Knight soon to step down as police chief
Chaska Police Chief Scott Knight has announced that he is retiring, closing out a 43-year career with Chaska police that included nearly 20 years as the department's chief.
Deputy Chief Ben Anderson began serving as interim operations chief on July 1, allowing Knight to wrap up remaining projects and prepare notes for his successor.
Officially, Knight's last day with the department will be Jan. 2, but he plans to use banked paid leave and step down in mid-September.
Knight served as president of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association in 2004-05. In 2008 he received the association's President's Award for his work on gun violence and officer safety. He created the department's Gang Unit and the city's Dialogue on Race.
Chaska officials will begin the search for a new chief this fall, a process that typically takes about four months.
Endangered bee found in city parks
The endangered rusty patched bumblebee was recently spotted in Burnsville, buzzing its way through several city parks, according to a city news release.
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) biologist identified the bee and informed city officials of its whereabouts. The largest bee population was found in the restored Civic Center Prairie area near City Hall, a patch of wildflowers that is home to many different kinds of bees.
The bumblebee's numbers have declined over the past two decades by nearly 90%, the FWS estimates. It inhabits only one-tenth of 1% of its historic range and was listed as a federally endangered species in 2017.
Three county parks receive grants
Three Anoka County parks will receive funding through the Metropolitan Council and the Metro Parks and Trails Legacy Grant program following approval this month by the Anoka County Board.
The board agreed to accept a $1 million grant for the reconstruction of a wave pool at Bunker Beach Water Park in Coon Rapids; $350,000 to upgrade interpretive displays at Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes; and $315,000 to buy property to expand Rum River Central Regional Park in Ramsey.
Bunker Beach evolved out of the state's first wave pool, which opened in 1988. The Wargo Center opened in 1993.
"These three projects are very well needed and will definitely complement the original park system in Anoka County," said Jeff Perry, the county's parks director.
City raises tobacco purchase age to 21
Arden Hills has become the latest Minnesota city to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products. The new ordinance, which requires individuals to be 21 to buy tobacco, took effect July 1.
The ordinance also bans the sale of flavored tobacco products including fruit, candy, gum, wintergreen, mint and menthol at all retail establishments and tobacco shops.
Retailers have until Dec. 31 to remove the flavored products from their shelves.
Arden Hills joins a host of cities including Minneapolis, Eden Prairie, Bloomington, Roseville and Shoreview in raising the tobacco purchase age.