SPCO's finest will play

The first concert in the Lakeville Area Arts Center's chamber music series will feature two of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's finest performers, Layton "Skip" James on keyboards and Lynn Erickson on trumpet. Trombonist Larry Zimmerman will also perform. The show, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, will be in an informal, cabaret-style setting with free coffee and refreshments for the audience at the Lakeville Area Arts Center, 20965 Holyoke Av. Tickets, $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors, are available at the center or by phone at 952-985-4640. Future concerts in the series will include winds and strings, a percussion trio and a flute-and-oboe duo.


Young sisters honored after saving mom's life

Two sisters from Spring Lake Township have been given an award for helping save their mother's life.

Gabrielle Hentges, 5, and her sister Sophie, 4, acted swiftly last June to summon help when their mother, Jennifer, suffered a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting and fell unconscious.

If they hadn't known enough to call 911 and make clear what was going on, officials said, their mother might not have made it.

"I am fortunate to have two very intelligent daughters," their mother told members of the Scott County Board last week. "I am thankful that they absorbed what we had taught them. If not for them, I wouldn't be here. We need to thank our stars for every day we have."

County Board Chairman Jon Ulrich praised the girls' parents as well. "I'm sure it's no accident they knew to call 911 and what to do," he said. "Good job to them as well."

The award was approved by the county's Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council.

Interim admin named as Unmacht departs

Deputy County Administrator Gary Shelton has been named the interim administrator of Scott County as the board searches for a permanent replacement for Dave Unmacht.

The departure of Unmacht "feels like a death to me," Board Chairman Jon Ulrich said as commissioners formally accepted his resignation. Unmacht is leaving for a job in the private sector, with a firm that consults with public bodies. "We feel as though he's the best county administrator in the state."

Shelton, too, is "tremendously gifted," he said, having led the county through a number of major projects.


PAC will open with ceremony, local talent

Next week, you can get a peek at the new Burnsville Performing Arts Center.

Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and Burnsville City Council members will open the new center at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, inside the north lobby of the new eight-story facility just north of Burnsville Parkway.

The ceremony, with a ribbon cutting at the venue's grand staircase, is being held just before the presentation of the first official event at the center: the Talents of Burnsville. It will showcase residents and performers from Burnsville as the first to appear on stage at the $20 million public center, which will become the anchor of the Heart of the City redevelopment.

Target Inc. is sponsoring the Talents of Burnsville. Free tickets, compliments of Target, will be distributed throughout the city and will be available at the Performing Arts Center box office before showtime at 7:30 p.m.

Free parking is available for all performances at the Burnsville PAC in the adjacent parking structure on the north side of the venue. The address is 12600 Nicollet Av. S.


Gaylord takes reins of County Board

Kathleen Gaylord has stepped to the helm of the Board of Commissioners.

She was unanimously elected to the leadership post Jan. 6 by her fellow commissioners. Thomas Egan, the commissioner from District 3, was elected vice chairman at the board's first meeting of 2009.

Gaylord, a lawyer from South St. Paul, joined the Board of Commissioners in 2003. Previously, she had served as mayor and as a council member for her home city.

Gaylord gave a short address, highlighting the financial challenges to come.

"The dire financial situation facing the state of Minnesota in the next year will have a substantial impact on Dakota County that we don't even know yet," she said.

Also at the Jan. 6 meeting, new District 5 Commissioner Liz Workman was sworn in along with two incumbents, Joe Harris of District 1 and Will Branning of District 7.


Beatles tribute group to play at South High

The Liverpool Legends, a Beatles tribute group from Branson, Mo., will be at Lakeville South High School on Jan. 31.

The four-man group was founded by George Harrison's sister, Louise Harrison. They aim for authenticity and perform numbers from the entire Beatles repertoire as well as some of the members solo acts.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15 to $25 and can be purchased in advance at the Lakeville Area Arts Center. For more information, call 952-985-4640.


Police Department to host teen academy

The Apple Valley Police Department is again hosting a teen police academy from Feb. 3 to March 3. The academy gives teens an inside look at the department's operations and is open to anyone of high school age who is living or attending high school in Apple Valley. For more information, contact the Police Department at 952-953-2700.


Learn about police at citizens' academy

The Eagan Police Department is accepting applications this month for its 14th annual citizens' academy. The 2009 classes will run on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. March 5 through April 23 at the Eagan Police Department, 3830 Pilot Knob Road.

Participants will learn about the department's history, see a K-9 demonstration, get a review of typical police calls, view a DUI demonstration and narcotics presentation, review a homicide investigation, learn about Internet safety, and see use-of-force simulations. At the completion of the program, citizens can do a four-hour ride-along with a police officer. The academy is open to Eagan residents or people over 18 who work in Eagan. Space is limited to 25. For more information, contact officer Danielle Anselment or crime prevention specialist Jill Ondrey at 651-675-5700.


Talk with mayor and council at open house

Residents are invited to chat with the mayor and city council members at an open house on Saturday.

The event will give the public a chance to meet newly elected council members Kurt Bills and Jeff Weisensel and City Administrator Dwight Johnson, who joined the city in August.

Mayor Bill Droste will give an overview of major issues near the beginning of the open house, but residents are invited to stop by from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to speak with the elected officials.

The council intends to take the community feedback into consideration as it sets goals and starts thinking about the 2010 budget.


Fundraiser to feature seven comedic plays

The Northfield Arts Guild will hold a fundraiser featuring seven short plays by Brandon Etter at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The lineup, with the over-the-top title of "Sex with Seven Men," features seven pieces about "relationships, dating and alien life forms," according to a news release. Etter, a Northfield resident, penned all seven of the comedic plays. The Northfield Arts Guild Theater is at 411 W. 3rd St. Tickets are $10 and are available at the arts center, 304 Division St., by phone at 507-645-8877 or online at www.northfield

Mental health group launches website

The South Central Children's Mental Health Initiative (SCCMHI) has launched a website at, featuring county links for its 11 member counties, a mental health resource list, a weekly blog, and information about foster care, mental health and mental illness. The initiative's mission is to improve mental health services for children and adolescents in southern Minnesota. Rice County is among the 11 counties served by the organization.