Man sentenced in town hall arson

A Prior Lake man will spend seven years in prison in connection with a September 2013 arson that damaged Eagan’s historic town hall.

Michael Duane Damron, aka Wade Duane Arvidson, 53, pleaded guilty Oct. 14 to one count of felony first-degree arson, according to an Oct. 31 release from the Dakota County attorney’s office. In addition to serving prison time, a judge ordered Damron to pay more than $300,000 in restitution to the city of Eagan and the Eagan Fire Department.

Damron’s brother, 51-year-old Wynn Donald Arvidson, also pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree arson. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 12, and he remains in jail in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Damron and Arvidson allegedly set the fire because of a long-standing grudge against Eagan officials. It took several months and about $500,000 to renovate the 1914 town hall at the intersection of Pilot Knob and Wescott roads.

“We are pleased to hold these defendants accountable for this premeditated crime of violence that caused significant damage to Eagan’s Historic City Hall,” County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement.

Emma Nelson

Dakota County

County parks to host deer hunts

It’s deer hunting season, and that means avoiding some Dakota County parks for the next several weeks.

Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Miesville Ravine Park Reserve, and Spring Lake Park Reserve will host hunts in November and December. For safety reasons, the parks will be closed to the public during the hunts.

Hunters were chosen in a lottery and are required to meet certain requirements and attend an orientation before participating.

Dakota County has used archery hunting to control its deer population since 1995. Lebanon Hills and Spring Lake Park will host archery hunting this year; Miesville Ravine will host shotgun and muzzleloader hunts.

For more information about the 2016 hunts, visit www.co.dakota.mn.us/parks and search for “deer hunting.”

Emma Nelson

West St. Paul

City moves forward with mini art park

For two years, West St. Paul has discussed creating an art park on the corner of Butler Avenue and Oakdale Avenue on a half-acre lot donated to the city by U.S. Bank. The idea is to make a path through the park with a rotating selection of artwork, said Matt Fulton, city manager.

So far, a sidewalk has been completed using city funds. Landscaping and a possible garden are planned for spring.

But what about the art? Fulton said the city is seeking grant money to buy pieces from local artists, if possible. Student artists from several local schools may also contribute, he said.

“There’s a pretty open mind in terms of where the art comes from,” he said.

Erin Adler

Carver and Scott Counties

Humane Society offers new division to help pet owners keep furry friends

The Carver-Scott County Humane Society is launching Fur Keeps, a new division designed to help pet owners hold onto their pets rather than surrendering them to a shelter or euthanizing them.

The service is among just a few nationally, according to a county news release. Most animal welfare nonprofits help pet owners later on, when they’re struggling and on the verge of giving their pet away. But that can be when a family needs their pet the most, the news release said.

The division’s three programs focus on providing pet food through a partnership with Scott, Carver and Dakota counties, keeping pets out of shelters by giving veterinary help, behavior assistance, adoption opportunities, and giving money to veterinarians to fund emergency care when a family can’t afford it.

A donor has agreed to match up to $27,500 in donations on Nov. 17 — Give to the Max Day — according to a news release.

Erin Adler


Brewery applicant receives permit

A brewery and taproom will open in New Prague as early as next year.

The city’s planning commission approved an application from Giesenbräu Bier Co. at its October meeting. The family-run brewing company announced its plans on Twitter in June.

The brewery joins other newcomers to Scott County, including Shakopee’s Badger Hill Brewing, which opened two years ago, and Jordan’s Roets Brewery, which is expected to open soon.

Natalie Daher


City provides residents with reminder of guidelines for snow and ice removal

The winter is coming, and the public works department reminded residents of protocol during cold weather.

Among the reminders: Secure your mailbox; ensure that fire hydrants are accessible; and clear sidewalks within 24 hours of a storm.

In addition, residents should not place snow from their private spaces in public spaces, such as sidewalks, as it’s against the law. Residents should place household waste curbside no earlier than 4 p.m. on the eve of collection, and remove empty containers by 8 p.m. on the day of collection.

The city’s plow will make a second round if it doesn’t collect all snow or ice the first time, according to a city news release.

Natalie Daher