Edina is looking for a new fire chief to fill the spot vacated by Tom Schmitz, who retired after seven years on the job and more than two decades with the city.

Schmitz leaves with 38 years of public service experience, 25 of those with Edina. He was an assistant fire chief in Eden Prairie before he was hired as Edina's fire chief in February 2014. He previously worked in Edina as a firefighter, paramedic and battalion chief.

"I am absolutely grateful for the support and guidance you have provided me as your fire chief for the past seven years," he wrote in a letter to the City Council, read at Wednesday's meeting. "I believe I leave your fire department in a better place today and ready for the future."

The council also signed off on a $23,500 contract with Baker Tilly to assist the city's human resources department in the recruitment and selection of a new fire chief.

Kim Hyatt


Sweet Taste of Italy to return in a new form

It was a sad day for many in Crystal when the Sweet Taste of Italy closed in late 2019. Now the restaurant will once again have a presence in the city.

Owner Jim Stone has teamed up with a group forming the state's first commissary kitchen, housing 29 restaurants in one location. Customers will place orders on an app and choose to pick up their food or have it delivered. Stone said he expects to begin cooking and taking orders as soon as this week, said a post on the restaurant's Facebook page.

"We spent the last year trying to figure out how to come back to Crystal. Financially, this was the best option. Opening a traditional restaurant right now is very difficult," he wrote.

Deliveries will be available in all or parts of Minneapolis, Crystal, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Plymouth, Edina, St. Louis Park, Fridley, Hopkins, New Hope, Columbia Heights and Richfield.

Stone, who operates a restaurant by the same name on Noble Parkway in Brooklyn Park, said "we miss you all in Crystal very much" and that he plans to bring his food truck to as many events in the area as possible.

Tim Harlow

Arden Hills

TCAAP housing battle heads back to court

After more than a year of unsuccessful mediation, the battle over the development of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site in Arden Hills is moving back to the courtroom.

A Hennepin County judge will hear arguments for summary judgment in March. Ramsey County, which owns the 427-acre site now called Rice Creek Commons, sued the city of Arden Hills to end a 2012 power-sharing agreement that had guided decisionmaking around development.

According to the county, analysis shows the site could support up 2,500 housing units. Arden Hills wants to build no more than 1,460.

Shannon Prather