City acts to contain the emerald ash borer

West St. Paul is the latest city where Minnesota Department of Agriculture officials have found ash trees infested with emerald ash borers.

The city issued a news release Tuesday notifying residents that the invasive insect was found in three trees in the northern section of the city. Officials are working to understand the scope of the infestation in a city where 40 percent of its more than 3,300 boulevard trees are ash.

The nonnative insect already has been discovered in several Minnesota counties, including Dakota. West St. Paul created an emerald ash borer plan in 2015 for removal and treatment. One part of the plan calls for removal of ash trees in decline to slow down the spread by getting rid of host trees. The city also will treat ash trees to avoid losing a large population of its public trees within a short time. According to the city, by treating the trees, the city can manage the costs of implementing the plan.

West St. Paul will now put its plan into action this spring. In the long term, the city will remove and replace its ash trees with a different species.


Dakota County

Camper cabins win national award

The trio of camper cabins at Whitetail Woods Regional Park have gained national acclaim with an award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Jury members who selected the cabins for the AIA Housing Award praised their "beautiful simplicity" and integration into the surrounding landscape.

"The light footprint is lovely and the low impact on the environment is wonderful," one juror commented.

Located among soaring pine trees in a secluded area of Empire Township, the 227-square-foot cabins are the first of 20 planned for construction. In 2015, they won the AIA's Minnesota Honor Award.

Completed in 2014, 456-acre Whitetail Woods is Dakota County's newest park.

Emma Nelson

Scott County

Grant to help fund Spring Lake Park trail

A $300,000 Metropolitan Council grant will fund about half of a trail and water quality improvement project in Spring Lake Regional Park in Prior Lake.

The Scott County Board agreed Tuesday to authorize the grant, which will help in constructing a roughly one-mile trail and improving water quality along Spring Lake and Arctic Lake. The project's total cost is about $630,000, and funding from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and Three Rivers Park District will cover the remainder.

"In terms of access to people, it's just a fabulous park," the county's park programs manager, Patricia Freeman, said at Tuesday's meeting. "The trail system use there is very high."

The trail connects to Northwood Road in Prior Lake, Freeman said, and will connect to future housing units that the tribe is planning. Construction is slated to begin this fall and will complete a gap on the trail since it was last extended by 3.5 miles in 2012.

This project is one of two in Scott County being aided by Metropolitan Council grant funding. The board approved the authorization of a $250,000 grant for the other project on Cedar Lake Farm in New Prague last month.

Natalie Daher


Fundraiser seeks supplies for Ethiopian kids

Egeziharya Yilma, a junior at Burnsville High School, is raising money to buy school supplies for Ethiopian kids by holding a dance marathon from noon to 8:30 p.m. on May 1 in the high school gym.

Last year, Yilma collected $10,000 worth of school items through a fundraiser she created called Project Pencil.

She traveled to Ethiopia with her dad over the summer, working with the Ethiopian Department of Education to hand out the goods. This year, she hopes to gather even more supplies.

The event's theme is famous duos, so couples should dress up as their favorite pair. Prizes include a laptop and gift cards.

Tickets for the dance marathon are $10 and available online. Spectators can watch without buying a ticket but must pay $5 for the dinner, held at 4:30 p.m.

erin adler


Tribe changing yard waste drop-off to Sunday

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is changing its free yard waste drop-off day to Sundays starting next month.

Scott County residents can drop off yard waste free of charge at the Organics Recycling Facility, 1905 Mystic Lake Dr., Shakopee, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays in May, September and October.

The day is changing from Saturdays to Sundays because of an increase in truck traffic in the area, according to the city of Shakopee's website.