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Target Field tobacco ban exempts players

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Target Field may go completely tobacco-free for fans due to a proposed ban at the Twins ballpark, but it will not cover the players, according to the Star Tribune.

The Minnesota Ballpark Authority, which oversees Target Field, officially announced the new policy at its quarterly meeting Friday.

Twins spokesman Kevin Smith said Friday that the collective bargaining agreement under which players operate doesn't explicitly bar them from smoking or using tobacco while playing, according to the Tribune.

However, the Tribune said players are obligated, to keep their tobacco use to themselves, he said. They can't be seen smoking on TV, and even the outline of a jar of snuff in a player's pocket cannot be seen, Smith said.

According to the the Tribune, the Twins have a no-reentry rule, meaning that smokers who want to leave for a smoke will not be allowed back in. The smoking ban applies to any event at Target Field, whether it's a concert or a private gathering such as a wedding, the Tribune said.

Light-rail overnight work approved

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The St. Paul City Council has approved overnight work for construction of the Central Corridor light-rail transit line along University Avenue and Robert Street, according to the Pioneer Press.

The council issued a sound-level variance for work along University Avenue from Emerald Street to Hamline Avenue, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., on 20 occasions from April to July 15, according to the Press.

The Press said work will be limited to dump trucks, backhoes and compactors and should not include jack-hammering, according to the application from the Metropolitan Council.

According to the Press, the second sound-level variance is for overnight work related to the Cedar Bridge. The work area extends along Robert Street starting at University Avenue to 12th Street East, 12th Street East to Cedar Street, and Cedar Street East to 11th Street, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. on 25 dates, the Press said. The application indicates that all loud activities such as jack-hammering should be performed during the day, according to the Press.

DNR webcam offers live views of downtown falcon nest

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Bird enthusiasts can get an up-close look at a pair of peregrine falcons nesting in downtown St. Paul, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Non-game Wildlife Program of the Department of Natural Resources has placed a live webcam in their nesting box, according to the Press. This project was created in cooperation with the Midwest Peregrine Society and the businesses of Town Square and Sentinel Properties.

According to the Press, the pair laid its first egg Wednesday. Program supervisor Carrol Henderson said the female will lay up to four more eggs over the next few days. The eggs should hatch around April 28 and the young will stay in the box until late June or early July, the Press said.

The Press said peregrine falcons chase their prey at speeds of up to of 200 miles per hour and that they've made a remarkable comeback from the edge of extinction.

State Patrol adds more seat belt enforcement

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The Minnesota State Patrol is adding more seat belt enforcement next week in 10 greater Minnesota counties that have endured the most unbelted deaths and injuries, according to the Star Tribune.

According to the Tribune, these extra patrols are starting Monday and going through next Sunday in Cass, Itasca, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Olmsted, St. Louis, Stearns, Renville, Rice and Winona counties.

The Department of Public Safety's Office of Traffic Safety says that combined, those counties had 854 unbelted deaths and serious injuries between 2007 and 2009, according to the Tribune.

The Tribune said the primary seat belt law requires drivers and passengers in all seating positions, including the back seat, to be buckled up or in a proper child restraint.

Officers will stop and ticket drivers or passengers without seat belts, the Tribune said.

'Green' trash bags law to be enforced in Minneapolis

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A state law passed in January 2010 and new city policy will be put into effect making it mandatory to use compostable yard bags starting on gargbage day the week of April 9, according to the Star Tribune.

David Herberholz, the city's director of solid waste and recycling, said that with less plastic being sent to composting facilities, the process is less expensive, safer for employees, better for the machinery, and results in a higher quality compost, according to the Tribune.

The Tribune said residents will have a four-week grace period to take care of leftover conventional trash bags lying around.

After trash pick-up the week of April 30, Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling will leave a note with non-compostable bags urging customers to re-package the trash in the more environmentally friendly sacks or in reusable bins, according to the Tribune.

North Shore activists honored

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St. Paul residents Mark and Joan Strobel received the Minnesota Parks and Trails Council's most prestigious award last week for their lifelong commitment to keeping the North Shore open and natural, according to the Star Tribune.

According to the Tribune, the Strobels led several efforts at Tettegouche State Park in the past 20 years, including adding 3,000 acres of land.

On one particular project, they worked with private landowners to add 3,700 feet of shoreline to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park's Gold Rock Point, the Tribune said.

The Tribune also said the Reuel Harmon Award is named for a founding member of the Minnesota Council of State Parks in 1954 that transformed into the current council, a grassroots organization focused on expanding parkland.

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