Litter becomes problem in parks

Worried about the effect of "old pop bottles, wrappers and other trash" littering Burnsville's 76 parks and public gathering places, the city is urging volunteers to help jump in and clean them up.

The city's Adopt a Park program has 40 groups already, helping clean up not only parks but lakes and ponds. But it could use some more.

Volunteers can help the city save money on the seasonal workers who pick up trash, and make sure the community is succeeding on a mission it says it now "cannot keep up with."

Residents, community groups, churches or businesses can volunteer in the Adopt a Park program, which is a three-year commitment. Volunteers pick a park and pick up litter once a month in May and September, and twice in June, July and August.

The city provides trash bags and safety information, and it removes filled bags from park entrances. A sign recognizes the organization's work.

For more information, call 952-895-4550 or visit www.burnsville.org/adoptapark.

Bike path near river closed until spring

It isn't just the roadways being disrupted in Burnsville. It's also the bike paths.

Work on transmission lines near the Black Dog power plant along the Minnesota River has forced the closing until next spring of a city bike trail.

The trail being closed until March is located on the east side of Interstate 35W from Black Dog Road to the Cliff Road interchange.

For information on other options by way of parks and trails, the city recommends a visit to www.burnsville.org/parks.

The work is close to where a major ramp off 35W to Hwy. 13 has also been closed, though for differing reasons.


New bike trail map is first since 2001

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has published an updated edition of the state's bicycle map, the first since 2001.

In a paper or electronic format, the free map sketches out bicycle accommodations across the state, making it easier for cyclists to plan long-distance bicycle trips.

Map information includes a road description, including shoulder width, pavement type and traffic volumes; state and regional trails; state historic sites, parks, city index; and other points of interest, plus safety tips.

Paper versions of the map are available at the MnDOT Central Office Building, 395 John Ireland Blvd. in St. Paul, and at the Kick Gas exhibit inside the Eco Experience building on Randall Avenue during the Minnesota State Fair.

The electronic version of the map is available at mndot.gov/bike/maps.html. It has more detailed routes than the paper version and includes smaller and printable areas of the state. The online version of the map will be updated twice yearly and offers opportunities for public feedback.


College gets grant to help underserved

Inver Hills Community College has gotten a big grant to help students in difficulty stay in school.

As part of a $4.5 million grant program, an organization called the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation has given the school more than $80,000 to help students facing major challenges to continue in school.

The money will help 75 students from what the college calls "traditionally underserved backgrounds," providing a variety of services. The ultimate goal is a transfer into a four-year degree program.

The school has 140 students participating in a "structured first-year experience" aimed at smoothing their way, officials say, but many others have been turned away for lack of staff and money. The waiting list will shrink.

The program helps young people "develop connections to their campus, peers, faculty and staff, and overcome financial obstacles," officials report. With growing suburban diversity and poverty, the school has also launched a food shelf and taken other steps to help.


Work starts on road project off Hwy. 13

Construction has begun on a major road project in Prior Lake and will continue through mid-October, city officials report.

Work began Aug. 19 near Hwy. 13, at the Main and Ridgemont avenues intersection leading to downtown. Access to downtown businesses from Hwy. 13 is now on Dakota Street to Main Avenue, south of the construction area. Access to Ridgemont will continue.

The work involves reconstructing the traffic signal at Hwy. 13, realigning Main and Ridgemont avenues, and building a trail, sidewalk, pond and two retaining walls.

The work means relocating the entrance to Kop Gardens and removing two buildings nearby. A native prairie and oak trees will be planted as well.


Volunteer chaplains sought for police, fire

The Lakeville Police and Fire Departments are accepting applications for volunteer police and fire chaplains.

Volunteers would help with crisis intervention, counseling, spiritual and personal guidance and fostering positive police and fire relationships with the community. The time commitment would typically be four hours per week.

The deadline for submitting an application is today at 4 p.m.

Applicants must be ecclesiastically ordained, live or work in the Lakeville area, have a valid driver's license with a good driving record, and pass a background check.

To apply, visit the city website at www.lakevillemn.gov or call 952-985-4400. Applications should be submitted to human resources, 20195 Holyoke Av., Lakeville, MN 55044.