A January drug bust in West St. Paul — believed to be one of the biggest in the history of the Dakota County Drug Task Force — started with a minor traffic violation. Around 3 p.m. Jan. 4, West St. Paul police officer Justin Bowman pulled over the driver of a black 2015 Chevrolet Cruze for failing to signal, according to a police report and Dakota County District Court documents. Bowman smelled marijuana coming from the car, and started asking questions. The driver and his passenger gave the officer “stories that were not making any sense,” said Brian Sturgeon, West St. Paul police lieutenant. Nothing illegal was found in the car, so the two men were let go. But Bowman followed up at the Oakdale Terrace apartment complex, which the men said they had just left. That resulted in a search of a main-floor apartment three hours later by the county drug task force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Homeland Security Investigations. Hidden inside a television in … [Read more...] about Traffic stop led to West St. Paul seizure of 45 pounds of meth, cocaine, $700K in cash
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West St. Paul could join other cities in fighting the fat. The city spent an estimated $138,000 last year cleaning fats, oils and grease — commonly referred to as FOG — out of sanitary-sewer lines and lift stations. The gunk typically comes from restaurants, city officials say. “There is an easy solution to this, and that is to hold accountable the businesses that are contributing to it,” City Attorney Kori Land told the city council at its meeting last week. Under a proposed ordinance, restaurants would be inspected to make sure they have a working trap to catch FOG. When allowed to go into the sewer system, the ingredients harden, clog pipes and cause backups. Although inspections would not necessarily happen annually, the city could make a visit to a restaurant after giving a 24-hour notice or even immediately in emergency cases. Businesses also would be required to submit to the city quarterly inspection reports that show their grease traps are being … [Read more...] about West St. Paul looks to fight restaurant fats, oils and grease in city pipes
The newest member of the West St. Paul City Council is a seasoned roller derby player. As such, Lisa Eng-Sarne believes she can handle anything that comes her way. “I’m tough, and that’s my reputation on the track,” said Eng-Sarne, who’s been competing in the Minnesota RollerGirls league since 2008 as Diamond Rough. “But I have a big heart, and I care a lot.” The 35-year-old political newcomer — who works as a project manager for a Minneapolis marketing agency — was picked this week to fill the remaining two years of the Ward 3 council seat vacated by Dave Napier when he was elected mayor in November. “I’m very optimistic,” she said of her new challenge. “There’s this new element of being a public figure in this sort of way, which is exciting.” Six candidates applied for the open seat and two finalists were chosen. A council subcommittee made up of Wendy Berry, Bob Pace and Dick Vitelli … [Read more...] about In roller derby circles, the new West St. Paul council member is aka Diamond Rough
The candidates for West St. Paul mayor have been on opposite sides of two divisive issues. City Council Members Anthony Fernandez and Dave Napier are competing to replace Jenny Halverson, who in April announced she would not seek re-election. She was elected in 2016, defeating incumbent Dave Meisinger. The first contentious topic came shortly after Fernandez was sworn to represent Ward 2 in January 2016. Fernandez sided with council members John Bellows and Ed Iago in requesting a special meeting to review the contract for then-City Manager Matt Fulton. But before a meeting could be held, Fulton resigned, saying he believed there would be enough votes on the council “to provide new leadership.” Napier was a Fulton supporter who voted against a separation agreement, which gave Fulton $75,200, medical and dental coverage, and retirement benefits over a six-month severance period. Fernandez and Bob Pace, who also was newly elected, voted for the agreement and were criticized … [Read more...] about Two West St. Paul council members competing to be mayor. They disagree on divisive issues.
MAYOR Dave Napier Age: 56 What qualifies you to hold this position? I have over 20 years leadership experience through local nonprofit community organizations. I have served on the city council for almost 6 years. I have attended several seminars focused on economic development, infrastructure, public safety and other related topics. I have an outstanding ability to collaborate with others to achieve common goals. What would your top priorities be if elected? Provide strong leadership to continue moving the city forward. Define the roles and expectations of council members, monitor the city’s operational and capital improvement budgets. Work with law enforcement and fire department to ensure they have necessary resources. Continue to improve infrastructure. Develop a clear nomination process for commissions. What do you think is the primary role of government? The role of government is to recognize the needs of the residents. Develop policies that achieve common … [Read more...] about Elections 2018: West St. Paul city council and mayor candidates