City Council approves plan for W. 7th Street area

The St. Paul City Council on Wednesday approved a new area plan for the city's southwestern corner that recommends a new park, easier access to the Mississippi River, a better range of housing types and a safer, more walkable stretch along busy W. 7th Street.

The council also set the stage for approval this week of a related zoning plan for the Shepard-Davern area that would blend more mixed uses on single sites south of W. 7th, while preserving zoning on the north side of the street that allows developers to replace the Sibley Plaza shopping center with a retail and housing complex fronted by a parking lot.

Residents mostly testified in favor of the new area plan and zoning plan, although there was some difference of opinion on how and whether the city should develop McDonough Park, a narrow strip of overgrown land along St. Paul Avenue. The plan doesn't address a proposal to realign Shepard Road with Norfolk Avenue, opposed by many condo owners.

Kevin Duchschere


Mayor's 'Cradle to K' plan to be released on Tuesday

The first set of recommendations from Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges' panel on the health and wellness of young children and families will be released Tuesday.

The mayor's office plans to hold a media conference with several members of Hodges' Cradle to K Cabinet to announce the release of a draft report. The 27-member group, which includes academics, leaders of nonprofit groups and parents, was formed in May. It was directed to come up with ideas for legislation, policy changes and other efforts that could help ensure more children have access to health and education programs.

The panel plans to discuss the process for finalizing the report and provide information on how community members can submit comments and questions.

Erin Golden


Recycling program grows, but expansion is coming

Two million pounds of electronics, 100,000 gallons of paint and 140,000 fluorescent bulbs were among the waste that ended up in Dakota County's "Recycling Zone" in 2014.

About 60,000 people dropped off materials at the facility, a 17 percent increase over 2013, according to the county.

The increase followed a nine-month promotional blitz by county staff aimed at getting people to recycle. The agency distributed mailers and door hangers and put up billboards with the message.

The focus on recycling will continue this year. Dakota County plans to add collection systems for organics, like food waste, at its administrative buildings, libraries and parks.



Volunteers sought for workforce/jobs board

The Hennepin County Board is looking for applicants for seven vacancies on the county's County Workforce Investment Board.

The 27-member board develops programs to provide jobs for unemployed people in suburban Hennepin and Carver counties by increasing the involvement of the business community in employment and training. Members serve a three-year term and meet monthly, usually on the second Monday of the month from noon to 1:30 p.m.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 19. Interviews will be held Feb. 26. For more information and to apply online, go to


Coon Rapids

Detective honored as investigator of the year

Det. Chad Duckson of the Coon Rapids Police Department was honored last week as Investigator of the Year by the Tri-County Investigators Association. The association is an organization of criminal investigators from 144 agencies around the state. Duckson was nominated for his role in cracking a stolen car ring, according to the Coon Rapids police department.

Staff report