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MISSISSIPPI RIVER — An early-morning oil spill in South St. Paul has spread as far south as Grey Cloud Island. Union Pacific spokeswoman Kristen South said a train derailed around 2 a.m. Aug. 8, causing a diesel tank on a locomotive to be punctured, spilling 3,200 gallons into the Mississippi River.
RAVENNA TOWNSHIP — The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office recovered a drowning victim in the Vermillion River near the Etter Bridge in Ravena Township Monday, July 23. The Sheriff’s Office reported on its Twitter account that authorities began searching for the unknown drowning victim around 9 p.m. on Monday. The body was recovered just before 2 a.m. on the morning of July 24. The victim was found using sonar and recovered by the Sheriff’s Office dive team.
HASTINGS — Some boating equipment spotted under the Hastings Bridge on the Mississippi River May 20 was a little out of the ordinary. The U.S. Army generally holds its drills in Red Wing, but launched its boat a little farther north this year, using the boat launch in Hastings instead. Residents could see soldiers and the boat training under the city's trademark bridge.
When Jim Meyer's shed housing his tractors, wagons and combine went up in flames, his neighbors stepped in to make sure his harvest schedule barely missed a beat. Meyer doesn't farm a huge amount of acres — about 100 acres total of corn and soybeans — but he had nearly a quarter of it left when the fire started. With no equipment to bring in the crop himself, he knew he would need help. "I knew somebody would help me, somewhere down the line," Meyer said. "And I'll tell them the same thing: When they're done (with their farms), don't drop anything."
NEWPORT, Minn. — An unusual culprit is being blamed for wreaking havoc this fall. The city-owned properties between Cedar Lane and the Mississippi River have seen at least 12 trees up to 75 or 100 feet tall chewed down by beavers, Public Works Superintendent Bruce Hanson said, and many more left half-felled. "It's to the point I believe it's becoming a safety concern," Hanson said at the Nov. 2 meeting. "So many (trees) are girdled that I believe there's an urgency to go down there and take care of it. ... There are a lot of areas that deal we this ... we just haven't before."
Vehicle title registration remains one of the biggest sticking points in the new Minnesota Licensing and Registration System launched in July.
Kristen Farris of Rosemount wanted to make it easier for the dogs she fostered to transition into a new home, a hope that inspired her to launch CuddleMutt. Fostering for the Eden Prairie-based rescue Secondhand Hounds, she encountered a lot of pets waiting for their forever homes. "I always felt like I wanted to send them with something, like a blanket, to help with a transition," Farris said.
A vulnerable adult missing from Hastings since Oct. 4 was found in River Falls Monday night. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Amanda Jean Olson, 22, left her Hastings home around 2 a.m. last Wednesday. Hastings police said Olson was found in a home in River Falls Oct. 9 safe, uninjured and there of her own will. "It was the best outcome we could have hoped for," Deputy Chief Dave Wilske said. Police received information that Olson was at the home, and Hastings police requested River Falls police check the home.
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn.—Two rare birds with heavy rounded beaks and a hue brighter than a blue jay have made their home in scrubland at the edge of Hamlet Park. The blue grosbeaks and their three chicks have drawn several local birders to their nest, after Peter Nichols and Ben Douglas spotted it for the first time ever in Washington County last month. It is the 324th bird recorded in the county since documentation began over 100 years ago. Nichols estimates about 235 of the 324 get recorded in the county each year.
A new intersection design aimed at curbing fatalities is on the rise in Minnesota. Currently, 12 reduced conflict intersections are scattered across the state, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation plans to nearly triple the amount in the next five years. Reduced conflict intersections consist of multi-lane high-speed expressways. Drivers can use these to turn left or right from the minor roadway onto the expressway or travel straight through an intersection by using the all four-expressway lanes.