City News

Awards, recognition, projects, celebrations, staff changes, and other news about Minnesota cities around the state.


The Rochester Public Library is the winner in the city category of the 2015 Local Government Innovation Awards for its “BookBike” program. The library maximized grant funding to offer outreach services through the first BookBike in the state of Minnesota. During the spring and summer of 2015, this little mobile library—a customized trailer attached to a bicycle—visited 113 locations and reached 5,696 visitors in central neighborhoods. The BookBike allowed the library to collaborate with area organizations; participate in popular outdoor events; reach new library customers; increase awareness/access to services; build relationships; reduce access and transportation barriers; and promote bicycling. The Rochester Public Library will receive $5,000 as the winner of this award.

Other top winners were Wright County for the “wRight Choice” program; the Township of Pine Island for the Pine Island Community Planning Team; and the Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum in the school category. A total of 24 other applicants were also selected for recognition.

Learn more about the Local Government Innovation Award winners


The Minnesota Chapter of the American Public Works Association recently honored five public works officials with awards:

  • Steve Stadler, Public Works Director, City of Hopkins
  • Kevin Chmielewski, Utilities Supervisor, City of Shoreview
  • Jim Eiler, Maintenance Superintendent, City of Bloomington
  • Greg Boche, Public Service Worker, City of Woodbury
  • Jeannine Clancy, Manager, Environmental Services Community Programs, Metropolitan Council, St. Paul

These individuals were selected based on exemplary public service within their respective communities by a panel of their peers in a 2015 statewide call for nominations.


The City of Big Lake received a $50,000 conservation grant in October from Michelob Golden Light’s Celebrate Your Lake program. Michelob Golden Light has partnered with Freshwater Society to administer the grant funds. Now in its third year, Celebrate Your Lake gives lovers of Minnesota lakes the chance to vote for their favorite lake to keep clean and clear.

“On behalf of the community of Big Lake, I want to thank everyone that voted for our lake to be this year’s winner of the Celebrate Your Lake program,” said Big Lake Mayor Raeanne Danielowski. “We are looking forward to working with the Freshwater Society and other community members to identify the best way to leverage this grant opportunity to help keep Big Lake clean and an asset to our community, now and into the future.”


CenterPoint Energy recently awarded the City of Fridley a $1,300 grant for protective clothing for water and ice rescues that will be used to serve the community. CenterPoint Energy’s Community Partnership Grant Program awards grants to local communities to fund safety-related equipment and projects. “At CenterPoint Energy our No. 1 priority is safety,” said Jean Krause, community relations director for CenterPoint Energy. “We are proud that through our grant program, we are able to help cities leverage local funds to purchase needed safety equipment, training, or provide financial support for important safety-related projects.”
(Source: Sun Focus)

Staff News

Maple Grove City Administrator Al Madsen retired in October after 32 years of dedicated service. Madsen was instrumental in guiding the tremendous growth in development, transportation, and housing and has always been a strong supporter of the business community. Maple Grove has achieved state and national recognition for its many amenities, parks, and unique features that all add up to a premier Minnesota community. Madsen’s commitment has been unwavering, and his leadership has shaped the past, present, and future of Maple Grove. City officials and staff said that Madsen’s retirement is well-deserved, and he will be greatly missed.

In Memory

Brainerd Mayor James Wallin, a longtime public servant who was recently selected as the city’s Citizen of the Year, passed away in September at the age of 73. Wallin, elected to the City Council in 1977, had been mayor since 1998. In a statement, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan described Wallin as “a true leader who devoted so much time and energy to making life better for the people he was proud to serve—even down to watering the plants in Brainerd City Hall.” U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said that Wallin was “a kind and passionate public servant who always put the needs of Brainerd and its people first.”
(Source: Star Tribune)