Farewell

AAAA 026.jpg08 Holiday Party 072.jpgEPY Award Winners 2010.JPGOctober 28, 2010, will be my last day as Eden Prairie’s city manager. So before I go, I thought that I’d share a few thoughts about my tenure here.

I started working here in April of 2002. Speaking only for myself, I can tell you that it has been an exciting run. When I walked into the Eden Prairie City Council Chambers in April 2002, I walked straight into a debate about whether or not the City should (or could) ban smoking in restaurants; a pitched discussion with the Metropolitan Airports Commission about whether or not Flying Cloud Airport’s runways would be lengthened; and took the helm of an organization that was in need of nurturing, rational leadership.

Today, we don’t have to debate the question of smoking in restaurants. The State Legislature took care of that for us – and everyone else in the state as well. Flying Cloud’s runways were lengthened and widened. I think the airport’s development will ultimately be a good thing for the community, but it’s really too early to tell right now.

And the organization I work for, well, I think it’s Top Notch. The people I work with are smart and productive. They care about the look and feel of the community. They care about the people who live and work here. They work well together as a team and they are good stewards of the taxpayers’ trust and treasury.

As I’ve been here for almost two months after announcing my resignation (per my employment agreement), there has been a lot of time for people to ask me multiple variations of two questions. They are: “As you reflect back on your time in Eden Prairie, what are you most proud of?” and “What are the challenges in Eden Prairie’s future?”

I’ll start by looking back. While I’ve been a part of some interesting construction projects and public policy discussions here, the thing I’m most proud of is my team of coworkers. They are exceptional people. Together, they are an exceptional team. I’ll miss them all.

Looking forward, Eden Prairie is about to be changed by the Southwest Light Rail Transit project. This project is going to change the nature of Eden Prairie in positive ways. As a community, we’re not spending enough time talking about that project. But it’s coming, and it’s going to be a big deal over the next five years.

Eden Prairie gave me a big break in 2002. That City Council – Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens, Ron Case, Jan Mosman, Sherry Butcher and (the late) David Luse – took a chance on me. I knew that then, and I still think about it today. I hope they think their risk was rewarded. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for giving me a shot here.

All in all, Eden Prairie has been great to me. I’ve enjoyed my job, the people I work with and the people I’ve worked for. Thank you Eden Prairie. Thanks for everything. I’ll miss you all.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off

Blog Feedback

Since my days of doing this blog are starting to wind down, I thought that I’d trot out one of my readers’ tried and true favorites: actual reader feedback. Here’s a random mixture of it, with names and other identifying info redacted:

Subject: Mobile Phone Towers in Eden Prairie

My wife and I recently moved to Eden Prairie. We did not sign up for home

phone service as we both have cell phones and we live in an area of

relatively dense population. Easy way to save $30/month. Imagine my surprise

when I found that my cell phone barely gets reception in my house.

25% of homes in the US have a cellphone but no landlines and that number is

only increasing.

Subject: Urban Chickens

I read your blog post regarding chickens. You mentioned the “sight, sound,

and smell” of chickens. Before you make any decisions, I would go visit

someone who raises chickens on their property. I myself have had as many as

5 adult hens and haven’t had any complaints. Why? Because they don’t smell

and they don’t make noise other than a little cackling in the later morning.

Their are a lot of misconceptions about chickens. One is that they smell

terribly. But if you check it out yourself, a free range chicken will roam

an entire fenced yard and of course poop wherever it needs or wants. But

that scat is usually very watery and either washes away with a good rain or

a hose. And it makes excellent fertilizer. But it doesn’t stink. Of course

you could run into the occasional homeowner who keeps 20 chickens and never

cleans, etc. They probably also have an old washer and dryer on the front

porch as well. Anyway, please also consider this: is it OK to allow people

to have the “sight, sound, and smell” of dogs on their property but not

chickens? Consider how loud dogs are (there are 8 dogs living within the 5

properties adjacent to my home. They make far more noise than my hens. Also,

I have never heard of anyone needing stitches or rabies shots, or being

mauled by a chicken. I just had a grad party for my daughter in my backyard

and had near 200 people throughout the day see my hens and they all seemed

to love them. I’m sure some felt it was weird to house what is really a farm

animal, but it was probably really weird long ago when people started

inviting dogs into their homes. Thanks for listening!

Subject: Loves The Blog

I’ll confess to being a reluctant resident of Eden Prairie who’s pretty

much chomping at the bit to move back to Minneapolis. So I generally don’t

get too involved in the ongoings of the City of EP, except to be informed

enough to vote. I pride myself, however, on being a reasonably engaged and informed

citizen, and this blog of yours has proven to be fascinating. I periodically

post items you’ve blogged about on my own website and always present this

site as an excellent and probably representative sample of what exactly goes

on in the suburbs and also a superb example of a city and a city official

Doing it Right. So, keep up the good work. And thank you.

Subject: Concerned About Bugs
I have found an emerald ashborer (verified by my insect-savvy son) in my

yard today. I have the specimen kept in a ziploc bag. Is the city interested

to verify this specimen?

Subject: Interested in Walmart Streetscape

How much money has Wal-mart put into this future fund? Is your city a rare

case or something that Wal-mart is doing to improve its community image

around the country. Thank you for your time.

Subject: Permission to Plagiarize
I’m doing a records management clean out contest at my site and i came

across your “Play Keep or Toss” image. I thought it was pretty slick and we

would like to use it to make the contest catchy. Would we be able to use

it? I realize you are probably pretty busy, but the contest is coming up

soon and we need to get rolling on the marketing so this is time-sensitive.

Thanks so much and great job on the graphic! I can be reached by email or

my direct line is xxxxxxxxxxxx.

Enjoy your day, and thanks for all the feedback everyone!

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off

XFINITY

XFINITY is “more of everything you want,” according to Comcast. XFINITY is a new service platform from Comcast which will enable them to sell you not only more cable television services, but also sell you home telephone and broadband Internet access services as well. I guess that’s about everything I want, except I don’t want the new digital cable tv converter box that Comcast says I have to have. From the calls we’ve been getting here at City Hall on this issue, I can promise you it’s not just me who feels like that.

For the record, Comcast will tell you that the converter box issue is not directly connected to the XFINITY “opportunity” they are offering. But the truth is, they need one to do the other. And, while Comcast will give you one or two of the converter boxes at no cost, they’ll charge you a monthly fee if you want/need more boxes than that. Maybe they’ll back down on the monthly charge thing sometime in the future, but probably not unless they sense a significant ruckus among their customer base — which is normally fairly compliant (present company included).

As I said, we’ve been getting a number of calls and emails about the XFINITY/digital convertor box issue. But, and I hate the sound of what I’m about to say, there’s isn’t much we can do about it as a city government. The digital converter issue is beyond the scope of what we have the authority to regulate as a city.

We can, and have, let Comcast know the feedback we’re receiving. Comcast can, although they don’t have to, ignore that feedback. Or, they can adjust their business plan in response to the feedback. They are a private company in a competitive market. They’ll do what they think is best for them……I mean you.

Posted in Community | Comments Off

Property Tax Confusion

confusion.jpgSince property tax payments are due at the end of this week, I thought that I’d take a few moments to talk about exactly who taxes property within the City of Eden Prairie. There are more entities taxing your property than most people think.

There are the easy ones. If you own property within the City of Eden Prairie it is taxed by the Metropolitan Council, Hennepin County, Three Rivers Park District and the City of Eden Prairie. Depending on where the property is, it is taxed by one of three school districts: Eden Prairie, Minnetonka or Hopkins. Also depending on where the property is, it is also taxed by one of three watershed districts: Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek, Nine Mile and Lower Minnesota River.

All in all, there are what we call six UTA’s (Unique Taxing Areas) in Eden Prairie. Hang with me here. Here they are:

Eden Prairie city-Eden Prairie schools-Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek wsd. This is, by far, our largest UTA with 17,685 parcels in it. Its Pay 2010 tax rate is 106.758%. When you hear someone talk about “average taxes in Eden Prairie” they are probably using this UTA tax rate in their assumptions.

The next largest UTA is the one comprised of Eden Prairie city-Eden Prairie schools-Nine Mile wsd. It covers a large portion of the east side of Eden Prairie. It has 2,592 parcels with a tax rate of 106.772%.

The third largest UTA, in terms of how many parcels it has, is the one comprised of Eden Prairie city-Eden Prairie schools-Lower Minnesota River wsd. This is the area along the bluffs of the Minnesota river south of Pioneer Trail. These taxpayers pay a tax rate of 105.999%.

From here on down, the UTAs get somewhat smaller. Next in line, with 687 parcels, is the UTA comprised of Eden Prairie city-Minnetonka schools-Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek wsd. This UTA is in the northwest part of the city. The taxpayers of this UTA enjoy the lowest tax rate in Eden Prairie at 99.456%.

There are two UTAs in Eden Prairie that overlap the Hopkins School District, in the northeast part of town. The Eden Prairie city-Hopkins schools-Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek wsd has 82 parcels and a tax rate of 103.849%. The UTA with Eden Prairie city-Hopkins schools-Nine Mile Creek wsd has 459 parcels and a tax rate of 103.863%.

The Lower Minnesota River wsd does not overlap with either Minnetonka or Hopkins school districts, nor does the Minnetonka school district overlap with the Nine Mile wsd. That’s why there are more statistical combinations of UTAs in theory than there are in reality.

I brushed by the Hennepin County and Metropolitan Council’s property tax impacts quickly because they are the same in all Eden Prairie UTAs. They are interesting though. The Metropolitan Council’s tax levy includes money for mosquito control, Met Council operations, Right-of-way purchases, and Metro Transit debt. Hennepin County’s tax levy includes money for parks, park museum, regional rail authority and their housing & redevelopment authority.

Minnesota’s property tax system is complicated. There’s no doubt about that. We can all imagine, I’m guessing, a world in which we could simplify this hulking tax system. If you’ve got ideas about how to do that, please tell your state legislator. They run the show.

In the words of former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.” I enjoy living in a civilized society. I’ll be paying my taxes on Friday, too.

Posted in Community | Comments Off

Calling All Potential BAC Members

The City has a number of citizen advisory commissions. These commissions are really important to the overall functioning of city government. Commission members provide staff with valuable insights and information about living in Eden Prairie. They provide the Council with valuable insight and information about what they want from their city government.

We are currently in recruitment mode for our Budget Advisory Commission (BAC). There are three positions on the BAC with terms that expire on December 31, 2010. The recruitment period opened on September 15. The deadline to apply is Friday, October 15. The BAC reviews financial reports, budgets and operations of the city’s various services and functions. They coordinate with staff on their reviews. They make recommendations to the Council about the City’s budget and general operations.

Of the three incumbent commissioners, one has indicated that he wants to be reappointed. One has indicated that she wants this term to be her last. And one has not indicated either way yet. At the moment, we have not had anyone submit an application to join this commission. Nobody. If you’re interested in learning more about the BAC, the application process or anything else about this commission, please click this link: Eden Prairie BAC.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off

Good Stuff from (Really) Good Staff

One of my favorite things about this blog is that I get to bring attention to the excellence among the employees that I see all around me here everyday. Here are three good examples:

Karen-Zach-150x127.jpgThat woman with the handgun (which is actually a training weapon that shoots sim-u-nition instead of ammunition) is our Human Resources Manager Karen Kurt. Karen was learning the finer points of police officer physical training when someone with a camera captured this very nice photo of her. But if you’d like to learn more about Karen’s work as our HR Manager, check out this link to an interview she did with govloop.com: Local Government Hiring. Good stuff Karen.

ryan-with-award1-300x167.jpgThat’s Crime Analyst Ryan Kapuan in the middle of the photo to the left. Ryan was recently selected as Minnesota’s Analyst of the Year by the Minnesota Association of Criminal Intelligence Analysts (MACIA). Ryan has worked in our Police Department since 2008. During his tenure has helped to solve crimes through his research and analysis. In one recent case Ryan helped solved a home invasion burglary and stabbing by linking limited information provided by the victim with information he had gathered through other sources. He then developed a list of potential suspect names and shared that list with neighboring agencies. Within 24 hours three suspects were arrested. Ryan is a very bright guy, and we’re fortunate to have him on our team.

Andrew Open House Util.JPGAnd last, but certainly not least, is Andrew Sullivan. I’ve written about Andrew in this blog a couple of times. He’s an interesting guy. I’ve included a link to an e-magazine that I’m betting not many of my blog readers read: Municipal Sewer & Water. Municipal Sewer & Water has a great interview with Andrew in their October 2010 edition, which is on shelves (?) now, in which Andrew discusses his work in bringing attention to the importance of maintaining our underground water and sewer infrastructure. Andrew makes a compelling argument on a subject matter that not enough people care about – yet. It’s really great to see co-workers contribute back to their professions. It’s a good comment on them personally, and about the professional atmosphere we work in here. Nice job Andrew!

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off

Typical Government in Eden Prairie

So when you hear the start of the phrase, “typical government….,” what do you think of? Typically, I’ll bet, something not so good. It’s a negative image, right? Particularly during campaign season, it’s difficult to find anyone of any party who will say something positive about government.

But today, I’ve got something positive to say about government. Not about the policy side of government, but about the management side.

Stewardship is an important cultural value in the city government organization in Eden Prairie. I would hope that it’s an important cultural value in any organization, but it’s certainly easier to preach than it is to practice. There were three relatively uninteresesting run-of-the-mill items on our City Council agenda last night, however, that I think are good examples of what I mean when I say that city staff takes its stewardship obligation seriously.

There were two Council actions last night where the City Council, at the recommendation of our Facilities Manager Paul Sticha, did what a lot of people think government never does: We did not buy something when the bids came in higher than what we had budgeted. We budgeted $100,000 for a roof repair project at the City Center. We received two bids: $149,000 and $160,417. We looked at the project again, in light of the bids, and decided to implement a short run solution and then bid the project again next year when we might get better (i.e. – lower) bids in a different bidding climate. We budgeted $150,000 for a new generator at the Community Center. We got two bids: $191,489 and $224,440. Again, we rejected both bids. The consequence to this decision is that we will risk occasional power outages at the Community Center that can be quite disruptive to the activities in the building, most notably, the maintenance of the three sheets of ice. But, we did the risk vs. cost analysis, and decided to risk it for another season. We’ll try to bid the generator again next year.

Another thing on last night’s Council agenda that I think would surprise many people is that we modified an action by the Council that approved the purchase of a new phone console. The modification lowered the price of the console by $3,500. Staff prepared the initial contract last week in order to get it on to the Council’s September 21 agenda. The staff member who was negotiating the purchase, our IT Manager Lisa Wu, could have said “good enough” on the deal last Thursday. But she didn’t. She kept talking to the vendor and working the sale, which resulted in a decrease in the cost of the equipment by $3,500 from last Thursday until yesterday. To Lisa, stewardship means that you keep talking and negotiating with a vendor until you’ve squeezed every possible concession from them – for the good of the City. And that’s exactly what she did.

For people who think government is on a constant campaign to spend money on anything at any cost, or for those who think we just pay whatever we’re charged and that we don’t care about costs, these actions might come as a bit of surprise. But actually, these kinds of things happen quite often around here. True, they don’t happen that often on a Council agenda, so they don’t get much public exposure. But every week City staff members are making decisions not to do something or not to buy something because doing or buying is not the right stewardship decision at that time.

Do those City staff members deserve a parade for making the smart decision? Of course not, and they wouldn’t want one either. But I think it is important for taxpayers to know that we take our stewardship obligations seriously here, even when those stewardship decisions aren’t easily seen by those outside of city government.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off

The Barn Is Saved

This is a great story of how a unique historic property in Eden Prairie was saved by a private benefactor. A very nice outcome for all concerned.

http://www.startribune.com/local/west/102656144.html?elr=KArks:DCiUBDia_nDaycUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUr

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off

Change of Venue

I have been blogging in this space since March 2003. At that time, there weren’t nearly as many bloggers as there are today. There were no other city managers doing it.

But I’ll be winding my blog down over the next two months, because I’ll be winding my job down in Eden Prairie over that same time frame. I have accepted a new job with the City of Edina, Minnesota. I will be their new city manager, effective November 8.

I am grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had in Eden Prairie, including the opportunity to blog. It’s been a wonderful experience. I will throw a few more posts up here between now and my final day as Eden Prairie’s city manager, which is Thursday, October 28.

Posted in Employees, Events | Comments Off

Two Takes on Suburban Transit

I am a regular reader of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper.  Generally, I think the paper does a good job of covering news from across the Twin Cities and throughout the state. Sometimes, however, it seems to me that the paper goes out of its way to pick a fight with suburbia.  I am not sure why they do this.  Maybe it’s motivated by the desire to right a perceived social justice wrong.  Maybe it sells more papers.  I don’t know.  But they sure picked one last week with David Peterson’s piece on suburban transit.  If you haven’t read it, here’s the link:  Brewing Bus Battle:  Fancy or Frill Free.  I give the article itself a D+ for its factual content and tone, but I’ve got to give that headline an A because I like alliteration in my headlines.

And now, I highly recommend you read the following rebuttal from my friend Len Simich, CEO of SouthWest Transit.  It clarifies and corrects the information and misinformation from the Start Tribune article.  Well said, Len.

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON TRANSIT

I feel the need to respond to the August 24, 2010 article written by David Peterson in the Star Tribune which in my estimation did not give the entire picture regarding the current debate over the provision of transit services in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.

While the article did point out various statistics like the subsidy per passenger and distances traveled, it did not, in my opinion, go far enough to explain the debate at the core of the argument.

One thing missing from the article are the questions: Are all costs being accounted for? Is the same method of accounting being used by all? In the case of SouthWest Transit, what you see are our true “fully allocated” costs. You are not seeing our system averages or marginal costs, nor are any other funding sources first deducted from the total cost prior to determining the subsidy per passenger. With SouthWest Transit, what you see is what you get. We are not confident this the same for everyone else.

As for distance traveled, SouthWest Transit operates 10 of the 15 longest transit routes in the region. Some of our routes travel in excess of 35 miles one way with the average route exceeding 25 miles. Fares are set by the Metropolitan Council and currently there is no distance based fare, meaning it costs the same to take an express bus 10 miles from Downtown Minneapolis as it does from the outer edge of our service area some 35 miles away.

When you factor in the cost of providing service that takes longer to provide (more miles = more fuel and driver time), plus factor in the inability to turn that bus around to make multiple trips during the peak hour, you begin to see why suburban service generally costs more to provide.

While we recognize that the subsidy on our local route is higher than the regional average, one needs to realize that we are talking about just one route and just one bus. The primary purpose for this route is to provide service to local job sites for those individuals traveling from the central city to our community as well as providing mobility to those in our community who have no other transportation options. This route also enables SouthWest Transit to meet its federal responsibilities to provide service to disadvantaged populations.

A couple of other things from the article need to be further addressed. First is the value the suburban providers bring to the region. As stated, our service travels greater distances, but what is lost in the distance factor is the number of cars we take off some of the most congested roadways in the metro area for the number of miles we travel. Not only do we help reduce traffic congestion, but we play a critical role in helping to improve air quality throughout the region.

In the article Chairman Bell made a statement that the Metropolitan Council and Metro Transit provide 94% of the service but only get 85% of the funding. This may be true when you just factor in the amount of funding received through the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax. However, the Metropolitan Council and Metro Transit both have other sources of funding many of the suburban providers do not have access to, such as the state supplemental funding and federal grants like the one being used along I-35W. When these are factored in, the story is much different.

The article also focused around a comment related to Nordstrom. The comment was taken completely out of context. SouthWest prides itself on the customer service we provide and we are constantly looking toward other industries on how to do that best. That is where the Nordstrom reference came in. What was not printed in the article is that we do not think customer service is something that needs to cost more. It’s really part of an organization’s culture, something everyone needs to understand and embrace. If you don’t buy into the customer service perspective, you will not be working for SouthWest Transit.

There was also a reference in the article that SouthWest’s nice black buses are more expensive than what the rest of the region is operating. The truth is the Coach vehicles we first brought into the region in 2000 are now being used by the majority of transit properties including Metro Transit. The Coach seats virtually the same number of passengers as an articulated bus, but costs almost $120,000 less and has a useful life two years longer than the average large bus – a value, not a drain on the region’s resources.

The article also took an unfair swipe at the landscaping in place at the SouthWest Transit facilities. While SouthWest does pride itself on the appearance of its facilities, one simply needs to visit our six park and ride lots to see that they are not all landscaped the same. SouthWest Transit has been recognized nationally for its efforts related to Transit Oriented Development. Because some of our stations have been developed in conjunction with housing and retail which both appeals to and attracts additional transit users, we have a responsibility to maintain our open spaces in conjunction with the development that surrounds us.

Missing from the article is that we sold or leased the pads adjacent to some of our stations which were priced and sold based on a number of factors including landscaping. In some cases we receive an annual payment from tenants to maintain the common area we control. The bottom line is through these development activities, SouthWest Transit has been able to create an additional revenue stream which translates into additional services we can provide to the public not to mention the additional tax base we have generated in the cities we operate from.

Finally, the article failed to mention the success SouthWest as well as all the other Suburban providers have had at attracting and retaining new transit riders. The suburban providers posted the highest percentage of bus ridership increases in the metro area over the past ten years. The more people we can attract to use the bus really provides benefits such as reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality to everyone across the region.

The debate should not be about “fancy versus frill-free” or the suburbs versus the urban core. The debate or actually the challenge is how can we raise the “transit” bar for everyone. Investing in attractive facilities, clean and comfortable buses, and good customer service attracts riders to the system. And when we do that, we all win.

Thank you for the opportunity to tell the rest of the story.

Respectfully Yours,

Len Simich
SouthWest Transit
CEO

Posted in Community, Intergovernment, Politics | Comments Off

Take A Hike With Kate Havelin

Twin Cities Author Kate Havelin is coming back to Eden Prairie on Saturday, October 23 to take what she referred to in a 2009 interview on NPR’s “All Things Considered” as the Best Hike in the Twin Cities with the Best Interpretive Signage: The Elizabeth Fry Ellet Interpretive Trail in Richard T. Anderson Conservation Area (RTA).

Kate Havelin has written sixteen books, including two trail guidebooks for adults, both books published by Minnesota-based Adventure Publications. Best Hikes of the Twin Cities was a a Midwest Book Award finalist. Minnesota Running Trails: Dirt, Gravel, Rocks, and Roots won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association’s best Travel/Sports/Recreation book.

Kate has also written several nonfiction books for middle school and high school students. Her latest project are books about historic fashions from the colonial and Civil War eras. She’s also written biographies of Che Guevara, Queen Elizabeth I, Ulysses Grant and Victoria Woodhull. Before she began freelance writing, Kate worked as a TV producer at WCCO for a decade. Kate is a member of the steering committee of the Twin Cities chapter of the National Writers Union.

Kate is scheduled to be at the RTA from 10 am to Noon. Her books will also be on sale at the Barnes & Noble store at the Eden Prairie Center mall. The event is free. Come out and meet Kate, and take the hike.


Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off

The Field Is Set, Probably

The last day to file to be on the official ballot for this fall’s City election was Tuesday, August 17 at 5:00 pm. At that time, the following people had filed:

Mayor

Jon Duckstad

Nancy Tyra-Lukens

City Council

Kathy Nelson

Sherry Butcher Wickstrom

Donna Azarian

Scott Pollino

Dan Kitrell

Jeremiah Pilon

So the field is set for this fall’s ballot, probably. The “probably” comes in because filed candidates have until the end of the business day today (5:00 pm) to change their minds. If a candidate changes his or her mind, he or she can come in today and ask to withdraw their name from the ballot. They can’t change their mind and run for Council instead of Mayor or the reverse. We can’t accept new names today. The only action that can happen today is that a candidate can remove themselves from the ballot.

After 5:00 pm today, the ballot for the November 2 City election is set.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off

Goodbye Dona

Dona.JPG

We lost one of our really good employees, and a really, really good person this past Saturday with the passing of Dona Rowland.

Dona worked in the City’s Support Services Division for the past 12 years. Her job here was what we call a “floating admin,” meaning that she worked wherever we needed her to work. She covered customer service desks throughout our organization for employees that were ill, on vacation, on long term leave, or simply attending a half-day training session.

Dona might work for a week at the Water Plant, and then two weeks at the Police Department, and then half a day at the Senior Center and then two hours in Engineering. She knew a little bit about a lot of things, and she had a bright and friendly attitude. She could get along with anyone.

Dona was a friend to anyone who knew her here. We are mourning her passing this week. She will be greatly missed.

There will be a visitation for Dona on Wednesday, Aug. 18 at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie from 4:30-6 p.m. followed by a memorial service.

Goodbye Dona. We miss you already. You and your family are in our prayers.

Posted in Employees | Comments Off

Eden Prairie in the American Legion World Series

Hey, this is a Big Deal:

Eden Prairie remains unbeaten in Legion World Series

Last update: August 16, 2010 – 1:51 AM

Eden Prairie, which trailed 4-1 after three innings, scored a run in the sixth and a run in the seventh to pull within 4-3 going into the ninth.

Eden Prairie scored three runs in the ninth. Matt Lintner led off the ninth with a double. With one out, David Belusky’s double scored pinch runner Jake Tharaldson to tie the score. With two out, Tony Skjefte’s two-run single broke the tie. Tim Miller retired Las Vegas in order in the bottom of the ninth.

Eden Prairie (38-7) will play Midwest City (Okla.) on Monday at 9 p.m. Eden Prairie defeated Midwest City 9-6 in the second round Saturday.

Midwest City remained alive on Sunday with a 6-1 victory over Kernersville (N.C.)

The loss was the first of the tournament for Las Vegas, which will play Roseburg (Ore.) on Monday at 6 p.m.

Good Luck Guys!

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off

Department of Energy Blog

The City’s 20-40-15 initiative received some very nice recognition last week from the U.S. Department of Energy. They lauded the initiative in their official agency blog. Here’s what they said:

Logo: U.S. Department of Energy BlogImage Link: Energy Blog RSS Feed

Making the “Best Place to Live” Even Better

For 2010, the appropriately named Eden Prairie, Minnesota was honored as the No. 1 Best Place to Live in the United States by Money Magazine.

The highly-coveted civic title reflects many aspects of the family-friendly suburb of 62,000 located 16 miles from downtown Minneapolis, including the advantages of being the home to major employers like Fortune 500 trucking company C.H. Robinson and hearing-aid maker Starkey Labs. The city also has many natural amenities like 17 lakes and parks with 125 miles of running, hiking, and biking trails.

One additional advantage that Eden Prairie will have going into next year’s competition will be the energy efficiency upgrades taking place across the city thanks to $626,000 in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funding provided thru the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Eden Prairie City Manager Scott Neal said the city had embarked upon a new energy efficiency initiative in 2006 called 20-40-15.2015 sign post

“Our goals setting out were to increase the energy efficiency of our municipal buildings by 20 percent, our fleet of vehicles by 40 percent and do it all by 2015.”

The city completed an energy audit and mapped out how they could best accomplish their goals and had completed the first two project phases of 20-40-15. But the most-important Phase 3 projects were proving to be beyond the city’s financial resources until the EECBG funding opportunity became available.

“The timing was perfect,” Neal said. “It would have been very difficult, if not impossible for us to do our Phase 3 projects without the EECBG funding and it is working out very well.”

Eden Prairie City Manager Scott NealAt the Eden Prairie City Center, the city just completed upgrades to the existing chilled water system and several other HVAC systems to reduce electrical consumption. The project also installed direct digital controls to allow for better facility climate control and reduced energy consumption.

The city is in the process of upgrading parking lot lighting at 12 different facilities with new high efficient LED lighting technology. These lighting upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of the year. The LED lighting is also designed to be “dark sky” compliant to reduce light pollution.

And perhaps, most important for Eden Prairie’s legions of ice skating and hockey fanatics, the city’s ice rink dehumidification system has been modified to provide improved control of humidity and reduce energy consumption by reconfiguring dehumidification ductwork and adding a number of digitally controlled dampers.

“And of course, the ice rink project will be complete before the fall sports season gets underway. This is Minnesota after all,” Neal said with a laugh.

Andy Oare is a New Media Specialist with the Office of Public Affairs at the Department of Energy

 

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off