The public is invited to weigh in on Dakota County's 2030 Transportation Plan, the blueprint for future county roads and transit operations.

A draft version of the 2030 plan can be found online at; search for "2030 Transportation Plan."

Anyone wishing to make comments in person can come to a public hearing on the plan at 9 a.m. on Nov. 15 in the Board Room at the Dakota County Administration Center in Hastings.


415-foot wind turbine erected at UMore Park

A wind turbine that is meant to generate ideas about how to harvest wind energy in places where gales are scarce is now standing in Rosemount.

The 415-foot wind turbine on the UMore Park property is visible from Hwy. 52 and County Road 42.

The University of Minnesota received a two-year, $7.9 million grant from the Department of Energy to build the turbine and do the research.

A public commissioning ceremony for the turbine will be held Oct. 25.


Arts Center gets new director

Brian Luther is the new director of the Burnsville Performing Arts Center.

Luther, who has been general manager of the Rockford MetroCentre in Rockford, Ill., is the third director of the Burnsville Performing Arts Center since its January 2009 opening. He started the new job Oct. 6.

"It's an honor to be selected to lead this organization and be a part of its continued success," Luther said in a press release. "The BPAC is a beautiful and viable facility. I am confident that it will keep growing in a positive direction and will continue to serve its mission to the community."

Luther has more than 14 years of experience in the entertainment business and venue management in the Midwest, including time with Minnesota Sports Entertainment at the Xcel Energy Center, Roy Wilkins Auditorium and RiverCentre in St. Paul.

Burnsville City Manager Craig Ebeling said, "His familiarity with the local arts scene and his theater management experience should be real pluses for Burnsville."


Fire department plans efficiency study

The South Metro Fire Department, which serves South St. Paul and West St. Paul, is preparing to commission a study on how the combined department is working and whether it makes sense to expand to other communities.

"We have been in existence now for about four or five years and we feel it's time to ask the question 'How are we doing?'" said Fire Chief John Ehret.

The study, for which the department could spend up to $80,000, will compare the South Metro Fire Department service and cost to industry standards.

The combined department has 38 full-time employees, including 21 firefighters. Responding from two stations, it answers about 5,000 fire and medical emergency alarms a year.

The South St. Paul City Council approved the study last week. The proposal will go before the West St. Paul City Council on Monday. If it signs off, the next step is for the South Metro board to finalize the scope of the study, advertise for consulting bids and award a contract, Ehret said.

That process may take up to three months, and the study itself would take three or four months, he said.


City plans open house on tax levy increase

Farmington residents are invited to attend an open house Monday to learn about the city's proposed levy increase.

The 2012 preliminary levy of $9.6 million, adopted last month, can be lowered but not increased before it is adopted in December. Council members have held several workshops aimed at paring the levy.

City Administrator David McKnight said staff has prepared budget information for distribution through the city's website, The current budget is based on a plan to set aside money now to avoid having to sell bonds and pay interest on debt for future street projects and similar work.

The first of three public sessions at City Hall will be held Monday from 4-6 p.m. The other sessions will be held from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 25 and from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 14.


Fire Department open house is Tuesday

The Lakeville Fire Department will hold a Fire Prevention Open House on Tuesday evening.

The family-oriented event, scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., will offer kids an opportunity to learn about fire safety, look inside an ambulance, sit in a police car and spray water with a firefighter. Held at Fire Station No. 4, at 185th St. and Dodd Blvd., the event also will include car extrication and live kitchen and car fire demonstrations.

Root beer will be free and hot dogs and brats will be sold. Parking will be available across the street at Century Middle School.

For more details, call the Fire Department at 952-985-4700.



Mentoring program seeks bike donations

An Apple Valley resident is again seeking donations of used bikes to benefit a Dakota County mentoring organization.

Rick Anderson plans to fix the bikes as needed and sell them, with the proceeds going to Kids 'n' Kinship, a group that matches kids with adult mentors. He's already donated nearly $10,000 to the organization, he said.

At his 2011 sale, Anderson sold 68 bikes, raising more than $6,200. His next sale will be in the spring of 2012.

Anderson's first job was tuning up Schwinn bicycles. He accepts all makes and models of bikes. Contact Anderson at 952-322-4729 or