City News

Awards
The Eden Prairie Fire Department was recently honored with a Life Safety Achievement Award for its fire prevention accomplishments in 2013. This is the second consecutive year Eden Prairie has received the award. The City recorded zero civilian fire fatalities again last year.

Since 1994, the Life Safety Achievement Award has recognized local fire prevention efforts that have contributed to reducing the number of lives lost in residential fires. The National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation, in partnership with Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, presented the award to 142 fire departments across the United States this year.

Award recipients also demonstrated active and effective fire prevention programs as well as a clear commitment to reducing the number of house fires in the community. Firefighters in Eden Prairie visit elementary schools, attend block parties and use other opportunities to educate the public about fire safety. The Department also offers a hands-only CPR training and has established a community EMT program so that citizens are prepared to assist in a life threatening situation. For more information on the Eden Prairie Fire Department, visit www.edenprairie.org/fire.

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The Minnesota Chapter of the American Public Works Association honored six public works officials at its annual meeting Nov. 21. Award recipients were:

  • Michael Eastling, Director of Public Works, City of Richfield
  • Larry Cooper, Bridge Operations and Support Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Oakdale, MN
  • John Harlow, Deputy Director of Public Works, City of Brooklyn Center
  • Marc Booth, Traffic Control Crew Leader, City of Brooklyn Center
  • Amy Grothaus, Project Engineer, Braun Intertec, White Bear Lake, MN
  • Mark Hansen, Assistant City Engineer, City of Coon Rapids

These individuals were selected based on exemplary public service within their respective communities by a panel of their peers in a 2014 statewide call for nominations. The first four individuals are the winning finalists in separate categories - Director, Supervisor, Superintendent and Maintenance Worker. Amy Grothaus and Mark Hansen were jointly awarded the Hugo G Erickson Award in recognition of their many years of outstanding service to the Minnesota Chapter of the American Public Works Association. All nominees were highly deserving of the honor. John Rodeberg, Senior Client Services Manager for SEH and President of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Public Works Association, noted that public works officials often times perform their public service duties quietly and without public recognition. Mr Rodeberg congratulates these outstanding employees. In addition, he applauds the efforts of all public works employees throughout the state, and welcomes the opportunity to give public recognition to those who serve so well.

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Money magazine has released its 2014 list of 50 Best Places to Live, and our own City of Maple Grove came in at No. 2. This year, Money set out to find the nation’s top small cities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000. (The publication alternates annually; in 2015, the focus will be on small towns.) In deciding on the top 50, data from Onboard Informatics and other sources was used to comb through everything from the local economy and housing market to schools and healthcare—more than 50 factors in all.

Maple Grove was praised for its walking/biking paths, which provide easy access to the city’s many parks, sports complexes, and lakes as well as to the local schools. The city’s “hot spots” were also cited, including Elm Creek Park Reserve (with miles of mountain biking and cross-country skiing trails, a tubing hill, and downhill ski area), Town Green (with its lakeside park and amphitheater), and its ample shopping opportunities (with the Main Street shopping development and the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes). The city’s stock of reasonably priced homes was also noted. Other Minnesota cities making this year’s list were Eagan, at No. 11, and Woodbury at No. 12.
Learn more about Money's Best Places to Live

Staff News
Long-time City of St. Peter Public Works Director Lewis Giesking has announced his retirement effective Dec. 31, 2014. Giesking has led the city’s Public Works Department since May of 1986 and has been instrumental in many projects, including rebuilding the city’s infrastructure following the 1998 tornado; undergrounding of the city’s electrical system; construction of a direct bore interceptor sewer under the Minnesota River; flood recovery; park development; development of new water and wastewater treatment facilities; dozens of major road projects, including the Highway 169 downtown median project and the Washington Avenue crosstown collector street; and so many more. In 2010, Giesking was deservingly named Public Works Director of the Year by the American Public Works Association in recognition of his service to the citizens of St. Peter and his efforts to promote public works service. Giesking has also served as the city’s representative to the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA), serving on Board and in a number of leadership roles including treasurer, vice president, and president.

“Lew is not just director of Public Works. He loves St. Peter and it shows in so many of our projects, parks, and programs,” said City Administrator Todd Prafke. “Lew has been such a tremendous asset to the city and to our friends and neighbors here in our community. His work will be a benefit to us for many, many years to come. He leaves a wonderful legacy of high standards and commitment to the future of our community and we wish him all the best in his retirement.”

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Craig Waldron recently left his post as Oakdale city administrator to become a full-time faculty member at the Hamline University School of Business. He was the city administrator for 21 years. Previously, Waldron worked in a number of administrative and planning positions for the state of Minnesota, the City of Mankato, and the City of Roseville, where he served as community development director for eight years. Oakdale hired him primarily for his economic development background, which was a priority for the city at the time. During his tenure, a great deal of development and redevelopment took place in Oakdale, including the Tartan Area Civic Arena, the Oak Marsh Golf Course, Tartan Crossing (the site of the former Oakdale Mall), and the industrial park.

Waldron brings plenty of practical experience to his new teaching position. He has taught master’s and doctorate-level courses in public administration, economic development, public finance, and public ethics as an adjunct professor at several area universities since the mid-1970s. He holds a doctorate in public administration from Hamline.

“There’s a lot I’m going to miss. I’m going to miss our staff, elected officials, citizens, our business community. The people in this organization and in this city are amazing and I will miss working with all of them,” Waldron said. At the same time, though, “I absolutely love teaching and I love Hamline. Getting to work with the next generation of leaders to make sure they have a good footing is very rewarding for me.”
(Source: LillieNews.com)

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Jody Yungers recently joined the City of Brooklyn Park as the director of recreation and parks. Previously, she was the director of arena and golf operations at Ramsey County. Yungers was with Ramsey County for 24 years, having served as the director of parks and services and operations, director of recreation services, and as recreation and services manager. Prior to her career with Ramsey County, she served for 10 years at the City of Roseville as a program director and assistant director. She received the Clifton E. French Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota Recreation and Parks Association in 2013.
(Source: Sun Post)

In Memory
Former Roseville Mayor Frank Rog passed away on Sept. 24. Rog had a long and distinguished career with the City of Roseville. He served as Roseville’s Parks and Recreation Director from 1960 to 1987. During his tenure, the Parks and Recreation program grew from one park and a mobile recreation program to today’s nationally recognized parks and recreation system of 30 parks and 679 acres of parkland and open space. After retiring, Rog was elected mayor of the City of Roseville, a position he served in from 1988 to 1991. Over the course of his lifetime, Rog received many awards and recognitions for his service to the community. Among his recognitions, Rog received distinguished services awards from the Roseville Area Schools and from the Minnesota Parks and Recreation Association. In 2009, the City of Roseville honored Rog by naming the Central Park amphitheater the Frank Rog Amphitheater.

“Frank certainly will be remembered by everyone for his impact on Roseville’s parks and recreation system,” said Parks and Recreation Director Lonnie Brokke. “It is considered to be one of the best parks and recreation programs in the country, and that is, in a large part, due to Frank’s vision.”

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Former Burnsville City Clerk Evelyn Kjos passed away on Aug 27. Kjos was one of the first employees to be hired by the City of Burnsville on March 30, 1965. She worked there for about 25 years until her retirement on Jan. 31, 1990. She held many different positions throughout her career at the city, including city clerk from January 1983 to January 1990. She came out of retirement in 1992 to work with the city part-time on records management and elections, and retired again in October 2005. Following her second retirement, she helped the cities of Savage and Lakeville with their record retention programs. She will definitely be missed by all who knew her.