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MnDOT warns of imminent Stone Arch Bridge closure without funding for repairs

Plus: Legislature attempting to override court on White Bear Lake water; Trump aims to take Minnesota in 2020; DNR issues new firewood restrictions; and more.

Stone Arch Bridge
MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

Nice bridge you got there. Shame if something were to happen to it. KSTP’s Josh Rosenthal reports: “A Minnesota landmark for more than a century, the historic Stone Arch Bridge is in danger of being closed down within weeks, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. … ‘It’s likely,’ MnDOT Planning and Hydraulics Engineer Amber Blanchard said Monday. … The reasoning behind it is due to engineers saying they need $13 million to repair the deteriorating stone blocks and mortar that make-up the bridge. While that request was included in Gov. Mark Dayton’s bonding bill proposal, it has not been included in either the House or Senate’s proposals, meaning it’s unlikely MnDOT will see the money this legislative session.”

Water mess. MPR’s Bob Collins reports: “The Minnesota Legislature is thick with lawyers in its ranks so it’s hard to believe that when the Senate followed the House in passing legislation to ignore a judge’s order addressing water levels in White Bear Lake, they didn’t know it’s probably unconstitutional. … Ramsey County District Court Judge Margaret Marrinan last year found the Department of Natural Resources violated state law by failing to prevent suburbs from pumping too much water out of the aquifer that feeds the lake, and requires them to use Mississippi River water as a source instead. … She ordered the DNR to review all groundwater permits within five miles of White Bear Lake to determine whether pumping is sustainable. She also said the DNR must enforce a residential lawn watering ban when the lake drops below a certain level, and require well owners to have contingency plans for switching to surface water. … Backers of a bill to overturn the ruling say the judge, who is now retired, went too far.

He did get close. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump writes: “Shortly before the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump’s communications adviser Jason Miller proclaimed that both Michigan and New Mexico were in play. In both states, Miller said, internal polls showed a “dead heat,” and he predicted that campaigning in both places would spike. … In Michigan, of course, that prediction was borne out. Trump won the state by the skin of his teeth, 11,000 votes. In New Mexico, though, he got blown out, losing by eight percentage points. … This story seems pertinent now because of another prediction by another Trump campaign staff member focused on a different election. According to Axios, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, is targeting two other blue states for victory in the next election: Minnesota and Colorado. As with Michigan and New Mexico, one of those seems more likely than the other to go in Trump’s favor.”

Hope it helps. MPR’s Tim Nelson reports: “Minnesota is tightening restrictions on the use of firewood in state parks and state forests as it fights to stop the spread of emerald ash borers and gypsy moths. … The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources used to allow a 50-mile limit generally for the purchase of firewood to use at parks and campgrounds, but the agency wants to encourage visitors to buy their firewood at a park, or from an approved vendor, said Ed Quinn, natural resource program supervisor for the DNR’s parks and trails division.”

In other news…

Just in time for summer:Fertilizer giant Mosaic moving its headquarters to Florida” [Star Tribune]

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He’s back:Garrison Keillor booked for poetry reading at University of Minnesota” [Star Tribune]

Canoe believe this?Canoe crew zips through St. Cloud in bid to set Mississippi River record” [St. Cloud Times]

R.I.P.:Former Twins player, manager, broadcaster Quilici dead at 79” [Star Tribune]

New sports team: