Plymouth police recently launched a new program to prevent credit card skimming at gas station pumps.

The SkimStop program requires that gas stations have their pumps inspected every 24 hours for signs of tampering or existing skimmers, and tamper-proof tape placed over the panel that provides access to the credit card machine at each pump. The tape shows “void” if it has been tampered with.

Skimmers place small electronic readers inside gas pumps to steal credit card data. Numbers can be collected remotely, allowing thieves to make purchases or even create fake credit cards.

Participating gas stations receive certificates to hang inside their store and 2-inch yellow SkimStop stickers to display at each pump. For more information, or to see which gas stations are participating, go to

Kelly Smith


Braemar golf range named one of best in U.S.

The Braemar Golf Course driving range has been named one of the top 50 public driving ranges in the country. The recognition was bestowed by the Golf Range Association of America and published in the December issue of Golf Range Magazine.

The outdoor range, located at the Braemar course in southwest Edina, can accommodate up to 68 golfers at a time. About 2.5 million golf balls are hit there each year, said Joe Abood, general manager for the golf course.

Edina also has an indoor range, the Braemar Golf Dome, which is open during the winter. The driving range is open while the course is closed for renovations. The course is expected to reopen next year.

Miguel Otárola


County Board to fill spots on watershed board

The Hennepin County Board is accepting applications for two spots on the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District board.

Board members serve three-year terms and oversee the watershed district, one of the largest financially in Minnesota, managing everything from flooding to the spread of invasive species in parts of 27 cities from Lake Minnetonka to Minneapolis.

The terms for Board Members Pamela Blixt and Richard Miller will expire this year. Miller is seeking reappointment and Blixt is undecided.

The County Board, which appoints six members on the seven-member board, is accepting applications until Feb. 23. The seventh board member is appointed by the Carver County Board. For more information, go to

Kelly Smith


Annual Chilly Open to host new activities

From snowga (snow yoga) to snow-kiting, Wayzata’s annual winter community festival — the Chilly Open — will be hosting new activities this year.

The 33rd annual event will be held on Lake Minnetonka on Feb. 10-11. The main event will be the annual frozen golf tournament that includes three nine-hole golf courses carved into the ice on the lake. More than 1,000 golfers are expected to participate in the tournament, which costs $40 per golfer.

The event also features ice skating, free snowga on Wayzata Bay, snow-kiting, a chili cook-off competition and live music. For more information about the Chilly Open, which raises money for the local Chamber of Commerce, go to

Kelly Smith

Lake Minnetonka

Program adds walleye to Lake Minnetonka

A local privately funded campaign aims to stock more walleye in Lake Minnetonka.

The Westonka Walleye Program, which was started in 2013 by Mound angler Johnny Range, will host its fourth annual fundraiser April 27. The event, held at 6 p.m. at the Gillespie Center in Mound, supports the program. Last year, the nonprofit dumped 28,000 walleye into the lake, paid for with $50,000 in donations.

Every other year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has put walleye fingerlings in Minnetonka, which also is stocked with muskies. But Range’s program, started over frustration that few walleyes were in the Twin Cities’ largest lake, stocks walleyes that are more expensive and larger than usual, at 8 to 9 inches. For more details, go to

Kelly Smith

Hennepin County

County hosts eight-week Citizens Academy

Hennepin County residents can go behind-the scenes of the state’s largest county — from corrections to the elections office.

The county is hosting the free, eight-week series, Citizens Academy, which includes visiting county facilities, meeting county leaders and learning more about departments. It takes place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. from March 16 to May 17. For details, go to

Kelly Smith