The Carver County Board voted unanimously to postpone making a decision on whether to relocate a brush and yard-waste site from the Carver County Environmental Center in Chaska to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Victoria on Feb. 20.

The board elected to return to the matter at its April 3 meeting.

"The reason was some of the residents brought up some good legal questions," Commissioner Randy Maluchnik said.

The county needs a new yard waste site because the volume of material arriving at the Environmental Center has doubled in three years. The traffic descending on the site — which also accepts hazardous materials, food waste, electronics and other items — is too heavy, staff said.

County staff proposed moving the site to a plot on 82nd Street, just east of Bavaria Road, owned by the Arboretum.

But some neighbors weren't happy with that idea, saying the added traffic would also be more than the gravel road could handle. Others objected to looking at yard waste from their homes.

The city of Chaska expressed concern about using the site as well: "We get very concerned that this is too intense of a use given the fact that this road has not been improved, does not have designated turn and passing lanes, and is gravel, causing many dust issues for surrounding neighbors," Chaska Mayor Mark Windschitl wrote.

Maluchnik predicted the County Board will vote against the new site.

Erin Adler

Dakota County

Resident input sought on the library and license center updates

Residents can review plans for renovating the Heritage Library and License Center in Lakeville at an open house scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on March 28 at the current library facility (20085 Heritage Drive, Lakeville). County staff and project consultants will be present to field questions as residents view floor plans, drawings, and images, a Dakota County news release said.

The Heritage project will remodel the library and attached licensing center and expand it by about 4,000 square feet. The center hasn't been updated since its construction in 2000.

The county hired HGA Architects and Engineers to spearhead the center's design. Design meetings began in January and the process will wrap up by August.

A bid should be awarded in late summer. More information can be found at

Erin Adler


Bonding bill for Ames Arena introduced

Sen. Matt Little (DFL-Lakeville) introduced bonding legislation last week that would fund $1.65 million in upgrades to Ames Arena in Lakeville.

The money would make operational and energy improvements, support hockey programs and improve the experience for visitors, according to a news release from Little's office.

The Ames Arena needs the improvements "to solidify our future success as a hockey city," Little said.

Ames Arena is one of two arenas in Lakeville. It was built in 1994 as a single-sheet ice arena but a second sheet was added five years later. Located at 19900 Ipava Av., it hosts the Lakeville North High School boys' and girls' hockey teams and the Lakeville Hockey Association, the arena's Facebook page said.

Erin Adler


Audubon recognizes golf course

Audubon International has again named Birnamwood Golf Course, a nine-hole, par 27 course in Burnsville, a "certified cooperative sanctuary" through its sanctuary program. The facility has held the title since 2002 and is among 894 courses in the world to be so designated.

The city-owned course is "to be commended for preserving the natural heritage of the area by protecting the local watershed and providing a sanctuary for wildlife," said Christine Kane, Audubon International's executive director.

To earn the certification, courses must show they are environmentally responsible by meeting requirements in six areas. Certification happens every three years.

Twenty other Minnesota courses share the designation, the nonprofit's website said, including Somerset Country Club in Mendota Heights.

Erin Adler


School district hires new finance director

The Shakopee Public School District has hired Jeff Priess, a Minneapolis-based CPA, as the new director of finance and operations.

As senior consultant for Malloy, Montague Karnowski Radosevich and Co. P.A., Priess performed governmental audits for city and school district clients. He also consulted with Minnesota school districts in the areas of budget projections, tax levy analysis, and audit preparation.

Before joining the firm, Priess served as the executive director of business operations for Robbinsdale Area Schools. He retired in August 2016. He also was the director of finance for Farmington Area Schools from 2007 to 2011.

Shakopee Schools Interim Superintendent Gary Anger lauded Priess' tenacity and "forward thinking," saying his skill-set will be valuable in drafting the 2018-19 budget. "We're lucky to have him join the team," Anger said.

Priess replaces Suzanne Johnson, who resigned Jan. 31 after only seven months with the district. Johnson led efforts to revamp purchase card policies and helped form the Citizens' Financial Advisory Committee to oversee the district's finances following allegations that former Superintendent Rod Thompson had bilked the taxpayers of thousands of dollars by misusing his school credit card.

"My skills and experience should be a good fit for what seems to be needed in the district at this time," Priess said. He began his new role last week.

Liz Sawyer