St. Cloud

Disruptive intoxication rule gets some teeth

Getting drunk and disruptive in St. Cloud is now a misdemeanor.

Last week, the City Council toughened the city's disruptive intoxication ordinance so that violators could face criminal — rather than administrative — citations. The council also broadened the rule to apply to private property, such as yards and parking lots.

The city passed the original ordinance in 2010 "as part of a larger effort to address high-risk drinking and nuisance behaviors," City Attorney Matt Staehling told the council.

But it "hasn't been utilized that much," he said. The amendments are "designed to make this a more usable tool."

Resident Mary Matthews praised the changes, saying they'll make the message clearer. Her neighbors have dealt with drunken people pushing one another around in shopping carts, she said, and have been frightened by a few showing up at their doorsteps at 2 a.m.

Jenna Ross @ByJenna


Old mill ready for new use as an industrial park

The old Wausau Paper mill in Brainerd is now open for a different kind of business.

Renamed the Brainerd Industrial Center, the massive building along the Mississippi River that closed in 2013 has been partly cleaned out and the owner is now seeking tenants.

Community leaders had heralded the change for the empty mill, once a major employer in the community.

Approximately 120,000 square feet is available, said industrial center CEO Mike Higgins. The rest of the building will be cleaned out over the next 18 months, he added, offering a total of 640,000 square feet.

So far, one tenant is leasing space for storage, he said.

"We're hoping to get new technology, manufacturing, precision manufacturing," Higgins said. "Any kind of business that needs a lot of space, overhead cranes, a lot of power … rail."

Pam Louwagie @pamlouwagie


Chickens get OK after neighbors' kerfuffle

Residents in Zumbrota, Minn., can now raise backyard chickens.

This month, the City Council voted 4-1 to permit up to 10 hens on properties in residential zones. Before, chickens were restricted to farms.

The issue arose after a neighbor squawked about a family raising chickens in a backyard coop, according to city documents. The family requested that the city change the ordinance, allowing them to keep the nine chickens.

"There were some strong opinions on both sides," said Dan King, community development director.

There are rules: Coops must be kept clean, the ordinance says. Feed should be stored in secure containers. The hens' houses and runs must be 10 feet from property lines. Slaughtering is not allowed.

Jenna Ross @ByJenna