Nursing home going to more single rooms

Ramsey County officials will de-license 38 of its 164 nursing home beds at the county's Care Center to meet the growing demand for more single-bed rooms.

The Maplewood facility now has four single rooms and 80 double-occupancy rooms. Starting in January, it will transition to 30 single rooms and 56 double-occupancy rooms.

Reducing the number of beds will save the county $62,000 annually, according to a county report, and generate an additional $108,000 in revenue because the state pays senior care facilities more for single rooms.

The Ramsey County Care Center has no more than 120 residents.

Shannon Prather

New Hope

Hoyt taking over as new police chief

Sgt. Tim Hoyt, a longtime New Hope police officer, will take over Monday as the department's police chief.

Hoyt will replace retiring Chief Tim Fournier, who served the department for nearly three decades, including nine years as chief.

Hoyt has supervised the department's field training program since 2012 and the K-9 program since 2014.

Before joining the New Hope police agency in 2006, Hoyt served police departments in Eau Claire, Augusta and Chippewa Falls, Wis., as well as the West Metro Drug Task Force.

Kim Hyatt


Write-in team fails to unseat incumbents

Three Deephaven businessmen who ran for city offices as a team of write-in candidates under the banner "Save Deephaven" were trounced in Tuesday's election.

Mayor Paul Skrede received 1,663 votes, more than two times the 650 write-in votes. The Secretary of State's Office doesn't identify write-ins by name, but some portion likely went to Jim Friedlander, director for a medical device company, who had campaigned for mayor.

City Council Members Kent Carlson and Steven Erickson received 1,450 and 1,435 respectively, more than the total write-in votes of 1,030. Architect J.D. MacRae and real estate broker Lynn Hooper said they were seeking those seats.

The city will count specific write-in candidates by Thursday, City Administrator Dana Young said.

Katy Read


Townsend officially named fire chief

John Townsend was officially named Hastings fire chief last week after serving as acting chief for the past year.

The Hastings City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Townsend, a 20-year veteran of the department, effective Tuesday.

City Administrator Dan Wietecha said the past year had inadvertently served as a "12-month job interview" for Townsend. He said city officials were pleased with the job he has done to update policies and improve the department's communications and culture.

Townsend took over as interim chief after Fire Chief Mike Schutt resigned in August 2019. An investigation found Schutt had used poor judgment in telling firefighters to lift a heavy generator off a city building, endangering employees working inside and destroying the generator.

The council put the job search on hold this spring because of the pandemic.