Mankato's director of public safety has denied a blasting permit for a quarry run by Jordan Sands, a longtime local quarry operator, after two incidents this year left neighbors shaken and some property damaged.

The blasts at the Jefferson Quarry in April and again in August shook homes and frightened local residents, and the second incident sent a barrage of rocks into the Germania Park neighborhood.

The blasts are at the center of a criminal investigation by the Blue Earth County Attorney's Office. Jordan Sands CEO Scott Sustacek said Friday that the company has been cooperating with city officials while evaluating its options for the quarry.

Director of Public Safety Todd Miller said that the company would appeal his decision but must go before the City Council to do so.

Matt McKinney


Outdoorsman wins canoe division of half-marathon

A 30-year-old Ely man claimed first place in the new portaging division of the Ely half-marathon last weekend.

Daniel Drehmel, an expedition instructor at Voyageur Outward Bound School in Ely, carried a solo canoe for 13.1 miles, crossing the finish line in 2 hours, 21 minutes.

It wasn't his first time running with a canoe. Drehmel and girlfriend Abby Dare alternated carrying a canoe for the full marathon last year to raise awareness for Save the Boundary Waters.

Drehmel said that, although he had sore shoulders, he thinks more people should participate in the new division. "It wasn't that bad. … People don't think that it's something that's possible," he said. "But as we like to say at Outward Bound … there's more in you than you know."

Drehmel, who grew up in Woodbury, was the first of three canoe-portaging finishers this year; Kyle Lowe, 32, of Davenport, Iowa, came in second at 2:45 and Brian Bittner, 31, also of Ely, came in third with a time of 2:48. Six people signed up for the portaging division but only four participated and three finished.

Pam Louwagie


City Council to consider raising tobacco sales age

St. Cloud is the latest Minnesota city to consider a "tobacco 21" ordinance, raising the legal age for tobacco sales to customers who are 21 or older.

CentraCare Health Foundation's organization, Crave the Change, which aims to reduce tobacco use, is pushing St. Cloud and surrounding cities such as St. Joseph, St. Augusta, Sauk Rapids, Waite Park and Sartell to adopt ordinances that would raise the sales age.

The St. Cloud City Council will discuss possible ordinance changes Oct. 16 and is expected to hold a public hearing on a new ordinance in November.

Edina became the first city in the state to raise the sales age from 18 this summer, followed by neighboring St. Louis Park.

Other Minnesota cities such as Detroit Lakes, Mankato and North Mankato are considering tobacco 21 ordinances as well.