Cottage Grove

City picks administrator for 'wealth of knowledge'

Cottage Grove is expected to hire as its new administrator a woman who was a finalist for similar positions several times over the past year.

Charlene Stevens was a finalist in Lakeville, Shakopee and Golden Valley before securing the new position. She was the city administrator for Willmar, Minn., from 2011 to 2015, but was let go earlier this year after it became known that she was applying for work elsewhere.

Stevens bested co-finalist Jeffrey Dahl, assistant city administrator for the city of Chaska since 2012.

Some council members in Shakopee, where demographics are rapidly changing, had been drawn to her background as a Spanish speaker who had forged connections in Willmar, a west central Minnesota city that has turned extraordinarily diverse: 21 percent Hispanic, or four times the figure for Minnesota as a whole.

In a statement, Mayor Myron Bailey described Stevens as bringing "a wealth of knowledge and experience," notably economic development experience.

The city is calling Stevens its "final candidate" until contracts are negotiated. Stevens declined to comment until that happens.

David Peterson

Apple Valley

Fire department receives oxygen masks for pets

First responders at the Apple Valley Fire Department will soon be equipped with specially fitted oxygen masks aimed at saving pets suffering from smoke inhalation.

The department recently announced that it received four animal rescue oxygen kits through a donation from Invisible Fence, an electronic pet containment system brand. The kits will debut Thursday with a 7 p.m. training and demonstration at the Apple Valley Municipal Center, 7100 147th St.

Maple Grove's fire department also received a donation from Invisible Fence last month. Soon after, on Aug. 4, first responders saved their first cat with a mask.

Invisible Fence said it has so far donated more than 12,400 pet oxygen masks to fire departments in the U.S. and Canada. Local fire departments can request masks at

Stephen Montemayor


Special Olympics Plane Pull set for Sept. 12

The second annual Plane Pull, in which teams race to pull a 60,000-pound Delta jet across a tarmac, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Proceeds will support Special Olympics Minnesota.

Registration at the event, which will take place at 7109 Longfellow Av. S., will begin at 8 a.m. Opening ceremonies start at 9 a.m. The competition is at 9:15 a.m.

Teams of up to eight individuals will compete in hopes of receiving the fastest time for pulling a jet for 25 feet across the tarmac. To participate, each team must raise at least $1,000 in pledges.

For more information, for volunteer or sponsorship opportunities, or to register a team online, go to, e-mail or call 612-604-1284.



Watershed District seeks project grant proposals

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is accepting proposals this month and next for grants of up to $25,000.

The Cynthia Krieg Watershed Stewardship Fund assists local community organizations, schools, businesses and nonprofit groups to help others understand the importance of keeping lakes, streams and wetlands healthy. To qualify for funding, proposed activities must be within watershed district boundaries and promote community involvement in natural resource protection.

Pre-proposals are due by Sept. 16; applications are available at Staff will provide feedback on pre-proposals to assist applicants in finalizing their grant requests and then full proposals are due by Oct. 16. For more information, contact education manager Darren Lochner at or 952-641-4524.