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Minnesota’s road construction season begins with a vengeance

Courtesy of MnDOT

Hope you enjoyed winter. The PiPress story on summer road construction says, “The Minnesota Department of Transportation on Thursday morning announced 211 projects planned for the 2017 summer season. Work has already begun on many of the projects. ‘The transportation system is a key to Minnesota’s economic success,’ said Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle. ‘With more than half of our state roads older than 50 years, and 40 percent of our bridges more than 40 years old, the need is outpacing available resources.’” But let’s not get into details of why more isn’t available.

Stribber Tim Harlow goes on to say, “It’s going to be bad. Very, very bad. First the Lowry Hill Tunnel, already one of the metro area’s most notorious traffic pinch points, is going to be squeezed even more as motorists in both directions share one side of the tube for three months this spring and summer — and with narrower lanes. Large trucks will be prohibited from using the tunnel and sent on a detour using Crosstown and Hwy. 100, adding more traffic to those already full highways.” Just another reason to never leave Edina.

Also seasonal. John Myers for the Forum News Service says, “It’s been an average start to the Minnesota wildfire season so far but a trend to warmer, drier weather in recent months has firefighting officials on the alert. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Thursday said it was ready to do battle on land and in the air, noting last year’s dead grass and leaves are ready to burn. Rain forecast for Friday night and Tuesday should help.”  

Sarah Horner of the PiPress has the latest on last week’s triple homicide. “The man police took into custody after a St. Paul shooting rampage that left four dead — including the suspected gunman — last week told officers he was in a car waiting when he heard gunfire erupt, court documents say. Jeffery Arkis Taylor, 19, told investigators he was a passenger early April 7 when his half-brother, 20-year-old Jeffrey Jemaile Taylor, drove to a St. Paul apartment complex, according to an affidavit filed Thursday in Ramsey County District Court.”

Remember when just about everyone got measles? MPR’s Catharine Richert reports, “The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating three measles cases. All three patients are toddlers from Hennepin County. State health officials say they haven’t figured out how the children contracted the disease and are trying to track down anyone who may have had contact with them. … Most people in Minnesota are vaccinated against measles. But the state health department said immunization rates among some communities have declined in recent years.” Too science-y.

The guess here is that they had some kind of revelation. For MPR, Nancy Lebens says, “A group of parents who sued a Virginia, Minn. transgender student over the sharing of high school locker rooms has withdrawn its claim. Minnesota’s American Civil Liberties Union announced the the action on Thursday. … The lawsuit came from an unnamed parent and the group Privacy Matters. In the court document filed Thursday, the group said it was voluntarily dismissing the suit without prejudice. Attempts to reach lawyers for Privacy Matters and Alliance Defending Freedom, whose attorney signed the dismissal, were not successful.” Shocked to hear that.

This just in from the Florida of the Midwest. WLUK-TV in our great neighbor to the east reports, “A Fond du Lac man has been convicted of his 11th drunken driving offense. Steven Johnson, 42, pleaded no contest Wednesday to a count of OWI-10th offense or more. A count of operating a vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration was dismissed. Sentencing is scheduled for June 2. The maximum sentence would be 15 years in prison. … Despite the 10 previous drunken driving suspensions, revocations or convictions between 2006 and 1990, Johnson had a valid driver’s license at the time.” 

A clean sweep. Says Beatrice Dupuy for the Strib, “Derek Onserio knew it was college decision day, but he put it in the back of his mind, not wanting to ruin his Thursday night plans. … So the high school senior waited until 10:30 p.m. to check his computer. Opening the websites to each of the Ivy League schools he applied to, he prepared himself for the bad news. But the bad news didn’t come. One by one, he opened each tab to find out that he was accepted at all eight schools: Yale, Columbia, Harvard, Brown, Princeton, Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth.”

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