Survey about La Crescent's future available until March 2

La Crescent, MN has the highest population in Houston County.  There is a strategic planning process that includes a survey for people living in the area.

Take the survey by March 2 and let city officials here your views on where the city should focus for future growth.  There needs to be heightened discussions surrounding the risks of frac sand mining. Plans for the industry to expand in the region could mean processing and transportation near the city limits which would impact the health and safety residents.
This survey focuses on Natural Systems, Open Spaces and Recreation, Transportation, Land Use and Community Design, and Public Infrastructure and Facilities.

Click here to take the survey

Protectors focus on BOA members with new complaint

February 17, 2016 4:45 pm  •  Ryan Henry Houston County News

Members of the Houston County Protectors, an anti-frac sand mining group made up of county residents, have filed an ethics complaint against two members of the Houston County Board of Adjustment for what they deem unjust reasons for the board members’ vote to remove an alternate member of the BOA from his position.

Board of adjustment members Tim Orr and Greg Myhre, the complainants contend, did not provide sufficient evidence of a conflict of interest when they voted at a Jan. 28 meeting to remove alternate Kent Holen from his position. The vote disallowed Holen’s participation in a discussion regarding the appeal of an administrative zoning action related to the Tracie Erickson mine that was brought before the board.

Read the full COMPLAINT here

Full article here

The disintegration of democracy

2/3/16 Houston County NewsBy Ryan Stotts

There’s a moment in William Golding’s classic novel, “Lord of the Flies,” and it’s chilling, and it reads exactly like this: “Maybe there is a beast … maybe it’s only us.”

For students of literature, you already know the novel details of the complete disintegration of democracy under the most savage of circumstances.

You can now set down your books, because that same disintegration is happening at the Houston County Board meetings, and it’s by no means fictional.

A visit to a county board meeting is equal parts demoralizing, dispiriting and denigrating these days.

The five-member board, whose commissioners have long ceased to function in any reasonable way, offers us disintegration in the word’s coldest and cruelest definitions: The process of losing cohesion or strength, and the process of coming to pieces.

There are serious flaws in commissioners’ practices, decorum and their adherence to the necessary rules of democracy, and how they’ve been allowed to come to such a dire-that-won’t-end should frighten every citizen in Houston County.

The meetings, which have long since turned into battling matches between chairman Judy Storlie and commissioner Justin Zmyewski, often detract from serious violations from the other commissioners with a ring-side seat.

Full Article Here

Houston County official resigns

(2/3/2016) Winona Post

by CHRIS ROGERS

Long-time Houston County Planning Commission member Glenn Kruse resigned this week amid concerns that the Houston County Board's December 2015 decision to reappoint him was invalid under state law and county ordinance because he is a county employee.

Deciding how to regulate frac sand mining has divided Houston County in recent years, and since the County Board voted 3-2 to pick Kruse over several frac sand opponents who also applied for a seat on the Planning Commission, citizens and elected commissioners who oppose sand mining have raised concerns over Kruse's eligibility. Houston County Board Chair Judy Storlie described the problem with Kruse's reappointment as an honest mistake that has been corrected. Area resident Kelley Stanage argued someone should have known better.

Full article here

 

Kelley Stanage: Houston County residents deserve better Share Tweet Share +

Houston County News Letter to the Editor

Kelley Stanage Houston, Minn.

Did Houston County officials violate county ordinance and state law regarding planning commission membership?

On Dec. 22, a self-appointed committee of Commissioners Judy Storlie and Steve Schuldt and County Attorney Sam Jandt recommended appointing two planning commissioners.

The committee was assembled via telephone conversations among Schuldt, Storlie and Commissioner Teresa Walter. Commissioners Justin Zmyewski and Dana Kjome weren’t apprised of these conversations, nor were they informed that Planning Commissioner Glen Kruse, whose term limit had expired, was a candidate.

Full article here

Controversial Houston County planning commissioner resigns

2.3.2016•  Ryan Stotts For the La Crosse Tribune

"One of the things we need to look at going forward is having a policy or procedure in place for appointing people to committees."

Justin Zmyewski, Houston County commissioner

Front page article today in the La Crosse Tribune:

CALEDONIA, Minn. — Glenn Kruse has resigned from the Houston County planning commission.

No details were given, although his reappointment has been under fire by Houston County Commissioner Justin Zmyewski and members of the public who have threatened commissioners Judy Storlie, Steve Schuldt and others with ethics complaints and a full-scale investigation over Kruse’s reappointment.

Full Article here

Kruse resigns from Planning Commission, BOA - Houston County

Houston County, MN Published February 2, 2016 at 12:00 pm

By Daniel E. McGonigle, General Manager, The Caledonia Argus

Glenn Kruse has submitted his resignation to the boards of both the Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustment. Kruse submitted his resignation in the afternoon of Monday, Feb. 1.

“We thank him for his years of service,” said county commissioner Steve Schuldt.

No reason was given to the board for his resignation. However, the re-appointment to the planning commission seat became a contentious one in recent weeks.

Full article here

 

Canadian Pacific: 850 gallons of soybean oil leaked from derailed tanker

RENO, Minn.  near La Crescent, MN (WKBT) - Clean up continues of derailed train in SE Minn

Crews have replaced and reopened the track where a Canadian Pacific Railway train derailed earlier this week.

Fifteen cars in total fell off the tracks, six of them carrying vegetable oil ended up in the Mississippi River, south of Brownsville.

Canadian Pacific said the derailment caused two valves to break on one of the tankers that landed in the river, causing 850 gallons of soybean oil to leak. Since then, those have been fixed and the leak has been stopped, but the six tankers are still on their side in the river.

Full article here

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Crews try to contain derailed tanker leaking soybean oil into Mississippi River

 Jan 27 2016

Train derailment in Houston Co. RENO, Minn. (WKBT) -

Fifteen cars of a southbound Canadian Pacific Railway mixed-freight train went off the tracks late Tuesday night near Reno, about three miles south of Brownsville at the overlook. Six tanker cars ended up in the Mississippi River.

Early reports showed no leaks, but as the day progressed that changed. The six tankers that ended up in the river were all carrying vegetable oil.

It wasn't until about noon when emergency crews were finally able to get onto the ice to inspect the cars and realize that one of the tankers was leaking.

Full story here

Protect our precious water. Take Governor Day's Water Survey

Governor Dayton's Water Survey: All stakeholders and other interested members of the public are encouraged to take this online survey, launched in conjunction with the Governor’s Water Summit, to ensure that all Minnesotans’ voices are heard on this important, statewide issue. The information and input gathered from this survey will help inform the Administration and Legislature on Minnesota’s water quality challenges and possible solutions.

Click here to take Governor Dayton's water survey