On May 22, Red Wing City Council will consider approving an extensive reorganization of the city's administration department.
After negotiations, meetings, legislation and letters, Red Wing has a final answer on whether the state will reimburse the city for the cost overrun on the Highway 61 reconstruction project. The state will pay $381,000 toward the remaining $968,000 cost attributed solely to trunk Highway 61 reconstruction. Including a previous payment of $500,000, the state will pay a total of $881,000, or 60 percent, of the total $1,468,000 price tag for trunk highway improvements. The city will wind up paying $587,000.
During Monday's City Council meeting, Don Kliewer's request for a $10,000 matching grant to help pay for this year's firework show triggered a short debate on whether the city should fund fireworks at all. Kliewer runs the volunteer Mississippi Alumination committee, which raises funds to pay for Fourth of July fireworks in Red Wing. For the last few years, Kliewer has asked for a $10,000 matching grant from the city. He raises another $10,000 through private donations and additional funds by selling aluminum cans.
Gov. Mark Dayton wants to remove the State Historic Preservation Office from Minnesota Historical Society control, and place it beneath the Department of Administration. While the governor argues the move would reduce inefficiency and increase accountability, others — including Red Wing professionals familiar with SHPO — are not so sure.
Lake Pepin is home to diverse aquatic habitats and awe-inspiring eagles, long-time boaters and first-time water-skiers, opaque foggy mornings and sublime summertime sunsets. But the lake is filling up with sediment, and unless something is done, our children may yet see the twilight of the region's most notable natural fixture. Thankfully, nearly eight years ago, Mike McKay started the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance. While McKay died last year, Rylee Main now leads the organization.
Fire departments tend to be known for their heavy, noticeable equipment — massive trucks, thick overcoats and bulky oxygen tanks. The Red Wing Fire Department's newest upgrade, the LUCAS Chest Compression System, breaks that mold. It fits in a school-sized backpack, and is relatively lightweight. When in use, the LUCAS is strapped to a victim's chest and administers mechanically precise compressions to individuals in cardiac arrest.
Not many people were pleased with how the 2016 legislative session ended. No transportation bill was passed, and a bonding bill was left on the floor in the session's waning seconds, leaving sorely needed projects on hold throughout the state. Representatives and local officials are hopeful that the 2017 session concludes on a more positive, and more productive, note.
After two meetings without a resolution, the final assessments for the Main Street Reconstruction Project were approved April 10. Previously, Bob Exner of Goodyear Tire Service complained that he was not made aware of the cost increase of upgrading to a 6-inch water main, and asked council to reduce his assessment. City staff provided documentation that Exner had asked for the 6-inch main.
Sean Dowse is 100 days into his first term as mayor, the first elected office he's ever held. So, what has he learned so far? "The workload is a bit larger than I anticipated," Dowse said with a grin. "More seriously, I've realized that Red Wing is not unique in our challenges, but we are unique in our strengths." One of those became apparent in the first week of his term when the community placed second in Deluxe Corp's Small Business Revolution.
Growing up on the east end of town as the youngest of four siblings, Pastor Kristen Schlauderaff knew she wanted to get out and explore. "I couldn't wait to get out of town," said Schlauderaff, smiling. "I was ready to leave and go somewhere where everyone doesn't know who you are." For 30 years, Schlauderaff did just that, going to college out of state and to Yale Divinity School on the East Coast, before slowly making her way back to Red Wing.