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It's official: The big blue bridge across the Mississippi River in Hastings will be coming down. For many, that may have already seemed like a given, but due to its age and eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places, Minnesota Department of Transportation bridge engineers had to consider rehabilitating the current bridge as part of the scoping study that looked at the future of the river crossing.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation unveiled pictures of the three bridge-types still being considered for the Hastings bridge replacement at an open house Tuesday. Here's the specifics on how much the different bridges are estimated to cost and how long they will take to build. Twin-span box girder bridge $225-$240 million (in 2010 dollars) 3.5-4 year construction Similar to Wakota Bridge in Newport The two-lane southbound span would be built first, immediately to the west of current bridge.
ST. PAUL - Kay Mack only talked about a handful of ballots, but her testimony Tuesday illustrated the complexity of a major issue in the U.S. Senate election trial. The Beltrami County auditor told the court that her county interpreted an absentee ballot law about voter registration differently than did other counties, but Mack also said she was confident Beltrami County properly rejected unlawful ballots.
ST. PAUL - Some Minnesota legislators want to move more prisoners from state facilities to a private prison, saving the state $12 million in the next two years. Others object, saying prisons should be a state, not private, enterprise. The 776 medium security prisoners at the Moose Lake prison would be transferred to the Appleton facility under a bill promoted by Rep. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's court officials say Minnesotans will see significant service cuts if Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposed budget passes, but the governor says the court budget needs trimming as a way to pressure them to change. "The court is antiquated and needs significant reform," Pawlenty said Tuesday. "The courts need to change and improve their processes. All the paperwork needs to become electronic in nature." The governor's comments, made to the West Central Tribune in Willmar, mirrored long-term plans court officials outlined Tuesday to the House Public Safety Committee.
WILLMAR -- If adults don't take steps to solve America's looming energy and environmental problems for themselves, they should do it for people like 11-year-old Laura Norling of Willmar. "It is in times like these that we as Americans again will reach out to each other and pursue real and unbiased solutions,'' she told about 80 people attending an energy summit Tuesday in Willmar. The day-long summit was sponsored by Citizens Energy Plan, a grassroots organization that's leading a process of developing and presenting a national energy plan to Congress in 2010.
From 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. today, Feb. 24, traffic on the Hastings bridge is scheduled to be reduced to one lane so crews can perform maintenance work on the bridge. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Web site, traffic will be controlled by flaggers, as was done during last summer's bridge work. A 12-foot width limit is in effect during the maintenance work.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota should eliminate its corporate income tax and make other changes to spur business growth, a governor-appointed panel recommended. The just-completed recommendations could struggle to become law, however, as they are paid for with a controversial sales tax expansion and a cigarette tax hike. The proposals are designed to position Minnesota to compete internationally for businesses and jobs in the long term, said Michael Vekich, 21st Century Tax Reform Commission chairman. "They will be controversial and it will take leadership to enact," Vekich said Friday.
Bryce Tannahill had his first appearance in court Thursday, appearing in a Washington County courtroom in Stillwater on two charges of harassment/stalking, one count of interference with privacy, all gross misdemeanors, and one count of tampering with a motor vehicle. Tannahill entered a plea of not guilty on all charges. On Dec. 1, 2008, Tannahill was arrested in Cottage Grove under suspicion of harassment and stalking as well as invasion of privacy for allegedly peering into a woman's windows. According to the complaint, the incident is the third the woman has reported, beginning in 2007.
The chairman of the Senate transit subcommittee reversed directions Wednesday, now promising to consider a bill that would take $95 million out of Twin Cities transit funding and spread it among school bus programs statewide. "Please accept my sincere apology for my remarks dismissing ... the student transit initiative," Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, wrote to the bill's author, Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar. "I was wrong and I should have immediately welcomes the opportunity." Right after Gimse announced the bill, Dibble dismissed it, saying his committee would not consider the measure.