Eden Prairie last week swore in its newest police officer — and the first Somali-American to wear its uniform.
After nearly two years as a community service officer in the department, Mohamoud "Momo" Ibrahim was welcomed to the west metro city's police ranks. Ibrahim, who serves in the Army Reserve and has a law enforcement degree from Inver Hills Community College, was born in Somalia, moved to Egypt and has lived in Minnesota since he was 9 years old.
"We want to be reflective of the community we serve," Captain Greg Weber said. "We're extremely happy to have him on board."
Eden Prairie follows other agencies — including St. Paul, Minneapolis and Metro Transit — that have sworn in Somali-American law enforcement officers. It has the third-largest Somali population in the metro area, next to Minneapolis and St. Paul, according to the city. About 22 percent of its 63,000 residents are people of color.
The city, which has an immigrant liaison, started in 2015 to train residents from different ethnic and cultural groups to translate for firefighters and police officers and make sure they follow cultural norms.
In 2015, two Somali men ran for school board spots but lost.
Nine vying for two spots on watershed board
The Hennepin County Board is expected Tuesday to fill two open positions on the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District board, from a field of nine candidates.
Incumbents Pam Blixt of Minneapolis and Richard Miller of Edina are seeking reappointment. Other candidates are Dan Gustafson, Wayzata; David Kaplan, Minneapolis; Jessica Loftus, Deephaven; Lili McMillan, Orono; Tom Neiman, St. Louis Park; Linnae Nelson-Seys, Minneapolis; and Rachel Seurer, Hopkins.
Board members serve three-year terms and get paid $75 per meeting. They oversee the watershed district, one of the largest financially in Minnesota with a $13.5 million budget this year.
The 2017 district levy for west metro taxpayers is $9.3 million, a 7 percent increase from last year and the biggest since 2006.
The agency manages everything from flooding to the spread of invasive species in parts of 27 west metro cities, spanning an area from Lake Minnetonka to Minneapolis' Minnehaha Falls.
Interest in the board drew a record number of 11 applicants in 2015 for two open spots, after months of controversy surrounded the abrupt firing of district administrator Eric Evenson-Marden.
County launches new site on reusing items
Hennepin County launched a website to help residents find places to sell, donate or buy reusable clothing and other items.
The Choose to Reuse website has a list of more than 600 such places, articles on reuse topics and highlights on local events online at hennepin.us/choosetoreuse.
It's part of a broader shift in the county to increase recycling by encouraging measures like organics recycling to decrease trash in landfills.
Clothing and textiles that can't be reused or donated can now be recycled at Hennepin County drop-off facilities.
State officials want metro area residents and businesses to recycle 75 percent of their waste by 2030.
Last year, Hennepin County sorted through Minneapolis residents' trash and found that while 41 percent of trash couldn't be recycled, the rest could be — food waste, construction materials, yard waste and items such as textiles and recyclable plastic bags.
Shakopee tribe funds police crisis training
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community recently donated $3,800 to the Chaska Police Department for crisis intervention training on how to de-escalate conflicts and recognize signs of mental illness.
The donation will help send 12 patrol officers and three sergeants to a daylong training session, as well as enroll two officers from the training unit in a weeklong course. Participating officers will share what they learn with the rest of the department.
Chaska Police Chief Scott Knight said crisis training is necessary for all police agencies, some of which lack the funding to complete it.