Eagan community briefs, Nov. 1

Focus groups will discuss communication
The future of local community television and documenting what the public expects in the way of customer service from any cable provider in Eagan will be among the topics discussed in six community focus group meetings the city of Eagan is holding Nov. 12-14. Daytime and evening sessions are available.

As part of Eagan’s cable franchise renewal process, the city is asking for feedback from cable and non-cable subscribers, residents, businesses, teachers, parents, churches, arts, musical and cultural organizations, seniors, government agencies, nonprofits and community groups.

“How we communicate with each other, locally, is more important than ever before,” Eagan City Administrator Dave Osberg said. “We want to hear from the entire community about ways to enhance Eagan Television and community media to meet the communication needs of our residents, local groups and businesses.”

Eagan officials also want to know what customer service standards they should reasonably expect of cable providers. Comcast is seeking to renew its franchise, which expires in January 2015, so documenting the expectations of the public is critical.

The public is urged to register as soon as possible for one of six November focus groups by going to www.cityofeagan.com/MoreThanCable for times and locations. Although sessions target a variety of interest areas, the same questions are covered at each focus group, so if residents cannot attend one particular session, they are encouraged to register for the session most convenient to them.

“Your voice makes a difference,” said Eagan Communications Director Tom Garrison, who is also executive director of Eagan Television, E-TV. “We invite you to shape the future of what local community television and community media can become.”

E-TV has prepared a brief YouTube video about the focus groups and community needs assessment (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kA2SZ1MCNg) or read Experience Eagan, the November/December city newsletter, for further details. While walk-ins are welcome, registration by Nov. 7 is encouraged.

Four named to Eagan YMCA’s community board
The YMCA in Eagan has added four individuals to its community board.

Ryan Kessler of Thomson Reuters, who directs corporate development in its mergers and acquisitions department, has been active in Y programs since his youth.

Marisa Schroht, community education director of ISD 196, has experience in the community education environment from child care to after-school programs.

Sue Luse is the president of Suzanne Luse and Associates, an Eagan counseling firm that helps students find the college to fit their skills and dreams and prepare for the admissions process.

Bill Zukowski is the owner of Northland Reps Inc., a manufacturing rep firm for companies marketing materials to the construction industry in Minnesota and four surrounding states. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Zukowski has a long history with the YMCA.

The YMCA’s 18-member community board is comprised of a range of professionals from Eagan and surrounding communities who will guide the YMCA as it addresses current and future health and wellness needs of people of all ages.

Special night planned for special parents at Shepherd of the Valley
Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, 12650 Johnny Cake Ridge Road, Apple Valley, is hosting a free night out for parents of children with special needs. The event will be 6-8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, and will include a meal, comedian and resources.

Child care is also free and available, including pizza and activities for the kids. Parents must register ahead of time at www.sotv.org/events.

The church also is looking for volunteers to help with child care. Volunteers do not need special skills, just a desire to help give caregivers a break. Experienced volunteers will help staff the event. Contact Lisa Hegerman at 952-985-7329 or [email protected] to volunteer with child care.

Zoo hosts ‘Thanks for Giving’ food drive
For the month of November, the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley is conducting a “Thanks for Giving” food drive in support of Second Harvest Heartland.

Zoo guests who donate a non-perishable food item will receive an admission discount: $2 off adult and $1 off child/senior admission (one discount per donation).

The most needed items are meat and protein, canned fruits and vegetables, complete meals, grains, personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies.

For more information, call 952-431-9500 or visit mnzoo.org.

Dakota-Scott Workforce board seeks award nominations
The Dakota-Scott Workforce Investment Board is taking nominations to recognize people who do great things to improve the workplace. The following awards will be presented during the annual Legislative and Awards Luncheon on Dec. 13:

The Mark McAfee Friend of Workforce Award (previously known as the Friend of Workforce Development Award) is given to an individual who has championed workforce issues at local, state and/or federal levels.

The Business Champion Award recognizes an outstanding company that also uses Workforce Center services such as job fairs, job postings and/or working with counselors.

The Bob Killeen Award recognizes companies for their implementation of quality practices. Killeen was a former WIB member who was a tireless advocate for quality efforts.

The Excellence in Youth Employment Services Awards recognize an organization or program, an employer or an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to and effectiveness in preparing young people, ages 14-21. Two awards will be made: one for Dakota County and one for Scott County. Awards sponsors are St. Francis Regional Medical Center and Dakota Electric Association.

The Bob Klas Sr. Entrepreneur Award recognizes a local entrepreneur success story. The inaugural award was presented to Bob Klas Sr. Criteria include: the entrepreneur’s success as evidenced by business growth; the individual’s leadership in the business and/or civic communities; and/or the mentorship they provide to other entrepreneurs.

For more information or to submit a nomination, contact the Workforce Investment Board at 651-554-5633 or email [email protected]. The deadline to submit nominations is Nov. 1.

Job Transitions Group meets Nov. 5
Catherine Byers Breet will present “YOU LOOK A LITTLE FAT IN THAT! Why a little tough love might be just the thing you need to get hired” at the Nov. 5 meeting of the Easter Job Transitions Group. The group meets at 7:30 a.m. Tuesdays at Easter Lutheran Church-By the Lake, 4545 Pilot Knob Road, Eagan. Call 651-452-3680 for information.

Explorers looking for members
The Dakota County Sheriffs Office Explorer Post is accepting applications for new recruits. Explorers are trained by department advisers in law enforcement techniques, community policing, crime prevention and first aid.

The skills they learn are tested at state and national competitions and can benefit those who attend post-secondary education.

The program cooperates with Learning For Life, a nonprofit organization dedicated to introducing young adults to law enforcement and criminal justice careers.

The Explorers accepts boys and girls ages 14-20 who reside within Dakota County, have completed eighth grade, pass a background check, and maintain a C average or better.

For additional information, contact Det. Dawanna Witt at 651-438-4736 or [email protected].

Forum offers information on health insurance
Dakota County will host a health care forum from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, at Lutheran Church of the Ascension, 1801 Cliff Road E., Burnsville.

The forum will feature presentations on Medicare and MNsure, as well as general information about WIC, Child and Teen Checkup, SNAP, and Financial Empowerment programs. Attendees can get assistance signing up for MNsure health care programs from certified counselors.

The presentation on Medicare will be from 6:15-6:45 p.m., followed by the MNsure presentation from 6:45-7:15 p.m. General information and MNsure assistance will be available from 6-8 p.m.

Those seeking assistance signing up for MNsure programs should bring the name, date of birth, Social Security number and income information for any individual with whom they jointly file taxes or declare as a dependent.

There is no cost to attend.

New immunization requirements begin in 2014
The Minnesota Department of Health has adopted new immunization requirements that will apply to children enrolling in schools, child care programs and early childhood programs beginning Sept. 1, 2014, and will bring Minnesota’s immunizations law in line with current national recommendations and practices.

Among the biggest changes, the new rules for children in child care and grades preK-12 now call for:

– Hepatitis A and B vaccination for children enrolling in child care or early childhood programs.

– Replacement of the current seventh-grade tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccination with one that also includes pertussis (Tdap).

– Meningococcal vaccination for secondary students, beginning in seventh grade.

The new rules do not change the medical exemption or the option for parents to decline any or all vaccines for conscientious reasons.

Some additional changes to the school and child care immunization rules make modifications in the timing of certain doses of required vaccines to match current medically acceptable standards and put early childhood programs that meet regularly for six weeks or more under the immunization rule. More details on the changes are on the MDH immunizations website (www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/immunize/immrule/newlawfs.html).

Craft, quilt and bake sale at Farmington Lutheran
Farmington Lutheran Church will hold its Craft, Quilt & Bake sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2.

The event will include a “Second Chance Sale” featuring items that can be recycled, reused, repurposed and reloved.

The church is located at 20600 Akin Road in Farmington. Call 651-463-4100 for more information.

Holiday boutique set Nov. 2
Christ Lutheran Church, 1930 Diffley Road, Eagan, will hold its 23rd annual Holiday Boutique from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2. For additional information, call 651-454-4091.

Fair Trade Sale is Nov. 2 at St. John Neumann
St. John Neumann and St. Thomas Becket Just Marketplace Ministry will host a Fair Trade Sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, in the social hall at St. John Neumann.

Products include handcrafts and food items made by economically disadvantaged artisans and farmers. The sale of the items provides a sustainable livelihood for these small-scale producers. Representatives will be on hand to tell the stories of the people behind the products and how fair trade helps the artisans and farmers.

The Fair Trade Sale is not a fundraiser. More than 90 percent of the purchase price goes directly back to support the artisans and farmers that produce the product.

Cash or checks preferred.

St. John Neumann Church is at 4030 Pilot Knob Road, Eagan. For more information, contact Jeanne Creegan at 651-681-9575.

Donations needed for Thanksgiving baskets
Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville is seeking help from the community for donations of food, gift cards, and money for its annual Thanksgiving basket program to feed 350 families.

People can sign up to make Thanksgiving baskets which are to include: Bottled juice, two cans of corn, two cans of green beans, one can of cranberry sauce, one can of syrup-packed sweet potatoes, two boxes of one-step turkey stuffing mix, two jars of ready-made turkey gravy, two cans mixed fruit, two boxes of instant mashed potatoes, disposable roasting pan, paper towels or napkins, roll of tinfoil, disposable storage containers, $25 Cub gift certificate (for turkey and other perishable food), and a cardboard box or clothes basket (to prepare items for preparing baskets).

Donations are also being accepted of any of the Thanksgiving basket items, $25 Cub gift cards, or monetary donations to help bridge any gaps.

To register to make a basket or for more information, call the church at 952-890-0045.

Craft fair set Nov. 2-3 at Mary, Mother
Mary, Mother of the Church’s annual craft fair will be 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, in the Mary Center and Fireside Room. The church is located at 3333 Cliff Road, Burnsville.

More than 75 crafters will be on hand. The Burnsville Lions Club will sell food and beverages. Admission is free.

Holiday festival is Nov. 2 at LCA
The Women’s Guild of the Lutheran Church of the Ascension, 1803 E. Cliff Road, Burnsville, will hold its 23nd annual Holiday Festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2.

The festival will feature a craft show, lunch menu, and bake sale. Cinnamon rolls and coffee will be for sale.

Call 952-890-3412 for more information.