It’s no secret that Hwy. 10 is a major source of traffic headaches in Anoka County. But residents and commuters say it hasn’t always been clear what cities along the congested corridor plan to do about it.

That’s why Ramsey city officials are moving forward with a $500,000 study to set “a single vision” for future Hwy. 10 work in the suburb of 25,000.

City Council members recently approved a contract with Ramsey-based engineering firm Bolton & Menk that will build on findings from a previous state study conducted by the firm several years ago.

“It is a large investment,” Tim Gladhill, Ramsey’s community development director, said at the Feb. 27 meeting. “We want to make sure we get this design right.”

The earlier study found most stakeholders agree that turning the four-lane roadway into a freeway is the best way to remedy traffic and safety concerns. But because it may take decades to fund a freeway, cities along Hwy. 10 want to take less costly steps now to cut congestion and crashes.

Ramsey officials say that fine-tuning details for upcoming improvements will help quell uncertainty and frustration about the city’s vision for the corridor. The study will focus on choosing options for frontage roads and interchanges.

Early estimates for future work on Ramsey’s stretch of the highway range from $65 million to $120 million.

Hannah Covington

Mounds View

K-9 officer Griz joins police department

The Mounds View Police Department has a new K-9 in training, a German shepherd named Griz.

Griz, who arrived in Mounds View last month from the Czech Republic, recently began training with his new partner, officer Brian Schultes. They’ll work together at the St. Paul Police Academy for the next three months, and if all goes well Griz will join the force as early as this summer, Police Chief Nate Harder said.

The department bought Griz for $6,000 with funds from the Mounds View Police Foundation.

Griz would be the Mounds View department’s second K-9. The first one, Niko, has been with the force for five years and should be around for another two years, Harder said. Niko helps with tracking people, apprehension and narcotics work, and Griz would do the same work, he said.

“People love dogs,” Harder said. “And they just can’t get enough of that.”

Emily Allen

New Hope

City to meet with trash haulers

A special work session planned for early next month will tackle the much-debated topic of organized trash collection in New Hope.

City Council members will meet with the suburb’s six licensed garbage haulers as they continue to weigh whether to move from an open collection system, which would allow residents to choose their own hauler from among those licensed by the city, to an organized system.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on April 2 at City Hall, 4401 Xylon Av. N. There will not be a time for public comment, city officials said.

The work session follows months of feedback received through a resident survey and a listening session. About 49 percent of residents surveyed either opposed or strongly opposed an organized collection system, while 43 percent favored or strongly favored the move. About 8 percent were undecided.

Hannah Covington

Washington County

Board set to name Bigham’s replacement

The Washington County Board is expected to appoint a new board member Tuesday to fill out the remainder of the term of Karla Bigham, the former District 4 commissioner who was elected to the state Senate last fall.

Commissioners are expected to choose between two whom they ranked among their top choices of the 11 people who applied: Dan Dolan of Woodbury, president of the Washington County Agricultural Society; and Jack Lavold of Cottage Grove, who serves on the board of the South Washington Watershed District.

A third candidate ranked among the top three by commissioners — former Newport City Council Member Steven Gallagher — told the board last week that he was withdrawing his name because of time constraints.

Dolan and Lavold each addressed questions at last week’s meeting about their backgrounds, service and experience with county issues. Neither plans to run for the office this fall, a condition set by the board. Another candidate, Dean Johnston of Denmark Township, also addressed the board.

If commissioners make a selection Tuesday, the appointee will take office next week. If they fail to choose someone, a special election will have to be held.

Kevin Duchschere

North St. Paul

Snowman set to get its own sign

The North St. Paul snowman, a local landmark, might be getting a new sign that tells its history.

On Wednesday, the North St. Paul Parks and Recreation Commission will decide whether to pay for the sign with parks and recreation funds. Commission officials estimate that the sign will cost just over $1,600, according to a quote it received last month.

If the commission declines to pay for the sign, city officials will recommend that the City Council cover the cost, said North St. Paul’s strategic operations director, Debra Gustafson.

Weighing 20 tons and standing 44 feet high, the North St. Paul snowman is the largest snowman structure in the United States. It has been a North St. Paul icon since it went up in the 1970s and is portrayed on the city logo.

The informational sign would be one of the first significant changes made to the snowman since it was moved in 1990 from Main Street to its current location at Margaret Street and Hwy. 36. Gustafson said the snowman was repainted last year.

Emily Allen