A March 4 public hearing on a proposed Washington County groundwater plan was extended to Tuesday, March 11, to allow additional time for public comment.
Commissioners voted for the continuance after no one showed up to testify at the March 4 hearing and because two of five commissioners — Autumn Lehrke and Lisa Weik — were absent to attend the National Association of Counties conference.
A county's groundwater plan provides the organizational framework to establish policy and solve local water problems.
All of the county's drinking water comes from groundwater, said county senior planner Jessica Collin-Pilarski. The goal of the new plan, which is written to last through 2024, is to "manage the quality and quantity of groundwater in Washington County to protect health and ensure sufficient supplies of clean water to support human uses and natural ecosystems."
After the hearing, the county will submit the plan to the Metropolitan Council and state agencies for review. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources will have final review and approval authority. The county must adopt the plan and implement it within 120 days after it is approved.
The plan seeks to regulate the land spreading of septage to protect groundwater. It also would align the county plan with the county's solid waste master plan to reduce the need for landfills, which threaten groundwater.
Roundabout discussed at open house Tuesday
The Minnesota Department of Transportation will host a public open house for the Hwy. 61 (Forest Lake Blvd. N.) and Hwy. 97 (Scandia Trail N.) Roundabouts Project on March 18 from 5-7 p.m. at the Forest Lake High School Media Center. There will be no formal presentation, but project staff will be available to discuss the preliminary design. Topics will include roundabout education and safety information, pedestrian and bicycle features, and project schedule. Find more information and sign up for e-mail updates at www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/hwy61and97.
25-mile nature walks will earn rewards
Join the Oakdale Recreation Department's "Community Walk," in which participants will earn rewards for each set of 25 miles walked between April 1 and Oct. 31 in the Oakdale Nature Preserve. Walking 300 miles will make each participant eligible for up to $100 in gift cards.
The recreation staff will track mileage. Pedometers are available upon request. Participation is free. Before starting, register at the Discovery Center, 4444 Hadley Av. Call 651-747-3860 for more information.
Police seek applicants for reserve program
The Cottage Grove Police Reserve is seeking citizen volunteers who assist the Police Department with various duties and responsibilities. Each month, reserves participate in training to increase their knowledge of law enforcement procedures. This training is conducted by active officers of the Police Department.
To apply, complete an application and submit it to the Cottage Grove Public Safety Department at 12800 Ravine Parkway S., Cottage Grove, 55016. Applications also can be e-mailed to Officer Adam Pelton at email@example.com. He also can be contacted at 651-458-6000, ext. 4335.
Applications must be received by 3:30 p.m. on March 31.
St. Croix Prep applies for raffle permit
The Washington County Board has approved an application for an exempt gambling permit from the St. Croix Preparatory Academy to conduct an April 12 raffle at the school in Baytown Township.
State law allows for an exempt permit to be issued to a nonprofit organization that conducts lawful gambling on five or fewer days and awards less than $50,000 in prizes during a calendar year.
The application now will be sent to the State Gambling Control Board for approval.
Community Thread gets medical contract
Washington County will continue to work with Community Thread, a nonprofit organization in Stillwater, to manage the county's Medical Reserve Corps. The County Board approved the agreement with the agency on March 4.
The Medical Reserve Corps is part of the national Citizens Corps initiative to mobilize and coordinate volunteers to respond to disasters of all kinds.
The county receives federal public health emergency preparedness funding through the Minnesota Department of Health and procures volunteer management services with a portion of that funding. The agreement is for calendar year 2014.
County Board endorses state transportation bill
The Washington County Board has expressed its support for efforts to educate the public on Minnesota's transportation challenges and to build a coalition that will work to advance a comprehensive transportation bill in the 2014 state legislative session.
Commissioners expressed support in a resolution that was passed on Tuesday.
The resolution notes that Minnesota counties increasingly have relied on property tax revenue to maintain roads and bridges. The annual funding gap for counties has resulted in delayed maintenance, mounting congestion and missed economic growth for businesses and commuters.
The resolution notes that rural road networks in Minnesota should be adequate to bring goods to market. The overall transportation and transit funding gap for Minnesota exceeds $2.1 billion per year for the next 20 years, the county said.
The County Board will review bills individually before providing support for any particular one.
St. Paul Park
City takes over Heritage Days
The City Council voted last week to take over the Heritage Days celebration this year after the festival's longtime organizer resigned.
The decision capped a tumultuous offseason for the city's annual celebration, whose future was cast into question when its former organizer, Jim Domeier, announced in February his intent to step down.
The council voted unanimously at a Monday workshop to take over the event, which includes a parade, a carnival, mud volleyball and horseshoe tournaments, and a street dance.
Kevin Giles, Libor Jany