At the beginning of last night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens shared some thoughts about the tragic events surrounding Mandy Matula’s disappearance.
Watch the video to hear what she had to say:
At the beginning of last night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens shared some thoughts about the tragic events surrounding Mandy Matula’s disappearance.
Watch the video to hear what she had to say:
On Thursday morning of this week our City and the Eden Prairie School District once again hosted an informational forum for area real estate professionals at the Eden Prairie Community Center.
Following an introduction by Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens, the school district provided an update featuring Superintendent Curt Tryggestad. Dr. Tryggestad and his team discussed: recent community survey results; new school initiatives such i-learning; and their new upcoming strategic plan.
We then followed with a city update from Community Development Director Janet Jeremiah and myself. I discussed our recent community survey results where 99% of our residents have rated the quality of life in Eden Prairie as good or excellent. I then discussed a few new projects in the city such as the Round Lake park improvements and the Flying Cloud Fields expansion. Janet covered several new housing and development projects in our City such as the United Health Group (UHG) office campus and southwest light-rail transit (SWLRT). The program concluded with a bus tour led by Economic Development manager David Lindahl highlighting these and several other development projects.
Overall, I feel this event was beneficial for our realtors. They were able to receive their necessary continuing education credits toward their real estate licenses while also receiving recent city and school information. This will assist them in marketing and selling real estate in our great city.
We first conducted this forum in 2011 due to a desire by our Mayor to better communicate with the real estate professionals in the area. She felt that there was a need to communicate the message that our City and school district were still in a position to thrive in difficult economic conditions. Fast forward to 2013. Even though the economy has improved and the real estate market is on the upswing, the need to conduct this type of forum still exists because regular communication with our realtors is essential.
We plan to conduct this event at least every other year.
I am posting an article below from MPR by Martin Moylan about one of the most innovative companies in the world that is based right here in EP. The article is a bit long but it is definitely worth the read. Enjoy.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — When most people use a printer what emerges is likely only paper.
But these days you can print a wrench, a working clock, or a killer design for a custom motorcycle. Objects designed on a computer can be sent to machines known as 3-D printers that will build them — layer by tiny layer.
Stratasys, based in Eden Prairie, Minn., is a leading player in the 3D printing world, helping customers create parts for cars, planes, robots, orthodontics and more.
“The layers can be anywhere from three- to ten-thousandths of an inch” said Jon Cobb, the company’s executive vice president for global marketing.
Cobb said a product designed with CAD — computer-aided designed software — can go straight to production.
“You’re able to replicate exactly what the designer had in mind because you’re going directly from the CAD file itself right to the actual printed part,” he said.
Stratasys’ machines cost from $10,000 to $600,000. Some are about the size of an office laser printer. Others are as big as a car.
They can produce smaller items like prototypes for cell phone cases or soles for athletic shoes in several hours. Larger objects like panels for a car take a couple of days to produce. Cobb said 3-D printing.
“When we started people looked at the technology at trade shows and they were fascinated by what it could do but maybe they couldn’t quite figure out how they were going to use it,” he said. “Over the last, I’d say, two years, the amount of interest in 3-D printing has absolutely skyrocketed.”
To take advantage of that momentum, last year Stratasys merged with one of its top competitors, Israel-based Objet. The companies’ combined revenue soared 30 percent over their 2011 results.
Stratasys’ machines work with more than 100 different kinds of plastic. In the future, the company’s machines may also print in glass, metal and other materials that some competitors use.
To illustrate the capabilities of machines now in its arsenal, Stratasys recently printed a designer skirt and cape at Paris Fashion Week, using hard and soft plastics.
Cobb said Stratasys once printed a working clock that included all the timepiece’s moving parts — but required no assembly.
“All those parts actually work, as single build,” Cobb said. “It’s impossible to do this in manufacturing.”
In his State of the Union address this year, President Obama cited 3-D printing as a key to the revival of American manufacturing.
“Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio,” the president said. “A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3-D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.”
For products ranging from medical devices to snowmobiles, 3-D printing permits manufacturing firms to make prototypes faster and cheaper than traditional methods. That allows companies to decide sooner if an item should be mass produced.
In another innovation, 3-D printers are creating models that dentists use to make crowns, retainers and other appliances. The printers are also producing light-weight prosthetic limbs that can be customized for children as they grow.
Orange County Choppers — the inspiration for the Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper” TV series — owns a Stratasys 3-D printer, which it uses to make parts for custom motorcycles. No one from the New York shop responded to interview requests. But a promotional video shows designer Jason Pohl describing how the shop made a bike in the shape of a dragon with a fearsome fanged head thrust out over the front wheel.
NASA, another Stratasys customer, has come up with some 3-D printing projects that are — or soon could be — out of this world. NASA engineer Christopher Chapman said the printers create parts that are impossible to make with traditional machining methods.
“There are some parts in robots; there are some parts in cameras,” Chapman said. “We have a rover that currently has over 70 parts, if I had to guess off the top of my head.”
Investors also have become very enthusiastic about Stratasys. The firm’s stock has risen 60 percent in the past two years.
The company holds over 500 granted or pending patents worldwide. Since its founding in 1989, Stratasys has shipped over 22,000 3-D printing systems.
Dougherty and Co. analyst Andrea James said the company’s success will likely continue.
“They’re going to grow 22 to 25 percent year-over, especially as new uses for 3-D-printed objects are invented,” she said.
Wohlers Associates, a Colorado consulting firm, reports Stratasys and Objet accounted for about 56 percent of all industrial-grade 3-D printer systems sold worldwide in 2011.
Demand for 3-D printers is likely to be greatest in the manufacturing sector, supplying companies that need components in limited quantities, said Terry Wohlers, the company’s president.
“The money is in manufacturing, making parts that go into final products for planes, medical devices, such as orthopedic implants, dental products and a variety of consumer products,” Wohlers said.
One Stratasys customer, for example, recently made about 100 copies of a part for Delta Air Lines’ MD-80 series jets. The planes, with an average of age of about 23 years, needed a part that goes in the aircrafts’ lavatories. But the part was no longer available, so the company developed a digital file of the part’s design and printed that on a Stratasys machine.
Such manufacturing will help triple 3-D printing industry sales, bringing them to $6.5 billion by 2019, Wohlers forecasts.
I remember soon after starting my job in Eden Prairie that I was handed a copy of the book Outcasts United. I was told that this was the 2011 Eden Prarie Reads book for the year. I was subsequently told that a grass roots group of volunteers formed one of the first suburban citywide reading programs back in 2004 to promote reading and encourage discussion among community members. Since 2004, the group has hosted a variety of events in the spring of each year related to the chosen book- including speaker forums, book discussions, and author appearances.
I decided in April 2011 to read Outcasts United and take part in Eden Prairie Reads. I attended a community session at the City Center regarding new immigrant experiences in Eden Prairie that somewhat mirrored the events of the community featured in the book. In 2012, the chosen book was the Hunger Games. I regret to say that I did not read the Hunger Games- but my wife and two of my daughters did. In fact, they have now read the entire Hunger Games trilogy. For the 2012 event, I brought my oldest daughter to the International School event because I knew she would be well versed in all discussions related to Katniss, Peeta, and the totalitarian nation of Panem.
Now we arrive to 2013. This year the committee has chosen a collection of ten short stories from the The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. The timing for reading this book works out well for me because I have just finished reading a different collection of short stories (Tenth of December by George Saunders) that I really enjoyed. Additionally, I have a pile of full-length books at home that I have had a difficult time completing (see list provided at the end of this blog)- and maybe short stories are what I need right now.
I can say from reading seven of the ten stories recommended in the anthology collection that they do range in topic and theme as has been stated on the Eden Prairie Reads website. I encourage everyone to read at least one of these stories and attend one or both of the following Eden Prairie Reads events in April and May.
Reading and Writing the Short Story
Join Eden Prairie Reads on Thursday, April 11 from 7:00-9:00 p.m as they welcome author Brian Malloy who will examine the 5 parts of the short story: exposition, rising action, crisis, falling action and conclusion. Come prepared for exercises on each of the five parts of traditional short story. Location is the Eden Prairie Library Meeting Room.
Short Story Discussion Groups
Eden Prairie Reads will be holding discussion groups for the 10 stories. Join them to talk about the stories you read. Moderated tables will be set up for all ten stories. May 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m., St. Andrews Church. Coffee/tea/cookies. No registration necessary.
(Note: List of books that I have started and need to finish- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson, Once a Runner by John Parker, To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink, and A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan).
Each year I have the privilege of hosting our spring and fall employee recognition events. Yesterday was our spring recognition event where we presented our annual employee awards, which we call the “EPys.”
Prior to awarding the 2012 EPys, we kicked off our event by welcoming some new employees to our city. We then honored many of our fellow employees who have reached milestones in their years of service at the City of Eden Prairie.
Congratulations to the following award recipients:
Pictured (L to R): Lisa Vik, Bob Lanzi, Wayne Estenson, Kevin Schmieg, Shaun Sullivan, Jeremy Hoehn and Rick Getschow
We had a great turnout at this meeting, which resulted in an engaging conversation among taxpayers, city staff and elected officials. I was happy to see this discussion transpire- as feedback from stakeholders is an important element of successful government.
But let’s face it, we’re all busy and don’t always have the time to attend a meeting or write to the City Council. For that reason, the City has launched a great new online platform for sharing thoughts, ideas and insights on City government-related topics.
We decided that our first topic would be to continue the conversation about the potential Community Center Aquatics upgrade using this new tool. Now, with CITY CONNECT, you can learn more about the proposed upgrades, see what others in the community have to say and join the discussion- all from the convenience of your computer or mobile device.
To explore this platform and connect with others in the community on this and other topics in the future, visit edenprairie.org/cityconnect.
We will be listening and look forward to hearing what you have to say!
I feel that one of the crown jewels of Eden Prairie is our city Community Center. After extensive renovations in 2008 we now have a facility that offers state of the art amenities at a very reasonable cost. In fact, memberships at our Community Center have quadrupled since 2008.
However, one area that is in need of attention is our aquactics facilities. Due to these aging facilities and a continual increase in demand, we are considering an upgrade to the aquatics facilities at the Community Center. The pool is the only component of the Community Center that was not renovated during the 2008 improvements.
We recently conducted a feasibility study with the goals of: (1) identifying and resolving facility deficiencies, (2) addressing challenges in programming and user group access, and (3) evaluating demographic trends to plan for future programming.
The study found the following inadequacies with the current facilities:
To address those inadequacies we are discussing the following improvements:
1. Build a lap swimming pool that includes:
2. Build a recreational swimming pool that includes:
As you can imagine, the cost of these improvements could be significant. We are currently evaluating how many of these improvements should be made and how they could be phased in over time – and we want feedback.
Therefore, we are requesting that you join us to learn more about this project and provide feedback at the Community Aquatics Town Hall Meeting Wednesday, March 6 at the Community Center (16700 Valley View Road). The meeting will begin at 6:30 pm with a presentation showcasing the facility’s current aquatics area, and highlighting the opportunities for expansion and improvement, followed by a question and answer session at 7 pm.
I hope to see you there.
Each year, the President of the United States delivers a State of the Union address, reporting to Congress and the public on the condition of the nation and outlining what’s on the horizon. This tradition began with the very first State of the Union address on Jan. 8, 1790, which was delivered by George Washington himself.
In a similar tradition, many Mayors and City Managers throughout the country have more recently begun presenting an annual State of the City address, to keep stakeholders up to date on City-related developments.
And for several years now, the Eden Prairie City Manager has teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce President, as well as the School District Superintendent, to present a joint State of the City address at an annual Chamber member luncheon – this approach provides a comprehensive look at the latest developments in the Eden Prairie community, as well as a forecast for what’s to come in the next year.
This year’s event took place on Jan. 24 and the overall consensus from all perspectives was that the state of the city is excellent!
I truly enjoy participating in this event, and the feedback we receive from those in attendance is always extremely positive. For that reason, I’ve decided to take the City portion of the State of the City address on tour and expand the opportunities for those who are interested in seeing it. So, over the next few weeks, I’ll be making presentations to various groups in the Eden Prairie community- including the Lions Club, the Lioness Club, the Rotary Club, and city employees.
New this year, Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens and I have also decided to add a community presentation of the State of the City address. This presentation will take place Thursday, Feb. 21 from 6:30–7 p.m. in the Cambria Room at the Community Center (16700 Valley View Road). Some of the topics we’ll cover include the results of the most recent Quality of Life survey, a look at economic trends affecting the City, a preview of upcoming development projects in Eden Prairie and an overview of the initiatives the City will focus on in 2013.
The event is free to attend and open to the public – we hope to see you there!
During last week’s City Council meeting we were briefed on our 2012 Quality of Life Survey results. The survey data was collected by a Twin Cities company named Decision Resources in mid-November of 2012. Decision Resources is well known in many Minnesota cities. They do most of their public survey work in the Twin Cities for cities, but they also have a number of county and school district clients as well.
Their survey data is important because it allows us to:
Also, Karla Wennerstrom of the Eden Prairie News wrote an article entitled “How’s Your Quality of Life” that covered the more comprehensive overview that we were given at our workshop prior to the meeting.
In addition to link above, I have reposted the article in in its entirety right here.
The Eden Prairie City Council heard the results of the 2012 Quality of Life Study from Decisions Resources President Bill Morris Tuesday.
In a nutshell, it’s excellent.
Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens said the survey gives the city an opportunity to see how it’s doing, as well as help provide information on where residents want to see resources directed.
Morris said that the survey of 400 residents, interviewed for about 28 minutes (some commented for over an hour), showed that 99 percent of residents rate the quality of life in Eden Prairie as excellent or good.
That puts Eden Prairie in the top 10 of metropolitan area suburbs, he said.
But a few other numbers found Eden Prairie at the top of the list.
Residents were asked what they liked most about living in Eden Prairie. The categories receiving the most mentions were schools; parks, trails and recreation; open spaces and friendly people.
“What that shows about the community and its values is that many people still hold on to the small-town aspects of the community, they see this as a small-town oasis within the heart of metro area suburbs,” Morris said.
When they answered that question, nobody said there was nothing they liked about the community, which is an accomplishment these days, he said.
Residents were also asked what they like least. Almost three in 10 residents, 29 percent, said nothing.
Morris calls those residents boosters. In the metropolitan area, the average number of boosters is 6 percent. Eden Prairie has five times that, making it the No. 1 community Decision Resources studies in that category.
Issues listed by those who could find something they didn’t like about Eden Prairie included traffic congestion, with 17 percent listing that as a concern. In the metro area, the concern is usually at 25 to 30 percent, so the concern about traffic congestion is actually lower in Eden Prairie than other areas.
Another area where Eden Prairie topped the list was in the rating of services provided by the city.
The average positive rating for services in Eden Prairie is at 96.6 percent, the highest in the metropolitan area. The service area with the highest negative rating, at 9 percent, was city drinking water.
“Even on hot-button services for most communities, people here are just very, very satisfied,” Morris said.
Parks opportunities and maintenance received high ratings, with the number of those that considered Park and Recreation opportunities excellent doubling.
Eden Prairie was also rated at the top of the metropolitan area in terms of positive ratings for city staff. The percentage of positive ratings was 97 percent. Even with more people having contact with city hall than the norm, the rankings were outstanding.
He said the “ease of reaching help” positive ranking was at 97 percent, “the highest that we’ve had anywhere during the past decade.” City staff ranked at 99 percent positive for courtesy and 98 percent positive for efficiency.
Morris said high quality public service is usually indicated when the rankings are above 80 percent. He said city staff broke that threshold, broke the 90 percent threshold, and in the first time in Decision Resources’ 20 years of polling, “we actually have a breaking of the 95 percent threshold.”
The city has always been at the top of the range, and is now clearly among the top handful of cities, Morris said.
“You have now built up a phenomenal reservoir of goodwill.”
On Wednesday morning I attended a wellness event that our city HR team jointly sponsorsed with our neighbors to the north- the City of St. Louis Park. Our speaker was Cara McNulty, an Eden Prairie resident, who is the Sr. Group Manager for Prevention and Wellness at Target Corporation. She presented to the leaders of our two city organizations about the importance and value of worksite health promotion. This makes sense because most of us spend 8-12 hours a day at work and with approximately 16 waking hours a day- it makes sense that the worksite would be the place to focus on healthy behaviors.
We all know the cost of health care continues to rise. Both employees and employers are searching for ways to keep costs under control and as manageable as possible. So how can we keep these costs under control? First, we need to know the leading causes before we can formulate a plan. Many of us were a bit surprised to hear that higher claim costs are not due to accidents or major illnesses such as cancer. Cara told us that the leading cause of higher premuims are chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Both of these conditions have modifiable risks such as inactivity, poor diet, tobacco use and obesity. The good news is that we can reverse this trend.
She also shared that with rising health care costs, companies cannot afford not to enhance their health promotion efforts. We need to provide healthy choices, get people moving and focus on prevention (physicals, screenings, and keeping healthy employees healthy.) Employee health impacts worksite absenteeism, presenteeism and overall productivity.
Cara called upon us as leaders to be “Champions of Wellness.” This does not mean we have to give up soda or eat salads every day but rather take small steps. She had each of us set one goal to be healthier and identify 3 obstacles that may prohibit us from achieving that goal. Next, we need to lead by example, share our story, and invest in our employees by engaging them and provide supporting networks. Behaviors are emulated and this could have a trickle-down effect, from leader, to employee, to families, to community. It was an inspiring and thought-provoking talk.
It also reinforced my personal goal of completing the Twin Cities Marathon this fall. I have done a few marathons in the past, but my plan is to rededicate myself to training this summer and hopefully set a PR.
© 2013 City of Eden Prairie.