Mississippi River

Volunteers clear tons of trash from Mississippi

Nearly 200 tires that provided breeding habitat for hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes were removed recently from the Mississippi River.

Volunteers pulled 12,780 pounds of trash from the river near the Wakota Bridge in Newport and South St. Paul in June, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said last week. Some 140 volunteers, arriving by riverboat, collected mud-caked tires and decaying chunks of Styrofoam in backwaters.

“It was our biggest riverboat cleanup event in 12 years,” said Paul Nordell, the DNR Adopt-a-River coordinator.

Unusually low water conditions in May exposed significant trash, he said, filling two dumpsters. More than half of the trash was recycled, including the tires.

The cleanup was co-hosted by Padelford Packet Boat Company and Conservation Corps Minnesota, in partnership with Upper River Services and Living Lands and Waters. Further assistance was provided by the National Park Service and Tennis Sanitation, with cooperation from several other groups and many individual volunteers.

Over the past 26 years, the Adopt-a-River program has hosted 3,500 cleanups at which 100,000 volunteers (hundreds of groups) have removed 6.5 million pounds of rubbish on 12,700 miles of shoreline. For more information visit www.mndnr.gov/adoptariver.

Kevin Giles


Mendota Heights

One-year anniversary of officer’s slaying

Two events Thursday in Dakota County will recognize the anniversary of Mendota Heights Officer Scott Patrick’s shooting death while in the line of duty.

Signs noting the Scott Patrick Memorial Highway will be dedicated at 11:45 a.m. at 1010 Dodd Road in West St. Paul. A moment of silence will be held at 12:20 p.m. to recognize the moment last year that Patrick was killed during a routine traffic stop on Dodd Road.

A candlelight vigil will follow at 8 p.m. at Market Square, on the northeast corner of Highway 110 and Dodd Road in Mendota Heights. Several short speeches and live musicians are expected for the vigil.

Both events were planned and paid for by the Mendota Heights Police Officer’s Benevolent Association. After an hourslong manhunt and a shootout, authorities arrested Brian Fitch, Sr., 40, of Mendota Heights, late on July 30, 2014, in connection with Patrick’s killing. In February, a jury convicted Fitch of first-degree murder and sentenced him to life in prison without parole. Fitch filed an appeal of that conviction in May.

Stephen Montemayor



Mayor announces 2016 budget proposal release

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will introduce her 2016 budget plan in an Aug. 12 speech at City Hall.

The 11 a.m. budget address in council chambers is open to the public and will provide the first look at the proposal that will then be turned over to council members for review.

Department heads will present their plans to the council in hearings this fall, and the council will hold public hearings and vote on a budget plan in November and December.

This year’s $1.2 billion budget was approved in a narrow vote after council members split on a proposal to trim the mayor’s plan.

Erin Golden


Hennepin County

State officials announce prescription drug summit

A statewide summit Aug. 25 will seek solutions to help combat prescription painkiller abuse. The free event begins at 8:30 a.m.

Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer are among the scheduled speakers.

Law enforcement, members of the faith community, addiction treatment providers and educators among others are welcome.

Hennepin County Medical examiner Andrew Baker has often pointed out that prescription drugs, including OxyContin and Vicodin, are much bigger public health concerns than illicit drugs.

Rochelle Olson