A Lino Lakes City Council member under fire for a Facebook post directed at U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., said she has mailed an apology for her "terrible lapse in judgment."

The apology from Council Member Melissa Maher comes after a recent dust-up on social media over a comment she made earlier this month on Emmer's Facebook page.

Maher posted the comment, which has since been deleted, about the congressman's visit to a Wright County alfalfa farm.

She wrote: "If I were you Emmer, I'd avoid people who have a lot of deadly objects at hand. Selling us all out was not a good plan for your future. You're a coward and a party whore."

Maher, a lawyer, said she wrote in anger over Emmer's vote for the American Health Care Act, a House GOP measure designed to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Emmer's staff immediately called upon Maher to apologize, and some on social media suggested she resign from the council.

Maher, who said she has no plans to resign, mailed the apology on May 9 and has also apologized to Lino Lakes city leaders.

In a separate letter to the general public, Maher wrote that she is "embarrassed and ashamed of [her] conduct."

Hannah Covington


County Fair officials want indoor horse arena

Fortunes are changing for one of the last county fairgrounds in Minnesota without an indoor horse arena.

The Washington County Board agreed last week to provide $50,000 to the county's Agricultural Society toward the cost of designing and building an indoor arena at the fairgrounds in Baytown Township.

Dan Dolan, president of the Agricultural Society, requested the funding to support horse-related activities during the county fair and at other events throughout the year.

"The kids, time and time again, have got rained out there," Dolan told commissioners. Some horses were hurt in the mud at the outdoor arena, he said.

Last summer, the fair drew 51,000 visitors. An indoor arena will draw even more, Dolan said.

Commissioners said contributing to the fair's financial success benefits the entire county. "I appreciate the economic development portion of this," said Gary Kriesel.

Kevin Giles


City to host ceremony for 'newest Americans'

Amid tensions around immigration, Roseville is inviting residents to a ceremony honoring "our newest American citizens."

The city will host a naturalization ceremony at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24, at its Skating Center, 2661 Civic Center Drive.

The city's Human Rights Commission will coordinate the event with federal court officials to welcome about 50 people taking the oath of citizenship.

David Peterson


City leaders hoping to lure upscale grocery

Blaine is casting its nets for a high-end grocery store, with Hy-Vee emerging as a lead prospect.

City leaders cite residents' growing appetite for something more upscale than its existing Cub Foods, Wal-Mart, Target or Aldi stores. The north metro suburb of 63,000 recently became Anoka County's biggest city, surpassing Coon Rapids.

"This area wants high-end," Council Member Dave Clark said at a recent work session. "If we approved an Aldi, they would come in here with pitchforks."

Council members heard an update this month on efforts to gauge the interest of potential stores. City staffers reached out to officials with Hy-Vee, Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, Kowalski's, Lunds & Byerlys and Trader Joe's about opening a Blaine location.

Only Hy-Vee is actively searching for a site, according to Erik Thorvig, the city's economic development coordinator.

Council members told staffers to keep courting the other chains as well, in case they later decide to enter Blaine's market. Thorvig said he plans to contact Whole Foods again and offer the company's real estate broker a tour of the city.

Hannah Covington


Olson named assistant city manager

Rebecca Olson, who held the same job in Shoreview and Blaine, has been named Roseville's new assistant city manager, the city's first since 2002.

Olson arrives with 18 years of state and municipal government experience, including three years as assistant to the city manager in Shoreview and about a decade as assistant to the city manager in Blaine.

She will oversee day-to-day operations and services of administration in Roseville, including City Council and commission support, communications, volunteer coordination, human resources, city clerk functions and elections.