Three metro area counties — Carver, Washington and Scott — are Minnesota’s three healthiest counties, according to the 2016 County Health Rankings report released last week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

The report compares counties in each state on more than 30 factors that affect health, including quality and length of life, diet and exercise, education, jobs and housing.

Among the measures used to rank health outcomes are the percentage of adults reporting fair or poor health and the average number of poor mental health days per month.

While this is the fourth year in a row that Carver County has ranked first among Minnesota counties in health outcomes, Washington County’s ranking is its highest since the first report was issued in 2011.

Washington County lately has been promoting physical activity, healthful eating and reduced tobacco use, said Lowell Johnson, who oversees the county’s Public Health and Environment division.

Of the remaining metro counties, Wright was ranked sixth, Dakota was 11th, Anoka was 40th, Hennepin was 44th and Ramsey was 66th.

Kevin Giles


Counties fill Minnehaha watershed board spots

Hennepin and Carver County leaders have made recent appointments to open seats on the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District board.

On Tuesday, the Hennepin County Board reappointed Brian Shekleton to the watershed district’s board and appointed a new manager, Bill Becker, to replace longtime board manager Jim Calkins.

Shekleton, of St. Louis Park, is an aide to Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin; Becker, of Minnetonka, is retired from the state Department of Natural Resources.

Meanwhile, the Carver County Board also reappointed Bill Olson, a Victoria businessman.

The Hennepin County Board is responsible for appointing six of the watershed district’s seven board managers, who serve three-year terms. The Carver board appoints the remaining manager.

The watershed district, one of the largest financially in Minnesota, manages everything from flooding to the spread of invasive species in parts of 27 cities in both counties, and levied $8.7 million from taxpayers for this year’s $12.8 million budget.

The district covers 181 square miles from Minnehaha Falls to Lake Minnetonka and the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes.



City Council approves plan for new City Hall

The Shakopee City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved an $8.5 million plan for a new City Hall building, adjacent to the police department.

Finance Director Darin Nelson said the building will be financed through internal transfers and interfund loans, and won’t require a hike in taxes.

The council also unanimously approved the hiring of Cost, Planning & Management, Inc. of Eagan to manage the project for $296,000.

The existing City Hall is located in a former downtown bank.



Library to close two months for renovation

The Hennepin County Library branch in Rogers will be closing next month for a renovation project.

Improvements with the $350,000 project will include an expanded children’s area, a modified service desk, new furniture and more accessible power outlets for patrons.

The interior will be repainted and refreshed, and parts of the staff workroom will be reconstructed.

The library, at 21300 John Milless Dr., will close at 5 p.m. on April 23 and is scheduled to reopen at noon on June 16.