Back to the Nov-Dec 2023 issue

Bits & Briefs

Mayor for a Day Essay Contest Submissions Due Dec. 12

The League of Minnesota Cities’ 11th Annual Mayor for a Day Essay Contest is back! To enter, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders can answer the question, “What would you do if you were mayor for a day?” for a chance to win $100 and recognition in Minnesota Cities magazine. League staff are inviting cities that would like to provide additional local recognition to contest entrants to send a message to before the essay submission deadline of Dec. 12.

Following the completion of judging in January, cities that express interest will be sent any essays submitted by students who live in their city. Your local recognition could include selection of a citywide winner by your city team, recognition of all local students who participated, outreach to a participating class, or something else that helps inspire future city leaders. More information and submission materials are available at

Faribault Residents Feed Christmas Trees to Goats

For the eighth year, residents of Faribault and surrounding communities have a unique recycling option for holiday greenery — goats. The City of Faribault partners with Goat Dispatch, a local company that specializes in invasive species management, such as buckthorn, through grazing goats. According to owner Jake Langeslag, goats have powerful gut enzymes that allow them to digest branches and shrubs better than other grazers, so the Christmas trees are a welcome feast for goats during the off-season.

A goat eating a spruce tip.“Tree drop-off is a very green way of disposing of trees,” said Faribault Parks and Recreation Director Paul J. Peanasky. “Our yard waste site is not open that time of year, so residents have a place to take the trees instead of tossing them out someplace.”

The city provides a tree drop-off location at its White Sands Dog Park. From late December until February, Goat Dispatch picks up trees weekly.

Peanasky has seen an increase in community participation since the program began, and residents are eager to drop off their trees right after the holiday season.

“People like to know that their trees are not just going to waste,” Peanasky said.

Plymouth Parks and Recreation Department Offers Gift Cards

Are you undecided about what to gift the Plymouth resident in your life for the holidays? The Plymouth Parks and Recreation Department has several options for you — all in one card.

The department will continue selling parks and recreation gift cards this holiday season after implementing the gift option in December 2022. Gift cards are now sold year-round — not just near the holidays — because of the demand.

“It was wonderful,” Plymouth Recreation Manager Kari Hemp said, describing the city’s first season of selling gift cards. “People were very happy that we offered them, and we saw quite a few sales.”

Hemp says the gift cards have primarily been used for the city’s K.U.B.E indoor playground and community education courses the city offers, but they can also be used for concessions, open skating, room rentals, registration for camps and activities, and more.

Gift cards can only be purchased in person at Plymouth City Hall or over the phone, as of now. Hemp and her team hope to expand to online sales in the future to ease the purchasing process.

“We’ve had people call from out of state to gift them for their grandkids or family friends,” Hemp says. “It is a popular option, and if it was online, it would probably be a lot easier for some people.”

If your city is considering selling parks and recreation gift cards, Hemp advises you to go for it.

“Listen to what your residents want, and if it’s something they’re asking for, find a way to make it happen.” Learn more about Plymouth Parks and Recreation gift cards at

PATROL Training Program Offers New Course on Constitutional Policing

A self-directed course designed to provide law enforcement officers with a brief review of standards and principals involving individual constitutional protections, police authority, and the sacred oaths officers take to safeguard personal freedoms is now available through the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust’s PATROL training program.

PATROL (Peace Officer Accredited training Online)True North Constitutional Policing is a Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)-approved, five-part online training series offered at no charge for Minnesota law enforcement officers.

The series includes five modules, which cover key topics such as the historical conditions that gave rise to the Bill of Rights, the current social issues that draw parallels to U.S. history, and the role of policing in a free society.

The program was created with the help of 14 Minnesota law enforcement agencies to inspire peace officers to remain focused on the Constitution as their True North compass point. It takes about four-to-five hours to complete, and the POST Board has approved the training for five credit hours of mandatory credits.

Register and learn more about the course at Additional questions can be directed to Ashley Edwardson, LMCIT loss control program coordinator, at (651) 281-1268.