East Metro

Suburban weekly newspapers close

Lillie Suburban Newspapers, publisher of eight weeklies in the east metro suburbs, went out of business last week.

Employees were notified of the closure on Sept. 20, said former executive editor Mike Munzenrider. Cities in coverage areas — including Lake Elmo, Maplewood, New Brighton, Oakdale, Roseville, St. Anthony and Shoreview — also were told the papers would no longer be publishing legal notices.

When Lillie co-owner Jeffrey Enright filed for bankruptcy in August 2018, the largest creditor listed was a multiemployer union pension fund that was owed $975,000. A partial satisfaction of judgment, filed Oct. 1 in District Court, shows that Lillie owes the fund more than $950,000.

Co-owner Ted Lillie could not be reached for comment.

Mara Klecker


Board OKs 4.97% tax levy ceiling for 2020

Anoka County commissioners unanimously approved a preliminary tax levy hike of 4.97% for 2020, citing increases to protect county computer systems, stabilize the banks of the Rum River and add eight new 911 dispatchers, among other expenditures.

County Board Chairman Scott Schulte said he considered the 2020 proposal "a responsible budget" designed to meet county priorities.

The preliminary levy, which the board can lower but not exceed, won a "yes" vote from Commissioner Matt Look, the only commissioner to vote against the 4.9% levy increase for 2019. However, he said, "There's going to have to be some work done to get that down even more for me to support the final levy on Dec. 5."

Kevin Duchschere


City gets $3.4M grant for more firefighters

Eagan has received a $3.4 million federal grant to hire more firefighters as it transitions from a volunteer department to one with full-time paid firefighters.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, awarded by the Department of Homeland Security, is among the program's largest-ever awards, according to a news release.

The grant will provide funding for three years, covering 75% of wages and benefits for 12 new firefighters and six new captains in the first two years and 35% in the third year.

The additional firefighters will enable the department to entirely staff its third fire station every day of the week and provide the only full ladder truck in Dakota County.

Erin Adler


Downtown Artery wins national award

The American Planning Association has named Hopkins' Artery one of three Great Streets on its annual Great Places in America list.

The Artery, completed in spring 2018, was designed as a bike and walking connection on 8th Avenue S. between the city's historic downtown and the future Hopkins station for the Southwest light-rail transit line. The project was designed to attract visitors to downtown businesses, provide access to the station and connect two regional trails.

The American Planning Association has recognized 303 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces around the country since 2007. The Artery received the Project of the Year Award in 2018 from the state chapter of the American Public Works Association.

Mara Klecker