The state Public Facilities Authority will send $35.5 million in grants and loans to Detroit Lakes, Osakis and Wheaton to make water-quality improvements in those cities, the agency announced last week.

The bulk of the money will go to Detroit Lakes, where $33.4 million will be used to help rehabilitate the wastewater treatment system and build a system to treat phosphorus.

Osakis will use $1.13 million in low-interest loans from the Clean Water Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water Revolving Fund for sanitary sewer rehabilitation and improvements to the city’s water distribution system.

In Wheaton, a $1 million low-interest loan from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund will help rehabilitate the city’s drinking water treatment plant. The 20-year, 1.118 percent-interest loan will save the city about $175,000 over a conventional loan, a statement from the PFA said.

The PFA has financed $4.5 billion in public infrastructure throughout the state since it opened in 1987.

Matt McKinney


Slip Bridge to show off a different shade of blue

The Minnesota Slip Bridge, the pedestrian span connecting Canal Park to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on the harbor, will be getting a spring makeover.

Known as “the blue bridge” to locals and tourists, it will be changing hues with a painting project that begins Monday and ends in early May.

The bridge, which was frequently broken because wind interfered with its pulley system, underwent a major change last year to a rack-and-pinion system, said Duncan Schwensohn, a senior engineer with the city of Duluth.

Though city staff discussed painting the bridge a different color, they landed on keeping it blue, Schwensohn said, choosing a shade in Sherwin Williams’ palette called “Intense Teal.”

Pam Louwagie


$50K grant funds videos to help prevent violence

A $50,000 grant will help a group launch sexual violence prevention videos this year that are aimed at specific racial and ethnic communities.

The Men and Masculine Folks Network, a partner with Duluth-based Men As Peacemakers, was the only Minnesota organization out of 11 recipients nationwide to receive a grant to prevent sexual assault. The grant was from Raliance, a national collaborative founded in 2015 through a multimillion dollar seed investment by the National Football League.

The grant will fund nine videos that will be culturally relevant for Hmong, Latino, American Indian, African-American, LGBT and white communities by the Men and Masculine Folks Network, a Twin Cities-based group of men that organized in 2016 to help end domestic and sexual violence, sex trafficking and other gender-based violence.

Ahead of last month’s Super Bowl, Men As Peacemakers launched a PSA campaign called “Don’t Buy It” with TV ads, billboards and bus station ads in Duluth and the Twin Cities to address the growing demand for commercial sex in Minnesota. The nonprofit started 22 years ago after a series of domestic homicides in Duluth.