Oak Park Heights

Faulty intersection design causing backups

As construction continues on a new St. Croix River bridge, the first major intersection west of it looms as a trouble spot for drivers and engineers alike. That intersection, at Hwy. 36 and Osgood Avenue, was extensively rebuilt to ease traffic to and from the bridge. New features included additional turn lanes and fresh pavement. Yet even after all that work, confusion continues as drivers navigate the wide intersection and traffic back ups block the south frontage road, the mayor of Oak Park Heights wrote the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) in September. "The city and its many businesses would appreciate any effort you might consider to improve this intersection," Mary McComber wrote MnDOT. Terry Zoller, MnDOT's construction manager on the bridge project, said the agency has reviewed the intersection's problems "extensively" over the years and even offered incentives to construction companies to find solutions. "None of the concepts for this intersection were found to be acceptable due to right-of-way and business impacts," he wrote on Oct. 12. MnDOT has enlisted Washington County engineers to help "explore options to relocate the intersections," Zoller wrote.

Kevin Giles

Cottage Grove

Council members tiring of 'down time'

Cottage Grove City Council members are tired of showing up for listening sessions where no one is talking.

The council has been setting aside 15 minutes before its 7:30 p.m. meetings as an open forum, inviting anyone to stop by and address civic issues.

But sometimes no one shows up to do that, and it becomes a waste of time.

Late last month, the council voted unanimously to simply move the meeting's start time ahead to 7 p.m.

There will still be an open forum period of up to 15 minutes, but if no one shows up for it, the council will move on.

The council meets the first and third Wednesday of every month at 12800 Ravine Pkwy. S.

staff report

Anoka County

Invasive species program is success

Before the summer months, Anoka County received grant money to tackle Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels, among other invaders in its lakes and rivers. After conducting more than 7,000 inspections during the Labor Day to Memorial Day summer season, the county's park operations manager said he believes the program was successful.

"This first year was a learning year for us," Jeff Perry said. "I would say it was success, and with 10 inspectors we covered a lot of ground."

Perry said there were about 600 violations, but staff "used that opportunity to educate the watercraft users." Anoka County Sheriff's Office issued four citations for violations, he said.

Perry hopes to increase the number of inspectors next year from 10 to about 15 or 20. There is also a program in play to teach elementary students about invasive species.

Karen Zamora

Hennepin County

Police and charity give coats to kids

Four north metro police departments are joining with the Knights of Columbus to keep kids warm this winter.

Knights of Columbus District 52 is donating 108 brand-new children's coats.

Officers from Brooklyn Park, Osseo, Maple Grove and Brooklyn Center will hand out the coats to needy children in the community.

In Brooklyn Park, police will distribute coats at Zanewood Recreation Center on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Shannon Prather

Brooklyn Park

City promotes 'pumpkin recycling'

The city of Brooklyn Park is urging residents to drop off their old Halloween pumpkins for composting at Central Park.

A recycling container for pumpkins will be available from Oct. 31 to Nov. 9 at the outdoor hockey rink parking lot, 8300 Noble Av. N.

Residents are asked to remove candles, wax and decorations before disposal.

Shannon Prather