Sun Current http://current.mnsun.com Local News for Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina and Richfield Minnesota Fri, 28 Aug 2015 21:44:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Column: Do black lives matter? Absolutely! See you at the Fair? http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/column-do-black-lives-matter-absolutely-see-you-at-the-fair/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/column-do-black-lives-matter-absolutely-see-you-at-the-fair/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 21:44:40 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=151873 We’ve had this back-and-forth conversation. Do black lives matter? The organization Black Lives Matter is planning a rather controversial protest at Saturday’s Minnesota State Fair.

Some have said that protest is inappropriate. If individuals feel State Fair management has discriminated against them, they should first directly approach the fair’s leadership and present their case. I agree.

I’ve attended the Minnesota State Fair countless times over six decades. I recall being scared by the haunted house as a kid. I remember how incredible it was to ride the sky ride over the heads of fellow fair-goers. I remember the thrill of being in “The Cities” instead of dull, boring farm country.

We missed a chunk of years somewhere, but we have been faithful fairgoers again the last 15 years or so. I love the flowers in the horticulture building, the music at the Leinie Lodge and the food at the International Village. And yes we’ve enjoyed a beer (or two) at the Minnesota brewers exhibit.

I’ve seen a great diversity at the fair each year. I see people of all ages, shapes, sizes and colors. I see all types of dress — a predominance of Twins t-shirts and Pioneer seed corn caps for sure — but a good representation of saris, burkas and hijabs. (However, someone will have to explain to me how a person can traverse the fairgrounds in flip-flops!)

I also don’t see any reason why Black Lives Matter — or any other Minnesota political group — couldn’t stage a protest at the Fair. We are all entitled to free speech and the freedom to assemble.

We have several other groups that might be appropriate for protests this year. How about resort owners around Mille Lacs whose livelihood became a political football?

How about farmers who are threatened each day by new regulations, such as water protection rules? Meeting the requirements becomes more and more costly at a time where commodity prices are falling.

And how about Minnesota’s 18-year-olds, facing college costs that could force them into debt that will take them a decade or two to repay?

Our State Fair is an occasion to enjoy, to savor and to over-indulge. (Are you going to try deep fried olives wrapped in bacon? I just might.)

The Fair has been the scene of political debates over the years. Just how many state politicians will be there this year? I would venture the answer is, “All of them.”

I will be at the fair Wednesday or Thursday. If I pass by the Black Lives Matter booth, I will hope they will be open to a high five from me (apologies for the greasy fingers if I just visited the mini-donuts stand).

Yes, black lives matter, as do all lives. Our State Fair is the 10 days of the year where we are all together, where are all alike: Tired feet, carrying our yard sticks, trying not to sit down on someone’s discarded cotton candy.

Our great get-together is where we affirm that all Minnesotan lives matter.

See you at the Fair?

Reactions to this column and all commentaries on our websites and in our publications are welcome: peggy.bakken@ecm-inc.com ]]> http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/column-do-black-lives-matter-absolutely-see-you-at-the-fair/feed/ 0 Eden Prairie City Council to host LRT meeting Sept. 15 http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/eden-prairie-city-council-to-host-lrt-meeting-sept-15/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/eden-prairie-city-council-to-host-lrt-meeting-sept-15/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 20:47:08 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=151740 After making $250 million in reductions recommended by communities on the planned Southwest Light Rail Transit (METRO Green Line Extension) line in early July, the Metropolitan Council approved re-initiating the municipal consent process.

Because of the proposed scope in changes to the project plan, the Metropolitan Council is again seeking municipal consent from Hennepin County and the cities of Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Minneapolis. The process must be completed by Oct. 11.

Eden Prairie’s public hearing and municipal consent vote will take place at the Sept. 15 city council meeting. Prior to the meeting, the city is hosting an open house 6-7 p.m. at the City Center where the public can review the project and members of the Southwest LRT project staff will be available to answer questions.

In addition to the public hearings, comments may also be submitted as follows:

• Written: Southwest LRT Project Office, 6465 Wayzata Blvd., Ste. 500, St. Louis Park, MN 55426, Attn: Nkongo Cigolo
• Phone: 651-291-0904
• Email: swlrt@metrotransit.org
• Fax: 612-373-3899

The Metropolitan Council will accept public comments until 4 p.m. Sept. 11. Revised preliminary design plans for the entire alignment are available at metrocouncil.org/swlrt/municipal, including a listing of locations where printed copies are available for viewing.

Printed copies of the revised preliminary design plans for Eden Prairie are available for review at Eden Prairie City Center, 8080 Mitchell Road and the Eden Prairie Library, 565 Prairie Center Drive.

Donations

During the Aug. 18 meeting, the Eden Prairie City Council accepted $143,015 in donations to city projects.

The Eden Prairie Hockey Association donated $43,015 to build a dry land training area in Ryan Shuman Memorial Rink 2 at the Eden Prairie Community Center,.

The city also approved a naming rights agreement with Lariat Cos., the company donating $50,000 toward the new Miracle League Field.

Additionally, the Sampson family donated $10,000 toward equipment for the Eden Prairie Art Center.

The city also accepted a $40,000 grant from True Friends to construct an accessible play structure at Camp Eden Wood. C.H. Robinson of Eden Prairie also provided funding for the grant. Hennepin Youth Sports Grant Program is also providing grant funds of $40,000 for the project.

“Donations like this help us do, as a community, some of the little extra things that we could not do with just tax dollars,” Mayor Nancy-Tyra Lukens said. “We greatly appreciate how much better our community is because of the people that donate to us.”

Contact Michelle Doeden at michelle.doeden@ecm-inc.com ]]> http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/eden-prairie-city-council-to-host-lrt-meeting-sept-15/feed/ 0 Zheng earns 20 medals in state, Central Zone swim meets http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/zheng-earns-20-medals-in-state-central-zone-swim-meets/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/zheng-earns-20-medals-in-state-central-zone-swim-meets/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 20:25:35 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=151868  

St. Louis Park 12-year-old swimmer Hayden Zheng has been competing in that sport since age 7. Zheng continues to climb the ladder of success in swimming and keeps winning gold medals and breaking state age-group titles in the process.

St. Louis Park 12-year-old swimmer Hayden Zheng won 10 events competing for the Aquajets Swim Club in state competition this summer at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Zheng is a seventh-grade student at St. Louis Park Middle School. (Submitted photo)
St. Louis Park 12-year-old swimmer Hayden Zheng won 10 events competing for the Aquajets Swim Club in state competition this summer at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Zheng is a seventh-grade student at St. Louis Park Middle School. (Submitted photo)

Zheng represented the Aquajets Swim Club in the state long course championships Aug. 2 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. He won all 10 of his events with personal-best times and broke four state records competing in the boys 11-12 age group.

The Park swimming standout claimed titles in the 50- and 200-meter butterfly and 50, 100 and 200 butterfly events. He was also a member of four state championship relay teams — 200 and 400 freestyle, 200 and 400 medley.

Zheng broke the state breaststroke record with a time of 1 minute, 11.16 seconds. He was the high-point winner in his age group with a maximum of 120 points.

Zheng also participated and excelled in the Central Zone Championships Aug. 9 at the U of M Aquatic Center. He was a member of Team Minnesota in that meet and won eight gold medals.

The St. Louis Park swimmer claimed gold medals in the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke events and as a member of 200 individual medley and four relays. He also added two silver medals in the 50 and 100 butterfly events.

Zheng broke a Central Zone and state record in the 200 breaststroke (2:35.05). He was high point winner in his age group at the Central Zone competition.

Zheng amassed a combined 18 gold and two silver medals in a total of 20 events at the state and Central Zone meets.

Coach lauds

Zheng’s efforts

Aquajets Swim Club coach Kate Lundsten has high praise for Zheng as both a swimmer and person.

“Hayden works hard and is very mature for his age,” Lundsten said. “He is a breeze to coach.

“Hayden is a smart swimmer and great kid, who has lots of potential.”

Lundsten has coached many premier swimmers during her career including Olympic gold medalist Rachel Bootsma of Eden Prairie.

“I have to give coach Lundsten so much credit for my success,” Zheng said. “It is amazing all the time she puts in to coach her swimmers.

“I had a break-out year while getting stronger and lowering my times. I will take about a month away from the pool before resuming training.”

Zheng is far from getting burned out in swimming.

“I’ve been swimming since I was 7-years-old and really enjoy the sport,” Zheng said. “I’ve me so many nice people and gained new friends competing in various meets.

“I like to hang out socially with some of my swimming friends.”

Zheng will be eligible to compete in the nationals once he turns 14. And he has a chance to add medals to his awards collection if he continues to lower his times.

His state record time in the 100 breaststroke ranks second in the nation. And Zheng has played a key role in the 400 and 200 freestyle relays, which are ranked third and fourth in the nation.

And Zheng shines in both the classroom and pool. He maintains a 3.95 GPA.

Contact Greg Kleven at greg.kleven@ecm-inc.com

 
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Eagle runners face tough opposition http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/eagle-runners-face-tough-opposition/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/eagle-runners-face-tough-opposition/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:58:18 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=151863  

Several Eden Prairie High School runners put in 500 miles of road work this past summer preparing for the 2015 season. Hopefully that conditioning will pay off for the Eagles during the 2015 season.

However, Eden Prairie’s boys and girls cross country teams will have to survive stiff regular- and post-season competition against many of the state’s elite squads.

Eden Prairie’s Anna Grote (left) and Ally Cottrell race during cross country competition last fall. Both runners return for the Eagles this season. (Photo by John Sherman)
Eden Prairie’s Anna Grote (left) and Ally Cottrell race during cross country competition last fall. Both runners return for the Eagles this season. (Photo by John Sherman)

“Wayzata’s boys team is ranked second in the nation heading into the season,” Eden Prairie coach Jeff Lindlief said. “Edina is rated fourth in the national pre-season rankings.

“And our girls squad will also be challenged competing against strong teams such as Edina, Minnetonka, Wayzata and Hopkins.”

Providing leadership for the Eden Prairie girls’ cross country team are senior tri-captains Maxine Fusaro, Caroline Frischman and Haley Anderson.

The Eagles will also count on two other returning letterwinners — juniors Anna Grote and Ally Cottrell.

“Our girls did a lot of running during the summer and their goal is to get to state.” Lindlief said. “But we know that will be a challenge because only the top two teams from our section advance to state.”

Eden Prairie’s boys cross country senior tri-captains are Kevin Jeter, Jake Theis and Jacob Hammer.

“There will be a lot of competition for varsity positions on our boys team,” Lindlief said. “Jeter is our top returning runner after qualifying for state a year ago.”

Eden Prairie’s cross country squads will participate in the Rosemount Irish Invitational meet at 11:15 a.m. Friday, Sept. 4.

Contact Greg Kleven at greg.kleven@ecm-inc.com

 
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Jefferson girls soccer coach is optimistic http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/jefferson-girls-soccer-coach-is-optimistic/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/jefferson-girls-soccer-coach-is-optimistic/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:50:03 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=151858 Jefferson girls head coach Steve Vuolo is optmistic about his team’s chances of improving on last season’s 4-11-1 record.
Jefferson’s Rebecca Caballero (left) slides to kick the ball to teammate Molly Roach during girls soccer competition last fall. Caballero is a senior defender and tri-captain for the Jaguars this fall. Roach returns as a junior midfielder. (Sun Current file photo by Mark Trockman-trockstock.com)
Jefferson’s Rebecca Caballero (left) slides to kick the ball to teammate Molly Roach during girls soccer competition last fall. Caballero is a senior defender and tri-captain for the Jaguars this fall. Roach returns as a junior midfielder. (Sun Current file photo by Mark Trockman-trockstock.com)

“Last year, our team didn’t return any starters from the previous season,” the Jaguar coach said. “But this year, the team lost only a few starters from last season.

“The girls know what to expect and are more relaxed and confident.”

Jefferson’s tri-captains are senior midfielder Cristin Vierling, senior forward Brenna Keeler and senior defender Rebecca Caballero.

Returning defenders are Caballero, Brianna Vierling, Sarah Nelson and Jordan Murray, all seniors. Senior Kas Dabu and junior Maddie Haas are back to tend goal for the Jaguars.

“Murray sees the field really well and connects on a high percentage of passes from the back,” Vuolo said.

Jefferson should be strong at the midfield positions with veteran players Molly Roach (junior), Jessica Schrank (senior), Sarah Pertl (senior) and Kristin Sako (junior).

“Depth should be a strength for us,” Vuolo said. “I envision we will not have a set lineup early in the season because I don’t see us losing anything when I turn to my bench.”

Murray was an all-conference selection last season. Vierling received all-conference honorable mention.

“One of the great things about Vierling is her versatility,” Vuolo said. “She will play lots of different positions this year.

Jefferson opens its girls soccer season against New Prague at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, on the road. The Jaguars travel to Rochester Century for a 1 p.m. game Saturday, Aug. 29, and return home to battle Forest Lake at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, on its turf field.

Coach Vuolo expects Benilde-St. Margaret’s to be the team to beat again in the Metro West Conference.

“Benilde is the clear favorite after going undefeated in conference play last season,” the Jefferson coach said. “Benilde has much talent back, but we are ready to give them a great game.”

Jefferson had a 3-3-1 conference record last fall.

Contact Greg Kleven at greg.kleven@ecm-inc.com

 
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Thinking Through a Legacy http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/thinking-through-a-legacy/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/thinking-through-a-legacy/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:22:55 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?guid=ec77a241366bacd3b8784b607334b8a5 When you say, “I want to leave a legacy,” what do you mean? Is legacy about money, possessions, memories, spirituality, meaning, love, circles unbroken, the lives of loved ones and fellow humans who are better off because you were here ... what?

There were consequence when you were born, consequences based on how you live your life and there will be consequences when you die. It’s easy to be confused by complexities involving finances, accounting, taxation and legal issues.

As such things can be mind numbing, you can easily are put them off. But as my friend, estate planning and tax lawyer John J. “Jeff” Scroggin of Roswell, Ga., explains, the real starting point is people.

Start with the people in your life important to you. How will your death impact your spouse, parent, adult or minor child, other loved ones, business partners or associates? If you were incapacitated prior to death, how would that affect those in your life? Money and possessions are just part of the equation. Ditto a closely held business or other venture.

Your conversations with advisors should revolve around people who depend on you and look up to you. What are their goals and needs? What should they know when they get the phone call that you are incapacitated, unable to communicate or act in your own behalf or deceased? Based on in-depth conversations, advisors can wrestle with legalisms, tax, financial and accounting issues.

For most people, with proper planning, estate taxes are not a concern. In 2015, estate, gift, and generation skipping federal tax exemptions are pegged at $5.43 million, with inflation-based increases going forward. Done right, couples can pass twice the exemption to heirs, $10.86 million free of federal estate tax. Death benefits from life insurance, owned by an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), can pass to heirs free of income and estate taxes. Here, you transfer assets from your estate to this trust.

Wealthy individuals and couples, especially those with farms, closely held business or other non-liquid highly value assets, should review their goals and objectives. Have you had assets valued lately?

The Obama administration is attacking tax-saving estate planning techniques.  The Internal Revenue Service is poised to issue a new rules on how family limited partnerships – and other such vehicles that hold businesses, real estate and other assets – value them. The agency believes that wealthy people under-value some of these assets to minimize the estate tax bite on them.

In light of all that, you are wise to consult a tax counsel.  

An up-to-date will is basic. Some of you don’t have a will, or it is old and outdated, or you or your loved ones can’t find it. A will only works when you are dead. What about incapacity? Do you have a power of attorney – giving someone you designate the authority to act for you if you cannot – for assets and health care? A medical directive, which governs your wishes concerning your own care?

Does your designated loved one or successor designee have copies? Do they know your advisors? Where are key insurance, asset, estate and family documents? Are you entitled to veteran’s benefits? Where are your service records?

A will is only part of the estate settlement equation. Beneficiary designations also direct the distribution of assets. Have you reviewed those to ensure that primary and contingent beneficiaries are up-to-date and still reflect your wishes?

How property is titled dictates distribution, as well as potential income or estate taxation. Advisors need to know the nature of property, how it is titled, its value and tax basis (what you originally paid for it, used to calculate capital gains tax once you sell). Strategies exist that potentially may lower gains taxes, even if you do not have estate tax exposure.

Trust planning often makes sense regarding retirement accounts and assets that could pass to minors, incapacitated or special needs children or adults, or adult children with substance abuse or spendthrift challenges. Real estate owned outside of your state of residence needs attention.

Texas televangelist Mike Murdock, known for promoting prosperity theology –which holds that faith and good works can lead to financial success – posits that legacy goes beyond issues of money and possessions: “You will only be remembered for two things: the problems you solve or the ones you create.”

Planning for incapacity and your ultimate death, while not fun to contemplate, provides clarity and comfort for loved ones at a time of confusion and sadness. Beyond what you leave behind, the real point is your eternal inheritance. James Dobson, evangelist and head of Focus On The Family, declares, “My legacy doesn't matter. It isn't important that I be remembered. It's important that when I stand before the Lord, he says, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' I want to finish strong.”

Finish strong, in love and with peace of mind.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Lewis Walker, CFP, is president of Walker Capital Management, LCC in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Securities and certain advisory services offered through The Strategic Financial Alliance Inc. (SFA). Lewis Walker and Mike Hostetler are registered representatives of the SFA, which is otherwise unaffiliated with Walker Capital Management. 770-441-2603. lewisw@theinvestmentcoach.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

 

 

 

              

 

 

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When you say, “I want to leave a legacy,” what do you mean? Is legacy about money, possessions, memories, spirituality, meaning, love, circles unbroken, the lives of loved ones and fellow humans who are better off because you were here … what?

There were consequence when you were born, consequences based on how you live your life and there will be consequences when you die. It’s easy to be confused by complexities involving finances, accounting, taxation and legal issues.

As such things can be mind numbing, you can easily are put them off. But as my friend, estate planning and tax lawyer John J. “Jeff” Scroggin of Roswell, Ga., explains, the real starting point is people.

Start with the people in your life important to you. How will your death impact your spouse, parent, adult or minor child, other loved ones, business partners or associates? If you were incapacitated prior to death, how would that affect those in your life? Money and possessions are just part of the equation. Ditto a closely held business or other venture.

Your conversations with advisors should revolve around people who depend on you and look up to you. What are their goals and needs? What should they know when they get the phone call that you are incapacitated, unable to communicate or act in your own behalf or deceased? Based on in-depth conversations, advisors can wrestle with legalisms, tax, financial and accounting issues.

For most people, with proper planning, estate taxes are not a concern. In 2015, estate, gift, and generation skipping federal tax exemptions are pegged at $5.43 million, with inflation-based increases going forward. Done right, couples can pass twice the exemption to heirs, $10.86 million free of federal estate tax. Death benefits from life insurance, owned by an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), can pass to heirs free of income and estate taxes. Here, you transfer assets from your estate to this trust.

Wealthy individuals and couples, especially those with farms, closely held business or other non-liquid highly value assets, should review their goals and objectives. Have you had assets valued lately?

The Obama administration is attacking tax-saving estate planning techniques.  The Internal Revenue Service is poised to issue a new rules on how family limited partnerships – and other such vehicles that hold businesses, real estate and other assets – value them. The agency believes that wealthy people under-value some of these assets to minimize the estate tax bite on them.

In light of all that, you are wise to consult a tax counsel.  

An up-to-date will is basic. Some of you don’t have a will, or it is old and outdated, or you or your loved ones can’t find it. A will only works when you are dead. What about incapacity? Do you have a power of attorney – giving someone you designate the authority to act for you if you cannot – for assets and health care? A medical directive, which governs your wishes concerning your own care?

Does your designated loved one or successor designee have copies? Do they know your advisors? Where are key insurance, asset, estate and family documents? Are you entitled to veteran’s benefits? Where are your service records?

A will is only part of the estate settlement equation. Beneficiary designations also direct the distribution of assets. Have you reviewed those to ensure that primary and contingent beneficiaries are up-to-date and still reflect your wishes?

How property is titled dictates distribution, as well as potential income or estate taxation. Advisors need to know the nature of property, how it is titled, its value and tax basis (what you originally paid for it, used to calculate capital gains tax once you sell). Strategies exist that potentially may lower gains taxes, even if you do not have estate tax exposure.

Trust planning often makes sense regarding retirement accounts and assets that could pass to minors, incapacitated or special needs children or adults, or adult children with substance abuse or spendthrift challenges. Real estate owned outside of your state of residence needs attention.

Texas televangelist Mike Murdock, known for promoting prosperity theology –which holds that faith and good works can lead to financial success – posits that legacy goes beyond issues of money and possessions: “You will only be remembered for two things: the problems you solve or the ones you create.”

Planning for incapacity and your ultimate death, while not fun to contemplate, provides clarity and comfort for loved ones at a time of confusion and sadness. Beyond what you leave behind, the real point is your eternal inheritance. James Dobson, evangelist and head of Focus On The Family, declares, “My legacy doesn’t matter. It isn’t important that I be remembered. It’s important that when I stand before the Lord, he says, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ I want to finish strong.”

Finish strong, in love and with peace of mind.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Lewis Walker, CFP, is president of Walker Capital Management, LCC in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Securities and certain advisory services offered through The Strategic Financial Alliance Inc. (SFA). Lewis Walker and Mike Hostetler are registered representatives of the SFA, which is otherwise unaffiliated with Walker Capital Management. 770-441-2603. lewisw@theinvestmentcoach.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

 

 

 

              

 

  ]]> http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/thinking-through-a-legacy/feed/ 0 Frustration remains as Richfield hires architect for tunnel http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/frustration-remains-as-richfield-hires-architect-for-tunnel/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/frustration-remains-as-richfield-hires-architect-for-tunnel/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:08:53 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=151653 The city of Richfield has hired an architect to design a coveted and supposedly transformative underpass on the city’s southeast corner.

Meanwhile, city leaders are making clear their frustrations with the Minnesota Department of Transportation in securing funds for a tunnel that will cut under Cedar Avenue at East 77th Street, linking Richfield with the airport.

The Richfield City Council unanimously voted Aug. 11 to approve a $2.1 million contract with WSB associates for the design services, but policymakers and city staff are disappointed in how long it has taken to obtain funding promised for the project.

Adding to the frustration, MnDOT has attached a caveat to the funding that says the city is on the hook for any overruns on the estimated $2.1 million design cost, even though $2.5 million had already been earmarked for that purpose.

“It’s been a lot of struggle with MnDOT, it really has been,” Mayor Debbie Goettel said.

A bonding bill approved by the state Legislature in 2014 was expected to provide $15 million for the tunnel, Rep. Linda Slocum (D-Richfield) said at the time of the approval. However, a specific amount was not earmarked, according to a staff report to the city council, and funding in any amount was slow to materialize.

The city met a number of times with MnDOT to determine the actual awarded sum before it was determined Richfield would receive $2.5 million for design costs, City Manager Steve Devich explained. With at least some funding in hand, Devich was still irked by the caveat for design costs.

“This really kind of bugs me,” he said.

Still, the selection of an architect means the city is one step closer to breaking ground on a project expected to spur redevelopment in southeast Richfield by linking the city to the airport and Mall of America area.

Additionally, the Legislature last spring authorized an additional $10 million to the project for land acquisition and construction costs. And there is no question this time that Richfield will get that money, since it is earmarked specifically for the tunnel, Slocum said in June.

The allocation means more than half of the project’s estimated $22.5 million total cost has been funded. For now, though, Devich is hoping the tunnel’s design doesn’t cost more than expected.

“You’re saying that if something happens, it’s going to fall on the city of Richfield’s pockets,” Devich said, noting the city is already incurring staffing costs on the project.

Devich added he was told the city could file for an amendment regarding the caveat, but “I said that’s a really difficult pill for me to swallow.” He said his confidence in MnDOT’s process is low, “considering what’s happened between the city of Richfield and MnDOT in getting money for this project.”

While lobbying for the tunnel over the past 20 years, city leaders have sold the project as a regional measure that would help alleviate congestion on Interstate 494 in addition to boosting commerce in Richfield.

Considering that, Devich would like to see more financial security regarding the architect hire.

“But there’s really nothing we can do,” he said, “but to go forward and take it as it was given to us.”

Contact Andrew Wig at andrew.wig@ecm-inc.com or follow him on Twitter @RISunCurrent ]]> http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/frustration-remains-as-richfield-hires-architect-for-tunnel/feed/ 0 Edina school staff prepares for school year http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/edina-school-staff-prepares-for-school-year/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/edina-school-staff-prepares-for-school-year/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:00:48 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=151676 The second annual Edina Learning Institute brought district teachers and staff together for a professional learning opportunity designed to advance the vision for Next Generation learning in Edina Public Schools.

Approximately 175 district teachers and staff participated in all or part of four days of learning and applying new ideas focused on the district’s educational competencies.

Nationally known keynote speakers kicked off each morning with an overarching message about the day’s theme, which was one of the educational competencies: global competence, motivated lifelong learning, innovative thinking and creating, becoming a healthy well-rounded person.

Breakout sessions continued the learning as Edina staff members spent the remainder of the morning teaching and sharing from their own expertise. Afternoon sessions focused on applying the morning’s learnings. Keynote speakers included Dana Mortenson, cofounder of World Savvy; Barbara Bray, nationally recognized “creative learning strategist” specializing in personalized learning; Rafranz Davis, instructional technology specialist in Dallas and advocate for passion-based learning; and Dr. Cindra Kamphoff, sports psychologist and performance coach.

Last year, the inaugural ELI programming ran the gamut of professional learning topics. But this year, the decision was made to focus on topics that are not only critical to the advancement of the district’s strategic plan, but often not readily available as professional learning opportunities.

The district’s educational competencies were identified last year as being key skills that students need to thrive in a changing world. Teaching these attributes are being embedded in the academic curriculum so that Edina students emerge with life skills needed for social, emotional, academic and professional success.

This year, staff used Twitter to further engage with Edina Learning Institute. In fact, the hashtag #EdinaLI became a trending topic in Minneapolis on Aug. 18. ]]> http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/edina-school-staff-prepares-for-school-year/feed/ 0 FBI analyst, former senator to speak Sept. 1 http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/fbi-analyst-former-senator-to-speak-sept-1/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/fbi-analyst-former-senator-to-speak-sept-1/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:36:38 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=151619 An FBI intelligence analyst will speak at next week’s Republican Seniors of Minnesota luncheon in Bloomington.

The meeting is 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, at Poor Richard’s Commonhouse, 8301 Normandale Blvd.

Jonathon Watson will discuss the national security mission of the FBI as it relates to terrorist threats in Minnesota.

Also speaking will be former U.S. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, who will address “What is wrong with the just completed Kerry/Obama Iran nuclear deal.”

Lunch will be available at noon, following the meeting. The cost to attend the meeting without lunch is $3.

Info: 952-828-1943 ]]> http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/fbi-analyst-former-senator-to-speak-sept-1/feed/ 0 VFW essay contest entries due Nov. 1 http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/vfw-essay-contest-entries-due-nov-1/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/vfw-essay-contest-entries-due-nov-1/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:35:51 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=151617 Everett McClay Post 1296 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars is accepting entries for its annual “Patriots Pen Essay Competition” for students in grades 6-8 and its “Voice of Democracy” competition for students in grades 9-12.

Students in grades 6-8 are invited to write an essay of 300-400 words on the topic “What freedom means to me.”

Students in grades 9-12 are invited to record a 3-5 minute audio essay on the topic, “My vision for America.”

The deadline for submissions is Nov. 1. Entries for the audio essay contest must be submitted on a cassette or compact disc, and include a typed copy of the essay.

Students whose essays are selected by the Bloomington post will advance to the district competition. Prizes include a $10,000 scholarship for first place in the Voice of Democracy competition and a trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals participants. The winner of the Patriots Pen Essay Contest will receive a $5,000 scholarship and a trip to Washington D.C., for the student and a parent or guardian.

Entries may be submitted to Post 1296 through Nov. 1. They may be dropped off or mailed to Everett McClay VFW  No. 1296, 311 W. 84th St., Bloomington, MN 55420; Attn:  John Crary.

Info: 612-861-4257 (Jane) ]]> http://current.mnsun.com/2015/08/vfw-essay-contest-entries-due-nov-1/feed/ 0