White Bear Lake is the latest metro-area community to wrestle with a corporate request to install brightly flashing digital billboards within its borders.

“I don’t want any more billboards,” Council Member Dan Jones told colleagues this month. “No more. Period.”

The council took the initial step of slapping a six-month moratorium on the creation of more billboards while it studies the issue of how to frame its sign ordinance.

An out-of-state firm has applied for a pair of digital billboards at two busy and prominent highway locations in the city, using the familiar tactic of challenging the constitutionality of the existing sign ordinance.

White Bear Lake City Attorney Roger Jensen told the council that the city’s existing rules contain provisions that should be cleaned up to square with court rulings. Minnesota courts allow cities to call moratoriums to give themselves a breather while that is being done, he said.

Jones went straight to the broader question: Can the council in the end forbid more billboards? It may be possible, Jensen said. “I will tell you when I conduct the study,” he said. “I know some prohibit them flat-out; there’s some case law on that.”

David Peterson

Coon Rapids

City to crack down on unvaccinated dogs

Coon Rapids dog owners who fail to get their pet vaccinated may face misdemeanor charges as a result of a city ordinance that went into effect Saturday.

The ordinance, adopted by the City Council earlier this month, adds misdemeanor penalties to an existing city code that requires dogs to have rabies vaccinations in order to be licensed.

Officers can now issue citations to owners of unvaccinated dogs.

Dog owners cited under the new ordinance will be required either to appear in court or participate in the city’s diversion program, called the City Awareness Project. Under that program, a $50 fee can be paid in lieu of misdemeanor charges if ticketed owners can show proof of vaccination.

“Our ultimate goal is for people to get their dog vaccinated,” said City Attorney David Brodie. “We just found that when police wanted to cite, they didn’t have an ability to do that.”

Hannah Covington

Washington County

Karwoski to take vacant County Board seat

A seat held empty on the Washington County Board for nine months will be filled in December when Oakdale Mayor Stan Karwoski is sworn in as commissioner.

Karwoski won the right to represent the county’s Second District after defeating Cheryl Anderson of Birchwood in the Nov. 8 general election. He replaces Commissioner Ted Bearth, who died in March after a long illness.

The remaining four commissioners approved a special election to fill the remainder of Bearth’s term, which expires in 2018.

Karwoski’s swearing-in is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Dec. 6 in advance of the County Board’s 2017 budget hearing, which will held at 6 p.m. the same day.

The Oakdale City Council was expected to discuss Karwoski’s replacement at last Tuesday’s meeting.

Kevin Giles


Winter skating shut down at Evergreen West

Woodbury will eliminate ice skating at one of its parks this winter as part of a project to upgrade its recreational amenities.

Evergreen West Park’s hockey and skating rinks will be closed and skaters were being advised to head for other rinks nearby, notably at Shawnee Park and Kargel Park.

There’s also the refrigerated outdoor rink at the city’s Bielenberg Sports Center, where free recreational skating is offered.

The city will replace the existing playground at Evergreen West with one closer to the park building. It plans to host programming year-round in that building and add outdoor space for programs.

For more information, contact Mike Adams at 651-414-3435 or madams@ci.woodbury.mn.us/.

David Peterson


Library closes to prepare for move

Ramsey County’s Shoreview branch library will close this week, as officials prepare to move into the new building being finished next door.

The existing building and its book drop will close at the end of the day on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Until the new facility opens Jan. 28, materials can be returned to libraries in Maplewood, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville or White Bear Lake.

Materials can be picked up at the Roseville library, unless patrons change their specified destination. More details can be found at www.rclreads.org/.

David Peterson