City moves toward organized trash

The Richfield City Council has voted unanimously to begin the task of organizing trash collection in the city, a process expected to take several months of hearings and negotiations before the council takes a final vote.

Rachel Lindholm, the city's sustainability specialist, said that going to common haulers has economic, safety and environmental advantages.

"It's not all the time where we have a proposed action that saves the community money, is great for the environment, is great for public safety, all in one action," Council Member Simon Trautmann said.

Officials must approve a contract with a consortium of five haulers, but Lindholm said they hope to avoid the controversy plaguing similar moves in Bloomington and St. Paul.

Erin Adler


Tribal center gets Chief Sakpe rifle

A four-barrel rifle that once belonged to Chief Sakpe II, namesake for the city of Shakopee, was donated last week to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) by the Scott County Historical Society. The rifle can be seen at Hocokata Ti, the SMSC's cultural center.

Sakpe, an important Dakota leader in the early 1800s, signed several treaties with the U.S. government. His rifle wound up with a U.S. Army officer, was displayed for years at a Shakopee museum and was donated to the Scott County Courthouse in 1980. It has been in the care of the county historical society since 1999.

"For so long, our history has been told through the eyes of others," said SMSC Chairman Keith Anderson. "Now we have the ability to share our history with the community."



$3M in bonding goes to Sports Center

A new maintenance building at the National Sports Center campus in Blaine will be financed with $3 million coming out of the 2020 capital bonding bill.

Executive Director Todd Johnson said the facility will replace a maintenance building built in the 1990s to take care of the 700-acre sod farm. Bonding will cover demolition, and $837,000 is earmarked for building improvements.

At the onset of the pandemic, Johnson said he anticipated losses of up to $1 million every month the Sports Center was shut down. Some activities have resumed at reduced levels, but spokesman Isaiah Neal said additional financing options or stimulus money will be needed in 2021 to carry out operations.

Kim Hyatt

Washington County

Library offers more laptops, Wi-Fi access

The Washington County Library has added 100 Chromebook laptops and 400 Wi-Fi hot spot devices to its items available for checkout to make it easier for people to go online during the pandemic. The devices were paid for with federal CARES Act funds and a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education.

"Free access to hot spots and Chromebooks will help patrons with distance learning, job seeking, maintaining their small business, and simply staying connected," Library Director Amy Stenftenagel said.

More than 9,000 households in Washington County do not have a computer with a broadband internet subscription, according to the 2018 American Community Survey.

Matt McKinney