Goodhue County recognizes the historic and economic values of the bluffs that line the many rivers and valleys of the county. It has rules in place to protect and preserve the sensitive physical features of the bluffs. Standards regulate the setback of development from bluff impact zones to protect the existing and natural scenic values, soils, water and bedrock from disruption. They also regulate alterations of the natural vegetation and topography.
On May 7, the Florence Township Planning Commission held a meeting to adopt a "property maintenance" rule with the blessing of the Town Board, they said. They would not accept input from the public (all two of us) that didn't agree with their agenda. This is a thinly veiled plot pitting neighbor against neighbor to gain power and control over our private freedoms and property rights provided by the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Minnesota Trespass laws. Those who study history know that all failed democracies have failed from the inside.
Next Monday, weather permitting, a historic milestone will be accomplished on the existing Eisenhower Bridge. We are scheduled to complete our last fractural critical inspection on June 11. Any inspection next spring would be routine in advance of bridge demolition in the fall of next year. This means the opening of the new Mississippi River crossing bridge is on the horizon by late September or early October of 2019 and it is inching closer to the time when planning for a ribbon-cutting celebration may start. Wow, things have moved fast in this regard.
The population of Stockholm is expected to triple, or maybe quadruple, when local merchants close down the street for a dance party at 6 p.m. Friday, June 8. The first ever "BigRiverGive" Street Dance event, with live music by the Left Wing Bourbon Soul Band and plenty of beer, is a fundraiser for area nonprofit organizations. Admission is free, but all donations will be shared among the participating nonprofit organizations, which range from a dog-centric fair to a Lutheran church.
The Goodhue County Board of Commissioners met on May 8 to consider changing the county's land-use ordinance as proposed by Circle K Farms and county staff. The changes would have weakened protections for family farmers, rural residents and small towns, regarding health and safety issues associated with large factory farming operations. As reported in area newspapers, the board rejected the proposals by a 4-1 vote.
I write this on Memorial Day with a new level of gratitude for those who gave their lives for freedom. I feel a deep connection to those soldiers who fought in Vietnam. I came of age in the mid ''60s to "California Dreamin'" and "Sounds of Silence." I have admiration, respect, and unending reverence for those who fought in World War II. My father was at Anzio Beach.
On this Tuesday, June 5, at 5 p.m. the Goodhue County commissioners are meeting. On the agenda is a request for a limestone mining conditional-use permit and variance to the Goodhue County Bluff protection ordinance. The dormant mine is between Red Wing and Frontenac, between Highway 61 and the river. That little strip of land is full of bluffs. It's very near the town of Frontenac and the state park. Initially there would be about 50 trucks a day hauling on to Highway 61 and 269th Street, onto the Great River Road.
Dakota County safely operates the Byllesby Dam near Cannon Falls, carefully maintaining the renewable energy facility on the Cannon River and working to ensure the safety of residents who live nearby. We're highlighting those efforts in recognition of Dam Safety Awareness Day on Thursday, May 31.
Two years ago, Red Wing School District voters approved a $22 million building bond referendum. That money can only be used for capital building improvements including secured entrances, handicap accessibility, roofs, HVAC, parking lots, etc. This money can not be used to operate our schools. I want to thank the public for their support so that we were able upgrade our buildings.
The Eagle's May 15 report on a May 8 Goodhue County Board special meeting seems incomplete. Board Chair Jason Majerus not only limited speakers to three minutes, as reported, but he sought to narrowly limit what people could say and did so in a hostile and aggressive manner. In my opinion Majerus' behavior was well below the standards expected of elected officials, and reflected discredit on Goodhue County. The good news, as reported, is that the board as a whole responded to public sentiment and rejected changes to the ordinance.