Energy plant assures folks over ‘incident’

Koda Energy near downtown Shakopee is assuring nearby residents that a July 8 incident that drew heavy fire department response turned out to be nothing serious.

The same plant suffered a crippling explosion last year.

In midafternoon, the plant “experienced an incident in which the pressure of smoldering biomass product caused panels to be released from a fuel storage bin,” a company statement said.

Koda Energy employees shut down the affected system and contained the incident to a small area. This incident occurred in the original part of the facility, not in the new part that opened earlier this year.

The plant is a partnership between Rahr Malting and the Shakopee tribe.

“Multiple fire departments responded to Koda Energy as a precautionary measure,” the firm said. “They applied water to the storage bin to reduce the heat contained in the bin and eliminate the smoldering.”

The incident caused “minimal damage,” it said, and “all employees are safe and accounted for, and there is no danger to the public.”

It is “too early to speculate about the cause of the incident,” the statement said.

south metro

‘Eat Local Farm Tour’ is this weekend

The fourth annual Eat Local Farm Tour takes place on Saturday.

Sponsored by 11 Minnesota food co-ops, the tour offers exposure to local agriculture on 19 sustainable Minnesota and Wisconsin farms. All tours are free and self-guided.

Gardens of Eagan in Northfield, a 40-acre vegetable operation, is among those on the tour this year.

A scavenger hunt; vegetable creature-making station; and flower activities, including making daisy chains and flower tasting; and wagon rides will be part of the day’s activities.

Farms are grouped into four areas: one is near Northfield, and the others are near Stillwater, St. Peter and in Minneapolis (urban farming).

Operations include poultry, dairy, fish, flower and bee producers.

Farms near Northfield include Ferndale Farm & Market, L & R Poultry & Produce, Simple Harvest Farm Organics, Shepherd’s Way Farm, Singing Hills Goat Dairy, Humble Pie Farm, Bossy Acres and Gardens of Eagan.

Eat Local Farm Tour guides are available at the 11 participating food co-ops or online at


Closing of riverfront road approved

The Burnsville City Council last week approved the closing a big part of Black Dog Road to public auto traffic.

The idea is to begin preparation for a future trail.

Xcel Energy’s decision to shut down coal-using portions of Black Dog power plant is providing some impetus for the project.

Burnsville will partner with Xcel, Dakota County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create recreational spaces for pedestrians, bicyclists and nature lovers near the Minnesota River.

Xcel will own the road and most of it will be open only to vehicles it OKs.

Next year, crews will start building a new park and trailhead near Interstate 35 W and the first phase of a trail from there to near the power plant. There will be a wildlife viewing outlook.

The second half is from the plant to near Cedar Avenue. Both are expected to be done by 2016.

The trail becomes part of a system along the south side of the Minnesota River through Dakota County, connecting to the state’s Minnesota Valley State Trail.

To learn more, visit and search for “Minnesota River.”

‘Night to unite’ coming up in August

Registrations are due on July 25 for “Night to Unite,” an event in which residents are encouraged to “lock their doors, turn on their exterior lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors.”

The event is Aug. 5, as part of Minnesota Night to Unite.

It’s a chance for neighbors to get together, get to know one another and heighten awareness of crime, drug and violence prevention.

Businesses as well as residents can register their parties.

Those who do so will get handouts and information to give to participants, and may get a visit from a Burnsville police, fire or other department staff member.

If asked, the city’s fire department and Mobile Volunteer Network will host “a limited number” of short trainings in compression-only CPR at parties that night.

Register online at or call 952-895-4506.

Staff reports