Rotary club hosts teen seeking community ties

Stanley Wu, 16, was a guest last week of the Edina Morningside Rotary Club after the Star Tribune reported that the teen didn't know his neighbors despite living in Edina most of his life. Wu and his mother attended the club meeting with Edina Mayor James Hovland. Wu wrote a letter to Hovland several weeks ago, suggesting that the city hold more community events to promote connections. "It was nice," Wu said after the Rotary event. "My mom and I were a little nervous, because the [Edina] Country Club was a lot fancier than places we usually go." Wu, who said he's gotten a lot of attention at school from the news story, plans to offer the city some ideas for community events.



Nearly 50 dogs OK after being rescued from barn

Nearly 50 dogs are looking for new homes after their owner was evicted from a rural Carver County hog barn.

The canines were living in the barn until Jan. 5, when the Animal Humane Society rescued them after being contacted by the barn's landlord. The dogs' owner, who had rented the barn, left the dogs after he was evicted.

Upon investigation, the dogs were found to be OK. The owner had visited the barn to feed them, and they were in average physical and emotional health, Humane Society spokesman Zach Nugent said.

It did not appear that the owner was running a puppy mill or hoarding the animals, he said, adding that the situation had most likely simply gotten away from him.

"It's easy for numbers to get out of hand and overwhelm owners," Nugent said.

Of the 47 animals, 24 puppies and their nursing mothers are now in foster care until the young pups can fend for themselves. Four are available for adoption at Humane Society sites in Golden Valley, Coon Rapids and St. Paul; the remainder soon will be up for adoption.



S&P gives the city AAA bond rating

Chanhassen has received a AAA bond rating on its general obligation bonds from Standard & Poor's rating house, the highest credit rating the agency offers.

The company noted that the city has stable operations, strong reserves and budgetary flexibility. Fewer than 20 cities in Minnesota have received the AAA rating, according to a city news release.

The strong rating, which indicates that analysts believe the city's financial house is in order, is important because it typically allows the city to borrow money for capital projects at a lower interest rate. Ratings measure the attractiveness of the city's bonds for investors.

In a statement, Mayor Denny Laufenburger said the rating is a result of "the combined leadership of the Chanhassen City Council's fiscal and tax policies and the city staff's sound financial management."



City OKs funds for revitalization loans

The Bloomington City Council and Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) have authorized $1.8 million to help revitalize neighborhoods and housing.

A new curb-appeal loan program will be introduced this spring for exterior home improvements such as driveway replacement, painting, tree trimming and stump removal, and garage and garage door replacement.

The loans, for income-eligible homeowners, are zero percent deferred for up to $10,000.

The City Council and the HRA also expanded the city's loans for home improvements, including roofing, siding and windows, and upgrades for electrical, heating or plumbing systems. The loans are 2 percent deferred loans of up to $35,000 for eligible homeowners.


Plans progressing for county courthouse

Bloomington and Hennepin County are moving ahead with plans to relocate the Fourth District Court facilities from the Southdale Regional Center in Edina to Bloomington Civic Plaza.

The city and county are working on formal development and lease agreements that will need approval by the County Board and the City Council. The county will share operating and maintenance costs with the city, and the city will provide property management. The target completion date is in 2017.