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The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources have announced public meeting dates to discuss the settlement of the lawsuit between 3M Corp. and the state of Minnesota for $850 million. The meetings, held March 29 in Lake Elmo and April 3 in Cottage Grove, will begin with a half-hour open house. The MPCA and DNR will then give a presentation followed by time for questions. The meetings will end with more time for an open house.
A crash on Interstate 494 south of Valley Creek Road left one hospitalized March 20. Woodbury Public Safety responded to the crash as EMS and transported one patient just after noon. Kenneth Biggio, 57, of Littleton, Colo., spun out in his Jeep while traveling northbound on I-494, said Lt. Tiffani Nielsen of the Minnesota State Patrol. Biggio was in the center lane when he lost traction on the icy roadway, causing him to swerve into the right lane and strike a semi-truck from behind, authorities said. The truck was driven by a 30-year-old Rosemount man.
Two are left in the race for a Washington County Board appointment, after one of the finalists backed out Monday. Steven Gallagher, former Newport City Council member, told the board in an email March 19 that he would not have time to fulfill commissioner responsibilities. The remaining candidates, Dan Dolan of Woodbury and Jack Lavold of Cottage Grove, were interviewed at the March 20 County Board meeting.
COTTAGE GROVE — A housing development plan was approved relatively quietly after the company made changes to the proposal to mitigate neighbor concerns. The Eastbrooke development, planned near Hadley Avenue and north of 65th Street, will lie just south of the Woodbury border. The developer heard complaints at a planning commission meeting last May as well as neighborhood meetings last month, and decided to scale back the project somewhat.
Commissions are switching some membership as terms expire and others resign. After former Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Commission chair Mark Nelson's term expired, Mike Zurbey was been appointed to step in. Two vacancies in the Arts Commission have been filled by new members Jennifer Cheesman and Shawn Foster. Candidates for the open seats were interviewed, and council liaison La Rae Mills said the two new members will be "a great asset" to the commission.
COTTAGE GROVE — Pete Koerner was officially sworn in as Public Safety Director March 7 by City Administrator Charlene Stevens and the city council. Former director Craig Woolery retired Feb. 23. The council announced Koerner as the predecessor in January. The department is working to fill the empty chief position that he left for the new role. At the meeting, Koerner said he's "ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work," Koerner said. He will oversee police, fire and EMS divisions. "We have an awesome department ... I'm very proud of them," he said.
Good news for summer snackers: McDonald's won't be closing this May after all. McDonald's construction manager Charlie Miller said they decided to move back reconstruction plans from May to late summer, since the summer months tend to be the busy season. The demolition and construction is still expected to take around four months, but will be during the fall instead at the 7355 East Point Douglas Road fast-food restaurant. Residents can expect to see demolition beginning Aug. 1, and reopening again early December.
The 2018 Washington County Sheriff election is starting to heat up, with Paul Hoppe entering the race to challenge current Sheriff Dan Starry for the seat. Hoppe, a 27-year public safety veteran, has either lived or worked in almost every city in Washington County. After former sheriff William Hutton resigned to become executive director of the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association last April, then-chief deputy Starry was appointed to fill out the term. Starry has announced he will be running in the Nov. 6 election.
Triple Angels Healthcare, a senior living and assistance company, is proposing a new 20-bed facility along Highway 61. The building at 7150 West Point Douglas Road is a one-floor, 10-room building set up with two beds in each room. The building will be able to serve 20 seniors. Construction will be done in two phases, starting with the 10-unit building. An addition to the facility to be constructed in the future will double the size.
NEWPORT — After several months in the making, Newport has finally passed an odor ordinance mirroring South St. Paul's that will allow the two cities to work together to fight problem odor emitters. Newport's ordinance is more or less a direct copy of South St. Paul's. City Planner Sherri Buss said there will be "common implementation and enforcement of the ordinance between the two cities."