The Eagan City Council updated its ordinance regulating massage therapy Dec. 5 to match what other metro communities are doing, according to a city memo.
The ordinance increases educational requirements and regulates the draping of clients and bathing or showering on the premises.
Other changes include mandating that establishments notify the city clerk within five days of hiring a new employee and requiring the on-site manager to document that he or she is legally allowed to work in the U.S. and resides in Minnesota or one of four Wisconsin counties.
Officials looked at ordinances in Woodbury, Bloomington, Burnsville and Apple Valley before making the changes, said Eagan police department spokesman Aaron Machtemes. They also read through professional standards promulgated by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).
"I think we were kind of behind the times," Machtemes said, adding that there wasn't a specific incident or "big bust" that prompted the changes.
Eagan has 20 licensed massage establishments and 77 licensed massage therapists. The city hasn't denied or revoked a massage establishment's license in the seven years he's worked for Eagan, Machtemes said, though license denials have occurred because of the applicants' failure to pass the background check or inadequate education, Machtemes said. In 2013, police investigated Heavenly Asian Massage for prostitution after an incident but ultimately found no violations, Machtemes said.
Music venue for youth completes renovations
The Garage, a music venue serving young artists in Burnsville, has completed several remodeling projects, according to a news release.
The updates include a new stage, flooring, sound booth and lighting equipment.
In 2015, the Garage became a nonprofit dedicated to providing opportunities to perform and see live music. Since then it has held more than 200 all-ages events, collaborated with 800 young artists, provided more than a dozen workshops and attracted 25,000 people to performances.
The Garage, originally a city-run youth center offering homework help, after-school programs and weekend concerts, still occupies Burnsville's old maintenance facility across from City Hall.
Several years ago, city officials decided they no longer wanted to run a youth center.
"That's not where our wheelhouse is," said Mayor Elizabeth Kautz in the summer of 2014.
The Garage became part of the Burnsville Youth Collaborative (BYC), a partnership with the Burnsville school district, the YMCA and the city of Burnsville.
SouthWest Transit to begin serving city Jan. 2
SW Prime, an on-demand transit service for Eden Prairie, Chaska, Chanhassen and Carver, will soon expand to Victoria.
Beginning Jan. 2, Victoria residents will be able to catch the bus along with their neighbors.
Commuters may request a ride through their smartphone application, online or by phone. Once they indicate which pickup and drop off location they prefer, a shared ride will be sent to fetch them.
SW Prime operates Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. New ride requests are not accepted after 6 p.m. The service also runs Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fares cost $4 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 to 12. Tots age 5 and younger ride free. For information or to request a ride, visit swprime.org or call (952)-797-7463.
City gets Standard & Poor's AAA bond rating
Standard & Poor's (S&P) has recently upgraded Savage's bond rating to AAA, an improvement that puts it in the same class as only 22 other Minnesota cities.
The AAA bond rating is the highest credit rating a city can receive from the rating entity. City Administrator Barry Stock said the achievement resulted from 15 years of budgetary performance and strong financial management. The rating puts Savage in a more secure position to make capital improvements like fixing roads, sewers and parks, said City Finance Director Julie Stahl. "The higher the bond rating, the lower the risk," Stahl said in a statement. "The lower the risk, the lower the interest rate charged to the borrower."
In its report, S&P listed factors that contributed to a rating upgrade, including: strong budget flexibility, per capita income that is 130 percent higher than the national average and a reliance on local revenue rather than state aid to fund operations.
County joins fight against opioid crisis
Carver County Commissioners voted Tuesday to join neighboring counties in seeking legal action against opioid manufacturers and distributors.
The board voted to hire outside legal counsel, including the firms Lockridge Grindal Nauen, Gustafson Gluek and J.F. Henderson Law for related litigation.
The county joins a groundswell of lawsuits by local governments alleging that manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids are largely responsible for an epidemic of addiction that has caused thousands of deaths and strained public resources. County attorneys from Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington, Dakota and St. Louis counties have each announced recently that they would file similar lawsuits targeting companies that make and distribute opioids.
In 2016, there were 153 accidental opiate-relate deaths in Minnesota, up from 97 in 2015.
Minnesota's own megastar, Prince, died of an accidental opioid overdose in April 2016 at Paisley Park, his Chanhassen home and recording studio.