A new charter school focused on integrating healthy physical fitness across the curriculum, teamwork and experiential learning will open in the fall of 2017 in the old Paideia Academy building in Apple Valley. The school will serve grades K-8 and plans to add one more grade until each year until it is K-12.

FIT Academy already has 60 applicants, said Claud Allaire, the school's executive director. Most probably aren't former Paideia students, as the two schools have different missions. The goal is to open next fall with 250 students enrolled.

Allaire said school leaders said there's an appetite for more school choice in Dakota County. They chose the site at 7200 W. 147th St. because it is centrally located. The building used to be a movie theater.

Erin Adler

Dakota County

New hire will focus on social media

Dakota County has hired a new employee to focus on social media and marketing. Rachelle Baillon, who has a background in television news and most recently worked in Milwaukee, Wis., will focus primarily on the county's Twitter account and Facebook page.

The goal will be to create actionable, useful content, said Mary Beth Schubert, the county's communications director. Baillon and other staff members will monitor the accounts during office hours.

The county has "done an about face" in its approach to social media in the last six months, said county administrator Matt Smith, and now sees its value in communicating with the public.

"That's where the world is going, and we need to be there, too," Smith said.

Erin Adler

West St. Paul

City hires interim city administrator

Ryan Schroeder was hired Jan. 23 to serve as the city of West St. Paul's interim city administrator until the position is filled permanently.

Schroder served as Cottage Grove's city administrator from 1997 through 2015 and was semiretired before he took on the West St. Paul job. His salary is about $2,800 a week.

Schroeder is filling in after the previous city administrator, Matt Fulton, was asked to resign by several City Council members in early January.

Erin Adler

Carver County Board weighs sales, wheelage tax increase

Faced with a projected $128 million shortfall in funding for high priority infrastructure repairs over the next 24 years, the Carver County board is seeking input on a proposal for a half-percent hike to transportation sales tax and an increase to the existing wheelage tax.

The County's long-range Roadway Systems Plan estimates it will take more than $1 billion to construct the desired road network, while accounting for inflation. Scaling back, board members have prioritized 22 road construction projects to complete over the next 24 years with an estimated cost of $417 million.

Without more money, officials say they will lack the funds to complete long-term road and bridge projects designed to improve traffic flow. The half-percent sales tax would raise about $3.5 million a year. A $10 increase in the wheelage tax is projected to generate about $880,000 in 2018.

Those two revenue sources are expected to close the gap.

Liz Sawyer