A legislator from Farmington is vowing to try to stop the proposed Zip Rail line from the Twin Cities to Rochester.

Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo said he will introduce legislation when the Legislature resumes next year.

It would block the state from pursuing the line, which could cross his district.

"It's time to put a stop to government wasting hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars on studies and other plans for this California-style boondoggle," Garofalo said.

"With an expected one-way fare of $30, Zip line is not a priority for Minnesota families, and it's appalling that Minnesota taxpayers continue to be forced to foot the bill as big government types push forward against the will of local residents," he said.

Garofalo said a heated meeting took place last month in Kenyon, Minn., packed with opponents.

State officials seemed to confirm that there are indeed strong feelings, announcing earlier this month:

"In response to public interest, the Minnesota Department of Transportation extended the comment period to Aug. 22 on a plan for passenger rail service between the Twin Cities and Rochester," an additional 16 days.

That announcement came several days after news of the plan appeared in the press.

Garofalo pointed to parallels with a 2002 proposed Dan Patch commuter rail line from Minneapolis to Northfield.


City's Goat Hill Park latest to go solar

The newest feature at Eagan's Goat Hill Park is solar panels.

City officials said Mouli Vaidyanathan, consulting engineer and president of SolarPod, donated the two SolarPod panels.

Goat Hill Park has, among other things, two lighted ball fields and two lighted hockey rinks.

"Electrical use can be substantial depending upon the season," they said in a statement.

The panels were installed by city staff on a south-facing knoll beside a park shelter.

The array can yield about 9 amps, enough to operate most lights in the park building.

If the city's own needs are small at a given moment, the panels' feed power into the general utility grid and the city gets credited back on its bill.


Learn how to 'take back your woods'

Burnsville is holding a free workshop in September on how to "take back your woods."

The goal is to battle buckthorn, bringing back native plants and wildlife.

The workshop, for the city's own residents, is on Sept. 9 from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.

The location is City Hall, 100 Civic Center Parkway. Preregistration is required.

The leader will be Cheryl Culbreth, owner of Landscape Restoration, Inc.

Topics include:

• Removing buckthorn and bringing back native plants.

• Maintaining restored woodlands.

• Finding city programs to help.

Register by calling 952-895-4550. To learn more, visit www.burnsville.org/buckthorn.

south metro

Reactions sought to Dial-a-Ride changes

Metro Mobility is inviting users of the Dial-a-Ride service to public meetings to react to both past and proposed changes to that service.

Proposed changes for 2015 include:

• Adding Go-To Cards (electronic fare payment).

• Eliminating transfer rides.

Recent alterations on which reactions are being solicited:

• Changing maximum on-board times.

• Cancelling the no-show policy.

• Starting an automated phone system.

Public meeting dates & locations include:

• Wednesday, Sept. 10, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Oxboro Library, 8801 Portland Ave. S., Bloomington.

• Tuesday, Sept. 16, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Westcott Library, 1340 Westcott Rd., Eagan.

• Tuesday, Sept. 23, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Community Center, Rotary Room, 1255 Fuller St. S., Shakopee.


Vets welcome for golf outing next month

Lakeville is offering 36 veterans a chance to take part in a free golf outing in September.

The event is a 9-hole "shotgun scramble." It takes place at Brackett's Crossing Country Club, Lakeville, on Sept. 8, starting at 8:30 a.m. Lunch provided.

The sponsors are Tee It Up for the Troops and Lakeville Yellow Ribbon.

Vets wishing to take part must register, and may do so at www.lakevilleveterans.com.

Staff reports