Danielle Killey is the city reporter for the Republican Eagle, where she has worked since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.
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Budgets are already tight in local governments throughout the state, and cities again face potential cuts to Local Government Aid. In an effort to educate local residents about the topic and spur discussion, State Auditor Rebecca Otto, along with Red Wing officials, spoke about LGA and the fiscal state of cities across Minnesota at a panel Tuesday.
Fairview Red Wing Medical Center has been bringing many health services closer to home for area patients, including a recently expanded partnership with University of Minnesota Physicians cardiologists. Patients in and around Red Wing can now see board-certified heart specialists at Fairview in Red Wing instead of traveling to the Twin Cities for care. "For patients who have heart problems, we can meet their needs in more and different ways than we ever could before," Fairview spokeswoman Marcy Dowse said.
A contested local wind project will move one step closer to a decision next week. Sessions begin Tuesday in the administrative hearing on the site permit for Goodhue Wind's proposed 78 megawatt, 52-turbine project in Goodhue County. The hearing, which will span March 15-17, will chiefly focus on whether a county ordinance passed last October is on par with other state laws and whether it should be applied to this project. The hearing will take place before Administrative Law Judge Kathleen Sheehy at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in St.
A statue of Charles Lindbergh that stood at Bay Point Park has gone missing. "The Boy," a statue of Lindbergh as a child, was reported missing to Red Wing police Thursday, Chief Tim Sletten said. The city removed the statue from Bay Point Park in October during a point of high water and put it in a now-demolished building on Levee Road for safekeeping, said Rick Moskwa, director of Red Wing Public Works. This is a normal procedure during times of high waters, he said.
Township residents headed to the polls Tuesday, mainly voting in incumbents or unopposed candidates. Wacouta Township decided to stay with Red Wing for fire services, Clerk Laura Lutjen said, but had to raise the levy more than $16,000 to cover the costs. Voters were deciding supervisor and treasurer races in most townships, and many rural areas also held their annual meetings Tuesday, finalizing levy amounts. Belle Creek Chad Ryan was elected supervisor and Bill Gorman treasurer, both with 38 votes.
A small Goodhue County city is getting statewide recognition after the governor chose it as his new puppy's namesake. Gov. Mark Dayton has named his new black German Shepherd "Wanamingo" or "Mingo" for short - a name city officials appreciate. "It's nice to be recognized by name," Wanamingo City Administrator Mike Boulton said. "Maybe people can get a geography lesson, too." The Wanamingo City Council passed a resolution at its last meeting commending the governor for choosing the name and inviting him and his dogs to visit to the city anytime.
With the federal and state governments facing pressure to make cuts across the board, funding for public housing and redevelopment programming could be in jeopardy. "Money for all these programs is up in the air," said Randal Hemmerlin, executive director of the Red Wing Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The HRA saw a dip in funding last year. Now, facing deeper cuts, the HRA is also trying to rebuild reserve funds and keep up with planned projects. "This will be an interesting year for us as we move forward and see what our budget situation will be," Hemmerlin said.
A potential land purchase by Goodhue County could help a trail project linking communities from Cannon Falls to Faribault move forward. Commissioners voted Tuesday to work with the Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Parks and Trails Council to look into purchasing property near the county's Lake Byllesby Park. The DNR has funding to build a bridge over the Cannon River as part of the Mill Towns Trail project, which would include a trail between the park and Cannon Falls.
The Goodhue County Sheriff's Office will take a conservative approach to tackling budget issues, at least for now. The department presented the Goodhue County Board with a variety of potential measures to cut the budget for the Adult Detention Center, ranging from leaving some open positions unfilled to closing the facility. "This is meant to begin some dialogue for things we could do in the future," Sheriff Scott McNurlin said. "I do look at this as a continuing conversation.
Fire service contracts with two nearby townships were up in the air after potential fee increases, and the results look to be coming back mixed. Diamond Bluff decided to sign a contract with Ellsworth Fire Department instead of renewing with the Red Wing Fire Department. While Jeff Holst, Diamond Bluff Town Board chairman, said the township was happy working with Red Wing, price was the ultimate factor. "It was solely a cost matter," Holst said. Diamond Bluff's contract with Ellsworth comes with a price tag of $19,500 a year.