Town briefs: Washington County will review its security policy

  • Updated: March 9, 2013 - 4:30 PM

The policy governing security at the Washington County Government Center will be reviewed after Commissioner Gary Kriesel complained about citizen meetings being held in the basement of the complex.

“I don’t want our citizens thinking they’re coming into some Third World country,” said Kriesel, who described a recent Planning Commission meeting in the basement where projections on a video screen were whited out and indecipherable.

He asked at last week’s board meeting why citizen groups weren’t allowed to use the county’s new fifth-floor board room.

County Administrator Molly O’Rourke replied that an after-hours security policy had been put in place after 9/11 on advice of a consultant, who recommended against access of various floors of the building.

Kriesel said he wanted a review of the policy, and board members voted 4-0 in favor. The fifth commissioner, chairwoman Lisa Weik, was attending a national conference.

st. croix falls

Forest ecologist talks about climate change

Because Minnesota and Wisconsin are positioned in the center of the continent, residents can expect a higher magnitude of warming than many other regions, forest ecologist Lee Frelich will tell listeners in a presentation Saturday, March 16, at the St. Croix River Visitor Center.

Effects of a warmer climate on forests will be seen in more storms, droughts, fires, insect pests and diseases, high deer populations and invasive species, he will say.

Frelich is director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology and teaches courses in forest fire ecology and landscape ecology.

The presentation at 10 a.m. is free and open to the public. The visitor center is at 401 N. Hamilton St. in St. Croix Falls, Wis. Reservations are encouraged because of limited seating. Call 715-483-2274 to reserve up to four seats.


Lily Lake lawsuit moves to Stillwater

A lawsuit filed over the death of a Stillwater boy after swimming in Lily Lake has been moved to Washington County.

The suit on behalf of the family of Jack Ariola Erenberg, 9, had been filed in Dakota County. But proceedings now will be heard before Judge Elizabeth Martin in Washington County District Court in Stillwater.

The youth died from a rare parasite in August after swimming in Lily Lake, which has a small beach. His death came two years after Annie Bahneman, 7, of Stillwater also died from the Naegleria fowleri amoeba, which was traced to her swimming in the same lake. The parasite, commonly found in warm freshwater and soil, causes a rare but severe brain infection that is nearly always fatal.

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