By Teri Knight, News Director
An investigation begun last year by the Cannon River Drug and Violent Offender Task Force (CRDVTF) led to a major bust in September of 2018. Yesterday, United States Attorney Erica MacDonald announced the guilty plea of one of four individuals involved. 34-year-old Fernando Ramos-Meza pled guilty to conspiring to distribute approximately 191 pounds of methamphetamine. Patiently following leads for months, law enforcement officers of the CRDVTF executed a search warrant on September 11, 2018, at Ramo-Meza’s residence in north Minneapolis. During the search, officers located a
12-gauge sawed-off pump shotgun, thousands in cash, and methamphetamine with a street value of over $7.7 million. This case involved the cooperation of multiple agencies from our local Drug Task Force to Homeland Security Investigations, as well as the Minneapolis Police Department. U.S. Attorney McDonald said, “The quantities of methamphetamine coming into our state continue to rise and the destruction that comes with it cannot be understated. I applaud the work of the Cannon River Drug Task Force in taking nearly 200 pounds of methamphetamine off the street and out of our community.” Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn and Police Chiefs Monte Nelson and Andy Bohlen commented, “Our team did a great job and we are very proud of the work and the significant impact this seizure made for our community and entire State.” Ramos-Meza is scheduled to be sentenced on August 20, 2019. The three other co-conspirators cases are pending.
City of Northfield launches Polco
The City of Northfield has been working to improve communications with the public. Mayor Rhonda Pownell said they want to engage with community members and receive feedback in multiple ways. A program called Polco was recently launched. City Communications Director Michelle Mahowald explains that it was recommended by their Strategic Plan Consultant, Craig Rapp, to increase community engagement throughout the year with baseline questions each month designed “to build up a survey of responses from the community.” The city can also create their own questions, such as recently about snow plowing. Citizens can sign up for an account on the Polco website, the City’s website or by downloading the Polco app. Each month questions are emailed to citizens and they choose which ones they want to answer. Then the city receives a report of all the responses and comments. The reports can then be brought forward to council members and staff for discussion and follow up. As it’s a new program, Mahowald said they’re working to increase participation. Participants’ information is kept confidential. There are a number of other communication options that Mahowald and newly-hired Communications Specialist Kara Trygestad shared. Click HERE for their full interview and other communication links.
Northfield School Board approves 4 year lease for iPads
The Northfield School District approved a four-year lease for about 4200 new iPads with an updated stylus called Logitech Crayon. Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann explained the cost for all of that is $427,000 per year. Hillmann said that’s, “only $4,000 over our last lease, yet are adding an entire additional grade to the one-to-one.” The district just added iPads for students in the third grade. Hillmann said the district paid about $379 per device when they started using iPads; this lease comes out to $289 per iPad. They will be distributing the new iPads over the summer months. Hillmann noted that lost and broken devices are taken into account with their insurance.