A former longtime president of Shakopee’s Derby Days Inc. pleaded guilty this month to two counts of fraud.
Jack McGovern, 52, pleaded guilty Aug. 18 to one count of financial transaction card fraud, a felony, and one count of theft by swindle, a gross misdemeanor. He used $776 in organization funds to pay his cable bill and buy gas.
McGovern resigned as president last summer after 18 years as head of the nonprofit organization that runs the annual community festival.
The festival’s cancellation was announced in February, prompting an investigation and leading to the filing in May of charges against McGovern.
Investigators said they were hampered by statute of limitations restrictions and businesses’ reluctance to comply with subpoenas. Police could only search records within the last two to three years because of legal restrictions, according to Capt. Craig Robson.
“We felt there were some improprieties before that, but we weren’t able to use them in the criminal case,” he said.
Robson added: “Some of the record keeping was not well-established, and that also hampered the investigation. There was a lot of handling of cash, and they didn’t have very well-established records of cash.”
McGovern’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 31 in Scott County District Court in Shakopee.
Refuge proposes new hunting areas
The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge has proposed opening 319 acres of recently acquired land to hunting by the general public starting in 2017.
The three areas, or units, that could potentially have new acreage opening are Bloomington Ferry, Louisville Swamp and St. Lawrence. No additional species would be hunted under the new plan, said Vicki Sherry, a wildlife refuge biologist.
As of last week, officials had only received feedback supporting the new hunt plan, Sherry said. She said that, historically, there haven’t been many comments in opposition.
National wildlife refuges prioritize the use of refuge land for hunting and fishing, as well as for wildlife photography, environmental education, interpretation and wildlife observation. While some kind of hunting is allowed in most units, “totally open, general hunting is not offered at every refuge tract,” according to Sherry, and different regulations apply to various units.
Officials have written a hunt plan and environmental assessment for the possible new hunting areas. Comments may be submitted through Tuesday by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To see the new hunt plan, go to bit.ly/2bHpOw5.
City, tribe to team up on road construction
Prior Lake and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community have entered into an intergovernmental cooperative agreement for a $4.49 million road construction and maintenance project to connect Stemmer Ridge Road between County Roads 12 and 82.
The Prior Lake City Council unanimously approved the agreement at a recent meeting, marking the culmination of years of discussion following the city’s annexation of land from Spring Lake Township in 2003. The road project is one of the last pieces of a multimillion-dollar utilities puzzle in one of Prior Lake’s remaining developable areas.
Under the agreement, both parties will shoulder the costs of the road connection, which is included in the city’s comprehensive plan. The city will pay $1.7 million for sanitary sewer, trunk and water main, and traffic calming elements. The tribe will cover $2.8 million for road construction, site grading and utilities.
After unsuccessful talks between the tribe and the city last spring, negotiations advanced in March when both parties reached agreement on land that the tribe applied to put into trust and extension of city utilities to the area.
Senior housing OK’d at Cobblestone Lake
A controversial senior housing development in Apple Valley’s Cobblestone Lake neighborhood has gotten the final go-ahead from the City Council.
After a unanimous vote Aug. 25, Presbyterian Homes and Services will build a facility on the western edge of Cobblestone Lake, on open land originally intended to be a park. The facility will include 195 senior housing units and provide services ranging from independent and assisted living to memory care.
The council’s approval came despite organized opposition from residents of the master-planned neighborhood bordering Lakeville and Rosemount. A park will be built on another piece of nearby land, but opponents say it’s an inferior site. They also objected to the size and density of the senior housing facility.
Before the council vote, Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland acknowledged the opposition but pointed out that Presbyterian Homes had worked to fit in with the neighborhood. “It’s a big decision to make, and I believe it’s going to be a good decision for our community,” she said.
Residents asked for input on intersections
Dakota County and the city of Burnsville are asking for residents’ help with the county’s study of aging intersections.
An open house will be held this week at Burnsville City Hall to provide information and answer questions on three intersections: County Road 5 and Burnsville Parkway, County Road 5 and 136th Street, and County Road 11 and Burnsville Parkway.
The study is intended to determine if changes to traffic control and intersection geometry are needed at the three sites.
The open house will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.