Construction is underway on a new psychiatric residential treatment center for children and teens on a wooded property in East Bethel.

Officials tossed the first shovelfuls of dirt at a Dec. 18 groundbreaking for the $26 million facility, known as Cambia Hills. The Hills Youth and Family Services, a Duluth-based nonprofit, is spearheading the project. The treatment center is expected to open later this year.

The nonprofit had first taken the project to the Forest Lake City Council, which nixed the proposal on a split vote in April despite broad community support.

The 60-bed facility in East Bethel is part of a broader push across the state to fill a crucial gap in Minnesota's mental health services for children.

Hannah Covington

Dakota County

County libraries extending hours

Starting next month, most Dakota County Library branches will open an hour earlier, a change prompted by the requests of residents who would sometimes camp out in the library parking lot waiting for the doors to open.

All locations also will close a half-hour earlier. When branches go to the new schedule, most of them will be open three more hours each week.

"We listened to our customers and checked use statistics as to when the library was the busiest and adjusted the hours," said library Director Margaret Stone.

The Burnhaven, Galaxie, Robert Trail, Wentworth and Wescott branches now will open at 9 a.m. instead of 10 a.m., except on Sundays. Two locations, Farmington and Inver Glen, will open at 9 a.m. from Thursday through Saturday and close at 5 p.m.

Erin Adler


Curling Center gets national status

The Chaska Curling Center has been named the national training center for the United States Curling Association (USA Curling), the governing body for curling in the U.S.

The center will host national USA Curling events and provide teams and athletes ice time for practices and camps. Programs include junior and Paralympic athletes and teams from the men's, women's and mixed doubles' disciplines.

The center in March will host the 2019 U18 National Championships, featuring 24 teams of athletes 18 and under.

The partnership between Chaska and USA Curling was established last fall and is scheduled to run through July 30, with the possibility of a longer-term arrangement.

Katy Read


Vierling steps down as city attorney

After 15 years in the job, Mark Vierling stepped down last week as Woodbury's city attorney.

Vierling, who lives in Stillwater, also announced his retirement from the Eckberg Lammers law firm of Stillwater, though he plans to assist with project work at the firm.

"I'm just looking forward to throttling back," he said.

The Eckberg Lammers firm will continue to handle the city's prosecuting chores. Scott Riggs and Mary Tietjen of Kennedy and Graven, Minneapolis, will be the city's civil attorneys.

Before Vierling became Woodbury's city attorney in 2003, James Lammers of Eckberg Lammers had held the job for 37 years. Vierling said the city and firm have had "a wonderful relationship."

Mara Klecker