Free puppet shows coming to city library

Z Puppets will present four free shows and four free puppet-making workshops between March and June at the Stillwater Public Library.

Performances will include a puppet, ukulele singalong about great Minnesota inventions, a glow-in-the-dark pingpong ball circus, a comic battle between a clown chef and a lobster, and a loony opera featuring a cast of pingpong balls. Shows will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays on March 5, April 16, May 21 and June 18. Each show is recommended for ages 4 and up and will demonstrate how the artists tap into the power of science, technology, engineering and math to create their work.

In Puppet Lab workshops, held Saturdays on March 7, April 18, May 23 and June 20 at 10:30 a.m., youth ages 7 will become Scient-Artists. Participants will experiment with physics and engineering.

Kevin Giles

Prior Lake

City Council will again discuss tribe's trust plan

After months of discussions and delays, the Prior Lake City Council still hasn't decided if and how to support a federal trust application by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

Federal trust status is a way for tribes to reclaim reservation lands, allowing them to keep the land forever, tax-free. The Shakopee tribe has about 2,000 acres in trust.

The tribe's upcoming trust application includes a 95-acre parcel along Stemmer Ridge Road — a site where the city already has made plans for a utilities and road project. The tribe has offered to share building and maintenance costs in exchange for a letter from the city in support of the trust application.

The City Council has delayed the decision multiple times, and in January appointed a two-member negotiating team to work out details with the tribal council.

Prior Lake Mayor Ken Hedberg and City Council Member Richard Keeney likely will meet with the tribal council in March to negotiate an agreement, said City Administrator Frank Boyles. If all goes according to plan, that agreement would go before the full council on March 23.

"We will be able to make progress or we won't, and we'll take it from there," Boyles said.

Emma Nelson


City's list of worst rental properties shrinks

The list of the worst rental properties in Minneapolis is gradually shrinking. In the third quarter of 2014, the list featured about 124 properties. The latest list, from the last quarter of 2014, features 75 properties.

Regulatory Services chief Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde, who spearheaded the list's creation, says she is cautiously optimistic about the trend downward. "I'd like to think it's having an impact," she wrote in an e-mail.

Since some buildings are owned through separate LLCs or individuals, the Department of Regulatory Services also separates them by owner and management groupings. The groups with the most properties late last year were Bashir Moghul, Nam Nguyen Management and Mahmood Khan. The city is in the process of revoking Khan's licenses.

Eric Roper


Alzheimer's group offers screening of 'Still Alice'

To increase awareness about Alzheimer's disease, St. Louis Park ACT on Alzheimer's is hosting a special free screening of "Still Alice," the film about a 50-year-old woman dealing with early-onset Alzheimer's.

The screening will take place at 4:45 p.m. Sunday at Willow Creek 12 Theatre in Plymouth. Afterward, care experts and the Alzheimer's Association will answer questions about the disease, which affects an estimated 100,000 Minnesotans.

"Alzheimer's is an uncomfortable topic for a lot of people. The more information we distribute and the more we can start to break down those walls, the better prepared we will be as a community to help people with Alzheimer's," Jonathan Lips, the team lead for St. Louis Park ACT on Alzheimer's, said in a statement.

Tickets will be available at the door, but to RSVP in advance, register at