Author Fair planned by county librariesCounty libraries are seeking local authors, illustrators, publishers and literary agents to participate in the first annual Local Author Fair at the Western Service Center in Apple Valley on Jan. 21.

The free fair from 1 to 4 p.m. will be an opportunity for people to showcase their work, discuss and sell their books, and network and learn more about the writing and publishing business.

Author David Housewright will speak, and the Loft will offer free writing and publishing workshops.

Space is limited and people interested in participating must apply by 5 p.m. on Nov. 30. Up to 40 participants will be chosen, with preference given to authors who live in Dakota County, including those who are self-published.

More information and applications are available online at www.dakotacounty.us/library by searching for "local author fair" or by calling Lindsey Dyer at 651-450-2918 or Jennifer Verbrugge at 651-450-2942.


Bridge beams are due in by ChristmasMuck is being excavated and pile driving is underway as the state seeks to create speedier flow-through traffic on Hwy. 13 where it meets Hwy. 101, the Minnesota Department of Transportation reports.

The "unglamorous work" is taking place now before the bridge that will lift traffic above the intersection begins to take shape, officials say.

Temperatures will control how far into the fall workers can get in dealing with underground utilities, but the hope is to "set bridge beams by Christmas and form the bridge deck in early spring," MnDOT says.

The bridge will have seven piers resting atop piles driven 30 to 60 feet into the ground toward bedrock.


Metro Council gets Village Commons planThe controversial Village Commons project, designed to add affordable housing to a site near County Road 42 in Savage, has reached the Metropolitan Council.

The city needs to alter its long-range plan to convert 14 acres of land from commercial to "planned mixed use." Council analysts noted that the project "will assist the city in providing opportunities to meet its affordable and life-cycle housing need of 1,237 units."

The city got a $300,000 grant last year to build 66 units of affordable housing in Village Commons, the council said. The first phase is to include 48 apartments and 18 rental townhouses, and will be built with assistance from the state Housing Finance Agency's tax credit program. The second phase includes 36 for-sale townhouses and commercial space.


Lakeville leads in new homesWith two months left in 2011, Lakeville ranks fifth in the metro area in new residential construction permits issued during the year, the Builders Association of the Twin Cities reports.

With 113 permits, however, it isn't among the top five in the number of units being built. These days, the leaders in that department are apt to be cities such as Minneapolis or Bloomington, with lots of multi-unit housing being built under a single permit.

Blaine leads both lists through October of this year, with 216 permits for 300 units.

No Scott County communities are among the metro leaders in new residential construction for the year.


Last call for compost before winter sets inYou've got until Saturday to bring leaves and the like to the Prior Lake compost site.

The dropoff point at the city maintenance center, 17073 Adelmann St. SE., will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for residents' leaves, grass clippings, brush and branches less than 8 inches in diameter. Finished compost is available to residents for $12 a cubic yard.

For more information, contact Al Friedges at 952-447-9852.


Senior Christmas Party is Dec. 5Tickets will be offered starting the morning of Dec. 1 for the Shakopee Senior Citizen Christmas Party.

The party itself will take place Monday, Dec. 5, on the upper level of the Shakopee Knights Event Center, 1760 4th Av. E., Shakopee. There's a social hour from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by a turkey dinner and door prizes.

Tickets are free, but there are only 300 available. To get one, show up on Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. at the Shakopee Community Center, 1255 Fuller St. S. Maximum tickets distributed per person will be two.

Those attending are asked to bring a non-perishable food donation for a local food shelf when picking up tickets.

For more information, contact Tom Menden of the Shakopee Lions Club at 612-363-0449 or 952-445-1990. The Jaycees are co-sponsoring the party along with the Lions and the event center.


AND David Peterson