Sun Current Local News for Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina and Richfield Minnesota Sun, 04 Oct 2015 16:34:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Alerus acquires Beacon Bank Sun, 04 Oct 2015 16:34:19 +0000 Alerus Financial announced last week that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Twin Cities-based Beacon Bank – a community-focused bank with a location in Eden Prairie – through a merger of Beacon Bank into Alerus Financial.

The acquisition, consisting of approximately $352 million in banking assets, will increase Alerus’ Minnesota banking assets to approximately $771 million, and will grow Alerus’ total banking assets to almost $2 billion. As of June 30, Alerus had total banking assets of approximately $1.6 billion, assets under management of approximately $2.7 billion, and assets under administration of approximately $17.8 billion.

The definitive agreement contains customary representations and warranties from both Alerus and Beacon Bank, and their respective holding companies, and each party has agreed to customary covenants and closing conditions, including the receipt of required regulatory and corporate approvals.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016. Beacon Bank’s three Twin Cities offices, located in Shorewood, Excelsior and Eden Prairie, will remain open and operate as usual. Branch locations will continue to serve customers under the Beacon Bank name until the acquisition is final in early 2016, after which they will transition to the Alerus name. Expanded products and services will be added to the new locations early next year. ]]> 0 Man charged with assaulting officer, citizen steps in to aid police Sun, 04 Oct 2015 14:00:52 +0000 A Minneapolis man is facing two felony charges and a misdemeanor after allegedly assaulting an Edina police officer and allegedly attempting to grab his holster on Sept. 21.

Nathanial Valentino Gray, 23, was a passenger in a vehicle that the Edina officer had pulled over near Southdale Circle and York Avenue because of its broken windshield and taillights, according to the allegations written in the criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court.

The criminal complaint, prepared by investigators to file criminal charges, includes the following allegations:

When the officer discovered that Gray had an active warrant out for his arrest, the officer approached his side of the vehicle and asked him to get out of the car. When Gray stepped out of the car, he charged the officer, pushing him against the squad car.

Gray pushed and hit the officer, attempting to break free. The officer brought Gray to the ground, and he grabbed at the officer’s holster, unlatching pouch holding an extra handgun magazine.

There were several onlookers, one of whom grabbed Gray’s arm, keeping him from grabbing the officer’s firearm. The officer was able to handcuff Gray, who shouted, “I’m going to kill you,” during the incident. The female driver also rushed the officer during the episode.

Other officers arrived and put Gray into the squad car, where Gray repeatedly banged his head against the partition window.

Gray has been charged with two felonies: disarming a police officer and terroristic threats. He was also charged with fourth-degree assault of a police officer, a gross misdemeanor.

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Letter: Support Claudia Carr for Edina School Board Sun, 04 Oct 2015 13:00:05 +0000 To the editor:

I am writing in support of the candidacy of Claudia Carr for the Edina School Board. I know Claudia well, first from our time together on the Edina Heritage Preservation Board (she succeeded me as chair) and now as part of recently formed Southdale planning group.

Very intelligent, a good listener and respectful of other’s point of view, Claudia respects tradition but is also very open to new ideas. Her three-point platform, if implemented, will greatly improve our already outstanding school system.

Her platform:

First, invest in teachers, with innovative programs to recruit and retain the best teachers. Having the best teachers money can buy will bring in role models that will inspire all our children to achieve their highest potential.

If we want more opportunities for college credit before graduation, we need teachers with advanced degrees who have a strong vision that motivates students to love learning.

Second, promote physical activity, with innovative programs that introduce movement into classroom content and create PA periods throughout the day.

Health experts tell us that we sit far more than is good for us – which are reflected in our waistlines and the ever younger ages people are acquiring chronic issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Even at the high school level, our school day needs to accommodate student needs for movement, not turning them into adult coach potatoes.

Third, measure student success using global metrics. Our graduates will compete with students graduating from the best schools in the world. While Edina scores relatively high in national ratings, although nothing like the top 10 or 25 in the country, international data suggest that our student’s skill, knowledge and motivation don’t compare so favorably in international comparisons. Our children will be the better for it if we tend to that issue rather than resting on our laurels.

Joel Stegner

Edina ]]> 0 Spielman sparks No. EPHS to seventh straight win Sat, 03 Oct 2015 17:34:28 +0000  

One of the metro area’s leading football scorers added three more touchdowns to lead undefeated and top-ranked Eden Prairie to its 37th consecutive victory over four seasons.

Eden Prairie senior running back J.D. Spielman tries to elude a Prior Lake defender in football action. Last Friday, Spielman contributed three touchdowns as the Eagles blanked Shakopee 28-0 on the road to remain undefeated. (Photo by Mark
Eden Prairie senior running back J.D. Spielman tries to elude a Prior Lake defender in football action. Last Friday, Spielman contributed three touchdowns as the Eagles blanked Shakopee 28-0 on the road to remain undefeated. (Photo by Mark

Eagle senior running back J.D. Spielman caught one touchdown pass of 54 yards and scored twice on runs of 56 and 43 yards during a 28-0 road triumph over Shakopee (1-6) Oct. 2.

Eden Prairie is leading the West Metro District’s South Division with a 6-0 record. The Eagles can clinch the division title with a home win over Wayzata at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, at Aerie Stadium.

The Trojans are 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the division entering the final week of the regular season. Wayzata defeated Edina 21-20 last week.

“Our first goal was to go undefeated in the regular season,” said Eden Prairie coach Mike Grant. “A win over Wayzata would give us the district title and the number-one seed in the playoffs.

“Wayzata is a good team and this will be a big game for us.”

Eden Prairie dominated last week’s game with Shakopee and finished with 515 total offensive yards while the Sabers had 150.

The Eagles took control of the game in the opening quarter outscoring Shakopee 21-0. Spielman caught a 54-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jackson Randle and Antonio Montero kicked the extra point.

Spielman broke loose for a 56-yard scoring run and Alec Hetherington added a 32-yard TD run in that quarter.

After a scoreless second quarter, Eden Prairie’s Spielman contributed his third touchdown on a 43-yard run. The Eagles drove deep into Shakopee territory late in the fourth quarter before taking a knee at the 1-yard line as time ran out.

“We rested a few starters to get them healthy for our next game,” said Grant. “Spielman had a couple of great runs.”

Spielman rushed eight times for 207 yards. Hetherington finished with 74 yards on 12 carries. T.J. Conrad rushed six times for 52 yards. Randle completed four of 12 passes for 104 yards. Hetherington came through with two receptions.

Contact Greg Kleven at

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Eden Prairie Chamber’s Athena award to be presented Oct. 8 Sat, 03 Oct 2015 16:27:03 +0000 The Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce will present the Athena Leadership Award Thursday, Oct. 8, at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest in Minnetonka. Visitors will also hear from Colleen Needles Steward, former award-winning anchor for WCCO-TV and founder of Tremendous! Entertainment.

The Athena Leadership Award, inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology for her strength, courage and wisdom, is a national program that seeks to honor leaders for their professional excellence, community service and their active assistance of women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.

Since the program’s beginning in 1982, more than 6,700 leaders in over 500 communities have received this prestigious award. The Athena Award is presented annually by chambers of commerce, women’s organizations and universities. Nominations are solicited and an Athena sculpture is awarded to an individual in the community that meets specific criteria including a contribution of time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.

Info: 952-944-2830 or ]]> 0 Augsburg Centennial Singers concert series Sat, 03 Oct 2015 14:00:33 +0000 The Augsburg Centennial Singers have concerts scheduled at several Twin Cities metro locations through mid-November. Their concerts feature familiar hymns, barbershop and sacred music selections.

Under the direction of Paul J. Christensen, the 60-member Centennial Singers take their name in remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the first Augsburg College Gospel Quartet to visit Norway in the 1890s.

The Augsburg Centennial Singers have been a part of the Twin Cities music scene for more than 20 years. The singers were formed to commemorate the Augsburg College Gospel Quartet tradition at the Minneapolis college.

The concert schedule:

• 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, King of Kings Lutheran Church, 1583 Radio Drive, Woodbury.

• 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, Augsburg College, Homecoming Chapel Service

• 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, House of Prayer Lutheran Church, 7625 Chicago Ave. S., Richfield.

• 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, St. Philips Lutheran Church, 1401 15th St. W., Hastings

• 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, St. Phillip the Deacon Lutheran Church, 17205 County Road 6, Plymouth

• 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, Christ the King Lutheran Church, 8600 Fremont Ave. S., Bloomington

• 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, Fort Snelling Chapel Veterans Day Service

• 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, Lutheran Church of the Master, 1200 69th Ave. No. Brooklyn Center

• 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, First Lutheran Church of Columbia Heights, 1555 40th Ave. N.E., Columbia Heights

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Truck hit-and-run does not stop Edina native from racing, raising awareness Sat, 03 Oct 2015 13:00:07 +0000  
Finishing a half-marathon in less than three hours, John Wanecke beat his finishing-time goal by five minutes at the Kroll’s Diner Bismarck Marathon in North Dakota on Sept. 19, shy of the two full years after he was hit by a truck while riding his scooter between work shifts. (Submitted photo)
Finishing a half-marathon in less than three hours, John Wanecke beat his finishing-time goal by five minutes at the Kroll’s Diner Bismarck Marathon in North Dakota on Sept. 19, shy of the two full years after he was hit by a truck while riding his scooter between work shifts. (Submitted photo)

It was not his fastest half-marathon finishing time, but it was his best.

“If you put things into perspective, this outdoes all my past running accomplishments, all rolled into one,” wrote Edina native John Wanecke after finishing the Kroll’s Diner Bismarck Marathon in North Dakota on Sept. 19.

He finished the half-marathon in less than three hours. For all of the superlatives and analogies to equate the difficulty of training for a half-marathon or marathon, Wanecke knows what it means to overcome getting hit by a truck.

His race was an effort to prevent others from knowing what that feels like.

While training for the event – a month shy of the accident’s two-year anniversary – he raised donations for a Heartview Foundation’s fund and the North Dakota
Department of Corrections Crime Victims Fund. Fundraising continues on his website,

The accident occurred around 6 a.m. Oct. 27, 2013, while driving his scooter on North Dakota Highway 1804. In his rearview mirror, he saw a flash of the white right before the pickup truck rammed the back of his scooter.

Badly hurt, he was able to call 911 before passing out, waking up to a set of headlights from a car driven by a serendipitous rescuer. She was an intensive care unit nurse on her way to work.

Contact Paul Groessel at or follow the Sun Current on Twitter @EdinaSunCurrent

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‘Spooky Saturday’ Oct. 24 in Eden Prairie Fri, 02 Oct 2015 23:30:29 +0000 The Eden Prairie Community Center is hosting Spooky Saturday 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24. The event features trick-or-treating, arts and craft activities, music and games, climbing on the indoor play structure and more. Everyone who wears a costume receives a special treat.

Tickets are $5 in advance and $6 at the door per child. Maximum of $20 per family, and children younger than the age of 1 are admitted free. Parents and guardians free. The event is appropriate for ages 1–10.

Space is limited. Pre-register in person at the community center or online at using code 428201-01. ]]> 0 Oct. 3 Citizens’ Climate Lobby meeting: Carbon pricing discussed by World Bank member Fri, 02 Oct 2015 21:11:52 +0000 The Citizens’ Climate Lobby meeting scheduled 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Edina Library will feature a presentation (by national conference call) from Rachel Kyte of the World Bank, speaking about using carbon pricing globally to achieve greenhouse gas reductions.

Kyte is World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change. As an advocate for action to combat climate change because of its intrinsic link to poverty and development, Kyte is the leading figure for the World Bank Group in efforts to campaign for an ambitious agreement at the upcoming conference on climate change in Paris.

She was recently appointed as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All.

Anyone concerned about preserving a safe and livable climate for future generations is invited to attend CCL meetings Outside of Edina, there will be CCL meetings in October at other locations across Minnesota. Locations and start times for CCL meetings in Minnesota can be seen each month

Citizen Climate Lobby is an organization with local chapters across the U.S.A. and Canada. Its purpose is to create the political will to resolve the problem of climate change. CCL advocates for a fee on carbon emissions with 100 percent of the proceeds from the fee distributed as a dividend to U.S. households.

For more information about Citizens’ Climate Lobby, call 952-920-1547 or write to ]]> 0 Premier Aquarium is making a splash in Richfield Fri, 02 Oct 2015 20:50:15 +0000 Michael Maki has been working with fish for almost 30 years.

Premier Aquarium does most of its business in the extended metro area, where it services existing tanks as well as installing new aquariums for residential and commercial clients. (Submitted photo)
Premier Aquarium does most of its business in the extended metro area, where it services existing tanks as well as installing new aquariums for residential and commercial clients. (Submitted photo)

In that time, he’s learned that the business is less about the fish and more about the people who are interested in bringing the fish into their homes.

“We’re definitely in the fish business, but, when you break it down, we’re in the people business,” Maki said. “We need to supply a product that they’re going to want in their home or business.

“I’ve never had anyone say that they regret having a fish tank. It adds a really nice element to people’s home or business.”

Maki and his business, Premier Aquarium, has been serving the extended metro area for 18 years. Maki worked at A World of Fish in Richfield for 10 years before starting Premier Aquarium.

“I figured I had to get a ‘real job,’ or I had to figure something out,” Maki said.

Maki bought out some of the contracts from A World of Fish and began Premier Aquarium. While business was hard to come across at first, Premier’s website, Google marketing and word-of-mouth has helped Maki build a strong base of customers.

While an aquarium is viewed as a luxury item, fish tanks are still very popular, which helps keep Maki’s business afloat.

“I would say that the popularity has remained very strong,” Maki said. “The true retail stores have had a hard time, competing against the Internet, but the industry as a whole has been pretty strong.”

What is Premier Aquarium?

Premier Aquarium’s shop is located at 6417 Penn Ave. in Richfield, a central location for Maki based on his clientele and his personal life.

“I really enjoy Richfield,” Maki said. “My wife and I have lived in our house for over 22 years.

“I wanted to keep something that was going to be close to our house.”

While Richfield is a good, central location for Premier Aquarium’s service area, most of Maki’s business comes outside the store.

“The majority of our business is doing service with our clients in the extended metro,” Maki said. “We also do quite a few aquarium installations and a smaller part of our business is installing outdoor ponds for people as well.”

Premier Aquarium aims to keep most of its business in the extended metro, but it has done installs in the five-state area, going as far east as western Wisconsin and as far north as Big Lake.

“Our service area is pretty big,” Maki said.

Maki believes there are 12 to 15 businesses that are similar to Premier Aquarium out there, but roughly 10 of the companies are individually-run and not as a business.

Premier Aquarium has five full-time service workers that are devoted to performing service on habitats and aquariums, while one person runs the shop on a full-time basis.

The service workers do a wide variety of tasks for clients. Alan Auckenthaler, a Premier Aquarium client, recalled that a service worker once came out in the middle of the night during a power outage to ensure that Auckenthaler’s coral reef display would live, as the display requires a power generator.

“We love working with them,” Auckenthaler said. “If there’s ever a problem of any kind they come out multiple times to get it solved.

“They will do whatever is necessary to keep us happy.”

The aquariums

The tanks that Premier Aquarium installs in homes or offices range from anywhere between 30 and 3,000 gallons, with the average tank size of 200 gallons.

Maki, more often than not, is tasked with installing a fresh water tank.

The tanks that Premier Aquarium installs can range anywhere from 30 to 3,000 gallons. The photo above features a 270 gallon salt water tank installed by Premier Aquarium. (Submitted photo)
The tanks that Premier Aquarium installs can range anywhere from 30 to 3,000 gallons. The photo above features a 270 gallon salt water tank installed by Premier Aquarium. (Submitted photo)

The most popular fish in the aquariums is the African cichlid, a fish from the great lakes of Africa that has vibrant colors and is popular because the fish tend to breed easily.

Maki uses fish from companies based in Los Angeles because they tend to bring in fish from all over the world. Premier Aquarium has used fish from Africa, Australia, Japan, Hawaii and other tropical areas of the world in its aquariums.

Great experiences

Maki first got into the business because he loved having smaller aquariums as a child and he is devoted to making sure that his clients love the aquariums that Premier Aquarium installs for them.

Dr. Richard Hadley, another one of Maki’s clients, began his experience with Premier Aquarium when he had Maki install a reef tank. Hadley was impressed with Premier Aquarium’s professionalism and continued to work with Maki.

Hadley went on to also own a salt water tank, a turtle tank and a outdoor pond-less waterfall. Hadley also had Maki install an aquarium in an office Hadley worked from.

“Mike’s a great guy,” Hadley said. “The experience has been excellent and he’s done a number of projects for us.”

While one of Maki’s main goals is to make his clients happy, he also wants to make sure that he can do all he can to provide a better environment for the fish he works with.

“Our goal is to try and provide an environment where the fish can live longer in the aquarium than they could in the wild,” Maki said.

Contact Chris Chesky at ]]> 0