The West St. Paul City Council last week approved the first reading of a proposed ban on psychological treatment designed to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor.

Mayor Dave Napier said there’s no sign that so-called conversion therapy is being used in West St. Paul. The issue would be better addressed at the state or national level, he said.

But, he added, “We had some citizens come forward … and felt very passionate about it. I think it’s ultimately good for our community.”

A second reading and public hearing must be held before a final vote is taken. Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul have banned conversion therapy, and Golden Valley has backed a resolution opposing it.

Erin Adler

ANOKA COUNTY

Sheriff won’t arrest mask scofflaws

The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office is treating the state mandate to wear masks at indoor public venues as a public health rather than a criminal matter.

In a Facebook post responding to an influx of inquiries about enforcement of the mandate, Sheriff James Stuart said his deputies won’t arrest violators or issue citations. He said his office will engage violators only if they receive a direct complaint, and that people not wearing masks could be arrested for trespassing if a business complains they’re being uncooperative.

“While I encourage everyone to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and health of your families and others ... I do not feel that enforcement actions are in anyone’s best interest,” he said.

Kim Hyatt

Bloomington

New Fire Station 3 replaces old one

A new $12 million Fire Station 3 opened last week in Bloomington, replacing the old station that had served the city for 53 years.

The new station is at Old Shakopee Road and E. 86th Street, two blocks east of the old station.

A new Fire Station 4 is planned to be built on the current station’s site, 4201 W. 84th St., though construction has been delayed and the start date now is uncertain.

City officials have said Stations 2, 5 and 6 also need to be replaced in the near future. No construction period has been set, but the stations were built in the 1960s and ’70s and are “no longer meeting the needs of the community or the Bloomington Fire Department,” according to officials.

Mara Klecker

Ramsey County

Expanded housing assistance available

Ramsey County is using $15 million of its federal COVID-19 pandemic aid to expand emergency mortgage, rental and utility assistance for residents who have lost income because of the pandemic.

Residents may get help with past due rent or mortgage payments, damage deposits and utility payments to prevent disconnection. Housing assistance may range up to $5,500 for adults with children and pregnant women and up to $3,000 for single adults. Families and single adults also may be eligible for up to $3,000 in utility assistance.

Those looking for assistance may apply online at ramseycounty.us/EmergencyAssistance, or call the hotline at 651-266-4884 for information on eligibility.

Shannon Prather