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Preston Council tables decision on Heartland permit


Fri, Jan 10th, 2003
Posted in Features

On Monday night, the Preston City Council tabled any decision on whether to rescind a conditional use permit issued to Heartland Energy & Recycling energy plant until they have had time to discuss the matter with lawyers from the League of Minnesota Cities.

Southeastern Minnesotans for Environmental Protection (SEMEP) have challenged the city’s issuance of a conditional use permit to Heartland, stating that the city had erred in issuing any permits before an environmental review was completed by state regulatory organizations.

According to Minnesota rules and statutes under the state’s Environmental Policy Act, no governmental approvals, including conditional use permits, can be made until the environmental review process is complete.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizen’s Board has yet to rule on whether an Environmental Impact Statement is required for Heartland.

Bob Maust, representing Heartland, told the council that one solution to the issue would be to pass a resolution stating that the conditional use permit would be valid at the time that the MPCA approves the Environmental Assessment Worksheet.

When asked to comment, Preston City Attorney David Joerg told the council that the city could potentially face lawsuits over this matter. Joerg, who said that he couldn’t pick sides, stated that he has a conflict of interest in that he has represented the Maust family legally for several years.

“I notified the city council of this conflict in writing several months ago,” Joerg said. “If the city wants legal advice specific to this matter I can refer them to other attorneys.”

Joerg suggested contacting the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) for legal advice, in that the city is insured through the LMC.

Council member Mike Gartner was critical of Joerg for not advising the council about the adminstrative rules.

Gartner: “I find out from reading the Journal that we are not in compliance here. Why weren’t we informed of the legal status of this?”

Joerg: “No one asked.”

Gartner: “You’ve got five dumb people up here, and statutes out there, and we find out the city is in error. You’re an attorney.”

Joerg: “The city may not be in error.”

Gartner: “Well, we have a serio .....
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Lanesboro Council occupied with Church Hill contract and Police Chief concerns

Fri, Jan 10th, 2003
Posted in Features

The January 6th meeting of the Lanesboro City Council began with the swearing in of newly elected Mayor Steve Rahn and Council members Joe O’Connor, Kevin Drake, and Jerome Halvorson.

The new council jumped into the city’s busi ..... 
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Fresh faces join Preston City Council

Fri, Jan 10th, 2003
Posted in Features

Three new people sat around the table Monday, January 6 , for the first meeting of the Preston City Council in the new year. Mayor pro-temp Mike Gartner presided while Fred Nagle, the city administrator, swore in council members Heath Mensink and Mic ..... 
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2002 in review

Fri, Jan 3rd, 2003
Posted in Features

Editor’s note: The Journal looked at what newsmakers in Fillmore County said over the past year as a way to profile the year 2002. From the pages of the Fillmore County Journal, here’s what was said on a range of topics.

“The st ..... 
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Environmental group challenges Heartland permit

Fri, Jan 3rd, 2003
Posted in Features

Southeastern Minnesotans for Environmental Protection (SEMEP), a grass roots environmental organization made up of Fillmore County residents, has advised the Preston City Council that the conditional use permit they issued on May 20, 2002 to Heartlan ..... 
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Preston Council approves parking variance for county

Fri, Jan 3rd, 2003
Posted in Features

The Preston City Council approved a parking variance for Fillmore County’s courthouse addition at a special meeting of the city council on Monday, December 30.

The county, which has 49 parking spaces available in its two existin ..... 
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Visiting the Forbidden Island

Fri, Dec 27th, 2002
Posted in Features

The US government doesn’t exactly say that we can’t visit Cuba; they just make it mighty hard to get there. And if you do figure out a way to get to the island, a mere 90 miles offshore from Florida, the US prohibits you from spending money there. Sp ..... 
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County to apply for challenge grant to upgrade manure management practices

Fri, Dec 27th, 2002
Posted in Features

Fillmore County’s Soil & Water Conservation District Officer Lora Friest informed the County Board of the availability of a Challenge Grant at their final 2002 board meeting.

The grant is available through the MN Board of Soil ..... 
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The Commute: My friend died

Fri, Dec 27th, 2002
Posted in Features

I’d planned to write this column about New Year’s resolutions and my aversion to physical exercise, but every time I start to write it, I am thinking about Deanne, who died December 16.

At the age of two, she was diagnosed with ..... 
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