Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead last week condemned those behind the explosion last weekend at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center, calling it a “disgraceful act of violence” and saying that a criminal act committed against anyone in the city “is committed against all of us.”

Winstead, flanked by City Council members, read a statement expressing support for those affected by the blast, which was set off during early morning prayers on Aug. 5.

No one was injured in the attack, which Gov. Mark Dayton called “an act of terrorism.”

The FBI’s Minneapolis office has said that solving the attack at the mosque was its top priority and tweeted Tuesday that laboratory specialists were analyzing components of the bomb to identify who built it.

Winstead said that Bloomington “is a city where we acknowledge our differences and want all individuals to feel safe and respected. We support everyone’s right to safely worship the faith of their choosing.”

He added that city officials will work to prioritize inclusion and equity when shaping city policy.

At least 1,000 people attended a rally at the mosque Tuesday to denounce the bombing and support the Islamic community.

Miguel Otárola


Plans advance for medical examiner’s facility

The Hennepin County Board is expected to decide on a design contract in September for a $58 million medical examiner’s regional facility in Minnetonka, with the design process expected to wrap up in early 2018.

The county received nearly $2.7 million from the state for planning and design of the facility in this year’s legislative session, short of the $25.9 million in state bonding funds it had requested. But county leaders said they are “on target” to get the rest of the money next year.

The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office, which also oversees autopsies and death investigations for Dakota and Scott counties, has notified Minnetonka officials that it plans to build a 67,000-square-foot regional facility on a slice of a wooded 167-acre property the county owns near Interstate 494 and County Road 62. The Glen Lake property is the site of the county’s Home School, which will continue to house juveniles committed by the courts.

The county had been looking for a suburban site to build an updated facility to help attract new staffers and meet a growing demand for services, as well as a location closer to Dakota and Scott counties. The medical examiner’s office, which serves about one-third of the state’s population, would nearly double the area of its facility next to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.



Voters narrow council races for fall election

Last week’s primary elections in Bloomington and St. Louis Park guaranteed that there will be at least one new City Council member in each city next year.

Voters selected two candidates in each race to advance to the general election in November. Of the two incumbents running in Bloomington, only one will be on the fall ballot.

In the race for the city’s at-large seat, Nathan Coulter, with 35 percent of the vote, and Michael Arulfo, with 25 percent, will move to the general election. Kim Vlaisavljevich, appointed to the council last spring, came in last with 18 percent.

In Bloomington’s District II race, incumbent Eldon Spencer, appointed to the seat earlier this year, received 41 percent of the vote. He will square off against Shawn Nelson, who won 23 percent. The seat represents the city’s southwestern precincts.

In St. Louis Park, Margaret Rog and Brian Shekleton will vie for the First Ward council seat representing the city’s east side.

Rog, a member of the city’s Human Rights Commission, received nearly 48 percent of the vote. Shekleton, a board member for the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, got 28 percent. The winner in the fall will replace Council Member Sue Sanger, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Miguel Otárola


County to sell small stadium-area property

Hennepin County wants to sell a half-acre parcel, shaped like a banana, that sits a stone’s throw from U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

The parcel, located at 301 10th Av. S., is currently leased as a surface parking lot. But developers shouldn’t get too excited: It’s only 70 feet wide, which isn’t large enough to put anything on it, said J. Michael Noonan, senior administrator of the county’s Land Management Division.

The parcel, immediately adjacent to Valspar Corp.’s headquarters, is owned by the county’s Regional Railroad Authority. It was part of an abandoned rail corridor when the county bought it for a dollar in 1991 to preserve options for future transit, Noonan said. With the completion of the light-rail line, the land has become a liability that can be turned into an asset, he said.

Noonan declined to speculate on a price tag for the parcel because, he said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Recent development in the area will affect the price, along with any potential soil or groundwater cleanup from previous train traffic. Bid proposals for the parcel are due Aug. 31.



City seeks input for future of 44th and France

Edina officials, in the process of updating the city’s comprehensive plan, are focusing on the 44th and France area in the Morningside neighborhood.

A city work group is hosting a public workshop at 7 p.m. Monday to look at preliminary design concepts for the hub. Residents were encouraged to review and evaluate those designs.

With the feedback, the work group will create a “small area plan,” part of the comprehensive plan providing guidance for future redevelopment, pedestrian facilities, parking and more.

Monday’s meeting will be held at the Edina Morningside Community Church, 4201 Morningside Road. For more information, call transportation planner Mark Nolan at 952-826-0322.

Miguel Otárola