Groups eye National Heritage designation for St. Croix River valley

Businesses and agencies in the river valley say being named a National Heritage Area could lead to more federal dollars and more tourist visits. The designation is based on natural and cultural history. There are 49 Heritage Areas in the country, but none in Minnesota or Wisconsin.
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Businesses and agencies in the river valley say being named a National Heritage Area could lead to more federal dollars and more tourist visits. The designation is based on natural and cultural history. There are 49 Heritage Areas in the country, but none in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

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Hot air balloon stalls out over the St. Croix River

More than a dozen sightseers on a hot air balloon had to be "towed" to safety Saturday night. The Washington County Sheriff's Office tells KARE 11 the balloon stalled out because of a lack of wind. Officers were able to pull the balloon to the shore along the St. Croix River near Afton.

Lake Elmo teen drowns in St. Croix River

A dive team Monday night was searching the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wis., for the body of a Lake Elmo 18-year-old who had been trying to swim across the St. Croix channel. The teen made it about a third of the way, began to struggle, turned around to go back to the dike and went under, investigators said.

Obama signs St. Croix River bridge bill

President Barack Obama signed the bill authorizing a $690 million bridge near Stillwater. He signed it over the objections of some federal officials who worry exempting the St. Croix from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act sets a bad precedent.

Bachmann vows district change won't weaken push for St. Croix bridge

Minnesota's new political map moves the Stillwater area - and any new bridge that's built there - out of the district Michele Bachmann represents. But the Republican Congresswoman promises that won't soften her resolve to see the project completed. The area will now be in the district represented by Democrat Betty McCollum, who opposes the bridge design now being considered.

U.S. House set to vote on St. Croix River bridge

Supporters of a new bridge near Stillwater have been pushing the concept for decades. They believe they can finally reach their goal if the House votes to exempt part of the St. Croix from its status as a Wild and Scenic River. But the bridge has its critics. They're using financial arguments in hopes of rallying opposition.

MnDOT: Construction on new St. Croix River bridge to begin next spring

MnDOT officials tell MPR that foundation work on the new bridge crossing the St. Croix River downstream from Stillwater will begin next spring, rather than in 2014. The proposed four-lane bridge connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin will replace the 80-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge. The entire project is estimated to cost up to $676 million and take about three years to complete.