Minnesota Cities Magazine
More from May-Jun 2016 issue

Bits & Briefs

cover of 2016 LMC DirectoryYour A-Z Guide to Minnesota Cities
It’s time to order your 2016 Directory of Minnesota City Officials, the only printed resource that includes comprehensive information on all 853 Minnesota cities. City information includes elected officials, key staff members, and department heads; city hall address, phone number, email, and website; council meeting times; election year; and population. In addition to city information, this handy desk reference includes listings of League staff, counties, legislative and congressional members, and more. Get your copy now for $59. For more information and an order form, visit www.lmc.org/directory.

City Effort to Halt Credit Card Fraud
Illegally collecting credit card information by tampering with credit card sliders, aka “skimming,” has ramped up in recent years, and gas stations are particularly vulnerable to this new twist on credit card fraud. To prevent skimming before it starts, the Eagan Police Department has launched an initiative called SkimStop. This voluntary program provides local gas stations with information on preventing equipment tampering and performing regular pump inspections. As an incentive, participating gas stations receive stickers assuring customers that the pumps are being inspected regularly. The stations’ names are listed on the city’s website, so people can see that they are participating. Other cities may quickly see the appeal of this relatively low-cost crime-prevention tactic—the City of Albert Lea announced in March they were adopting the program as well. Learn more about Eagan’s program at http://bit.ly/1UgNnNj.

police dogK-9 Convergence
The best and brightest canine law enforcement teams in the nation recently converged on the City of Worthington for the Region 12 United States Police Canine Association K-9 Trials. Fifty-five canine officers and their human counterparts were tested for certification on narcotics detection during these regional trials, according to the Worthington Daily Globe. Local businesses, the city, and the school district pitched in to provide lodging for competitors, as well as the lifelike search scenarios needed for testing. Canine teams go through regular training and certification to keep their skills sharp. In fact, the City of Brooklyn Park will be holding a Patrol Dog Certification event in June. Learn more at www.uspcaregion12.com.

Do (Doo) Good Deeds
The City of Duluth gave a Facebook shout-out this spring to a citizen noticed picking up dog waste and other garbage around a local school. By posting a quick photo of the nearly full grocery bag (bleh) with a note of thanks, the city created a positive (and popular!) post promoting quality of life that also served as a reminder to pet owners to do their doo-doo diligence. See the post at http://bit.ly/1Mwp8Kp.

pond with a nametagName That Pond
When a large runoff pond owned by the City of Andover became a popular spot for social gatherings and recreation, the city’s economic development agency decided to recognize its prominence by giving residents an opportunity to name it. The Andover Economic Development Agency received a whopping 71 entries, many of which recognized elements of the city’s history, existing landmarks, and notable names. The winning name, “Depot Pond,” recognizes the community’s roots as a stop along the Great Northern Railway, according to ABC Newspapers.

The Many Costs of ODs
New medications are now available to help fight the surge in prescription pain killer and heroin-related overdose deaths, and local governments are working to get these tools into the hands of knowledgeable first responders. The U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance (a cooperative purchasing program for local governments and nonprofits) has contracted with Premier, Inc. and government partners to expand access to these new medications. Bulk discount pricing negotiated by U.S. Communities means local police and fire departments can reduce the potential impact on their bottom line as well. The partnership was announced as part of a White House initiative to address prescription drug and opioid abuse. Learn more about the program at http://bit.ly/23IzYBn. Learn more about U.S. Communities at www.lmc.org/uscommunities.

Community Solar Garden Resources
Rushford, Pelican Rapids, Lutsen—these are just a few of the cities that now have access to community solar garden Sunshineservices in Minnesota. How does it work? Residents can subscribe to receive up to 120 percent of their annual electricity usage from solar, which is collected from solar PV panels installed and maintained by the solar provider instead of the individual user. Users lock in stable rate increases over the life of the contract. The format allows residents of multi-unit residences and shady lanes to participate in clean energy. It also opens up access to households that could not afford to install solar themselves.

Because community solar projects come in all shapes and sizes, and contracts can last as long as 25 years, the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) has created a variety of tools to help consumers make informed decisions. Find answers to common questions, number-crunching calculators, and updated maps of existing or planned projects in your area at www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/solargardens.

Read the May-June 2016 issue of Minnesota Cities magazine.

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