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Plenty of safe places to work in the region. A meat-packing plant in Norwalk doesn't appear to be among them. OSHA has put the smackdown on the VPP Group meat packing facility for what the federal agency is calling a "zero commitment to worker safety and health." The action comes after the December electrocution death of a worker at the plant. OSHA says the worker was sent to work on a leaking water pipe near an electrical box. The fed agency found nearly a dozen violations in the plant, some not having anything to do with the electrocution. OSHA has recommended fines of nearly 190 thousand dollars to VPP.
Last summer, the threat of a federal government shutdown lingered for several weeks.
What are the chances of that happening again this year? Not as severe, says Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Speaking in Winona this week, she said that other leaders in Washington don't want to come that close to a crisis again.
Klobuchar voted last year to support a debt limit increase to keep the government from going into default. Republicans who have run against Klobuchar in this year's Senate race have criticized how Washington handled its economic problems.
A deal for Kwik Trip to expand in La Crosse appears headed for approval. The city council has overwhelmingly agreed to a development agreement that would have the company adding significantly to its footprint in the city's industrial park. Great, says Mayor Matt Harter. Except for that one part in the agreement about returning a portion of property taxes generated by the project in a form of a cash grant
Harter doesn't believe that companies like Kwik Trip should receive substantial financial assistance to expand in La Crosse while smaller companies do without.
New rules regulating garbage disposal in La Crosse appear to be on the way. The city council has given preliminary approval to an update to La Crosse's garbage codes that involve mandates for increased use of dumpsters by rental properties, increased restrictions on scavengers, and limits on numbers of large items that can be thrown out at any one time. The city's public works board has been working on revising the city's current garbage rules for more than a year. Several landlords have resisted the new rules, saying that they would be costly and ineffective.
An effort to expand wellness education could use some help. La Crosse county nutritionist Linda Lee is hoping for support for a 450 thousand dollar grant to, among other things, add to the current Farm-to-School effort in the county
The grant comes from the feds through the UW system. It's a competitive grant and bonus points are awarded for the county's grant application based on votes gathered online.