The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) last week pledged to donate more than $4 million for American Indian causes in Minnesota and throughout six other states.

Some projects funded by the donation include broadband internet, educational programming, college scholarships and water treatment facilities. In Minnesota, the Red Lake Tribe received a $750,000 gift for community center renovations.

A $100,000 donation was also made to help launch Reclaiming Native Truth, a Colorado-based initiative to help combat misperceptions of Indians and transform their popular image.

SMSC, a sovereign Indian tribe, operates several Shakopee casinos and is the largest employer in Scott County. The community has emerged as a philanthropic force in the south metro, donating about $350 million to various causes over the past 25 years.

The organization, which also focuses on restoring natural resources, is the largest contributor to Indian tribes and causes across the country.

Liz Sawyer


City is inspecting apartment complex with cockroaches, maintenance issues

Northfield city officials are undertaking a unit-by-unit inspection of Northfield Estates, a four-building, 54-unit apartment complex located on Hwy. 3.

The city has received a number of complaints about the property. The owners failed to fix or resolve several problems after a routine inspection and several follow-up visits last year. Problems included garage doors that wouldn’t close, junk sitting around the property and exterior maintenance issues, said Chris Heineman, Northfield’s community planning and development director.

The owner must now apply for a provisional one-year license rather than the standard two-year rental license, Heineman said. The $1,360 application fee for that license is expected to cover the cost of inspections.

There are also other complaints related to cockroaches in the buildings, Heineman said, which property owners are addressing.

“It’s good news for the tenants,” Heineman said. “It’s just risen to another level of inspection.”

The city started inspections Tuesday, Heineman said. If Northfield Estates residents have complaints, they can call 507-645-3004. Complaints are confidential.

Erin Adler


Ames Center is almost breaking even

The Ames Center, a city-owned performing arts center in Burnsville, had its best year on record financially, though the endeavor still isn’t breaking even.

The center opened in 2009 with a $548,000 operating loss but was just $32,000 in the red by last year, according to a presentation by Brian Luther, executive director.

The venue debuted a new concession stand in November 2016, one factor that helped raise food and beverage profits by about $25,000 in 2016, Luther said.

“The new stand is positioning us for growth,” Luther said. “We’re going to see an increase in food and beverage revenue in 2017.”

Formerly called the Burnsville Performing Arts Center, the Ames Center has two theatres, a 1,014-seat proscenium stage and a smaller 150-seat black box theater, as well as a gallery and banquet space.

There were 156 events in the main auditorium in 2016 — up 17 from the previous year — including concerts and dance competitions. The center is privately managed. At the Feb. 7 City Council meeting, the Council approved the center’s 2017 work plan, created by an advisory commission.

Erin Adler

Scott County

Hazardous waste facility to reopen

The Scott County Household Hazardous Waste Facility will reopen Wednesday, following a five-month expansion project.

The renovated building, at 588 Country Trail E. in Jordan, has an expanded drop-off area, a turnaround lane for improved traffic flow and additional storage space.

Over the past 15 years, the facility has collected almost 10 million pounds of hazardous waste. Residents can donate materials or sift through thousands of free household products in the “re-use room” once a week. The most common items stocked there include paint, cleaning supplies and various lawn and garden products.

Last year, Scott County gave away almost 100,000 pounds of used materials. Officials recommend scouring the room before starting any home-improvement projects.

Liz Sawyer