The issues and the speakers kept piling up before the Rochester City Council: One neighborhood opposed a new development in an old strip mall. Another opposed rezoning to allow a gas station to stay open 24 hours. There were questions and concerns about police body cameras, the placement of a skyway and rules for ride-sharing businesses.
The public commenters went on. And on. And on.
More than nine hours after it began its regular meeting Monday night, the council remained in session — well past 4 a.m. It was the longest meeting that city administrator Steve Kvenvold can remember in 46 years with the city.
With no time limits for speakers, “council tries to hear all the viewpoints and they hear the viewpoints more than once from the same people, and so you get two to three hours in one item,” Kvenvold said. “It isn’t a very effective way to run meetings.”
The city probably won’t see the likes of such a session again, though. City Council members immediately raised the need for speaker time limits.
“One of the things I feel very badly about is the public has to sit there as well,” Council President Randy Staver said. “That’s not being very respectful of their time.”
Staver said the council will likely implement a time limit starting in January. By Tuesday afternoon, administrators had already ordered a clock.
DNR: Give eagles a brake
Winter weather and bad drivers aren’t the only road hazards this time of year. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is warning drivers to keep an eye out for eagles.
Raptors are drawn to the road-killed deer that litter Minnesota highways during this season. Unlike other carrion birds that scatter when a vehicle approaches, the DNR warns that eagles can “over eat” and become too heavy to fly until they digest their meal.
“When deer are particularly active, we tend to get calls about eagles that are injured or killed by vehicles, or sick and dying from lead poisoning,” Christine Herwig, DNR northwest region nongame wildlife specialist, warned in a statement last week. “If you see a dead deer on the road and can safely move the deer off the roadway, this improves the safety of other motorists and wildlife.”
If you encounter a dead eagle, you can bring it to the nearest DNR office (call first to be sure they have a freezer), which will send the bird to a national feather repository, where it will be cleaned and its feathers distributed to Indian reservations for use in ceremonies.
By law, possession of an eagle or eagle feathers is a federal crime punishable by imprisonment or a fine of up to $10,000.
If you find an injured eagle, you can let nature take its course, or carefully transport the raptor to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator, like Wildlife Conservation Inc. in Shafer.
For more information, visit the DNR’s nongame wildlife page: dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/index.html