Dakota County is taking new pictures of all street-level real estate, an effort that started in mid-March and will continue for about eight weeks, according to a county news release.

CycloMedia Technology has contracted with the county's assessing services department to take high-resolution images during daylight hours, fulfilling a state requirement and assisting county officials in the property tax assessment process.

Vehicles displaying CycloMedia's logo will be snapping the photos from the public right of way while in motion. Up to three vehicles may be used and photos may be taken seven days a week.

Erin Adler


City Council says yes to Fowler plaque

The Stillwater City Council has voted 5-0 in support of the Washington County Historical Society's bid to erect a plaque in town commemorating the career of John W. "Bud" Fowler, considered the first Black professional baseball player.

Fowler played one season in Stillwater, in 1884, in a career that flourished in the years before the major leagues openly discriminated against Black players. Fowler today is celebrated in other communities where he played. The street leading to Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, is named for him.

The Historical Society has proposed placing a plaque on the field where Fowler played, which today is part of the Old Athletic Fields in Stillwater's South Hill neighborhood. The Stillwater school district owns the property. The council vote called for writing a letter of support for the Fowler plaque and sending it to the school district.

Matt McKinney


City commission is now independent

It's official: The Anoka Human Rights Commission (HRC) is no longer a city entity.

The City Council on Monday voted 3-2 to remove the commission from city code. Those in favor had previously stated the commission would be better served operating as an independent nonprofit rather than as an advisory group.

Council Members Elizabeth Barnett, Brian Wesp and Jeff Weaver also voted in favor of disbanding the HRC while Council Member Erik Skogquist and Mayor Phil Rice dissented.

Tim Harlow


4-acre wetland fire under investigation

The Richland Fire Department recently battled a 4-acre wetland fire in Veterans Park that remains under investigation.

Fire Chief Mike Dobesh said with red-flag conditions at the time, the April 2 fire spread quickly, but firefighters were able to limit damage to nearby walking bridges, buildings and playground equipment.

"Most people do not realize how tricky a cattail fire can be to get under control," Recreation Services Director Amy Markle said in a news release.

It took five hours to contain the fire, and eight surrounding agencies assisted, including nearby fire departments, Hennepin County Emergency Management, Richfield Police, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota State Patrol.

Kim Hyatt