Briefly: Aug. 31Brief news items from around the county.
Dayton and legislature pass flood aid bill
In a special session earlier this week, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted 125-3 and the Senate 60-7 in favor of passing a $167.5 million flood aid package designed to help with repairs in northeastern Minnesota. Governor Mark Dayton promptly signed the bill.
Most of the money will repair public property, but business and individuals will also benefit. It came from a combination of sources, including the general fund, budget reserves, tax relief and accounts related to transportation and economic development.
Politicians to visit Two Harbors
Former U.S. Congressman Jim Oberstar will be in Two Harbors Sept. 2 for the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new walking trail near Shopko. The primary source of the funding used to develop the trail came from a Safe Routes to School program that came out of a federal transportation bill in 2006. Federal dollars allotted for the project totaled $860,000, according to Josh Bergstad of the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission.
The Safe Routes to School initiative is intended to encourage kids to become more physically active and walk or ride bicycles to school. The Two Harbors Trees and Trails Commission invited Oberstar to be guest of honor at the ceremony since his efforts in Congress helped to secure the funding.
Oberstar will share his thoughts as will local officials.
The event is slated for 10 a.m. on the trail near Super One and Shopko. The community is invited and encouraged to attend.
Republican candidates for office will be stopping in Two Harbors as part of a three-city tour Saturday, Sept. 1. Other stops on their route will be Proctor and Hermantown. The local meet and greet will be held at the Two Harbors Community Center from 5-7 p.m. Candidates will include, Kurt Bills who is challenging Amy Klobuchar for her seat in the U.S. Senate, Dan Griffiths for Minnesota Supreme Court, Jennifer Havlick who is running for Minnesota Senate and Keith Mac Donald and Jim Tuomala, both running for seats in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
DWI arrest crack downs
Minnesota law enforcement officers have arrested 605 drunk drivers two weekends into a statewide DWI enforcement campaign, according to Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety preliminary reports.
The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign runs through Labor Day. State officials are urging Minnesotans to plan ahead for a sober ride to avoid the dangers and harsh consequences of a DWI.
“There is no excuse for drunk driving, but far too often people find an excuse and find themselves in serious trouble,” says Lt. Eric Roeske of the State Patrol. “Close out the end to summer safely by having a safe and sober ride arranged in advance of celebrating.”
During the past five years, 651 people were killed in Minnesota drunk driving crashes, accounting for one-third of the state’s 2,165 total road deaths. Officials say the 34 percent reduction in drunk driving deaths from five years ago points to motorist making smart plans for a sober ride and the effectiveness of enhanced enforcement and education campaigns.
In 2011, 29,257 motorists were arrested for a DWI; the average alcohol-concentration of an offender was 0.16. One in seven Minnesota drivers has a DWI on record.
Local organizations receive Lake Superior grants
Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program awarded more than $300,000 in grants to 13 projects. Two Lake County organizations were among the recipients.
The Arrowhead Regional Development Commission was awarded close to $15,000 for planning the Temperance River Wayside. The City of Two Harbors received $15,000 to develop a geodatabase of land parcels and develop a GIS layer of the city’s zoning districts.