Bob Shaw / St. Paul Pioneer Press
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn.—A load of 88 dogs arrived in Minnesota on Tuesday, refugees from the hurricane-ravaged South. "This is my favorite part, when those guys get here and into the shelter," said Danielle Cunnane, as she watched the dogs pour out of the trailer at the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley. Cunnane and other employees cheered and hugged the dogs after their 25-hour ride. The dog-tired canines survived the trip well, she said. They will be given medical treatment then be distributed to the group's four metro-area kennels.
ST. PAUL — John Strohfus is rehabilitating the outlaw of Minnesota agriculture. "People think this is new," said Strohfus, as he sifted hemp seed through his fingers at his Afton farm. "But the only thing new is that farmers can grow it now." Farmers like Strohfus are tip-toeing into the hemp market, planting fields in Woodbury, Afton, Dakota County and across the state. State officials are encouraging them, saying that hemp would stimulate the state's economy.
LAKE ELMO, Minn.—If you feel like playing buckthorn croquet, there is only one place to do it — the Twin Cities area's newest and most quirky nature center. The Sally Manzara Interpretative Nature Center in Lake Elmo, only four months old, has become a gathering place known for classes, nature walks, art lessons and corporate retreats. And often, laughter. That's the usual response to the 10-foot-tall birdhouse, with the 6-foot-tall statue of a cardinal in front.
ST. PAUL — Andy Davis can think of 42 reasons not to take out the dams of the upper Mississippi River. That is the number of megawatts generated by hydroelectric generators between Minneapolis and St. Paul. If the dams were removed to restore the Mississippi to its original free-flowing state, that source of electricity would be jeopardized. "When I first heard about this idea, I was shocked," said Davis, spokesman for Brookfield Renewable, a Toronto-based renewable energy company that operates two of the plants. The third is owned by Xcel Energy.
ST. PAUL — At two of Minnesota's most troubled prisons — Oak Park Heights and Stillwater — assaults by inmates against inmates increased by 20 percent in one year, according to figures released Monday by the state Department of Corrections. The increase is less than that of inmates' assaults of prison employees, which more than doubled in the year ending June 30.
MINNEAPOLIS — In February, Washington County cities rejoiced when $850 million was granted to help them clean up their water. But no money will be flowing soon. State agencies have released a timetable showing that it will be 2020 — at the earliest — before any water-cleaning projects are even started. That's making some city officials impatient. "We can't wait years. We do not have that luxury," said Lake Elmo administrator Kristina Handt.
ST. PAUL—To see how rough the local food fight is getting, don't bother visiting a new Hy-Vee or a Lunds & Byerlys. Check out your local Menards. The building-supply giant has 10—count 'em, 10—aisles of food in its suburban Oakdale, Minn., location. It's like having an entire Aldi store lurking among the lumber and ceiling paint. It's part of an avalanche of competition that may bury the metro area's No. 1 supermarket chain—Cub Foods—just as it did to No. 2 Rainbow Foods four years ago.
ST. PAUL — Watching grocery stores spread is usually like watching ice cream melt. By that standard, Hy-Vee Supermarkets is on a fast boil — on track to have 12 supermarkets in the metro area by the end of next year. Already, Hy-Vee has become one of the area's biggest supermarket chains in only three years. "We are thrilled to have Hy-Vee," said Dan Buchholtz, administrator of Spring Lake Park, which will soon have a Hy-Vee at Minnesota 65 and 81st Avenue. "I think Hy-Vee is being heartily welcomed wherever they go," said Buchholtz.
MAPLEWOOD, Minn.—The Twin Cities metro area's first edible-hemp store is now open in Maplewood, and the owners have a lot of explaining to do. Yes, hemp is a cousin of marijuana. No, it doesn't make you high. Yes, it is legal. No, you don't smoke it, but you can vape it. "I am getting a lot of questions," said Abbie Schneider, co-owner of Minnesota Hempdropz, which opened Aug. 11 in a strip mall at 2225 White Bear Ave. Her specialty is products containing one of the active ingredients in hemp and marijuana — CBD, or cannabidiol.
ST. PAUL—The effort to turn six miles of the lazy Mississippi River into a fast-moving rapids could damage University of Minnesota property, according to university officials. In a recent letter, officials listed a series of problems the change could cause, from damage to a library to ruining a favorite practice area for rowing teams.