Open house on 169/69

The recommended design of a new interchange and options for frontage roads at the intersection of Hwy. 169 and County Rd. 69 will be the focus of an open house in rural Shakopee Thursday afternoon.

Jackson Township Hall, 1091 130th St. W., is the site of the informal, presentation-free session from 4 to 6 p.m. Officials will be there from Scott County, the state, the township and the city of Shakopee.

The project aims to yank out the traffic signals and build a grade-separated interchange, allowing traffic to flow freely. That was the aim from the start, officials say, when the 169 Shakopee bypass was built more than a decade ago, but there wasn't the money to do it at the time. The result, they say, has been lots of crashes.

The county has obtained funds from the state under a competitive program giving money to four projects statewide. It must get underway by late 2013 under the terms of the grant. The timeline calls for project approvals and final design by the winter of 2012-2013, and construction in 2013 and 2014.

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City seeks to market itself

Lakeville has hired Arnett Muldrow and Associates to produce a business marketing strategy. A steering committee will work with the Economic Development Commission over the next several months as the strategy is developed.

Muldrow will be working with many business leaders, civic groups, and community stakeholders throughout Lakeville to solicit input. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

Pedal the parks this weekend

Lakeville is holding its third annual "Pedal the Parks" event Saturday morning.

Registration for the free event begins at 9 a.m. at  Pioneer Park Plaza, 20801 Holyoke Av. in the downtown area.

Bike helmets are required and bikers can cycle 6, 10 or 20 miles. The ride also features a Sustainability Fair, free food and a free drawing.

Call 952-250-3320 to preregister or for information. Or check Lakeville Friends of the Environment on Facebook. The event is sponsored by the Lakeville Friends and the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota.


Arboretum Harvest Sale is this weekend

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Auxiliary's Harvest Sale this weekend will feature handcrafted arrangements, textile arts and a chance to win a hand-stitched quilt sewn by auxiliary members.

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday and include dried floral arrangements, potpourri, wreaths and handmade cards created by auxiliary members, as well as textile arts such as one-of-a-kind wool hats, purses and other accessories.

The full-size quilt, "Summer Garden in Bloom," is a mixture of brightly blooming flowers. It will be raffled off with a drawing at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $2 and will be sold until noon Saturday. All proceeds from the sale and raffle will benefit the arboretum.

The Minnesota Herb Society Autumn Sale also is going on this weekend at the Oswald Visitor Center, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, featuring herbal crafts and products created by the Herb Society.

The arboretum is located at 3675 Arboretum Drive in Chanhassen.


Preschooler program is Oct. 4 at arboretum

"Pea Pods for Preschoolers" will get underway Oct. 4 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, giving kids a chance to learn about the plant world while having fun playing together.

The 10-session fall series will continue from Oct. 4 through Dec. 6, meeting on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Arboretum Learning Center. Activities will include planting, art projects, science and sensory discovery, outdoor adventures, music and story times.

Cost is $100 for arboretum members and $120 for non-members. This includes the gate fee for entry to the arboretum, plus snacks and project materials.

Register online at school.aspx or call 952-443-1422. The arboretum is located at 3675 Arboretum Drive in Chanhassen.

Jim Adams, David Peterson


County fair gets a boost

The Scott County board has agreed to dip into its reserves to pay off the debt of its Agricultural Society, which runs the county fair.

The payoff would take care of a pair of loans taken out in 1997 and 2001 for a total of $325,000 to build two barns on the fairgrounds near the town of Jordan -- structures that also yield income as winter storage for boats and recreational vehicles.

Despite the income, the fair has been unable to pay down the principal recently, officials say -- only the 5 percent interest. The payoff amount is about $181,000.

The county over the years has subsidized the fair, with the budget for 2011 being $107,000.

Commissioners say the goal is for the fair to be self-sufficient, and the county's annual subsidy may be reduced with the idea of replenishing the reserves. The fair meanwhile would benefit to the tune of nearly $9,000 in interest that would no longer have to be paid.

Commissioners praised the fair's managers for making it less of a "beer garden" atmosphere and more family-friendly, making them more disposed to help out in a crunch like this.