Are current events getting you down in the dumps? One Prior Lake family has a solution.
A new community website aims to report only good news items around town.
Sick of what they considered "depressing" news, local real estate agents Matt and April Schafer launched the site last week alongside their three children to provide an alternative platform. Their outlet will highlight student achievement, proud sports teams and stories of love and kindness.
What you won't find: Divisive politics. Competing editorials. Complaints.
"We get bombarded with negativity all the time," said longtime resident Matt Schafer. "Quite honestly, people are tired of it."
What residents want, Schafer said, is to hear about the good things happening in their neighborhood.
The Schafers successfully negotiated the ownership of LakerPride.com, a domain that previously hosted advertisements for the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team. After acquiring the domain, they transformed the webpage into a community forum to showcase what people love most about their city, located about 30 miles southwest of Minneapolis.
Along with a brief history of the suburb, LakerPride provides information about local organizations to help families get involved.
"The Sports and Community pages have all of the links a Prior Lake family needs — in one location," April Schafer said in a statement.
Their 13-year-old daughter, Allison, will manage the webpage and upload content to social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
The Schafers say they're surprised by the reaction to their family project. "Many people have reached out to say it was long overdue," Matt Schafer said.
Fur-Ever Wild to become "The Farm"
Fur-Ever Wild, a troubled fur farm and petting zoo in Eureka Township, will transform itself into a new endeavor called the Farm, according to a post on Fur-Ever Wild's Facebook page.
Fur-Ever Wild was forced to get rid of its exotic animals in April to comply with a court ruling backing a Eureka Township ordinance that banned them. Where the animals ended up is not publicly known, as it is under court seal.
The court said owner Terri Petter, who once kept wolves, raccoons, foxes and cougars, could keep just one wolf, the number she had when Eureka Township enacted its exotic animal ordinance more than a decade ago, according to documents.
A federal lawsuit filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Lockwood Animal Rescue Center alleges that Petter was killing and then skinning her wolves to sell their pelts, a violation of the Endangered Species Act. A ruling is expected by late October.
Petter maintains that her wolves are actually wolf-dog hybrids and that she has never hurt or neglected her animals. She said she only kills them if they are old, sick or aggressive.
The post advertising the new attraction shows a picture of a herd of deer in a pen but does not specify which animals will be on display.
"We are completely redoing the grounds at Fur-Ever Wild to make it more hands on, kid and family friendly. That means more farm animal interaction," the post reads.
The Farm's grand opening will be held from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at 10132 235th St. W. in Lakeville. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids.
Emerald ash borer found in Burnsville
Forestry crews have discovered the emerald ash borer (EAB) living in Burnsville, infesting trees in the central part of the city near McAndrews Road and 139th Street, according to a news release.
"With EAB infestations in many neighboring cities, city officials were aware that it was only a matter of time until the bug was discovered in Burnsville," the release said.
In 2013, the city started proactively protecting certain ash trees in public places and cutting down others in anticipation of the green beetle's arrival.
Woodpecker holes and bark cracks indicate that an ash tree may be infected, the release said. A tree may still be saved if pesticide is applied in time to kill the insects, the release said.
EAB often spreads when people unknowingly move firewood harboring larvae, so experts recommend burning firewood where it is purchased.
City staff will inspect trees on public and private property to look for indicators of EAB. Property owners will be notified by the city if EAB is detected and residents will then be given options for what to do with the tree, the news release said.
For more information, visit www.burnsville.org/EAB or call the Burnsville Forestry Department at 952-895-4508.
Community Center referendum fails
Voters struck down the referendum for a $33.1 million community center earlier this month, opposing the idea by more than a 3:1 margin.
City officials had touted the facility as a necessary step toward accommodating growth. The measure needed 60 percent of the vote to pass but failed with 2,146 votes of opposition compared to 622 votes of support.
The special election also determined who would finish the remaining two years of a school board seat vacated by Diane Skelley last year. She resigned to take a custodial position with the school district.
Board members appointed Dan Gardner to temporarily fill the vacancy, but registered voters overwhelmingly elected Terry Morrison to the position on May 8.