A herd of bison will return May 21 to the Belwin Conservancy for their summer stay, with a festival planned for the day of their release.
The Belwin Bison Festival will include live music, food trucks, a plant sale and a fun run. The festival's highlight is the arrival and release of the bison, about 20 this year, with the public invited to watch from a nearby viewing platform.
The bison come from the Northstar Bison farm in Cameron, Wis., and generally stay from May to October. They forage on a 130-acre restored prairie at Belwin, a 1,500-acre nature center in Washington County.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the bison are expected to be released between noon and 1 p.m.
City hires new police chief
The Golden Valley Police Department has a new leader at the helm.
Virgil Green, former security manager for the Oklahoma City Convention Center, started his new role as chief Monday after accepting a conditional offer in mid-March.
Green's arrival comes in the middle of an outside investigation into the police department for what Mayor Shep Harris alleges is "a toxic culture of hostility, intimidation, paternalism and racism."
Harris called for the investigation, which will cost up to $120,000, as the city was completing chief candidate interviews with finalists that included Green and former interim chief Scott Nadeau, who withdrew from the hiring process for the permanent position and resigned after the mayor's investigation request.
Cmdr. Alice White served as acting chief until Green's arrival. She joined the department in October and is its first Black commander, while Green is Golden Valley's first Black police chief. A public swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for June 21 at Brookview Community Center.
School district wins police award
The Columbia Heights Police Department has honored the Columbia Heights School District and Superintendent Zena Stenvik with its 2021 Terry Nightingale Community Service Award.
The award is named after retired police officer Terry Nightingale. The school district and police department partnered in a joint campaign to increase public awareness of COVID-19, and the district hosted vaccination drives and gave police access to their facilities to allow for socially distanced outreach events, the announcement from the police department said.
Stenvik was key in communicating those efforts to parents and students, the department said.
"The Columbia Heights School District has been flexible and creative in committing resources and experience in support of our community goals," the announcement said. "Because of Superintendent Stenvik's guidance, the school district handled it with grace and dedication."
Leaders approve No Mow May
Roseville is joining the "No Mow May" movement.
City leaders have agreed to suspend ordinances pertaining to lawn maintenance until June 1 as part of an international movement to encourage homeowners to postpone cutting their grass in spring.
Proponents say allowing grass to grow helps pollinators thrive during the crucial post-winter period when they are coming out of hibernation. Suspending mowing allows flowering plants that grow in the grass to bloom, which provides pollinators with nectar and pollen.
Roseville joins other Twin Cities suburbs waiving mowing requirements in May, including Edina and New Brighton.