Council OKs cable TV agreements with Comcast

Without debate, the St. Paul City Council on Wednesday passed three measures touching on the city’s past and future relationship with cable TV provider Comcast.

The council renewed for 10 years its long-standing franchise agreement with Comcast, amounting to roughly $3.5 million a year for the city. In exchange, Comcast will continue to provide cable service for St. Paul residents, doing an estimated $51.5 million in business annually.

The council also approved a settlement in which Comcast will pay the city $200,000 for failing to meet standards “on a variety of obligations” before 2012, including the city’s in-house cable network, customer service and reporting, as well as underpayment of franchise fees. The issues, which Comcast disputes, emerged during talks between the two sides to renew the franchise agreement.

Finally, the council granted its approval to the anticipated transfer of Comcast’s cable franchise to GreatLand Connections, a new entity that will be formed once Comcast merges as expected with Time Warner Cable.




County has state’s most whooping cough cases

Dakota County has seen more cases of confirmed or probable whooping cough than anywhere else in the state this year. Since January, 34 people in the county have caught the respiratory infection, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Whooping cough initially has similar symptoms to the common cold, but after a week or two can lead to severe coughing spells followed by a sharp intake of breath that makes a “whooping” sound.

The largest outbreak involved at least eight cases on four different hockey teams, according to the county. There were also several cases involving students in band, on a wrestling team and at a church retreat.

In March, state Department of Health staff began assisting county staff to investigate reported cases.

Jessie Van Berkel



City reminds motorists not to leave vehicles idling

Minneapolis is reminding motorists to kill their engines when they are picking someone up or dropping something off. A city ordinance limits most car idling to three minutes. Illegal idling can carry a fine of $200; leaving a car unattended with a key in the ignition is also against the law.

Exhaust from an idling car carries a higher load of pollutants than exhaust from a moving car, and children are especially vulnerable, officials said. If you see buses or several vehicles idling, report it to 311 with the time, place and description of the vehicles.

Staff Report



Home improvement show scheduled for March 21

The annual North Suburban Home Improvement Show will be held Saturday, March 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Andover YMCA Community Center, 15200 Hanson Blvd., Andover.

The show, in its 17th year, is sponsored by the cities of Andover, Anoka and Coon Rapids, along with Anoka County and the Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce.

Admission is free. Donations for the ACBC Food Shelf will be accepted during the show.

Staff Report



Construction to begin on new lane of Hwy. 169

Construction of a third southbound lane of Hwy. 169 between County Road 21 and County Road 83 is expected to begin in April.

The $1.5 million project, which is meant to ease traffic congestion in Shakopee, is being led and paid for by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. The project is scheduled to be completed in August.

The southbound Hwy. 169 shoulder will be reconstructed to put an additional driving lane before the County Road 83 exit. To minimize disruption, both existing lanes and the exit ramp will be open to traffic during this project. When complete, the 1-mile stretch will contain a new driving lane with a 10-foot shoulder all the way to the County Road 83 exit.

Staff report