Anoka County

Board OKs panels for license counters

The Anoka County Board last week approved spending more than $100,000 for new glass panels at the counters of the county's five license centers to protect staffers working during the pandemic.

Board Chairman Scott Schulte said the panels will be permanent and improve safety at the centers during the flu season. The vote was 4-3.

The panels will cost $33,000 at the larger license center in Coon Rapids. The cost at each of the other sites in Blaine, Columbia Heights, Ham Lake and Ramsey will be $19,000.

The county will pay for the glass panels with its asset preservation fund and seek reimbursement through eligible COVID-19 response funds. If the sound components come in over budget, officials will find more affordable solutions.



Seibert takes the oath as new police chief

Ryan Seibert was sworn in last week as Chaska's new police chief, replacing Scott Knight, who retired last fall.

Seibert spent 13 years with the Robbinsdale Police Department, the past two as captain. He also served as crime prevention liaison, detective, patrol sergeant and administrative sergeant.

The public couldn't attend the swearing-in at the fire station because of pandemic restrictions, but the ceremony is available for viewing on the Chaska Community Television YouTube channel.

Knight announced his retirement last summer after 43 years with Chaska police, including nearly 20 years as chief. Deputy Chief Ben Anderson had served as interim chief since Knight stepped down in September.



Lift Bridge reopening is still set for May

The Stillwater Lift Bridge is still expected to reopen next month for bicyclists and pedestrians, despite minor renovation work left to do.

The 89-year-old bridge was closed to vehicle traffic in 2017, when repairs began. Remaining tasks include concrete staining to match the bridge's historic look and repairs to some of the rails on a couple of the bridge's spans, said MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard. A few of the lamp posts along the railing also need wiring and lights.

Early next month, work crews expect to receive custom-made parts for the bridge's lifting mechanism from a Florida company that made them according to the original specifications. The central lifting span was raised by hand earlier this year to allow for boat navigation.

Matt McKinney


Council OKs new 30-foot holiday tree

The Burnsville City Council agreed last week to buy a new 30-foot prelit holiday tree for Nicollet Commons Park, at an expected cost of $20,000 to $30,000.

City officials set aside $50,000 in the 2020 budget for a new tree because the old one had "reached the end of its useful life," said Public Works Director Ryan Peterson.

Officials discussed adding animated elements or lit figurines to the new tree, or using lights to create tunnels, snowmen and a 3-D tree.

The council finally decided to buy only the tree, but asked city staffers to research the cost of a video projector to display images on the exterior of the nearby Ames Center, the city-owned arts venue.

Erin Adler