The tight-knit community of Elko New Market, recently named the safest city in Minnesota, has won another designation: a top-10 safest city in America.
For the second time this year, the small town about 30 miles south of Minneapolis has topped Safewise's public safety rankings. This time, Elko New Market was the only Minnesota city named to the annual 100 Safest Cities in America list — coming in at No. 8.
Safewise, a home security company, looked at cities with at least 2,500 residents and used FBI crime reports from 2016 to compare rates of violent crimes and property crimes, including assault, rape, murder, robbery, burglary, arson and theft.
What it found was that Elko New Market, with a population of 4,800, reported no violent crimes and just 2.7 property crimes per 1,000 people. The southwestern suburb's overall crime rate decreased 15 percent from 2015 to 2016, and the city's violent crime rate is at its lowest in six years, according to Safewise.
City leaders attribute the ranking to community-oriented policing and vigilant residents who are quick to phone police if they sense something is amiss. In fact, police officers are so popular that they're invited to children's birthday parties and to judge neighborhood cook-offs. They're also known to leave notes for residents who forget to close their garage doors at night.
"We're here for you," Police Chief Steve Mortenson told the Star Tribune in February. "It's your Police Department. ... We want that personal touch."
Elko New Market appears to be in good company. Midwestern cities account for six of America's top 10 safest cities, according to Safewise.
Canterbury opens live racing season Friday
Canterbury Park, Minnesota's premier horse racing track, will begin its 70-day season this Friday, May 4 — the start of Kentucky Derby weekend.
America's most famous racing day, often referred to as the "most exciting two minutes in sports," typically attracts more than 20,000 people to the Shakopee racetrack to gamble.
"After a long winter everyone is ready to get outside and enjoy a day at the races," Canterbury President Randy Sampson said.
Canterbury expects to pay a record $15 million in purses this season, an increase officials hope will entice new trainers and jockeys.
Starting this summer, basset hounds will also sprint the straightaway. The canines join bulldogs, corgis and dachshunds — all of which come with their own cheering sections.
Basset hounds recently won a social media survey asking racing enthusiasts to vote between four small breeds: Yorkies, Shih Tzus, Pomeranians and basset hounds. "We wanted to stay with a breed that's entertaining to watch," Canterbury spokesman Jeff Maday said. "That seems to be what the fans want."
Legion Post searching for Vietnam vets
Officials with Eagan American Legion Post 594 are asking for the public's help in identifying area Vietnam veterans for special recognition during the national Vietnam War Commemoration.
The commemoration honors all active-duty veterans serving from Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that there are 6.6 million Vietnam veterans alive today who are eligible for a lapel pin to recognize their service.
Post 594 recently became a registered partner for the national commemoration and will host several 50th anniversary events for veterans over the next three years. Post officials know of only a small number of veterans and families living in the area who are eligible for recognition. To share information about a Vietnam veteran in the area or to learn more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bike sale to benefit south metro nonprofits
A bike sale that began in a volunteer's driveway nine years ago has grown into a major event involving 400 bikes and thousands of dollars in profits.
Rick Anderson started turning old bikes into refurbished machines for underprivileged kids years ago. As more donated bikes poured in, including many adult models, Anderson began holding an annual sale. He gave all profits to Kids 'n Kinship, a Dakota County nonprofit that matches kids with adult mentors.
The sale grew until traffic in Anderson's neighborhood became too hard to handle on the day of the sale. It eventually moved to an auto mechanic's shop.
By 2017, the sale offered buyers 366 refurbished bikes, bringing in nearly $35,000, which was donated to Kids 'n Kinship. Anderson donated nearly 100 more bikes to various groups.
This year, the sale will also benefit DARTS, a Dakota County nonprofit benefiting seniors.
Rick's Bike Sale will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 12 at Superior Service Center in Apple Valley (14580 Glenda Drive). More information is available at ricksbikesale.com.
Flooding closes Minnesota River Greenway
On Wednesday, Dakota County officials closed the Minnesota River Greenway in Burnsville due to seasonal flooding. The regional route, which follows the Minnesota River, will remain closed until further notice.
The paved trail is closed from the Minnesota Riverfront Park Trailhead at the Interstate 35W bridge to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) boat landing beneath the Cedar Avenue bridge, a news release said.
The trail was designed and engineered to withstand spring flooding. The closure will continue until water levels fall and the trail is cleaned up, if necessary. More information and updates can be found at dakotacounty.us. Search for "Minnesota River Greenway."