There were numerous crashes this morning along I-35 in the Elko/New Market area as roads were dicey from a combination of a light rain/snow mix, the air temperature and temperature of the roadway. For a time, I35 was blocked with injury accidents. Rice County fared much better. Sheriff Troy Dunn said they had one minor injury crash south of Faribault and some vehicles in the ditch but nothing serious. Chief Nelson said there were no accidents in the City of Northfield. Roads are currently in good shape.
Chen trial reset
A trial was scheduled to begin this morning in Rice County court, for Zuqiu Chen. The 45 year old man has been jailed since February on charges of promoting prostitution and Receiving profits from it. Northfield police were assisted by multiple agencies in a months long investigation of the Mystic Massage parlor off Hwy 3. The BCA Predatory Crimes Unit and federal agents became involved due to immigration status and possible trafficking. Rice County Attorney, John Fossum said in September that he and Chen’s attorney would go before a Judge to argue points. It’s been rescheduled for January 2nd. Chen could appeal. The most serious charge carries a maximum 18 years in prison. We’ll hear from Fossum on Thursday morning. CHEN COMPLAINT
Infrastructure concerns Nfld Mayor on Senior Housing project
The Northfield City Council will vote on an amendment to the lease agreement with St. Olaf college on land currently under a lease with the Northfield Hospital. As reported, Yanik Company wants to build a senior housing facility that would include Independent living, assisted living and memory care, across from North Avenue. It would be operated by Benedictine Health System. Last week, Council heard the terms of the amendment. Attorney Chris Hood said it’s “pretty straight forward”. There are a couple of phases they hope to build. He added that this amendment would release Parcels 1 and 2 to the first amendment with some conditions including if Yanik pulls out, the lease goes back to Northfield Hospital. Should Council approve, then there would be a development agreement with the City, which would have to meet all city codes. It would address such things as infrastructure costs and issues you’d typically see with a development like this. He added, “the long and the short of this is, this is a relatively typical process development project”. Mayor Pownell questioned the developers understanding that the infrastructure would cost $800,000 on the location on the west side. That’s why they chose that location, she said, but it’s yet to be vetted by council. They would hook up to the Hospital’s already existing infrastructure, Pownell said the question is whether they should have to pay for some of those costs which has already been paid for. This all has to go through the City’s development process. Administator Martig said they would be looking at that when they are putting together a development agreement. Yanik has stated that they would build the $20 million facility without any City funding. A concern was raised that this facility, where the average age would be about 85, was too far from town. Mayor Rhonda Pownell said there’s no, “Target, grocery store, places that you can walk to”. At the open mic last week, Dr. Tarlochan Turna spoke. He is the President of River Edge Properties and owns the Mosaic Apartments and other parcels near Target. Staff have been speaking with Turna since last year but, Martig said, he’s been exploring it, there’s no formal plan. Council will vote on the amendment tomorrow night.
Dundas public hearing on taxes tonight
The Dundas Council will hold their Truth in Taxation public hearing at 7 o’clock tonight. While the levy is proposed at 20%, City Administrator John McCarthy says the overall taxes for Dundas citizens are expected to decrease by 15% due to several factors including the decertification of TIF District 2. Following the hearing will be a presentation by Wolf Creek Motor Sports, a country club for car enthusiasts. Rice County Commissioners were presented with the opportunity in July. Malecha said the $38 to $45 million dollar development project could be in Forest Township, along I-35 at Co. Rd. 1. McCarthy will be in studio tomorrow morning at 8:45 with a full recap of the meeting.