Authorities are warning residents across the metro, including Washington County, of a scam in which older people are told their relatives have been arrested. The scammers telephone their victims, posing as relatives, and direct them to wire money, often to a foreign country, to cover legal expenses and bail, authorities said.
Some grandparents are “more than willing to come to the aid of a grandchild in need — set aside their reservations and quickly wire money to the impostor,” the state attorney general’s office said. “Furthermore, the con artist may ask the grandparents not to contact the parents out of embarrassment or because the need is too urgent to lose time consulting someone else.”
According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, several families recently fell victim to the ruse, called “The Grandparents Scam,” losing an average of $5,000.
Residents are urged to resist the pressure to act quickly and refuse to send money through a wire-transfer service like Green Dot Cards or Western Union. Instead, authorities say, they should try to get the phone number of the caller before hanging up and calling 911.
For more information, visit the Sheriff Office’s website at www.co.washington.mn.us.
Talks about raptors planned at Carpenter Nature Center
The World Bird Sanctuary (WBS) will hold a presentation on its raptors, or predatory birds, their habitats and conservation efforts March 1-2 at Carpenter Nature Center, 12805 St. Croix Trail S., Denmark Township.
Talks will be held at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The audience will be treated to the silent flight of a barn owl, as well as an Australian wedge-tailed eagle, Harris’ hawk and a snowy owl, which has been spotted in higher-than-usual numbers in Minnesota during an irruption year.
The WBS is a Missouri nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the “earth’s biological diversity and to secure the future of threatened bird species in their natural environments,” according to its website.
The cost to attend is $10 for the public and $7 for “Friends of the CNC.”
Public comment sought on Gateway Corridor
The Gateway Corridor Commission is seeking public comment on the transit route along Interstate 94 between downtown St. Paul and the St. Croix River. Officials are asking for advice on transit station locations and whether the corridor should be served by bus rapid transit or light rail.
The transit corridor is to follow Interstate 94 through Oakdale, Lake Elmo, and Woodbury. Residents from those cities are asked to comment on the route alignments under consideration.
The issues are subject to a 45-day commenting period, starting March 3, after which the commission will issue a draft environmental impact statement that identifies the project’s social, economic and environmental ramifications, officials said during a recent open house at Globe University in Woodbury.
Among the nearly 80 people who attended the meeting were state Rep. JoAnn Ward, DFL-Woodbury, and Gateway commission chair and Washington County Commissioner Lisa Weik.
Comments can be submitted via e-mail or by mail. For more information, visit the commission’s website, thegatewaycorridor.com/index.php.
Firm chosen to market former State Farm campus
A local commercial real estate firm is getting down to the business of marketing the former State Farm campus to new tenants.
Welsh and Colliers, a Minnetonka-based real estate firm, was chosen to market the existing 400,000-square-foot-building, officials announced last week. The building and its 100-acre corporate campus off Interstate 94 and Radio Drive have been vacant since State Farm moved its headquarters to Nebraska in 2004.
“Adding Welsh/Colliers is a big step for the project,” said Matt Alexander, Kraus-Anderson’s director of real estate development. “We are very fortunate to bring on Chris Simmons and Tom Palmquist, two of the region’s most experienced and highly regarded retail leasing brokers who also have national resources at their disposal.”
Kraus-Anderson last month entered into a joint venture with Elion Partners, a Florida-based real estate investment and development firm, to redevelop the campus. Plans call for a commercial development with retail, office space and an upscale 180-room hotel.
Election judges needed for general election
The city of Cottage Grove is looking for poll workers to work the coming general election.
Candidates must be 18 or older, an American citizen and resident of Minnesota, and be able to read, write and speak English. Those who’ve had their voting rights revoked are not eligible.
Poll workers, also called election judges, work at local polling places, carrying out election procedures and protecting voters’ rights. Their responsibilities include setting up the polling place, registering voters, running the voting equipment, and reporting and certifying the results after polls close.
Anyone interested can download an application online or go to City Hall, 12800 Ravine Parkway S. Applications must be mailed to City Clerk Caron Stransky at City Hall.
Household recycling collections scheduled
Seven weekend household hazardous waste collections are planned for various Washington County cities this year:
• Hugo, April 26: at the Hugo Public Works building;
• Cottage Grove, May 3: at the Cottage Grove Public Works building;
• Stillwater, May 17: at Lily Lake Park;
• Forest Lake, May 31: at the Forest Lake Transit Center;
• Forest Lake, Sept. 13: at the Forest Lake Transit Center;
• Forest Lake, Sept. 20: at the Forest Lake Transit Center;
• Hugo, Oct. 4: at the Hugo Public Works building.
Also, residents can bring their confidential documents for shredding to the Washington County Environmental Center on April 18, July 11, and Oct. 10.
In addition to remote-site collections, the Washington County Environmental Center, 4039 Cottage Grove Drive in Woodbury, provides residents with a free and convenient disposal option for household hazardous waste, electronics, and recyclables all year round.
It is open Tuesday noon to 7 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Kevin Giles, Libor Jany