Rusty crayfish, an invasive species that eat fish eggs and young, have been found in the Vermillion River and Farmington’s North Creek.
Monitoring by the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization discovered three rusty crayfish in Farmington and five in the Vermillion River Linear Park, according to a blog post on the Vermillion River Watershed website.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources regulates rusty crayfish, so it’s illegal to release them into the wild. First discovered in Minnesota around 1960, the crayfish are native to the Ohio River basin, according to the DNR. They’re typically spread when bait buckets and aquariums are dumped into waterbodies.
In addition to harming fish populations, rusty crayfish drive or crossbreed with native crayfish and eat aquatic plants.
3 charged in connection with vandalism
Three men face felony charges in connection with vandalism incidents at Lakeville North and South high schools.
Jeremiah Allen Martin and Trevor James Johnson, each 18, and Jacob William Kiley, 21, were charged earlier this month with first-degree criminal damage to property related to vandalism at the two high schools on the nights of Sept. 13 and 14.
According to criminal complaints filed in Dakota County District Court, the vandalism included graffiti on high school buildings and athletic facilities. The estimate to repair the damages at Lakeville South is nearly $8,700.
Martin, Johnson and Kiley each face up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Their first court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 5.
County could add 15 positions in 2017
Carver County staff presented the 2017 budget recommendation to pay for staffing changes on Tuesday. That section of the budget proposal had been missing when the rest of the Carver County budget was presented to the board Aug. 23. The budget proposes a net staffing change of about 15 new full-time positions (or their equivalent), including about five in health and human services, three in financial services, three in public works and about six in public services. One attorney job is also proposed.
About four full-time positions were cut from the budget.
The staffing section of the budget was originally omitted because of an ongoing compensation and classification study.
The total cost of the recommended staffing changes is $1,193,966, with $180,995 funded through the property tax levy.
Changes to the budget are still possible. The County Board is scheduled to vote Dec. 1 on whether to adopt the budget in its entirety.
Council approves Victoria Flats project
On Monday the Victoria City Council unanimously approved the 81-unit Victoria Flats project, an apartment building proposed for downtown Victoria. The project will be funded through tax-increment financing (TIF), which was also approved at the meeting.
About 65 residents wearing “vote no” stickers attended the meeting, said Tom Gregory, a City Council candidate who also opposes the housing development.
Some residents dislike the Victoria Flats plans because they believe the building will be too big. Others oppose the $2 million in TIF funding given to the developer, Gregory said, or think there won’t be enough parking for both apartment residents and downtown visitors.
Mayor Tom O’Connor read a statement summarizing his support at the end of the four-hour meeting.
O’Connor said the project will include about 200 new parking spots at almost no taxpayer cost — 100 of which will be available to the public.
“We’re trying to diversify our housing base,” O’Connor said. “This is an opportunity to start that.”
Developer buys land at UMore Park
A developer bought 138 acres of land to use for future industrial and business properties at the University of Minnesota’s UMore Park.
Opus Development Co., based in Minnetonka, bought the land for $100,000, and the U’s Board of Regents approved the sale this month. The parcel is adjacent to the Vermillion Highlands property, and both are segments of the more than 5,000-acre research site that’s also undergoing environmental assessment for potential development.
County Road 16 reopens after three-month closure
A frequently traveled highway reopened on Tuesday after it was closed for construction in July.
County Road 16 in Shakopee was upgraded from a two-lane rural road to a four-lane urban road that includes a frontage road, turn lanes, curbs and gutters, and trails on both sides. The highway will have lane closures through November as contractors finish the project, according to the county’s highway department.
The project was designed to enhance safety and better connect County Road 16 to County Highways 83 and 21.