Monday, June 12, 2017

State reminds homeowners to do homework before hiring a contractor



The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) reminds homeowners to do their homework before hiring a building contractor after a storm ... or anytime.

“There are many companies in Minnesota that specialize in repairing roofs, siding and windows damaged by storms. Most of these contractors are reputable and licensed,” said Ken Peterson, DLI commissioner. “However, sometimes unscrupulous operators try to take advantage of storm victims.”

After neighborhoods experience a wind or hail storm, homeowners may find salespeople for these companies going door-to-door soliciting repair work.

Before signing any document, homeowners should call DLI at (651) 284-5069 or go online to DLI'sLicense Lookup search to verify the contractor is licensed and to learn if the contractor has a history of disciplinary action. Homeowners should also check with the Better Business Bureau and check for lawsuits or judgments involving the company or its owners in the state court system.

Homeowners are cautioned not to sign anything presented by a contractor unless the document is read very carefully and the homeowner has made a firm decision to hire that contractor. Generally speaking, if a homeowner signs a piece of paper it is a contract, regardless of what the salesperson says; the homeowner is then obligated to use the contractor for all repairs approved by the homeowner's insurance company.

Contractors cannot offer to pay the homeowner's insurance deductible. State law prohibits contractors from paying deductibles or offering any compensation as an incentive to hire them to perform storm repair services.

Before hiring a contractor, DLI suggests homeowners ask:
  • for the contractor's license number and then contact DLI's CCLD Enforcement Unit at (651) 284-5069 or dli.contractor@state.mn.us to verify the contractor is currently licensed and to determine if the contractor has a disciplinary history;
  • the contractor how long and where they have been in business;
  • for references and check with former customers to see if they were satisfied with the work; and
  • for a local phone number and a Minnesota business address other than a post office box.

Friday, June 2, 2017

MnDOT starts full summer overweight permits in the north frost zone



ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation will start full summer overweight permits in the north frost zone June 7.

Full summer overweight permits are already available in other frost zones.

Road restriction maps indicating the locations of weight restricted routes and those state highways open to maximum 10-ton axle weights are listed on the MnDOT Seasonal Load Limits website at www.mndot.gov/loadlimits. Click on “Spring Load Restrictions.” Also available is a text list of the restricted segments along with exceptions to the map.

Middle-range overweight permits become available within each frost zone when spring load restrictions are lifted.

Full summer overweight permits become available within each frost zone starting two to three weeks after spring load restrictions are lifted. For questions about the legal weight and size heavy haul trucking, call MnDOT’s Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations department at 651-296-6000 or email ofcvopermits.dot@state.mn.us.

For enforcement questions, call the State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement at 651-405-6196 and select option 3 and then option 3.

MnDOT will report dates on its 24-hour automated message center at 1‑800‑723‑6543 for the U.S. and Canada, and locally at 651‑366‑5400 for the Minneapolis/St.Paul area.

Road preservation projects scheduled for area highways

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists can expect brief delays on area highways beginning Monday, June 12, as contractor crews complete seal coating projects to extend the life of the pavement surface on Highways 1 and 32 in Marshall, Pennington, Polk and Red Lake counties.

The highway segments scheduled for the preventative maintenance include:    

·         Highway 1 between Warren and Thief River Falls (approximately 28 miles)
·         Highway 32 from Fertile to St. Hilaire (approximately 33 miles)

During this work, a pilot car and flaggers will control traffic, and motorists should plan for daily lane closures in the area where crews are working. Drivers are urged to slow down and be alert for loose gravel and oil spraying in these areas. The work zone speed limit is 40 mph.

Asphalt Surface Technologies Corporation, based in St. Cloud is the prime contractor for the $1.47 million preventive maintenance project consisting of over 60 miles of roadway repair.

MnDOT urges motorists to always drive with caution, and reminds them to slow down in the work zone and never enter a roadway that has been blocked with barriers or cones.

For real-time travel information and road conditions anywhere in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Public Meetings For Review of Proposed Pipeline Project



SAINT PAUL –The first public meetings on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 pipeline project will be held during the week of June 5.
Under the authority of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and its decisionmaking process, the State of Minnesota issued the draft EIS on May 15 for a public review and comment period that extends through July 10 and includes 22 public meetings in the counties through which the proposed pipeline or an alternative route is under consideration.
Meetings will be held in Bagley and Grand Rapids on Tuesday, June 6; Park Rapids and Cass Lake on Wednesday, June 7; Floodwood and Brainerd on Thursday, June 8; and Wadena on Friday, June 9.
The draft EIS and full schedule of public meetings are available at: mn.gov/commerce/energyfacilities/line3
Enbridge Energy has applied for a certificate of need and route permit from the Public Utilities Commission to construct its proposed Line 3 pipeline project. By order of the Commission, a draft EIS has been prepared by the Minnesota Commerce Department in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to evaluate the potential human and environmental impacts. 
The purpose of the upcoming meetings is to inform the public about the contents of the draft EIS and to provide an opportunity for the public to submit comments, either oral or written, to help prepare the final EIS for the Public Utilities Commission’s decision making on Enbridge’s proposed project.
Each meeting will begin with an open house featuring information stations on specific topics in the draft EIS. Staffed by agency representatives, the stations will allow Minnesotans to learn about the contents of the draft EIS.
The open house will be followed by a brief presentation about the purpose of the EIS and the regulatory review process before the Public Utilities Commission’s final decisions.
Each meeting will conclude with an open comment session, allowing members of the public to offer input on the draft EIS, which will be transcribed by a court reporter for the official record. The time available for each comment will depend on the number of people requesting to speak. There is also the option of providing comments individually to a court reporter during the open house.
In addition, Minnesotans can submit written comments, either at the meeting or via email, fax or regular mail. All comments for the record, whether oral or written, will be considered in preparing the final EIS.
Government-to-government consultations between the State of Minnesota and the tribal governments in the state are also ongoing as part of the environmental review process.
After completion of the final EIS, a series of public hearings will be held later in 2017 by an administrative law judge from the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings to address Enbridge’s certificate of need and route permit applications. At these public hearings, Minnesotans will be able to submit comments, present evidence and ask questions. 
The administrative law judge will submit a report to the Public Utilities Commission with findings of facts, conclusions of law and recommendations. The Commission is expected to decide on Enbridge’s certificate of need and route permit applications in the spring of 2018.
Enbridge is proposing to construct a new oil pipeline in Minnesota, replacing its existing Line 3. As proposed, the new pipeline would follow the existing Line 3 from the North Dakota border near Hallock to an Enbridge terminal in Clearbrook. From Clearbrook eastward, the proposed pipeline would follow a new right-of-way, south of the existing Line 3, ending at an existing terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. As proposed by Enbridge, the existing Line 3 would be abandoned and left in place after the new pipeline is installed, tested and operational.
Written comments on the draft EIS will be accepted through Monday, July 10, 2017. Comments may be emailed, mailed or faxed.
Mail:   Minnesota Department of Commerce
           Attn: Jamie MacAlister, Environmental Review Manager
           85 7th Place East, Suite 280
           St. Paul MN  55101-2198
EmailPipeline.Comments@state.mn.us
Fax:   651-539-0109