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In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint Xcel Energy announced on Monday, May 20, that it plans to retire its last coal plants in the Upper Midwest by 2030, a decade before they were scheduled to be closed. This plan to reduce carbon means that Xcel will work to keep the Monticello nuclear plant open until at least 2040; it was scheduled to close in 2030. The Prairie Island plant, which has two units scheduled to close in 2033 and 2034, is not part of that discussion now.
For the second time in two weeks the Goodhue County Board considered appointing a commissioner to represent District 1. Once again, no one was appointed. The board met on Tuesday, May 21. During the special meeting held Monday, May 13, Commissioner Barney Nesseth explained that he was concerned that appointing someone would give that individual an unfair advantage in the special election due to status as an incumbent. This was still a concern for Nesseth during Tuesday's meeting. Margaret Simanski of Florence Township agreed with Nesseth.
Utility scale solar energy systems continue to be a frequent conversation for the Goodhue County Board. On Tuesday, May 21, the board was presented with two requests for utility-scale solar energy systems. Lisa Hanni, the director of land-use management, explained that the county defines a utility scale solar energy system as "an energy system that is the primary use of the land, designed to provide energy primarily to off-site uses or export to the wholesale market."
St. John's Lutheran School students are seeking justice as they bring a classic villain to court in their production of "The Trial of the Big, Bad Wolf." Forty-seven students, ranging from kindergarten to grade 8, will perform the play at the Sheldon Theater at 1 and 7 p.m., Friday, May 24. Audience members will recognize some of the characters — three pigs, the wolf, Red Riding Hood and the Boy Who Cried Wolf — and will meet new members of the story like weasels and a judge.
Clinton Toughill has been interested in movies and their creation for the majority of his life. After buying a camera, gaining editing skills, taking a few business classes and launching Practical Matter Films, he said he felt ready to jump into the world of movies with his first documentary: "Different Roads to Heaven." The majority of this film focuses on interviews with religious leaders in four different Christian denominations: two Roman Catholic priests and pastors at Lutheran, Baptist and Seventh-day Adventist churches.
Planning to build a walking bridge connecting Old West Main Street to Bay Point Park will proceed after a majority of the Red Wing City council voted in favor of the project. Alison Youngs, owner of Salon With A Twist in the West End District. spoke at Monday night's meeting in favor of the project. "I really think that this walking bridge is going to be awesome for our business end of things," she said.
Goodhue County commissioners gathered for a special session on Monday, May 13, to appoint a representative for District 1. No one was appointed. The seat became vacant when Ron Allen, who had served on the board for 14 years, died on April 19 from leukemia. The earliest that an election can be held is Nov. 5, due to limits set by the Legislature. If more than two candidates file for the election — four sought the appointment — a primary will be held on Nov. 5 and the special election will occur on Feb. 11.
Twelve ukuleles sang in unison during Jeremy Messersmith's workshop at Pier 55. The Minneapolis-based musician held workshops around Red Wing during the week of May 6 leading up to his concert at the Sheldon on Saturday, May 11.
Seniors in high school to senior citizens elbowed their way into Angry Inch Brewing to ensure that they could see presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke when he entered the building for a meet-and-greet Wednesday, May 8. Those who arrived after the building was at capacity stood in the doorway and in a line outside, huddled under umbrellas and an awning to avoid the continuous rain.
The Red Wing City Council does not have to vote on a budget for 2020 until December. Yet, council members and city staff are already taking the first steps toward crafting the 2020 budget. In April, Red Wing department heads reviewed their 2019 budgets and how their budgets break-down into subcategories. The stage is set for future discussions, including one in June.