Special meeting held to discuss littering problem

Litter has piled up on Lake Minnetonka to the point it’s prompting a special meeting to discuss possible solutions to the problem.

The Lake Minnetonka Conservation District, which manages use of the Twin Cities’ largest and most popular lake, will meet at 8 a.m. Monday to discuss the issue, which resurfaced in July when a Plymouth resident urged the agency to better control littering.

The Lake Minnetonka Association, a group of lake homeowners and businesses, has also ramped up cleanups this year, recruiting volunteers to dive for garbage that boaters toss overboard near Big Island and Cruiser’s Cove. It’s a misdemeanor to litter, but for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol to issue a citation, a deputy has to observe the littering or the person has to admit to it, so it’s difficult to enforce.

Monday’s meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at the Centennial Building Council Chambers at 5341 Maywood Road in Mound.



Lebanon Hills

Cougar sighting ruled unlikely by experts

Officials from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) could not confirm a recent report of a cougar sighting by an Eagan resident near Lebanon Hills Regional Park.

Dakota County Deputy Sheriff Joe Leko said the resident, who lived on the north side of the park, reported spotting what looked like a cougar around 2:30 a.m., July 31. But DNR investigators concluded that based on the description of the animal, the resident’s distance from it and lack of light at the time made it unlikely he saw a cougar.

Though not native to the state, 14 cougar sightings have been verified in Minnesota, according to the DNR. Leko said residents report seeing a cougar almost annually.

No other residents near Lebanon Hills reported seeing a cougar, Leko said. Dakota County’s parks department and sheriff’s office are not taking further action.

“We take it seriously, but at the same time we don’t want to frighten people that come into the area,” Leko said.

Stephen Montemayor



City considers allowing backyard chickens

Eden Prairie is the latest metro area city to consider allowing backyard chickens.

The city, which currently prohibits keeping chickens in residential areas, got a petition earlier this year from a group of residents requesting an ordinance change to allow domesticated chickens. As a result, the city started an online forum for residents to give their feedback on the idea:

A growing number of metro area cities, including Minneapolis, St. Paul and numerous suburbs, already allow chickens on residential properties.




Power outage affects park until Monday at least

A loss of power has hobbled a Woodbury park until at least Monday.

Xcel Energy discovered a power outage Friday at Ojibway Park that affected parking lot lights and the park shelter.

The main park building was closed and portable restrooms were put in place, though concessions at the softball fields will be open during daylight hours, city officials said.

The outage happened Friday morning just before a big carnival, which went on with the use of generators.

“Xcel somehow detected the outage early that morning and were on site when our parks crews arrived to set up” for the carnival, city spokesman Jason Egerstrom said. “With the events taking place in the park, crews were not able to do much investigating. Xcel will need time to mark the underground utilities before digging anyway. We expect to know more Monday.”

Questions can be directed to the parks and recreation department at 651-714-3583.