Area briefs for the week of April 14

Reminder: Westbound 42 closed at I-35W beginning April 17
Westbound County Road 42 will be completely closed at the Interstate 35W junction for bridge repair and road improvements. There will be no westbound access over the bridge for five weeks. Westbound access is expected to reopen on Monday, May 22. At that time, eastbound lanes will be closed.

Additional information on this closure including detour/route maps and sign-ups for email notifications is available online at www.dakotacounty.us, search “County Road 42.”

In general, drivers can follow the tips below during the westbound closure. Drivers are also asked to plan their alternate routes in advance to avoid unnecessary traffic congestion. Closure and detour signage will be posted on roadways prior to work starting.

Traveling west on County Road 42: Access to I-35W north will remain open. No access to Buck Hill Road. Motorists should take County Road 11, I-35E north or I-35W north to access westbound County Road 42.

Traveling east on County Road 42: Access to I-35W north will remain open. No additional closures until May 22.

Traveling south on I-35W: Ramp to County Road 42 will remain open. Access to Buck Hill Road will remain open. Access to westbound and eastbound (until May 22) County Road 42 will remain open.

Businesses along the County Road 42 corridor will remain open and will be allowed additional directional signage during construction. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead when shopping or dining in the area.

The project will include an updated roadway, signals and signage – as well an extension of the existing left turn lane at the junction of County Road 42 and the I-35W north ramp.

Burnhaven Library events
Burnhaven Library, 1101 W. County Road 42, Burnsville, has planned the following activities. For more information, call 952-891-0300.

Somali Culture 101, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday April 22. A session on Somali culture, including the history, use and creation of artifacts from the Somali Museum of Minnesota. Artifacts from the museum’s permanent collection will be on display and select items available to touch and feel. Best for ages 10 and older. Free, no registration required.

May the Fourth be With You, 4-6 p.m. Thursday May 4. Celebrate Star Wars Day. Come in costume or cut out and wear one of the library’s character masks. Take a photo in the “photo booth” (bring your own camera). Make a Star Wars-themed craft to take home. At 6 p.m. the lights will dim for a showing of “Star Wars: the Force Awakens” on the big screen. Bring snacks, drinks, blankets and pillows. Free, no registration required.

Silver Tea, 1-2 p.m. Friday May 12. This program is especially for folks ages 55 and older. Brian and Sheralyn Barnes will present pop masterpieces from the late 1800s to the early 1960s using the Spanish guitar, Italian mandolin, African banjo and Hawaii ukulele. Free, no registration required; space is limited.

Egg hunt at Birnamwood
Birnamwood Golf Course will host an Easter egg hunt on Sunday, April 16, weather permitting. The course is at 12424 Parkwood Drive, Burnsville.

Event participants must schedule a tee time. Plastic Easter eggs will be hidden throughout the golf course with a number inside. Each number will be assigned a specific prize. Found eggs can be brought to the clubhouse after the round, and Birnamwood staff will match the number to the prize board and award a prize.

There is a limit of one egg per paying golfer or Birnamwood pass holder. To verify the course is open on Sunday and make a tee time, call 952-641-1370. Tee times can also be made online at www.birnamwoodgolfcourse.com.

Register for community-wide garage sale
Burnsville residents can register to take part in the community-wide garage sale May 19-20. Homeowners may choose to hold a sale on either or both dates. The event will be held rain or shine.

All those who register will be given a registration number and coordinating sign to place in their yard to identify their sale. The city will provide a map (available in May) listing all registered garage sales to help shoppers navigate the sales.

Register online at www.burnsville.org/garagesale or in person at Burnsville City Hall, 100 Civic Center Parkway. Cost: $20 per household. Registration deadline: Friday, April 28.

For more information, visit www.burnsville.org/garagesale or call 952-895-4500.

Skating show set April 28-29
The Burnsville Ice Center’s annual Impressions on Ice Skating Show will be held 7 p.m. Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29.

The event is a collaboration between the Burnsville Ice Center’s “Learn to Skate” program and the Burnsville Minnesota Valley Figure Skating Club.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the show and will feature numbers from each show throughout the past four decades. A special guest performer is 16-year-old, two-time Minnesota State Champion and three-time bronze medalist, Silvia Hugec, representing the country of Slovakia. There will also be an alumni performance.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students ages 5-17 and seniors age 62 and older, free for children 4 and younger.

Summer skating lessons
Registration for the Burnsville Ice Center Summer “Learn to Skate” program opens 5 p.m. Monday, May 8. Registration will take place at the Ice Center at 251 Civic Center Parkway and online at www.burnsvilleicecenter.org/LTS.

Lessons will be held on Wednesday nights beginning June 7 and go for nine weeks. The cost is $103 for group classes and $150 for private lessons.

For more information about Impressions on Ice or skating lessons, contact the Ice Center at 952-895-4651 or www.burnsvilleicecenter.org.

Burnsville tree sale set April 29
The city of Burnsville will hold its Arbor Day Tree Sale 7-10 a.m. Saturday, April 29, at 75 Civic Center Parkway.

Tree prices range from $20 to $55. The bare root trees are locally grown and vary in size from 5 to 12 feet. Quantities are limited to two trees per household. Only cash or checks will be accepted.

Native plants and shrubs will not be sold at the tree sale. They will be available at the “Native Plant Market” to be held on May 20.

The sale is for Burnsville residents only.

Tree sale tips:

• Prepare planting sites before attending the sale

• Call Gopher State One-Call (651-454-0002) to have utilities marked before digging

• Arrive early for the best selection

• Try to determine what trees you want before the sale

• Plan to plant bare root trees immediately

• Protect trees against damage from deer and rodents until they are well established; consider placing protection around them for the first few years

• Get a permit from the city if you plan to plant a tree within the boulevard/right-of-way on your property (15 feet in from the curb)

For a complete listing of available trees and pricing, visit www.burnsville.org/treesale.

Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 17-21
April 17-21 is Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week. During the week, individuals, families, businesses and schools are encouraged to create or update emergency plans for home and work, and practice an emergency exercise or drill.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety will conduct two statewide tornado drills. Severe weather sirens will be activated at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, in Burnsville and neighboring communities. Residents are encouraged to practice their tornado drills at these times.

Burnsville utilizes Dakota County’s Outdoor Warning System to alert people who are outdoors of severe weather. Dispatchers at the Dakota County Communications Center are responsible for activating sirens based on information from the National Weather Service.

The county’s current practice is to activate sirens for all tornado warnings, as well as severe thunderstorms with winds 70 mph or greater. Sirens can also be used in the event of a hazardous materials incident.

As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, residents are encouraged to purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio and sign up for personal weather alerts from The National Weather Service or other local outlets.

For more information, contact Burnsville Emergency Management Coordinator David Powers at 952-641-1143, visit http://weatherawareness.dps.mn.gov or www.burnsville.org/severeweather.

DARTS breakfast fundraiser
Dave Nimmer will be the guest speaker at DARTS third annual Breakfast Fundraiser 7:30-9 a.m. Thursday, April 27, at Mendakota Country Club, 2075 Mendakota Drive, Mendota Heights.

The former Twin Cities journalist is author of “Lessons on the Journey” and “The Journey Goes on.”

Nimmer will share “Home Stretch: Who Are You When You No Longer Have A Business Card?”

Breakfast is free; donations to DARTS will be accepted. RSVP by April 21 to [email protected] or 651-455-1560.

Open house for Natural Resource Management System Plan
Goats, family-friendly activities and more are scheduled at the final open house for the Natural Resource Management System Plan 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at the Visitor Center in Lebanon Hills Regional Park.

The plan will guide the future of natural resources management of Dakota County parks, conservation easements and greenways. The final of four open houses throughout a two-year process will give the public a chance to comment on the draft plan and discuss it directly with staff and consultants. The plan was developed using a two-tier approach, addressing pressing natural resource issues in the next five years and other important issues over the next 15 years.

Parks Department staff will be on hand to discuss other park system issues, including restoration projects and volunteer events planned for 2017.

Goats from Goat Dispatch LLC will be outside the Visitor Center for a buckthorn/shrub-eating demonstration. Dakota County uses goats to help restore about 76 acres of steep terrain at Miesville Ravine Park Reserve. The open house will also feature nature games, a coloring area for kids and more.

For more information on the Natural Resource Management System Plan, visit www.co.dakota.m.us/parks. For special accommodations or for more information about the open house, contact Joe Walton, senior ecologist, at [email protected] or 952-891-7507.

Volunteer to explore Dakota County wetlands
Dakota County is seeking volunteers eager to pull on a pair of waders and jump into monitoring the health of community wetlands through the Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP).

Volunteers will work with a community-based team to monitor and collect information – such as data on plants and macroinvertebrates – that is used to study trends in order to better manage wetlands and surrounding natural resource areas. Previous monitoring experience or a background in science is not necessary to take part.

Volunteers typically commit 10-20 hours of their time, which includes training, field work and lab analysis. Dakota County provides all of the training, equipment and leadership. Volunteer registration will be accepted through May 15.

WHEP volunteers receive training in field methods, macroinvertebrate (e.g. beetles, bugs, snails) collection and identification, and plant survey techniques and identification. Volunteers are grouped into teams, and each team will take samples from three to five wetlands between June and August. Wetland monitoring teams will be formed in Apple Valley, Burnsville, Dakota County parks, Eagan, Farmington, Hastings, Lakeville, Mendota Heights, North Cannon River Watershed Management Organization, Rosemount, South St. Paul and West St. Paul.

To register, visit www.co.dakota.mn.us and search “WHEP.” Sign up with Environmental Resources. To learn more information, visit www.mnwhep.org or call the Environmental Resources Department at 952-891-7000.

Disability advocacy training
The Partners in Policymaking program is accepting applications for its leadership training program. Individuals with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities will be trained at no cost in monthly sessions, starting this fall.

Sessions cover the history of the disability and self-advocacy movements, inclusive education, supported living, competitive employment, and avenues to influence county, state and federal legislative processes.

The two-day sessions are held on Fridays and Saturdays, from September to May (with no session in December), except for a Sunday and Monday session in March when participants prepare and meet with legislators at the Capitol.

Costs for the program are covered by a federal grant. Child care and respite allowances are given, and overnight accommodations are also provided for those who travel from outside the metro area to attend. Mileage is reimbursed and meals are also provided. Sessions are held at the Crown Plaza Aire in Bloomington.

Limited to 40 Minnesota residents, class members are selected by a panel of Partners graduates and representatives of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. The first session for the 2017-18 program year is scheduled for Sept. 15-16.

Applications are due by July 10. For more information, or to apply online, go to http://mn.gov/mnddc/partnersinpolicymaking/class35/index.html or contact Brenton Rice at [email protected] or 651-242-6589.

Fairview offers new treatment for chronic tendonitis
Fairview Sports and Orthopedic Care – Burnsville is offering a new procedure for tendonitis called Tenex. It uses ultrasound imaging to locate the damaged tendon and a small tool to treat the pain-generating tissue.

“Tenex is a safe, minimally invasive procedure that is providing excellent results to patients who otherwise would have very limited choices, or would require surgical procedures, in order to treat their pain,” said Fairview’s Dr. Siatta Dunbar.

 

Burnsville author wins first place
A book written by Burnsville author and inspirational speaker Annie Meehan has received one of the highest national honors for independently published books.

“Be the Exception: Your 7 Steps to Transformation,” published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing of Minneapolis, won first place in the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Awards competition in the Self-Help category. Winners were announced on April 7.

In “Be the Exception,” Meehan shares her story and what she did to transform her life. She is the middle of seven children born within the span of eight years to parents who were always struggling to make ends meet. Her early memories of childhood are of hunger, poverty, dysfunction, abuse and the mental illness in her family.

These days, however, thanks to an appearance on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” when she was a teenager and the many others in her life who have supported her over the years, Meehan has rewritten her story. She is now an international speaker, life coach and author who uses her personal and professional experiences to inspire audiences.

More information is at www.AnnieMeehan.com.

Free repair help at Fix-It Clinics
Dakota County residents can get help repairing household items, clothes, electronics and more at the next Fix-It Clinic on April 15 at the Inver Glen Library.

Repair-savvy volunteers will guide residents through each step, from troubleshooting to a completed repair. Residents can bring up to five items that need fixing or mending. Common items brought to clinics are lamps, vacuums and clothes.

The next Fix-It Clinics will be held 12-3 p.m.:

• Saturday, April 15, Inver Glen Library, Inver Grove Heights

• Saturday, May 20, Burnhaven Library, Burnsville

• Saturday, June 17, Galaxie Library, Apple Valley

Fix-It Clinics help reduce unnecessary trash sent to landfills and empower individuals by teaching troubleshooting and repair skills.

For future dates, more information and to volunteer, visit www.dakotacounty.us and search “Fix-It Clinics.”

Farmington Library events
The Farmington Library, 508 Third St., will offer the following programs. Call 651-438-0250 or visit www.dakotacounty.us/library for more information.

Robotics: Programming with Sphero, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18. Take your Sphero skills to the next level and learn to program Sphero using the SPRK or Tickle app. Program Sphero to move to your favorite song at our robot dance party. Ages: 10-16.

Books & Brew Book Group, 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 18. The group will discuss “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline.

Open Knitting, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 19. Join other knitters in a casual focus group. Learn new stitches, get help with unfinished projects, or just enjoy new friends while knitting. Other crafters welcome.

Books & Beyond: Hop Into Spring, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 20. Stories, activities and crafts related to spring with ISD 192 ECFE. Ages: 0-6.

Storytime for 2s-6s, 10:30-11 a.m. Friday, April 21. Read, play, sing, talk and write together with stories and activities to develop early literacy skills for toddlers and preschoolers. Siblings welcome. Ages: 2-6.

Friday Fun for Teens, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Friday, April 21. Drop in for a variety of fun activities after a long week of school. Ages: 10-16.

Paper Shred Fest, 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 22. Protect yourself against identity theft and celebrate Earth Day by recycling, too. Bring your confidential documents to be shredded in an on-site mobile unit. Sponsored by Castle Rock Bank.

Job Transitions Group meets April 18
Terese Guettler will present “Three Key Steps to Landing Your Ideal Job” at the April 18 meeting of the Easter Job Transitions Group. The group meets at 7:30 a.m. at Easter Lutheran Church – By The Lake, 4545 Pilot Knob Road, Eagan. Call 651-452-3680 for information.

Roy Bressler, Lakeville, right, stands with Past National Commander Dan Ludwig, Red Wing, in Washington, D.C. A group of Minnesotans traveled to the nation’s Capitol to lobby for veterans rights on behalf of The American Legion. Photo submitted.
Roy Bressler, Lakeville, right, stands with Past National Commander Dan Ludwig, Red Wing, in Washington, D.C. A group of Minnesotans traveled to the nation’s Capitol to lobby for veterans rights on behalf of The American Legion. Photo submitted.
Heather Larson, Apple Valley, right, stands with Past National Commander Dan Ludwig, Red Wing, in Washington, D.C. A group of Minnesotans traveled to the nation’s Capitol to lobby for veterans rights on behalf of The American Legion. Photo submitted.
Heather Larson, Apple Valley, right, stands with Past National Commander Dan Ludwig, Red Wing, in Washington, D.C. A group of Minnesotans traveled to the nation’s Capitol to lobby for veterans rights on behalf of The American Legion. Photo submitted.

American Legion members lobby in Washington
Heather Larson, a member of the American Legion from Apple Valley, and Roy Bressler, an American Legion member from Lakeville, were in Washington, D.C., recently lobbying for issues that affect American war veterans and the military.

Larson is the assistant department service officer for the Minnesota American Legion and Bressler is a member of the Minnesota American Legion’s Rehabilitation Committee. The two were part of a delegation of 30 Minnesotans in Washington.

The delegation met with nearly every Minnesota representative and senator, and urged an agenda of veterans programs that Congress will be dealing with in the future.

Included in the lobbying efforts were:

• Protect the American flag. A constitutional amendment is needed to protect the American flag from physical desecration.

• Fully fund national defense. The global war on terrorism will continue with new challenges. Our military and national security must be fully funded.

• Gender-specific care for women veterans. Women veterans have different military experiences than their male counterparts, and have specific care needs with regard to the Veterans Administration.

The delegation spent four days in Washington and attended informational sessions on critical issues. There are 78,000 members in about 560 posts in the Minnesota American Legion.

Lakeville building report for March
The city of Lakeville issued building permits with a total valuation of $49,775,502 through March 2017. This compares to a total valuation of $27,048,911 for building permits issued through March 2016.

Lakeville issued commercial and industrial permits with a total valuation of $1,090,500 through March 2017 compared to a total valuation of $2,344,000 during the same period in 2016.

The city issued permits for 103 single-family homes through March 2017 with a total valuation of $33,092,000. This compares to 57 single-family home permits through March 2016 with a total valuation of $17,793,000. The city also issued permits for seven townhome units through March 2017 with a total valuation of $1,778,000. This compares to 14 townhome permits issued through March 2016 with a total valuation of $3,315,000.

Through March, Lakeville has issued the highest number of residential permits in the metro area, according to the Builders Association of the Twin Cities.

Open house for Kenwood Trail expansion set April 18
Dakota County and the city of Lakeville are holding an open house on the Kenwood Trail Expansion Project 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at Kenwood Trail Middle School, 19455 Kenwood Trail, Lakeville.

Attendees will have the opportunity to review and provide input on: final project layout, visuals of improvements, construction staging and construction schedule.

This is the final public open house before construction begins. For more information about the Kenwood Trail project, visit  www.co.dakota.mn.us/Transportation/PlannedConstruction/CR50.

gen-lv-one-book-programs-4-14One Book, One Lakeville programs
“The Song Poet” by Kao Kalia Yang is this year’s selection for the One Book, One Lakeville series of programs. Upcoming events at the Heritage Library include:

The Hmong Family Kitchen and Garden, 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 18. Discover the nutritious and medicinal value of foods from Mhonpaj Lee of Mhonpaj’s Garden, a certified organic farm. Lee will discuss some less common vegetables seen at local farmer’s markets and demonstrate how to prepare them.

Hmong Storytime, 4-5 p.m. Wednesday, April 19. Hear stories from the Hmong tradition and make a related craft. Geared for ages 5 and older.

Through the Eyes of a Refugee: Hmong Storytelling, 7-8 p.m. Monday, April 24. Hmong storyteller and artist Tou Ger Xiong takes listeners on his life’s journey from the jungles of Laos to the refugee camps of Thailand to the public housing projects of America. His storytelling performance combines humor, folk tales, spoken word and personal stories into a high-energy, engaging program for all ages and backgrounds.

For more information, call the Heritage Library at 952-891-0360.

Pitch, hit and run competition in Lakeville
Lakeville Fastpitch Softball Association is hosting a free Scotts Major League Baseball Pitch Hit & Run competition for area youth 12-3 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Kenwood Trail Middle School, 19455 Kenwood Trail, Lakeville.

This grassroots program is designed to provide youngsters with an opportunity to compete, free of charge, in a competition that recognizes individual excellence in core baseball/softball skills.

Boys and girls are divided into four age divisions: 7/8, 9/10, 11/12, 13/14, and have the chance to advance through four levels of competition, including team championships at Major League ballparks and the national finals during the 2017 MLB All-Star Week.

The individual pitching, hitting and running champions, along with the all-around champion in each division age group at the local competition will be awarded and advance to the sectional level of competition.

All participants must bring a copy of their birth certificate and have their parent or guardian fill out a registration/waiver form prior to the start of the competition.  For questions concerning the competition, contact local coordinator Bill Cook at [email protected].

Lakeville Parks and Recreation programs
Lakeville Parks and Recreation will offer the following activities. Register at https://webtrac.lakevillemn.gov, in person at 20195 Holyoke Ave., or call 952-985-4600.

Nickelodeon Universe, Mall of America, Bloomington: Purchase all-day discount wristbands for $26 at the Lakeville Parks and Recreation office in City Hall, 20195 Holyoke Ave., or call 952-984-4600. Pick up tickets at City Hall.

Nightclub Two-Step, ages 17 and older, 7-8:30 p.m. Mondays, April 17-May 22, Heritage Center, 20110 Holyoke Ave. Classes will start with beginner steps, then some harder steps. Based on who is in class, it will be taught so everyone can learn. Cost: $72 per couple.

Country Heat Live, 6-7 p.m. Tuesdays, Lakeville South, 21135 Jacquard Ave.; Fridays, Lakeville North, 19600 Ipava Ave. Classes begin March 17 (skip March 28 and 31). Low-impact, high-energy dance class set to country hits. First class is free. Call 952-985-4600 or instructor Amanda Ewers, 515-460-5850, for more information.

Tiny Tots Turf Soccer, ages 4-7, 3:30-4:15 p.m. Sundays, April 30 to May 21, Steve Michaud Park, 17100 Ipava Ave. An introductory program for children to learn soccer basics. Soccer ball size 3 or 4 required; shin guards recommended for safety. Tennis shoes or soccer cleats required. Cost: $25.

Spring Ephemerals, ages 16 and older, 7-9 a.m. Saturdays, April 29 to May 20, Ritter Farm Park, 19300 Ritter Trail. This course will teach participants the skills to identify wildflowers in bloom and also the techniques to identify seasonal wildflowers by color. Cost: $99, includes field guide.

Bird Banding, 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, April 30, Ritter Farm Park, 19300 Ritter Trail. Join researchers from the North Central Bird Observatory for an up-close and personal look at local and migrant wild birds. Cost: $2 per person for ages 10 and above; free for children under 10.

Evening Tennis Lessons, ages 5-12. Lessons from USPTA certified tennis professionals and top athletes. Students must bring their own age-appropriate tennis racquet. A few racquets will be on hand if needed. Lessons are held Thursdays, April 27 to May 25, 5-6 p.m. for ages 5-7 and 6-7 p.m. for ages 8-12 at Century Middle School, 21135 Jacquard Ave. Cost: $75.

On Belay, ages 18 and older, 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 3, 17 or 31, Life Time Fitness, 18425 Dodd Blvd., Lakeville. The class is for any climber looking to improve their rock climbing technique. It covers all necessary skills for top rope belay certification. Open to all skill levels. Cost: $35 per class.

Junior Golf Lessons, ages 8-12, 3:45-4:45 p.m. Wednesdays, May 31 to June 7, Crystal Lake Golf Course, 16725 Innsbrook Drive. Covers the fundamentals of putting, chipping, pitching and full swing. Instructor: LPGA professional Sheryl Maize. Cost: $95.

Snowmobile club to host landowners brunch
Since the April 1 close of the snowmobile season, members of the Lakeville Sno-Trackers Snowmobile Club have been busy pulling out their 50-plus miles of trail signs and fences. To thank the landowners who allow the trails across their properties, the club will offer a free brunch on April 23 at Babe’s Sports Bar & Grill in downtown Lakeville.

Thank you notes and invitations have been mailed, but landowners who may have been missed should call Linda at 952-469-3718 for more information.

The club will wrap up the season and start plans for the next year at its April 17 meeting. New members are welcome. For more information, visit www.lakevillesnotrackers.com or the Lakeville Sno-Trackers Snowmobile Club’s Facebook page.

PawPADs fundraiser set April 29
The sixth annual Going to the Dogs! fundraiser for PawPADs will be 5-9 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at Royal Cliff Banquet and Conference Center, 2280 Cliff Road, Eagan.

PawPADs (Pawsitive Perspectives Assistance Dogs) is a Lakeville-based nonprofit that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities.

The event will include a silent auction, wine pull and “Wheel of Crap.”

Comedian Tiffany “Bangs” Norton from the “Moon and Staci Show” on KS95-FM 94.5 will emcee and entertain. Live music will be provided by House Blend, a variety band.

Tickets are $35 at www.pawpads.org until April 21; $45 after April 21 and at the door. Children 10 and under are free. Only assistance dogs are allowed in the venue. More information is at www.pawpads.org.

Red Rock Corridor Commission concludes Implementation Plan, starts Small Area Plans
The Washington County Regional Railroad Authority (WCRRA) passed a resolution of support for the findings of the Red Rock Corridor Commission Implementation Plan, which concludes the 18-month study process. The Implementation Plan details a phased approach to build out bus rapid transit in the southeast metro. The results and recommendations of the Implementation Plan were presented to corridor cities and counties between fall 2016 and spring 2017. Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington counties as well as the cities of St. Paul, Newport, St. Paul Park, Cottage Grove, and Hastings passed resolutions of support for the Red Rock Corridor Implementation Plan.

A near-term recommendation from the Implementation Plan is to assist cities with station area planning ahead of their comprehensive plan updates. WCRRA is leading the planning processes for three small area plans for the proposed stations in Cottage Grove and St. Paul Park. These plans result from the Implementation Plan recommendation to build transit ridership in the corridor. The purpose of the small area plans is to better plan for transit service based on market demand. Kimley-Horn & Associates has been selected to complete the small area plans, which will be finalized by the end of 2017.

Throughout 2017, the Red Rock Corridor Commission will also continue to advocate for improved local bus service, such as the proposed Route 363. This all-day route would connect the Cottage Grove park-and-ride with Union Depot in downtown St. Paul by way of Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, and Newport. The addition of this transit service in the corridor was also a recommendation in the Implementation Plan. This service would address existing demand and build corridor ridership.

Rosemount Parks and Rec programs
Register for the following Rosemount Parks and Recreation programs online at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us, at the parks and recreation office, or call 651-322-6000 for more information.

City-Wide Garage Sale, Thursday-Saturday, May 18-20. Rosemount Parks and Recreation is again coordinating the Citywide Garage Sale. A fee of $10 per Rosemount address is charged to be included on the sale map that will be published countywide in the Dakota County Tribune and Sun Thisweek newspapers and made available at local businesses. Forms can be found in the Rosemount summer activities brochure or online at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/parks under Special Events. Registration deadline: Friday, April 28.

Pre-School Sports (T-Ball, Soccer and Sports of All Sorts). Fundamentals and techniques will be taught through fun drills and exercises. Cost: $44. Full listing of class offerings and program details can be found at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/parks.

Rosettes, ages 4 to 9, Mondays, June 12 to Aug. 7, Rosemount Community Center. Rosettes gain age-appropriate coordination skills, self-confidence and poise while making new friends during a positive and fun experience. Students new to the program should register to receive the Rosette T-shirt and pom-poms for $58. Previously enrolled students should register for instruction only for $44. A full listing of class times and program details is at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/parks.

Safety Camp, grades two to five in fall 2017, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 16, Rosemount Community Center. Presented by Rosemount Police, Fire and Parks and Recreation departments. Includes a presentation by Brian Richards of 4Ace Productions titled “Bulldoze the Bully.” Cost: $12, includes T-shirt and lunch. Registration required.

Kids Corner, ages 6 to 12, 1-3 p.m. Monday-Thursday, June 14-July 20 (skip July 3 and 4), at select community parks. Register online or fill out a mandatory emergency card at the park to participate in this free program offering constructive activities that focus on games, fitness, nature, friendship and fun.

Rotary golf tourney set June 2
The Burnsville Breakfast Rotary’s 23rd annual Golf Tournament & Fundraiser is set Friday, June 2, at Crystal Lake Golf Course, 16725 Innsbrook Drive, Lakeville.

Registration is 12-1 p.m., with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Dinner and prizes immediately follow. For more information, email [email protected].

Mathias ‘Math’ Fischer Memorial Scouting Breakfast is April 25
The annual Mathias “Math” Fischer Memorial Scouting Breakfast will be 6:45-8:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, at Valleywood Golf Course Clubhouse, 4851 McAndrews Road, Apple Valley.

The event is held in memory of the late Math Fischer, the founder of Apple Valley Red-E-Mix, now known as AVR Inc., and longtime supporter of scouting. It is sponsored by his daughter Liza Robson and son Peter Fischer of AVR Inc.

On hand for the event will be scouts from Troop 205, scout leaders and supporters. In 2016, over 50 people attended the event, which raised approximately $10,000. The goal for 2017 is to raise $15,000 with more than 70 attendees.

Guest speaker will be Apple Valley Police Chief Jon Rechtzigel. He will discuss “Engaging Our Youth.” His department has promoted Teen Academy, mentoring, the school resource officer program and community service officers. Rechtzigel is celebrating his 30th year in law enforcement, having started as a patrol officer in Apple Valley in 1987.

Chairpersons for the fundraiser are Jim Friend of Anchor Bank and Robson. Serving on the committee are Rechtzigel and Fischer, along with Robert Hannah Sr., former scouting professional; Thomas Robak, Sterling State Bank; Jason Zienty, scouting representative from Northern Star Council; and William H. Tschohl, fundraiser.

Those who would like to support the Boy Scouts of America, Northern Star Council should contact Jim Friend at 952-808-8054 or [email protected], or William Tschohl at 952-432-4615 or [email protected].

Water forum slated May 6
Conservation Minnesota will host the Dakota County Water Forum: A Clean Water Strategy 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, May 6, at the Eagan Community Center, 1501 Central Parkway.

Speakers include Eric Macbeth, Eagan water resource manager; Curt Coudron, SWCD project management supervisor; Mark Zabel, Vermillion River Watershed administrator; and Nels Paulsen, Conservation Minnesota.

The forum is free and open to the public. Doors open at 8:45 a.m. Continental breakfast is included. Space is limited. RSVP to [email protected].

IRS assigns some old debts to private collection agencies
Starting this month, the IRS has announced it will be sending letters to a small group of taxpayers whose overdue accounts are being assigned to one of four private-sector collection agencies. In an effort to help consumers understand this process better, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offers insight, based on IRS materials, on what taxpayers, particularly those with outstanding debts, should know.

“This is something a bit new,” said Susan Adams Loyd, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. “For a long time, we’ve told consumers the IRS wouldn’t call them. Though that’s changed somewhat, some of the information we regularly give out remains the same – such as calls threatening debtors with arrest not being legitimate. That will still hold true.”

The new program, authorized by a federal law enacted by Congress in 2015, enables these four designated contractors to collect, on the government’s behalf, unpaid tax debts. According to the IRS, these are unpaid tax obligations not currently being worked by IRS collection employees. These debts are often ones that were assessed by the tax agency several years ago. This program began in April and will expand later in the spring and summer.

Like the IRS, BBB has concerns this change might lead to scammers using the new program to try to defraud people. However, there are many ways to determine whether contact you receive in regard to claimed tax debts are legitimate. According to the IRS, people with overdue taxes will always receive multiple contacts – letters and phone calls – from the IRS first, not private debt collectors. The IRS will always notify a taxpayer before transferring their accounts to a private collection agency.

In addition, the IRS says the process will work like this:

• The private debt collection company will send a letter to the taxpayer, and the IRS will send a letter to the taxpayer. Consumers who are still living at the address where the letters are sent will be clear on the process. However, if the taxpayer has moved and hasn’t notified the IRS, they may get calls from the private debt collection company their account has been assigned to, if the collection agency is able to locate them through other means. Taxpayers can use Form 8822 to update the IRS with their new address; https://www.irs.gov/uac/form-8822-change-of-address.

• Private debt collectors will be able to identify themselves as contractors of the IRS collecting taxes. These employees must follow the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and like IRS employees, must be courteous and respect taxpayers’ rights.

• Consumers with outstanding tax debts will pay money directly to the IRS, not the private debt collection company. They will be given options shown on this page: https://www.irs.gov/payments. Private debt collectors will not ask and cannot accept credit card information over the phone.

• Taxpayers can ask for their account to be transferred from the private debt collection back to the IRS, if they prefer.

The IRS adds that private collection firms will only be calling about tax debts individuals have had – and been aware of – for years, debts which they have been contacted about previously by the IRS. Taxpayers can verify they have an unpaid tax debt from a previous year by visiting www.irs.gov/balancedue.

BBB reminds all consumers, particularly those who have outstanding tax debts, that the IRS will explain this new process clearly and will make every attempt to work with them as far as setting up payment plans. It will also give taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

For more information on this change, including the names of the debt collection firms the IRS has contracted with, see:

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/private-debt-collection
•    https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/new-private-debt-collection-program-to-begin-next-spring-irs-to-contract-with-four-agencies-taxpayer-rights-protected