Normandale science team chosen as national finalist

A team of three Normandale Community College students has been selected as one of 10 finalists in the second annual national Community College Innovation Challenge for its proposal to install hydrokinetic turbines in wastewater treatment plants to generate renewable energy.

The team will travel to Washington, D.C., this week for a four-day workshop to develop the idea with the help of experts. The students also will get a chance to display their work at a Capitol Hill reception.

Team members, who attend Normandale’s Academy of Math and Science, are Tim DeCesare, Sophia Flumerfeldt and Naomi Nagel. The group was coached by Normandale physics instructor Ange Foudray.

The National Science Foundation, in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges, named the 10 finalists for the competition, which is designed to foster crucial innovation skills.



School board buys land for new middle school

The South Washington County school board has voted to buy a 57-acre parcel of land in Cottage Grove, costing a little more than $5.1 million, to build a new middle school.

The land, purchased from Bailey Nurseries at a cost of $90,000 per acre, is near 65th Street and Geneva Avenue. It’s adjacent to the city boundaries of Newport and St. Paul Park and about a quarter-mile south of the Cottage Grove-Woodbury border.

Voters approved the land and construction in last fall’s election.

The new Oltman Middle School is now being designed, and its opening is scheduled for fall 2018. It will replace a 740-student middle school in St. Paul Park built in the 1950s; the district will remodel that complex for Nuevas Fronteras, its Spanish immersion program.

The district’s other three middle schools — Cottage Grove, Lake and Woodbury — will receive additions and improvements as a result of the bond approval.



Meeting seeks feedback on Upper Post apartments

A meeting will be held on Monday to get public feedback on the next steps in the redevelopment of Fort Snelling’s Upper Post for low-income apartments.

The 141-acre site was transferred in 1971 from federal ownership to the state for park and recreation use. Now, to redevelop the post’s 26 historic buildings into 190 apartments, agencies need to move it to the Historic Surplus Property Program. It’s an administrative step but the consequences are big, said Mississippi National River and Recreation Area Superintendent John Anfinson.

“This is Minnesota’s biggest and [most] historic site — we just have to save it,” he said.

The $100 million project by Plymouth-based Dominium is expected to start in 2017.

Monday’s meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel at Hwys. 5 and 55 just east of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.



City wants public input on sick time proposal

A task force will present its views on an earned sick and safe leave policy in St. Paul on Tuesday, kicking off a three-week period when the public will have a chance to comment on a draft ordinance based on the proposal.

The task force is recommending that the city require all employers, public and private, to grant workers an hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers would be able to earn up to 48 hours of sick time annually and bank no more than 80 hours.

All businesses, big or small, would fall under the ordinance.

Tuesday’s public hearing will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Wellstone Center, 179 E. Robie St. A draft ordinance will be released by Thursday, with the City Council expected to take up the matter in August. For more information, go to