Dakota County is looking for volunteers to help monitor the health of community wetlands through the Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP).

Volunteers would work with a team from their community to monitor and collect data on plants and macroinvertebrates that is used by cities to study the health of wetlands. The goal is to better manage and protect them and surrounding areas. Previous monitoring experience is not necessary to take part.

WHEP volunteers would receive training in field methods, macroinvertebrate collection and identification, and plant survey techniques and identification. Teams are grouped by city, and each team will take samples from three to five wetlands between June and August. Volunteers typically commit 10 to 30 hours of their time, which includes training, field work and lab analysis.

For more information, visit www.mnwhep.org or call the Dakota County Water Resources Department at 952-891-7000.


Fire Department offers free CPR classes

The Burnsville Fire Department will offer free classes in CPR to any group or organization wanting to learn the life-saving technique.

The next CPR class is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, at Burnsville City Hall, 100 Civic Center Pkwy.

The Burnsville Heart Restart campaign has set the ambitious goal of training 6,000 people in CPR over the next three years. To reach that goal, the fire department is offering the free classes.

For more information, contact Community Services Specialist Amber Jacobson at amber.jacobson@ci.burnsville.mn.us or 952-895-4575.


New fire chief named for joint department

Capt. Mike Pott, 49, a 27-year veteran of the West St. Paul and South Metro Fire Department, has been selected as the next fire chief for the South Metro department. He will assume the post March 18.

Pott succeeds former Capt. John Ehret, who retired in February after 30 years of service with the department.

The South Metro Fire Board selected Pott on Tuesday from a pool of candidates that included both in-state and out-of-state applicants. Pott will lead the 37-member department, which began joint operations in 2008 after a merger of the South St. Paul and West St. Paul departments.

Pott is a certified emergency manager and brings with him an extensive background in not only firefighting and emergency medical service but also hazardous materials and technical rescue.

Pott has served as the leader of the Dakota County Special Operations Team since its inception in 2004 and is a task force leader for Minnesota Task Force One, the state's urban search and rescue team.


Applications open for Youth Commission

The city of Rosemount is accepting applications for appointment to the Rosemount Youth Commission.

On the commission, residents between 14 and 18 years old can offer their perspective on issues important to youth and participate in city government.

The deadline is Friday. Applications and more information are available at ci.rosemount.mn.us.


City outlaws barbecue grills on decks of multifamily homes

Eagan now outlaws the use and storage of grills on balconies of multifamily homes.

City Council members on March 5 amended city code to set a policy outlawing grill use within 15 feet of the structure of a multifamily dwelling.

The policy also prohibits storage of fuel, torches or lighting devices on balconies as well fires of any kind.

There is no ordinance regulating grills at individual homes because homeowners choose where to do the grilling, and if it catches fire, it endangers just their families and not others, Fire Chief Michael Scott said. However, he does not recommend grilling on any deck and advises that they be used 15 feet from the house, Scott said.

The city has outlawed the storage of grills on multifamily balconies because it's difficult to enforce the ordinance "if it can be stored and not used,'' he said.