One of the projects overseen by the MPCA was the construction of the Maplewood Mall stormwater system, which will contribute to the improvement in Kohlmann Lake’s water quality by preventing 50 pounds of phosphorus and five tons of sediment per year from entering the lake.
Some of the most innovative engineering projects undertaken in Minnesota in 2012 were set into motion as a result of environmental initiatives undertaken by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota (ACEC/MN) recently announced the winners of its 2013 Engineering Excellence awards. Several of the 29 award-winning projects were set into motion as a result of environmental initiatives undertaken by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The projects represent some of the most innovative engineering work undertaken in Minnesota in 2012. Some were directly funded or overseen by MPCA; others were initiated in response to the agency’s environmental work. Three of these environmental projects will compete for recognition at the national level.
One of the award-winning projects converted an Edina parking garage into a new drinking water treatment plant. When it was discovered that the city’s groundwater was contaminated with vinyl chloride, a new treatment system was needed to protect the quality of the water supply.
The MPCA provided financial support for the project’s design, while the city funded construction and ongoing operation of the facility. The unique project, designed by the engineering firm AECOM, allowed the city to reuse an existing structure. This eliminated the need to use valuable green space for infrastructure improvements.
Another project recognized by ACEC/MN was an innovative stormwater management system at Maplewood Mall. The system, designed by Barr Engineering, will capture and treat 90% of the stormwater runoff at the site. It incorporates rain gardens, permeable pavement crosswalks, a cistern that captures roof runoff for irrigation, and some 200 trees.
Minnesota officials including Mayors Coleman, Rybak, Hovland, Williams, Tabke, Zanmiller, and Maguire, as well as Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, and MET Council Chair Susan Haigh, gathered on Wednesday in support of Governor Dayton’s Transit Plan. Highlights of the plan focus on expanding both the Light Rail Transitways and the Bus Rapid Transit Corridors, as well as maintaining our network of roads and bridges.
Rahel Theodros is a full-time college student from Columbia Heights studying business marketing education at the University of Minnesota. In addition to her studies, Rahel works 15-20 hours per week as a waitress and is heavily involved in volunteeringand numerous campus activities.
Rahel has a younger sister and an older brother who are also attending college right now. She is one of nearly 100,000 Minnesota students who rely on the Minnesota State Grant program to pay for college.
In addition to the State Grant funding she receives, Rahel has also had to take out $5,000 to $6,000 in student loans each year. She anticipates that she will graduate with more than $20,000 in student debt. “Without the Minnesota State Grant Program,” she said, “I would not have been able to afford tuition.”
Under Governor Dayton’s budget proposal, Rahel’s State Grant award would increase by an estimated $1,200.
Helping Thousands of Students Like Rahel
State financial assistance has not kept pace with rising tuition and other increased costs of higher education. Over the last decade, tuition and fees have increased by three times the rate of inflation. Meanwhile, Minnesota students are taking out loans at one of the highest rates in the nation, with the average graduate leaving school with $29,800 in student debt.
Today, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh were joined by a group of mayors and county commissioners at a Capitol news conference urging legislators to support Governor Mark Dayton’s proposal to increase Minnesota’s investment in transit.
Joining Rybak, Coleman, and Haigh were Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire, West St. Paul Mayor John Zanmiller, Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke, Savage Mayor Janet Williams, and Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris. In their words, Governor Dayton’s transit plan: "would create a 21st century transit system in Minnesota, which is critical for job creation, economic prosperity and our ability to be globally competitive."
This afternoon, Office of Higher Education Director Larry Pogemiller will meet with college students in Winona to discuss student debt, and Governor Dayton’s plan to increase higher education funding – including $80 million in direct financial aid to students. The governor’s proposed investment in the Minnesota State Grant Program would help make college more affordable students like Rahel Theodros. Under the governor’s plan, Rahel would receive an additional $1,200 in direct student aid. More information about Rahel’s story is attached and below.
Later today, Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson will visit with hospital administrators and medical professionals in St. Cloud. Commissioner Jesson will discuss health care investments in Governor Dayton’s budget proposal, and other strategies to reform Minnesota’s health care system.
In the News
Winona Daily News
William Mann: Budget proposal helps make college possible for some
As the president of Saint Mary’s University, one of the three institutions of higher education that call Winona home, I am compelled to speak for our students and families and commend Gov. Mark Dayton for making quality, affordable college education a priority in his most recent budget proposal.
Particularly meaningful among the priorities he has laid out is a 25 percent increase in funding for the Minnesota State Grant program. The state grant is a need-based state award which offers low- and middle-class students at Minnesota colleges or universities an annually renewable grant for tuition, books or living expenses while attending college. The program benefits students attending both public and private institutions of higher education.
The proposed increase to the state grant would help even more low- and middle-class families pay for college. According to the state Minnesota Office of Higher Education, current grant recipients would see their grants increase by an average of $300 per year. And 5,000 additional students would become eligible to receive grants. Many of these newly eligible recipients come from middle-class families that earn $50,000 or more per year and are ineligible for the federal Pell Grant.
Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson (right) is joined by Cathleen Isaacson, her daughter Ava Paoletti, 9, and Lincoln Elementary School special education teacher Laurie Malkovich during a roundtable discussion on Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget proposal to expand funding for school-linked mental health services Friday, Feb. 15, in Hibbing.
Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson met with education and mental health leaders on the Iron Range last week to learn from their decades’ long experience providing school-linked mental health services. A proposal in Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget would double grants that bring mental health prevention and early intervention into schools across the state.
Governor Dayton Speaks at the Minnesota Asian Carp Summit
This weekend in Washington D.C. Governor Dayton was elected to be the new Chair of the Midwestern Governors Association at its annual meeting. Replacing Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Dayton will focus his agenda on creating responses to invasive species, primarily on Asian carp and zebra mussels.
Part of this initiative will include governors helping out to find opportunities to take and challenges to overcome. As a first step to the plan the MGA will hold a meeting of policy advisors, state natural resources and agriculture secretaries and various other experts.
“I am honored to have been chosen by my fellow governors to be Chair of the Midwestern Governors Association. I look forward to working with them to further strengthen our region and address invasive species,” said Dayton, who will serve in this new position until February 2014.
Dayton will also continue Branstad’s initiative to help increase the production of low-cost energy which includes finding ways to increase alternative vehicle fueling stations.
More information about Dayton’s agenda can be found on the MGA’s website .
Today, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman submitted a commentary to the Star Tribune, strongly supporting Governor Dayton’s proposed investments in aid to local governments and $1.4 billion in direct property tax relief to homeowners. Mayor Coleman’s commentary is provided in the attached document. The governor has proposed a $120 million increase in aid to cities and counties, and a $500 property tax rebate for every Minnesota homeowner. More details on the governor’s property tax relief plan are detailed below.