Nowhere are the concerns about sand mining, and expectations for its economic potential, more palpable than in the town of Winona. It‚Äôs also becoming a lesson in how communities cope with a new industry that is booming in lock step with the business it supplies ‚Äì the controversial oil and gas drilling practice called hydro fracking. (IN THIS PHOTO) A lightening rod for recent protests about sand mining is this 50,000 ton pile of sand, refered to as "Mt. Frac" in Downtown Winona. Winona County Law Enforcement Center in background. ] BRIAN PETERSON ‚Ä¢ email@example.com Winona, MN - 03/07/2012
More than 5,000 Minnesotans have signed a petition calling on Gov. Mark Dayton to enact a two-year moratorium on frac sand mining in southeastern Minnesota.
The Land Stewardship Project circulated the petition and plans to deliver it to the governor’s office Tuesday, which is Earth Day. The group also is calling for state regulations to protect air and water quality around frac sand operations.
The group also will announce the results of a new statewide poll it conducted on public opinions about fracking. Lynn Schoen, a member of the Wabasha City Council, supports the moratorium.
“I think Governor Dayton has laid out a policy that makes a lot of sense,” she said in a statement. “He has said he favors keeping frac sand mining out of the fragile karst area of southeast Minnesota and tough state-level regulations to protect air and water quality. … This petition supports that policy and urges the governor to take action to get us there.”
Courthouse name will honor Judge Devitt
The federal courthouse in Fergus Falls will be renamed Tuesday to honor a former judge and congressman.
The building will be called the Edward J. Devitt U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building, federal officials said. Devitt, who died in 1992, served as a federal judge for 38 years starting in 1954. Before that he was a U.S. representative, county probate judge and municipal judge. He was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in World War II as an officer in the Navy.
The building, built in 1902, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mayo will give update on $6 billion project
The public will get an update Tuesday on the latest progress and plans for the $6 billion project that will expand the Mayo Clinic and reinvent downtown Rochester.
The Destination Medical Center Corp. will hold a full-day joint meeting with Rochester’s Economic Development Agency on Tuesday at the Mayo Civic Center. Board members will participate in discussions about the planned projects and improvements downtown, followed by a bus tour of Rochester.
The evening concludes with a public forum, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Civic Center’s grand ballroom, to discuss the themes and strategies for the massive project.
The Destination Medical Center project will be funded with billions from the Mayo Clinic itself, billions more from private investments and half a billion dollars in taxpayer financing.
The aim of the project is to turn Rochester into a destination in its own right, full of restaurants and shops and cultural attractions, designed to attract top talent for the Mayo Clinic and local businesses.