The Dakota County Genealogical Society (DCGS) will become part of the Dakota County Historical Society (DCHS) as of September 2017, with full integration of services and operations by January 2018.
The two organizations have worked together for 30 years, but now the genealogical society will become a specialized working committee at the historical society, offering the opportunity to cosponsor events and share resources, a news release said.
“We have a similar mind-set in terms of who we reach,” said Matt Carter, Dakota County Historical Society’s executive director. “We were kind of surprised no one had thought of it before.”
The genealogical society will continue to host seminars and provide space for genealogical services. More genealogical information will be included in the DCHS monthly newsletter and quarterly historical magazine.
DCHS, which started 78 years ago, is a nonprofit membership organization and open to the public. It is housed in the Lawshe Memorial Museum in South St. Paul and manages two historic sites.
New city engineer hired
The City Council hired Steve Lillehaug as the new city engineer and director of public works. He succeeds Bruce Loney, who retired from the position after 22 years on May 31.
Lillehaug, who holds the same position in Brooklyn Center, is expected to begin July 12. His starting salary will be $134,644.
Officials lauded his 13 years of experience, including in municipalities like Minnetonka and Edina, where he served as assistant city engineer. He also holds a civil engineering degree from Kansas State University and is a U.S. Army veteran.
City lifts watering restriction
A temporary irrigation ban was lifted last week by city officials, allowing residents to again water lawns and wash cars within regular guidelines.
The ban was put in place June 9 on unnecessary watering following a spate of hot, dry weather. The restriction put the kibosh on outdoor irrigation and nonessential watering, including vehicle washing, filling swimming pools and operating ornamental fountains. The restriction did not apply to everyday water usage like showering, clothes washing and toilet flushing.
City code sets minor watering requirements throughout the year to ensure an adequate water supply for the community and to reduce waste, officials said. Guidelines state that all property owners generally should refrain from outdoor water usage between noon and 5 p.m. daily. Residents with even numbered addresses may water on even dates, while those with odd-numbered addresses may water on odd dates.
New landscaping may be watered for 30 days as needed outside of noon to 5 p.m. Those with private wells are exempt from the city’s restrictions.
Violators will be fined.
Grants offered for well sealing
Dakota County will again offer grants to help residents pay for sealing unused wells on their properties.
The decades-old county program is designed to encourage residents to fill old or abandoned wells with grout so that surface water doesn’t run into them, contaminating the aquifer below, said Vanessa Demuth, who works in county’s water resources department.
There are about 7,000 wells in use in the county but thousands more are no longer being used, Demuth said. Most have a 4-inch diameter.
The grants are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The program does run out of money some years. The average grant is $900 while the median cost of sealing a well is $1,661, Demuth said.
All the metro-area counties have their share of unused wells, either in areas where homes predate city water hook up or on old farmsteads, Demuth said.
The Department of Health estimates that one well is dug on a farmstead for every generation that lives on it, so there are many unused wells in agricultural areas. They are often marked by a well pit and a windmill. The wind energy would power the well before the farm had electricity, Demuth said, though they could also be pumped by hand if there was no wind.
In the last three years, 496 wells have been sealed in Dakota County using grant money. The program is funded by the Dakota County levy and the Community Development Authority. This year, the program began with its typical budget of $23,000 but received an extra $17,000 boost. A new budget cycle begins July 1, when the fund will receive $30,000.
Three libraries now open Sundays
Three of 10 Dakota County libraries are now open Sundays, which is the busiest day of the week for library visits.
Robert Trail Library in Rosemount (14395 S. Robert Trail), Wentworth Library in West St. Paul (199 East Wentworth Av.) and Wescott Library in Eagan (1340 Wescott Road) are open daily. The decision to open those three on Sundays was made because of their location and staff availability, according to a news release.
Previously, Galaxie Library in Apple Valley (14955 Galaxie Av.) was the only location open Sundays.
Craft brewery gets approval from council
The City Council has approved a new downtown brewery and taproom. License approval hinges on the condition that the business passes its final building inspection.
Ryan Lindquist and Damon Schuler plan to open the Shakopee Brew Hall, 126 First Av. E., between Turtle’s Bar and Grill and Arnie’s on the city’s main drag.
The grand opening will be announced on the brewery’s newsletter at shakopeebrewhall.com.