Two members of the Dakota County Public Health staff recently received recognition for their work in the field.

Deputy Director Wendy Bauman garnered accolades from the Local Public Health Association for her work on public health informatics -- look at ways to advance electronic health records and health information management in Minnesota.

And nurse Lia Roberts won an award during the Nursing Research Day at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing for her work on a study of the "Effect of Social Desirability on Survey Responses of Latino Construction Workers."

Seniors program continues online

The Living Longer and Stronger program launched by Dakota County in 2007 to identify challenges and resource needs for an aging population continues online at www.living longerandstronger.org.

The initiative has previously been housed at DARTS, a West St. Paul nonprofit that provides services and support for seniors and their families. The county's contract with DARTS expired in 2010.

The website includes a variety of resources for seniors and the general public, from links to service providers and advocacy groups to guides for retirement financial planning and remodeling to make homes accessible.

APPLE VALLEY

Applications open for police programs

The police department is taking applications for its annual citizen academy programs for adults and teens.

The eight-week adult academy is offered to Apple Valley residents and businesspeople, with the goal of helping residents better understand police work and building ties between police and the community.

Topics include driving under the influence, SWAT operations, the county drug task force, crime prevention, investigative techniques and more. Participants learn in a classroom environment but also ride along with an officer and observe some real and scripted police activities.

The teen police academy is a seven-week course covering many of the same topics.

Applicants must pass a background check, and a limited number will be accepted into the programs. For more information, call 952-953-2700.

BURNSVILLE

Sign ordinance may be changed

The city is considering changes to its sign ordinance and has scheduled a series of discussions through the winter and spring to tackle the issue.

Merging together ideas from the city council, city staff members and the public, the city has identified a list of ideas for changes in the ordinance. They include allowing awning signs in the Heart of the City, changing regulations for signs for temporary businesses, reducing the fee for sandwich-board signs and more. For a complete list, see www.startribune.com/a98.

Key dates in the process include Jan. 12 and Jan. 26, when the city's economic development commission will review the proposals; Feb 9., when the EDC will take public comment; March 28, when the city's planning commission will hold a public hearing, and April 5, when the city council will consider the changes.

FARMINGTON

Steak fry will benefit senior center

A steak fry fundraiser will be held Jan. 15 at the Farmington VFW to benefit the Rambling River Center for seniors.

The event will be 5-8 p.m. at 421 3rd St. The cost is $9 per person.

Meanwhile, the Rambling River Center, 325 Oak St., will hold free blood pressure checks on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 11:45 a.m.

The checkups are provided by River Valley Home Health. No appointments are necessary.

KATIE HUMPHREY, JIM ADAMS AND DYLAN BELDEN