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Agricultural tourism and farm wineries will now be addressed in Goodhue County zoning ordinances. Commissioners on Tuesday OK'd amendments recommended by the Planning Advisory Commission that recognize farm wineries as a permitted land use, add performance standards for farm wineries, define agricultural tourism and establish permit requirements for activities associated with farm wineries or ag tourism. The PAC has been working on the ordinance amendments for months.
Goodhue County Administrator Scott Arneson renewed the call Tuesday for commissioners to consider cutting funding for non-mandated programs like county fairs, trails, University of Minnesota Extension and historical societies to balance next year's budget. Arneson said the county currently funds approximately $1 million in non-mandated services, a tact he said will have to change as county staff struggle with a $2.1 million deficit in 2011. "I do think given the parameters of the budget ...
Goodhue County officials will take advantage of extremely low interest rates and borrow more than $9 million to get area roads back on track. Details have yet to be ironed out, but commissioners on Tuesday told staff to provide them more information on selling enough bonds to generate $9.2 million in proceeds for road construction projects through 2015. The money will help the county meet its grading and paving goals for the next several years, though Public Works Director Greg Isakson told commissioners the county's roads are still aging rapidly.
A state board will gather more information before deciding whether current setback and noise requirements for large wind farms are adequate or need to be changed. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Monday heard testimony from nearly 30 people - many of them Goodhue County residents - about health concerns and other issues surrounding commercial wind turbines. Two companies want to build large-scale wind projects in rural Goodhue, prompting concern from area landowners.
ZUMBROTA - Driving economic development in Goodhue County will mean helping small businesses and promoting tourism while embracing large regional development centers like Elk Run in Pine Island, area leaders said Friday. More than 30 business owners, politicians and area residents learned about tourism, business partnerships and economic development opportunities at the county's annual Economic Development Authority summit.
Deputies with Goodhue County's four seasons unit have stopped and ticketed more snowmobiles the past five weeks than they have in three of the past five years. Twelve citations have been written, 86 citations issued and 114 snowmobiles stopped this year, deputy Scott Powers said. There have been two reported snowmobile crashes in 2010. There were none last year and two each in 2007 and 2008. Powers and Sgt. Kris Johnson, along with some part-time employees, patrol Goodhue County waterways and snowmobile and ATV trails. They also lead a few safety classes each year.
Goodhue County commissioners will hear employees' ideas Tuesday about balancing the county's budget and successfully navigating through tough times. Commissioners will meet with more than 10 department heads to discuss goals - commissioners set theirs last week - and the coming year. Much of that conversation, Commissioner Richard Samuelson said, will fall back to the county's budget.
Goodhue County officials expect to learn in the next few weeks if they will receive federal stimulus dollars to build an interchange at Highway 52 and County Road 24. Local officials say the $20 million grant - along with $7.9 million in county, city of Cannon Falls and state money - would help build an interchange at the dangerous and busy intersection, one of the worst in the state, according to state numbers. "I don't know what our chances are ...
HASTINGS - A local citizen advisory group has a plan to restore the Mississippi River south of the Twin Cities and slow the demise of Lake Pepin. Now they need money to make it happen. Citizens behind the Mississippi Makeover plan held a public open house Thursday to gather support for the project, which focuses on managing the river in the Hastings area and downstream by building islands, removing rough fish and temporarily lowering water levels to improve water clarity, stimulate vegetation growth and enhance river habitats.
Political parties will hold precinct caucuses across Minnesota on Tuesday. This is the official start to selecting candidates for the 2010 election. In addition, caucuses often initiate policy positions that shape a party's platform and elect convention delegates. "If you don't like what your party is doing, this is the place to submit a resolution to change what you don't like.