City Manager Blog

Each week I send out an FYI Update to City Council and staff on the latest happenings within the City of Maplewood.  I would like to share this information with the residents of Maplewood, as well. 

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Jan 16

January 12th, 2024

Posted on January 16, 2024 at 9:08 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK:  January 12th, 2024 

Meetings and Announcements:   

  • The next City Council meeting will be Monday, January 22nd. We will have a workshop where we will meet the new owner of the Sears building. He will share his plan for the building/property. Start time will be determined next week and included in the Council packet.

ADMINISTRATION
History of the Multicultural Advisory Committee (MAC)
Attached are the minutes and reports that show the history of how the MAC came to be. You will note that this started with a Use of Force Workgroup. The Police Advisory Committee was an off-shoot of the Use of Force Workgroup that was established in 2016 in response to the Philando Castille shooting. Attached you will find 3 staff reports detailing the history of the PAC to MAC. The first report is from a PAC meeting on September 25, 2019 where the motion was made to move towards a MAC. Police staff were directed to research this model and bring back to the City Council at a workshop. That workshop occurred on November 12, 2019. That staff report and presentation materials from this meeting are included in the attachments. Finally on December 9th, the Council indicated their support to transition to the MAC. This will be brought up under the Council Calendar section of the meeting. You may also call me if you have any questions. 

Xcel Energy shares energy-saving tips as colder weather looms - Follow tips to save energy and stay safe as temperatures drop
MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 9, 2024) — With temperatures forecasted to drop well below freezing in the coming days, Xcel Energy is offering tips to help customers save energy and stay safe through the colder weather.

Xcel Energy plans ahead to ensure it can provide customers with safe, reliable and affordable electricity and natural gas even on the coldest days, including maintaining a diverse energy mix of wind, solar, nuclear, natural gas and coal generation in the Upper Midwest. The company also prepares for winter storms by having additional field crews at the ready to quickly and safely restore power in the event of an outage.

Take steps to save energy and money

While wholesale natural gas prices are significantly lower than last winter, winter heating can still account for about half of a typical customer’s monthly energy costs. Customers can reduce the impact of colder weather on their energy bills through steps such as:

  • Lowering their thermostat to between 65 and 70 degrees while they are home, and 58 degrees when away from home. A programmable or smart thermostat can automatically lower the temperature based on daily routines.
  • Opening drapes and blinds to maximize heat from direct sunlight during the day, and then closing them to retain heat when it is dark.
  • Running ceiling fans in a clockwise direction to push warm air down from the ceiling. 
  • Ensuring exterior doors and windows are fully closed and latched shut. Using window sealing kits can be a low-cost way to further prevent heat loss.
  • Keeping interior doors open to help circulate air more freely and maintain consistent heating levels.
  • Changing out dirty furnace filters to promote better airflow and reduce the energy the furnace uses. Replacing the filter once a month during the winter can reduce heating costs by 5 to 15%.??
  • Improving the insulation of walls, crawl spaces, floors and heating ducts, which can save up to 10% on a home’s monthly energy bill.   

Find more energy savings tips or learn the programs, incentives and rebates customers can take advantage of when making energy efficiency upgrades to their homes and businesses. Xcel Energy encourages customers who are having trouble paying their energy bills to reach out to learn about payment plans or energy assistance programs.

How customers can prepare, stay safe

  • Keep natural gas meters clear to avoid a dangerous buildup of pressure in gas lines and prevent gas from leaking inside the home. Gently remove accumulated snow or ice by hand and clear a path to the meter for easy access in an emergency.
  • Use space heaters carefully to prevent fires. Read all instructions and warning labels and verify that the heater is listed by a recognized testing laboratory. Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs and connections and avoid using those that have frayed, worn or damaged components. Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when leaving a room and when going to sleep.
  • Maintain healthy air quality indoors by using a range hood for ventilation when cooking with an electric or natural gas appliance. Install detectors for carbon monoxide, which is odorless, colorless and tasteless, but very toxic. Move outside and call for medical help if experiencing symptoms such as headaches, nausea, ringing in the ears and lethargy.
  • Stay away from downed or sagging power lines. Always assume an electric line, even one that is on the ground, is energized and dangerous. Never touch or move a downed power line; instead, leave the area and report it immediately by calling 1-800-895-1999.
  • Build a home emergency kit to use in the event of a power outage, with items such as:
    • Xcel Energy phone numbers - 1-800-895-1999 for residential or 1-800-481-4700 for business
    • Battery-powered radio or television
    • Flashlights
    • Batteries
    • Backup phone chargers
    • A phone that does not require electricity
    • Non-electric alarm clock
    • Bottled water and nonperishable food
    • Manual can opener
    • First aid kit
    • Extension cords (for partial outages)
    • Manufacturer's instructions on how to manually open power-operated doors (e.g., garage doors)
  • Handle food safely in the event of a power outage.According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food safety is directly related to the temperature of the food. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain their temperatures if the power goes out. A full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for approximately two days and a half-full freezer approximately one day.

About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit?xcelenergy.com?or follow us on?X, formerly known as Twitter,?and?Facebook. 

PUBLIC WORKS
Buckthorn Burning at Carver Preserve
Natural resources restoration work began just over one year ago at Maplewood’s Applewood Neighborhood Preserve. The City of Maplewood’s Applewood and Carver Preserves were included in a grant awarded to Friends of the Mississippi River, with the goal of restoring prairie areas for pollinators in the Mississippi River Corridor.   

Buckthorn, encroaching brush and Siberian elm removal is wrapping up quickly! The hired contractor will be burning piles of buckthorn at Carver Preserve on Tuesday, January 16. 

“Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).”

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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
East metro housing, Minneapolis distillery expansion among projects receiving state cleanup funds
Six Minnesota communities are receiving a combined $2.15 million in contamination cleanup and investigation grants from the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.  


By Greta Kaul Star Tribune - JANUARY 12, 2024 — 6:00AM
AARON LAVINSKY, STAR TRIBUNE
Minneapolis will receive $394,000 to assist with an environmental cleanup that will allow for an expansion of O’Shaughnessy Distillery, pictured here in August 2021.

Six Minnesota communities, including four in the east metro, have been awarded $2.15 million in contamination cleanup and investigation grants from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The grants are designed to cover three-quarters of the cost of removing contaminated materials at each site, with the rest covered from other sources.

The grant awardees are:

·         Maplewood: $402,603 to clean the former site of a gas station, funeral home and power equipment company. The site will be redeveloped into Gladstone Village, a 65-unit affordable housing building.

·         Newport: $418,500 to clean up petroleum and other pollutants at a site where former uses included office space and semi parking. The site will be developed into Red Rock Villas, four apartment buildings with a total of 143 units.

·         Shoreview: $624,693 for a former public works facility site. It will be redeveloped into Rice Street Crossing, an apartment building with 253 units; 51 of them affordable, plus a 10,000-square-foot commercial/retail building.

·         St. Paul Port Authority: $178,075 for the Wire Mill expansion and upgrade, a site contaminated with heavy metals from a mix of previous uses. The site will be turned into a 30,000-square-foot expansion for a nearby business.

·         Minneapolis: $394,411 for the expansion of O'Shaughnessy Distilling on a site that previously housed a blacksmith, railroad tracks and automotive repair.

·         Albert Lea: $130,527 for cleanup leading to the construction of a convenience store and filling station at the former site of a meatpacking facility.

greta.kaul@startribune.com 

This is the news for the week. As always call or email if you have any concerns or questions with this content or upcoming City Council meeting.