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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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has renewed Prairie Island nuclear plant's unit licenses, extending them 20 years each. The new licenses, approved after a three-year review by the NRC, will expire in 2033 and 2034. "Prairie Island has operated in a safe, reliable, economic and environmentally sound manner for nearly 40 years, and our significant investments to support life extension will ensure continued, solid performance for the next 20 years," Judy Poferl, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, said in a statement.
A Mexican drug cartel has made Red Wing home to one of the country's largest meth labs in a local author's newest book. "I like to ... bring the action to Red Wing," said author John L. Betcher of his novels. The situation sets the stage for Betcher's newest thriller, "The Covert Element." The book is the third in the "Beck" series featuring former military intelligence operative James Becker. "I think most people don't realize the extent to which cartels have really taken over Mexico ...
As Red Wing gears up for participation in the Blandin Community Leadership Program, a meeting scheduled for next week will let residents find out more about it. Red Wing was chosen in April to participate in the program, where the Blandin Foundation funds and facilitates a retreat for 24 area leaders to discuss leadership and community engagement.
Red Wing's Planned Parenthood office will close its doors later this summer. The clinic is one of six in Minnesota slated to be shuttered on Aug. 1 in an effort to offset federal funding cuts. "Closing the Red Wing clinic - or any other clinic - was not something that I or any of us at Planned Parenthood wanted to do or believe is a good idea," said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Prairie Island nuclear plant concluded what officials called a successful refueling and maintenance outage this week. Unit 1 returned to full power early Thursday morning, putting the plant back on line after the regularly scheduled outage. Estimated to last about four to five weeks, this year's outage - which started April 29 - spanned nearly seven.
As late as May, organizers were unsure whether this year's summer recreation program would happen. But after combining city funds, private donations and other resources, the program is slated to kick off Monday. Summer recreation programming for ages 5 and older skipped a summer in 2009 after the city cut funding and its fate has been unsteady since then. "People really missed it," said Bonnie Bremer, senior director at the Red Wing YMCA. This year's program is trimmed down slightly, spanning five weeks instead of six and located at just three parks.
A citizen group withdrew its petition for an ordinance requiring a public vote on major land sales after a city attorney questioned its validity. City attorney Amy Mace said the proposed ordinance does not fit with those allowed by Red Wing's charter or state case law. The City Charter allows Red Wing residents to "initiate and adopt any ordinance, except an ordinance appropriating money or authorizing the levy of taxes." Mace argued the proposed ordinance -- which would require a public vote on the sale or purchase of land assessed by Goodhue County at $1 million or more -- involves the
Red Wing joined a handful of other Minnesota cities Monday when the City Council approved an ordinance creating a domestic partner registry. The ordinance, which passed unanimously as part of the consent agenda, has been in the works since the beginning of the year. Red Wing Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays spurred the effort to create a registry, which was taken up by the Human Rights Commission and finally the City Council in a relatively smooth process. "I really didn't have a lot of concerns about (the ordinance passing)," said PFLAG member Bruce Ause.
To call this a week of weather extremes could be an understatement. Red Wing reached record high temperatures early on in the week and dipped below 50 degrees by the end. At U.S. Lock & Dam No. 3, the highest temperature recorded this week was 101 degrees on Tuesday, the hottest it has gotten there since July of 2005. The Twin Cities beat an longer-held record when it hit a high of 103 degrees on Tuesday. It shattered the previous record for June 7, set in 2004 at 95 degrees, and was the hottest day overall in nearly 23 years.
GOODHUE -- Surrounded by friends and flashing cameras, Abbey Kohlnhofer was crowned Miss Goodhue on Friday night in the first evening of Goodhue's 2011 Volksfest celebration. "I am so surprised, but so happy," Kohlnhofer said. "I'm excited to represent my community and have a fun summer going to events with two of my good friends." Kohlnhofer said she is close with the other nine candidates -- who included sister Jenna -- and some of the group even got ready together for the event.