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"Viking half time on Lake Washburn" - photo by Bill Pudwell, Outing, MN


Department of Commerce concludes that Line 3 Pipeline is not needed in Minnesota

On September 11, 2017 the Department of Commerce submitted testimony to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission concluding that Enbridge has not established a need for the proposed Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota as required under state rules.

The testimony states that “in light of the serious risks and effects on the natural and socioeconomic environments of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3 without any new pipeline being built.”

Steve Morse, Executive Director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, said, “We commend the Department of Commerce for taking a hard look at the data and carefully considering the criteria that are in law for this type of project. The Department found that this pipeline is not needed for Minnesota, that it does not benefit Minnesota, and is not good for Minnesota.”

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Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center continues work despite funding setbacks

In 2016, at least 21 Minnesotans were killed due to violence from a current or former intimate partner. At least 14 minor children were left motherless due to domestic violence murders. And, according to the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW), 2015 was even worse. That year saw 34 people die due to domestic violence. The annual number of deaths in the state has been as low as 12 and as high as 47 since the MCBW started tracking statistics.

In Crow Wing County The Mid- Minnesota Women’s Center has been quietly and effectively helping women, and some men in need for 39 years. But dwindling government funding sources have created significant financial
challenges for the Center that also operates the Alex and Brandon Child Safety Center, both located in Brainerd.

There was a time when state funds covered almost all of the Center’s budget. But today, those funds account for only 70 percent of the Center’s $1,084,200 budget. That has radically changed the focus of the position of Executive Director from just directing the staff of 24 and developing Center programs to finding ways to raise the $324,000 needed to balance the annual budget. In recent years, the Center has had to tap its reserves to break even during the past four or five years even as the need for services has increased. The shelter has served over 100,000 women and children since housing its first family in 1978. The average length of stay at the shelter is 20 days, but there is no limit to how long anyone may stay.

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Crosslake City Council approved 7% levy; may be lowered by December

The Crosslake City Council approved a preliminary 2018 budget tax levy increase of seven percent at its regular meeting September 11, but that figure may come down before the final levy is approved in December. Preliminary tax levies must be submitted by law in September. They may be decreased before they are finalized in December but they may not be increased.

During discussions at a special budget meeting prior to the regular Council meeting, the Council continued discussions on options to use reserve funds from the sale of Crosslake Communications to find the money needed to fund major infrastructure projects in 2018 like the wastewater treatment plant upgrade and road projects that are scheduled to be done in 2018.

Mayor Patty Norgaard said the City has not been as diligent as it could have been over the past few years addressing sewer and road needs. “We’ve kicked the can down the road," she said now placing the current Council in the position of playing catch up on a few major projects. She said has an open mind on setting the final levy but could support the seven percent increase that would not tap reserves from the infrastructure projects.

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Emily City Council

The Emily City Council discussed property owners who are not in compliance with the City’s ordinance regulating subsurface sewage treatment (SSTS) systems, or septic systems, when it met in regular session Tuesday, August 8. Members present included Mayor Roger Lund and Councilmembers Dan Barrett, Gary Hanson, Bill Spiess and Jan Mosman. Also present was City Attorney Tom Pearson and City Clerk Christa Andrews.

Local governments are charged with enforcing SSTS rules through ordinances. Cities, counties, townships and sewer districts can issue permits designed for flows of up to 10,000 gallons per day.

City Attorney Pearson told the Council that there are two property owners in the city who have been in violation of the City’s SSTS ordinance for several years. He said this problem should not be addressed with with administrative citations. He recommended initiating civil proceedings against the violators. The Council directed Pearson to write a letter to the property owners who are in violation of the ordinance. If a court order is issued, violation of that order could be prosecuted and result in jail time.

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