Prescribed fires planned along Highway 55, Lake Wobegon Trail, Highway 10
■ Prescribed fires planned along Highway 55, Lake Wobegon Trail, Highway 10
Local residents, motorists and others in St. Cloud, Sauk Centre, Paynesville and Brooten may see smoke from roadside prescribed fires beginning May 12 through May 31, weather permitting, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
The burns are planned in the following three locations.
• Along Highway 55 between Paynesville and Brooten.
• Near Highway 10 at the St. Cloud Travel Information Center.
• Along the Lake Wobegon Trail near Sauk Centre.
Traffic should not be affected and all roadways and trails will remain open.
The prescribed fires are controlled by trained crews and conducted within MnDOT rights of way during optimal weather conditions to ensure safety and effectiveness. They are used to improve native vegetation and weed control.
The transportation department urges motorists to always drive with caution and slow down in work zones.
For more information on MnDOT’s prescribed fire vegetation management program, visit www.dot.state.mn.us/roadsides/vegetation/fire.html.
For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org.
■ Crystal Sugar picks lawyer as new VP
MOORHEAD — Lisa Borgen, whose career trajectory has taken her from the courtroom bench to private legal practice, now is switching to the corporate executive suite as American Crystal Sugar’s next vice president for administration.
Borgen, who was named to the position Monday, will assume the post June 16. She will oversee human resources, public relations and information technology.
Borgen and her husband, Brad, once farmed north of Moorhead and grew sugar beets. They were shareholders at American Crystal, but sold the shares after they left farming about a dozen years ago, she said.
Borgen joined the Vogel Law Firm last November. Before that, she served seven years as district judge here for the 7th Judicial District of Minnesota. She had been Clay County attorney for seven years before being named to the bench by former Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
■ Dayton would veto bonding over fire sprinkler provision
ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton dropped a legislative bombshell Monday when he announced that he is willing to give up $846 million in public works projects around Minnesota if legislators insist on overturning a state requirement for fire sprinklers in larger new homes.
“I will veto the bonding bill if it has that provision in it,” Dayton said. “I will not let them ram it down my throat.”
The rare veto threat came over a provision in a Senate public works bill that would forbid state officials from requiring fire sprinkler systems in homes larger than 4,500 square feet. The current building code requires sprinklers for the larger homes.
Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, told members of his bonding committee last week that requiring sprinklers would drive up housing costs, and many well systems in rural areas could not provide enough water.
Dayton, a Democrat, said he opposes the sprinkler prohibition and opposes putting it in a public works bill, funded by the state selling bonds.
The governor’s comment came out of left field for legislators.
“I’m absolutely stunned,” Sen. Carla Nelson, R- Rochester, said. Her community has a $35 million civic center project in the bonding bill.
Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, appeared happy with the comment. “That would signal his demise as a candidate for governor.”
Dayton is running for his second term this year, and politicians usually want a bonding bill on their record in a campaign.
The comment also took Democrats off guard.
“I am going to have a conversation with the governor about it,” Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said.
Bakk and House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, knew Dayton opposed the sprinkler prohibition, but did not know he would veto the entire bill over it.
“Putting policy like that in a bonding bill is not done very often, if at all,” Thissen said.
Bakk said that as of Monday afternoon he was not willing to take out the sprinkler provision.
The bonding bill is supposed to be the main work of even-year legislative sessions. With the constitutional deadline for taking votes this year coming up on Sunday, neither house has considered bonding.
Key legislators have been meeting to work out a bill House and Senate Republicans and Democrats can support. That has not happened and at mid-afternoon no negotiations had been scheduled Monday.
“My calendar is open,” said Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, the lead Republican on the House bonding committee.