Rash of burglaries prompts warning

A rash of burglaries in Rice County prompts a warning from Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn says he wants people to be vigilant, keeping an eye on their neighbors house as well as their own.  He says they’ve had about 15 daytime home burglaries in the last 4 to 5 weeks from Faribault to Northfield.  The thieves MO is to knock on doors to see if anyone’s home, if they are, these thieves come up with a story such as wondering if “Jacob” lives there or that they’re selling gift cards.  These thieves are primarily after jewelry which is harder to track.  They take it to pawnshops or places like the Gold Guys to get rid of the evidence.  Dunn believes that it’s a ring and says investigators are working intensely on this.  They’re close to making arrests but need the publics help.  The ring becomes active every 2 to 3 days.  Police ask that you get a license plate, gather as much information as you can and then call police.   Dunn says “don’t make it easy” by leaving jewelry and money out.  He also notes that this will all likely lead back to drugs.  Dunn mentions that there are legitimate fundraisers out there.  Those kids can show you what they’re selling and tell you what it’s for.  You can also call the organization they mention to verify.

Federal grant for Transit Hub “hamstrings” Q Block site

The Transit Hub discussion was the lengthiest of the Northfield City Council work session.  The number 1 choice, after several meetings with state and federal agencies, public input and the Save the Northfield Depot group, is the Q Block.  Federal Grant funding of $277,000 is available through the state but must be used for environmental cleanup with the stipulation that it be used for a transit hub specifically.  Public Works Director Joe Stapf said the grant really hamstrings them with it’s definition.  If they don’t put a transit site on that land, the City will have to pay back the grant money.  Mayor Rossing says the issue with the Q Block site is whether the Depot will fit on the site after they create a transit site with the required parking spots.  Joe Stapf said he thinks it’s doable.  Rossing believes it’s a gamble to go with this site but council seems to be inclined to take action next week.  To receive the money, they must make a decision before the year is out.

The River study conversation was briefly touched upon but with the amount of input needed council chose to move the discussion into 2013 for the new Mayor and council.

The final budget review took place at the work session.  Next week, they’ll vote on it.  Mayor Rossing says the goal is to have 50% of revenue in reserve.  They currently have 60%.
The extreme measures to bring down expenditures helped create the reserves.

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