Council set to vote on trash collection contract

The City Council will vote Monday on a contract for organized trash collection. Organized collection has been a controversial issue in the city, but the council has consistently moved forward with the proposal to consolidate services with a single hauler.

The seven haulers currently licensed in the city have formed a single entity, Bloomington Haulers Inc., to handle the business.

If approved, the haulers will get a five-year contract renewable for another five years.

The average monthly household bill for weekly trash pickup and biweekly recycling would be $19.52. Yard waste collection would be offered as an additional service for $79.50 a year.

john Reinan


City to set new alcohol policy for bars, eateries

The Excelsior City Council is expected to approve a new policy on Monday that will hold bars and restaurants more accountable for intoxicated patrons.

A survey found that the city on Lake Minnetonka had nearly 200 alcohol-related incidents, from DWIs to disorderly conduct, in one year.

Police track the "place of last drink" where people drank alcohol before alcohol-related incidents happen.

The City Council will discuss a new "alcohol control policy," which a draft policy includes creating a quarterly rule that says each establishment can't reach a specific number, based on its seating and occupancy capacity, of "place of last drink" entries with a person whose blood-alcohol concentration was more than 0.20 percent; if it reaches that limit, the establishment has to meet with the council to review its procedures.

Excelsior has about 2,300 residents, but draws visitors from across the Twin Cities.

It has 17 on-sale and off-sale liquor licenses, four of which are liquor stores.

That's the highest ratio of liquor stores per resident in an analysis of west-metro suburbs.



City to host free public 'Solar Power Hour'

Benefits of solar energy, including how to install a rooftop solar array, will be discussed in a free seminar at Woodbury City Hall on Jan. 12.

The city of Woodbury is partnering in the 7 p.m. program with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and the Grow Solar initiative.

The Solar Power Hour also will explain why solar is more affordable than ever due to current tax incentives and how consumers can work with solar installers, organizers said.

Questions about the Solar Power Hour can be directed to Jennifer McLoughlin, the city of Woodbury's sustainability specialist, at 651-714-3522.

Kevin Giles


Extra DWI patrols fan out as the holidays approach

Extra DWI patrols are hitting the road as the holiday weeks arrive, and will continue all the way through Jan. 2, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office said Friday.

The Sheriff's Office was emphasizing a warning from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, which said that the extra vigilance will be statewide.

Christmas is the second-deadliest holiday for drunken-driving fatalities, authorities say.

"Here's a new concern to keep in mind — new craft beers or distilled spirits may result in people unknowingly consuming more alcohol than they intended," the Department of Public Safety said in a news release. "The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism considers a 12-ounce beer that contains 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) to be a regular drink."

With that in mind, authorities say, arrange for a sober ride before heading out for the night or make sure you use a buddy system as you walk home or use public transportation after consuming alcohol.

Those few extra minutes of planning and caution are well worth it for the lives they save.