with Short Elliot Hendrickson that would see the project through construction, though the county could halt the project at any phase.
As the state hammers out the details of a permit for a wind farm project in Belle Creek Township, Goodhue County officials are exploring their options if they find the result to be less than desirable. The state government shutdown has delayed hard copies of documents, including minutes, from the June 30 Public Utilities Commission meeting on the issue, County Attorney Steve Betcher told the Goodhue County Board on Tuesday.
After opening the potential sale of Mississippi National Golf Links to the public for nearly two months, the city of Red Wing received just one proposal to purchase the course. Sharan and Gerald Wendel, who have worked for current operator and MNGL lessee Wendell Pittenger for years, submitted the only answer to a request for proposal before Monday's 4 p.m. deadline, City Clerk Kathy Johnson said.
Questioning a safety rating issued earlier this summer, Prairie Island nuclear plant officials met Thursday with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to make their case. Xcel Energy is challenging a preliminary safety rating that classified a battery charger issue as "white," meaning it has low to moderate safety significance. Xcel officials said they believed it should instead be "green" - having very little safety significance. The NRC characterizes issues on a color scale. Green is the lowest, followed by white.
A project that has been in the works for more than three years has hit yet another snag in a bumpy process. A railroad underpass on East Fifth Street has been slated for reconstruction for years, but issues with funding, timing and other logistics have gotten in the way.