South Washington County communities experienced initial river flood crests with no major problems, but are planning for more high water along the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers in the coming days and weeks. The first crests came late last week and were lower than predicted, sparing homes in Newport from flooding and allowing the Grey Cloud Island Bridge to remain open. National Weather Service forecasts suggest a second, higher crest could occur within a week. The rivers reached a first crest last Thursday and fell through Monday.
Ready for spring yet? It's not officially winter yet, but south Washington County and the rest of the Twin Cities got a huge dose of it in recent days. An estimated 18 inches to 20 inches of snow fell in the Cottage Grove area in fewer than 24 hours over the weekend, causing the biggest blizzard to hit the area in nearly 20 years. Then local residents were smacked with sub-zero temperatures early this week. Cottage Grove Public Works crews worked furiously Saturday and into Sunday to clear the city's streets.
Cottage Grove officials are urging residents to participate in a phone survey the city is conducting with the YMCA to gauge the public's interest in landing a YMCA in Cottage Grove. The city and organization hired an independent firm to conduct the survey, which began last week with calls to randomly selected Cottage Grove residential phone numbers. Calls will be made through mid-December. A Cottage Grove task force has been examining the possible construction of a community center since early 2009.
Cottage Grove is not getting a Cadillac in its new government center, but it cannot keep cruising along in a Yugo either, the mayor said. City Council members recently received a progress report on planning for the city's new city hall and public safety facility, getting a preview of a pair of rough drafts of the building's layout and declaring support for a design that the project's architect says will offer the public views of a neighboring ravine. Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey said the designs "show a middle-of-the-road city hall facility." It was a response to criticisms by council me
State legislators and Twin Cities law enforcement officials want to ban synthetic marijuana, a chemical they say is being used by teenagers statewide in increasing numbers and with dangerous effects. The lab-manufactured substance is currently legal to sell and possess in the state. But its use has led to a nationwide spike in calls to poison control centers this year, and state law enforcement officials can't do anything to stop its growth as a "designer drug" under current laws. Sen.
Washington County Board members reaffirmed support Tuesday for a sliding-scale funding approach to land purchases made through the county's Land and Water Legacy Program. Board members signaled they would approve funding guidelines that would provide more county tax dollars to properties with more public access. State agencies, local governments or conservation groups may also provide matching funds under the proposed guidelines.
Cottage Grove officials on Wednesday are expected to approve bridge repairs on the city's portion of Grey Cloud Island, and Grey Cloud Island Township officials say they're concerned about trucks being diverted through the township during the project. A routine inspection by the Minnesota Department of Transportation on Sept. 8 revealed extensive corrosion on a gusset plate -- a steel piece that connects beams or trusses to load-bearing columns -- on the underside of the bridge.
A Washington County law enforcement prostitution detail resulted in nine arrests at a Cottage Grove hotel last week, authorities said on Tuesday. The nine individuals, all males between the ages of 26 and 72, were arrested in connection with a Washington County Drug Task Force and Violent Crime Enforcement team sting in Cottage Grove last Tuesday.
A grand jury will convene this week in Washington County District Court to review police-involved shootings in Cottage Grove and Woodbury. County Attorney Doug Johnson said the jury will review a case involving Cottage Grove officer Brad Peterson, who shot and killed a suspect as the man dragged Peterson in an attempt to flee police in the early morning hours of March 30. The grand jury will also review the actions of Woodbury Sgt.
Another snowy, icy blast of winter swept into south Washington County early Thursday, with up to two inches of snow expected to fall and frigid wind chills to follow. The National Weather Service predicts wind chills could dip to as low as 14 below zero Thursday afternoon and as low as 23 below zero overnight. Additional snow is possible before midnight. The snow and high winds have turned area roads treacherous, with a pair of multi-vehicle accidents on Highway 61 north and south of the 80th Street exit in Cottage Grove slowing traffic shortly after 1 p.m.