The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given state and local officials another extension to come up with a plan to fix the Freeway Landfill in Burnsville.

The landfill, located near the Minnesota River and Interstate 35W, stopped accepting trash decades ago. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is trying to figure out how the waste buried there will affect the river and a nearby drinking water supply. Then, to prevent the EPA from swooping in and taking over the cleanup process, the state agency and local partners must reach a cleanup agreement with the McGowan family, which owns the landfill.

In a letter to the MPCA, federal officials said the parties could have until Oct. 30 to come up with a plan. The agency has already extended the timeline once. The extension did come with one condition: A representative from the federal agency must observe negotiations.

Jessie Van Berkel



Playing it safe on the trail

Three Rivers Park District has launched its newest version of “Share the Trail” — an annual campaign to help walkers, runners, skaters and cyclists to coexist on the park district’s vast network of trails throughout the Twin Cities.

About 4.5 million visitors a year use the regional trail system managed by Three Rivers.

The most common conflicts involve cyclists and pedestrians, with cyclists sometimes not alerting pedestrians when passing at high speeds and groups of walkers sometimes not leaving enough space for cyclists to pass. Obeying traffic signs is another safety concern.

The park district uses signage and safety messages around the trails to create what it calls “teachable moments.” This year’s campaign features a new series of images by local bicycle artist Adam Turman on trail shoulders and kiosks and on bicycle wheel spoke cards to help communicate trail safety efforts.



Boating season closes with intense inspections

As the boating season draws to a close, so will the unprecedented efforts this year to check boats entering and leaving lakes and rivers.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently announced it had a record number of watercraft inspectors at public boat accesses across the state thanks to more partnerships with counties, cities and other local government agencies this year.

Since April, the DNR has trained more than 600 boat inspectors along with the DNR’s 100 watercraft inspection staff members.

The local watercraft inspectors check boats entering and leaving waterways and are managed by the local county, city or water conservation district but have the same authority as DNR inspectors. A 2014 state law allocated $4.5 million to counties, followed by $10 million in 2015; another $10 million will be allocated each year, all to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels.



First Ward DFLers to hold repeat convention

St. Paul DFLers in the city’s First Ward will get a second crack Sunday at endorsing a candidate for the City Council, after failing to do so at their March convention.

Expected candidates are City Council Member Dai Thao, seeking his first full term in office, and Mohamed Said, who missed the deadline to get on the November ballot but is running as a write-in candidate. The only other candidate on the ballot is community organizer Trahern Crews, backed by the Green Party.

Thao, Said and Samakab Hussein squared off for the party endorsement on March 7 during a 10-hour convention at Central High School. Thao led on all six ballots except for the last one, when Hussein went into the lead, but no one was able to get the 60 percent of delegate votes needed.

A second convention is unusual, St. Paul DFL Chair Libby Kantner said. But the party was approached by a number of people who thought an endorsed candidate would strengthen the DFL slate, she said.

The convention will kick off at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Dunning Recreation Center, 1221 Marshall Av.