Today’s news update | House fire causes extensive damage, Northfield requests help from Farmington; With a full agenda, Ludescher requests a resolution to, once again, look at the financing for the new Public Safety Center

Today’s weather prompted Northfield schools along with most in the region to close for the day.  Several businesses closed or opened late.  A snow emergency has been declared for the City of Northfield.  Check the city’s website for details.

House fire causes extensive damage, Northfield requests help from Farmington

The Northfield Fire Department responded to a garage fire just after 11 yesterday  morning.  The fire located at 7171 300th St. west in rural Northfield spread to the house from the attached garage.   Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Machacek said they requested help from Farmington Fire.  The State Fire Marshall will investigate the blaze.  That’s standard procedure given the amount of damage to the structure.  Machacek says the fire was accidental and started in the attached garage with a faulty unit heater.  Machacek said the damage was extensive enough that the home was not habitable.  He estimates the damage at plus $250,000.   Machacek thanked the Farmington Fire department for their efforts.  There were no injuries, the family will be staying with relatives.

With a full agenda, Ludescher requests a resolution to, once again, look at the financing for the new Public Safety Center

Tonight the Northfield City Council will hear a new resolution regarding the PSC.  The adoption of a resolution authorizing the hiring of bond counsel to answer a series of questions related to the COP bonds was brought forth by Councilor Ludescher.  The authorization would include a payment of up to $4500 for legal counsel with a legal opinion to be written by March 19th.  If this passes, it means starting all over again with financing, setting the project back indefinitely.  Ludescher and Councilor DeLong have been vocal in their opposition of the way financing was obtained for the Public Safety Center.  Also on the agenda is authorization to go out for bids on the City Hall reconfiguration project.  City Administrator Tim Madigan told the Northfield Patch the idea is to create a customer friendly environement with better work flow for employees.  There’s also some tax forfeited land at Fargaze Meadow that the City has an option to possibly turn into parkland.  Councilor Zweifel is asking council to discuss and consider directing staff to move forward on a grant opportunity from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that would help fund  the installation of an electric vehicle charging station that will be for public use in Northfield. Carleton College has studied the issue and determines it would cost just over $9,000.  The grant must be applied for by March 18th and is for $5,000.  The 7 o’clock meeting will be streamed live online at kymnradio.net.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states face a March 31 deadline to approve state-based exchanges. The federal government will step in and implement a one-size-fits-all exchange for states that fail to meet that deadline. After a lengthy floor debate that lasted into Monday evening, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed HF 5, a bill that establishes a state-based health insurance exchange.  House District 20b Representative David Bly said that he’s glad to see it’s gotten as far as it has and is hopeful it will pass the Senate.  The full Minnesota Senate will take up their own health exchange bill this Thursday. Before final legislation heads to Governor Dayton’s desk, each chamber must reconcile any differences between their respective legislation.

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