Bridge will memorialize Vietnam veteran

The interstate bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Wabasha now will be known as the Michael Duane Clickner Memorial Bridge. Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill last week officially renaming the bridge after the only Wabasha resident who died during the Vietnam War.

“Everyone left in our family is moved by this honor,” said William Clickner, whose brother was 21 when he was killed by a booby trap on April 11, 1970. “If he’s looking down today, my brother would say, ‘Thanks for remembering me.’ ”

Michael Clickner’s childhood friend Bill Hager pushed for the legislation. Michael Clickner was about to return home from his tour of duty in the Army and was training his replacement when he was killed.

William Clickner said that although his brother was singled out for the honor, “Every time I drive across the bridge and see that sign, I will think of all his fellow fallen soldiers who died for this country.”

CURT BROWN • @stribcbrown



Spam Museum move prompts parking shuffle

Austin, Minn., is hoping that the Spam Museum’s move to downtown will increase foot traffic. But before they walk, visitors need to park.

“Which means, hey, we need to free up some parking for them so they will be stopping in your business,” said Tom Dankert, the city’s director of administrative services.

The museum’s current location, near Hormel Foods Corp. headquarters, has a large parking lot and ample street spots. Anticipating the new museum’s opening in 2016, the city has been figuring out how to fit visitors’ cars, RVs, campers and tour buses downtown.

This week, officials met to discuss a parking swap with Mower County. The 19 stalls the city would get in the trade — along 1st Street NE. between 3rd and 4th Avenues — would be used for RVs and campers, Dankert said. The city could also buy a parking lot from the county and create a loading zone for tour buses.

There are 104 parking spaces within a 90-second walk of the new location and 234 within a 3-minute walk, according to Vision 2020, an effort to improve the city funding partly by the Hormel Foundation. The city’s purchases and trades will add to that.




Three counties, one human services department

Three southern Minnesota counties will form a joint human services agency after the third county approved of a merger last week.

Waseca County commissioners joined Dodge and Steele counties in approving the Minnesota Prairie County Alliance, scheduled to begin June 1 and take hold Jan. 1, 2015.

Human services expenditures in the three counties increased 39 percent over a decade, while federal and state funding rose only 4 percent, officials said. The new alliance will consolidate administrative activities. Pooled resources will allow administrators to buy better record-keeping and data-analyzing technology.

The new agency will help qualified residents with everything from child support collection to child protection and services for adults with disabilities.

Pam Louwagie • @pamlouwagie



City to weigh fee for streets

The Duluth City Council will consider a plan Tuesday to charge property owners a monthly fee for street repairs. A resident would pay $5 a month under the plan, while commercial property owners would contribute $30 to $240, depending on size, according to the council agenda.

The fees would generate about $2.7 million a year, David Montgomery, Duluth’s chief administrative officer, told the Duluth News Tribune.

Jenna Ross • @ByJenna