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For the first time this season, the pool and waterfall fountain on the north plaza of the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis were filled with water last week — but only temporarily.

After work on the $3.5 million renovation project wrapped up last week, crews filled the outdoor fountain with water for a day to test the repairs before draining it. The pool and fountain outside the Government Center will be refilled in the spring when the area reopens.

County officials say the latest repairs — the second time such repairs have been done in the Government Center’s 42-year history — will last for 30 years.

The pool and fountain have caused problems for decades for the offices below. Leaks have regularly occurred on the circular glass “curtain wall” around the oculus, which receives the waterfall.

Repair work began in May and continued longer than expected because of one of the wettest Septembers on record. Crews re-waterproofed the pool and replaced the oculus glass on the lower level.

This spring, the county also plans to double the seating in the north plaza. As part of the renovation, crews built two new pedestrian ramps, replaced cracked granite and repaired retaining walls.



City looking to fill sustainability board

Bloomington is looking for applicants for the city’s first Sustainability Commission.

Up to nine residents with expertise in community engagement or major areas of sustainability will be appointed to the board by the City Council.

The commission will advise the City Council on management of the city’s environmental resources and discuss the sustainable use of air, land, water, energy and waste.

Members will be chosen in February. The deadline for applications is Dec. 28. For more information, go to

Miguel Otárola


Job seekers: Free job fair held Monday

Hennepin County will host a free career fair on Monday.

The event, which is open to the public, will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Brookdale Library, 6125 Shingle Creek Pkwy., Brooklyn Center.

It’s one in a series of events the county is hosting to pair employers looking for workers with employees looking for job opportunities.

For more details, go to



CP Holiday Train to make stops in west metro

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will be stopping in several west metro suburbs this year, including Golden Valley for the first time.

The train, decked out with thousands of lights and holiday designs, is stopping on Saturday, Dec. 10, in New Hope (2:20 p.m.), Golden Valley (3:35 p.m.), St. Louis Park (4:35 p.m.) and northeast Minneapolis (7 p.m.). The train also stops at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11, in Loretto. It’s stopping in 21 Minnesota cities in all.

This is the 18th year for the train, which crosses the U.S. and Canada to raise food and money for local food banks. The event is free and open to the public, but people are asked to donate cash or nonperishable food items. For a full schedule and details, go to



City strives to fill gap from worker comp costs

Chanhassen City Council is looking for ways to cover an unanticipated $59,000 budget shortfall that’s attributed to an increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

The premium increase of 29 percent seems to be a one-time blip, and staffers said they’re not expecting a big increase next year.

Chanhassen will vote to approve a final 2017 budget on Dec. 12, so the council will have to decide soon.

One idea traded at a recent work session: Implement a $2,500 to $5,000 deductible payable by the city when an employee files a workers’ compensation claim, a move estimated to save $16,000 to $25,000 in annual premiums. But with six to eight claims per year, the city likely would come out even, said finance director Greg Sticha.

City staffers initially recommended lowering the 2017 street reconstruction levy, while council members favored a reduction in the equipment levy that funds snowplows, lawn mowers and roof replacements.

Erin Adler