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Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Farmington, Lakeville and Rosemount, MN News
Updated: 41 weeks 2 days ago

Assistant, former player takes reins for Lakeville North girls basketball

Wed, 06/26/2013 - 22:01

Shelly Soule will replace Andy Berkvam as head coach

New Lakeville North girls basketball head coach Shelly Soule was a senior captain for the Panthers in 2004. (File photo by Rick Orndorf)

For the first time in 23 seasons, the person pacing the sideline, barking orders and negotiating with officials for the Lakeville North girls basketball team will be someone other than Andy Berkvam.

The new head coach isn’t coming from far away. Shelly Soule is taking the final step to the head coaching role after being a player and assistant coach for the Panthers.

Soule, who has been a Lakeville North assistant for the last four years and a coach at youth camps for the past 11, is taking over as head coach for Berkvam, who took the Northfield boys basketball head coaching job in April.

“When Berkvam was leaving for Northfield, I had to apply,” Soule said. “It came a little earlier than I planned but I’m very excited about it. It’s a great opportunity. I’m just excited for the season.”

It’s been her dream job for years.

“I’ve had other people approach me about different opportunities,” Soule said. “Last year I was looking into the college game, but I just passed on it. I love where I am. My heart has always been with Lakeville. My dream was always to take over for him.”

Not only did Soule coach under Berkvam for the past four years, she was also coached by Berkvam. As a graduate of Lakeville High School in 2004, she was a member of the girls basketball team that was runner-up at state in 2004. She led the team in assists and scored 11.5 points per game that season.

She was also a member of the 2002 and 2003 state championship teams. Soule is 12th on the school’s career scoring list and sixth in assists.

She said her experience with the Panthers changed her life and she’s anxious to repay the program.

“The biggest thing Berkvam teaches is self-motivation and discipline,” Soule said. “I could have gone down a different path in life, but he really set me on to the right path. It’s such a bond and unity with this program. It’s about being a part of a team and something bigger than yourself, and how to be part of a team and set goals.”

She went on to play for Minnesota State University Moorhead on scholarship where she graduated with a degree in physical education and continued to help with summer camps. When she graduated, Soule came back to Lakeville, where Berkvam put her with the traveling seventh-graders, who are now juniors. She also became junior varsity head coach and took over as director of the program’s summer youth basketball camps. For a daytime job, Soule is a special education teacher in Farmington.

It should be a smooth transition.

“Every single girl in the program I’ve known since they signed up for camp in the second grade,” Soule said.

There won’t be many changes in the program.

“Following him was scary at first, but we’re keeping all the same traditions and we’ve been like a family,” Soule said. “When (Lakeville North principal Marne Berkvam, Andy Berkvam’s wife) hired me she said she wanted to keep it in the family.”

Lakeville North girls basketball is known for playing a lot of girls and emphasizing defense and rebounding. Soule doesn’t plan on changing that philosophy.

“Defense is key,” Soule said. “I won’t say I have one specific philosophy. I’m flexible and I will adapt to the players I have. We’re going to be a lot smaller this year, but we’re going to get after people. Offensively you’ll see some different looks. We won’t have that big center, but the girls will have a little more freedom on offense.”

Soule is bringing back assistant coach Brian Blascziek and bringing in Angie Craven, another former Panthers player. Craven will run the Red Shoelace Program, which is a weekly meeting with the players to “hold them accountable for decisions they make off the court,” Soule said.

Tom Robinson will also join the staff as a varsity assistant.

The post Assistant, former player takes reins for Lakeville North girls basketball appeared first on SunThisweek.

Plug pulled on this summer’s Burnsville jazz festival

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 17:29
Founder hopes Art and All That Jazz will reappear next year

The Art and All That Jazz Festival, a mainstay of Burnsville’s summer entertainment calendar, won’t be held this year.

The Art and All That Jazz Festival will not be held this year. File photo

Organizers are pulling the plug on the 2013 event  after losing their biggest sponsor, Pawn America, said festival President Dan Gustafson.

The festival was scheduled for Aug. 17 in Nicollet Commons Park. The headlining act was Greg Adams and East Bay Soul, Gustafson said.

It would have been the 10th annual Art and All That Jazz Festival, which Gustafson founded in 2004 as a private enterprise and has run as a nonprofit, with a board of directors, since 2006.

“This was my baby. This was my vision,” said Gustafson, a former two-term Burnsville City Council member who didn’t seek re-election in 2012. “We just kind of slowly watched it slip away.”

He hopes to present Art and All That Jazz again in 2014.

“We need sustained sponsorship,” said Gustafson, who from 1988 to 1991 owned a Minneapolis jazz club called the Roxy Music Cafe. “To tell you the truth, I think we need to hook up with a service organization and make it work that way.”

He wouldn’t say how much the loss of Pawn America cost the festival. The event — which features art vendors and food along with five to six musical acts — costs more than $50,000 to stage, Gustafson said.

According to him, Burnsville-based Pawn America said it’s focusing its local philanthropy instead on establishing a Boys and Girls Club in Burnsville and building a Lutheran school long championed by founder and CEO Brad Rixmann.

That message came in an email from Pawn America executive Chuck Armstrong, Gustafson said.

“We’ve lost a few (sponsors) this last year,” he said, adding that Pawn America’s pullout “kind of broke the camel’s back.”

The event also ran into trouble two years ago with the loss of another major sponsor, SKB Environmental, Gustafson said.

Organizers scaled back the festival and featured only local talent, headlined by Mick Sterling.

The festival, which runs from noon to 10 p.m., typically draws about 15,000 in the course of a day, Gustafson said.

Past national acts have included Nick Colionne, Adams, Lao Tizer, Mindi Abair, Jesse Cook, Randy Brecker and Larry Carlton.

“There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t talk to somebody in town that talks about that festival and how much they love it,” Gustafson said.

The post Plug pulled on this summer’s Burnsville jazz festival appeared first on SunThisweek.

Rosemount Leprechaun Days schedule of events 2013

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 15:48

All events are subject to change.

Friday, July 19

Share A Can Food Drive, starting today people can bring nonperishable food items and donations to Cub Foods, then to its float during the Grand Parade or to the Leprechaun Days Information Booth at the Central Park Shelter during the Midsummer Faire. Donations will go to 360 Communities and the CAP Agency.

Puppets in the Park, 9:30 a.m. Camfield Park, 10:15 a.m. Connemara Park, 11 a.m. Bloomfield Park, 11:45 a.m. Jaycee Park. Sponsored by Rosemount Parks & Recreation. More information: Rosemount Parks & Recreation 651-322-6000.

500 Card Tournament, Rosemount Community Center, 6:45 p.m. sign-in, 7 p.m. start, $1 per player. Sponsored by Rosemount Area Seniors and First State Bank of Rosemount. More information: Mel at 651-322-2210.

Bluegrass Americana Square Dance, 7-9 p.m., Central Park, music by the Eelpout Stringers, www.rosemountaac.org.

Saturday, July 20

27th Annual Run for the Gold, 7 a.m. registration, 8 a.m. first start time, starting location Rosemount Community Center. 1-mile or 4-mile routes, pre-register by July 16: $12 for 14-under, $16 for 15-older. Day of race registration: $15 for 14-under, $20 for 15-older, free Youth Shamrock Sprint and Fitness Walk. Refreshments. Sponsored by Rosemount Parks & Recreation, Scott Chiropractic, Runner’s Gate in Lakeville & Bruegger’s Bagels. More information: Rosemount Parks & Recreation 651-322-6000.

Free Yoga Class, 9:30 a.m., Central Park Amphitheater. Family-friendly class is being organized by Clear Light Yoga & Enrichment Center. People are encouraged to bring a yoga mat or beach towel and a water bottle. More information: 651-423-2468.

Moon Coin Ceili Dancers, 2-3 p.m., Robert Trail Library, 14395 S. Robert Trail. Irish step dance performance with group participation. More information: 651-480-1200.

Bluegrass Americana Festival, 5 p.m., Central Park Amphitheater, band lineup: Sawtooth, Cousin Dad, Ivory Bridge and Cactus Blossoms, www.rosemountaac.org.

Euchre Card Tournament, 6:45 p.m. sign-in, 7 p.m. start, Rosemount Community Center, $1 per player. Sponsored by Rosemount Area Seniors and First State Bank of Rosemount. More information: Mel at 651-322-2210.

Sunday, July 21

Wiffle Ball Tournament, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Rosemount High School athletic fields. Teams of four players each may register for RHS Baseball Boosters event by July 14 at www.rosemountbaseball.com, $40/team. Age groups will be assigned at the field.

Free Open Skating, 1:30-3 p.m., at Rosemount Arena. More information: 651-322-6001.

Kid Parade, registration at 5 p.m., parade at 5:30 p.m., United Methodist Church, Camfield Park, 14770 Canada Ave. Kids are encouraged to dress up in any theme, design a “float” or bike, trike or walk. Prizes will be awarded and treats provided. Sponsored by Rosemount Lions in new location. More information: 952-985-0901.

Bluegrass Americana Festival: Roots Music Fest, 6 p.m., Central Park Amphitheater, Rosemount’s own Break Even and Julie Johnson & No Accounts, www.rosemountaac.org.

Monday, July 22

Leprechaun’s Lost Medallion Hunt, prize $500 cash, 7-day hunt, for rules and first clue released Monday, July 22, at 9 a.m. and daily until the medallion is found, go to Sterling State Bank, 4520 150th St. W., front door and online at www.SunThisweek.com.

Kids Dance, 5-7 p.m., Rosemount American Legion Hall, 14590 Burma Ave. Ages 10 and under, food, drinks, door prizes, donations for food shelf accepted. More information: 651-423-3380.

3-on-3 Boys Basketball Tournament, 5:30-9:30 p.m. (same time on July 24), Rosemount High School. For fifth-graders through adults with multiple divisions. Register $50/team by July 12 at High School Boys page at www.rosemountbasketball.com.

Sidewalk Chalk Contest, 6-8 p.m., Rapp Chiropractic, 15170 Chippendale Ave. Ages 2-16 may pre-register for spots by calling 651-423-2900. Prizes and freeze pops.

Irish Storytime, 7-7:45 p.m., Robert Trail Library, 14395 S. Robert Trail. Stories, jigs, rhymes and crafts will celebrate Irish heritage. More information: 651-480-1200.

Rosemount Community Band Concert, 7 p.m., Central Park Amphitheater. The band will launch its third season with summer musical fare. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and bug spray.

Tuesday, July 23

Rosemount Photo Contest, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Rosemount Steeple Center, public viewing and People’s Choice Award voting, More information at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/parks or call 651-322-6000.

Blarney Stone Hunt, 1 p.m., Jaycee Park. Participants will have a chance to collect colored rocks to trade in for real money. Keep a look out for the “gold” rocks; their value will truly surprise you and your piggy bank. Participants will be separated into age groups (4 and under, 5-7 and 8-12). Open to Rosemount residents only. Stay for a free party with a DJ and dancing to upbeat music. Sponsored by CF Industries & Rosemount Parks & Recreation. More information: Rosemount Parks & Recreation 651-322-6000.

Zumba and Latin Dance Event, 5-6:15 p.m., Central Park skating rink. Instructors from Olympus 24 Health & Fitness will offer high energy, calorie-burning fitness party. More information: 651-322-5552.

Bathtub Races and Family Fun Night, 5 pm., races at 6:30 p.m., Central Park. Three-person teams race bathtubs on wheels through an obstacle course while water balloon are tossed at them by spectators. Do not bring your own water balloons as they will be sold (5 for $1) to raise money for One Rosemount Feeding Families. More information: 651-423-2566.

Rosemount Family Resource Center Leprechaun Days Picnic, 5-7 p.m., 360 Communities Rosemount Family Resource Center, 14521 Cimarron Ave.. Free walking tacos, root beer floats, face-painting, activities. More information: 651-322-5113.
Wednesday, July 24

Rosemount Photo Contest, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Rosemount Steeple Center, public viewing and People’s Choice Award voting, More information at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/parks or call 651-322-6000.

Wet ’n’ Wild Day, Jaycee Park, ages 4-6 10:30 a.m.-noon, must arrive before 10:30 a.m. to register, no late arrivals will be accepted; ages 7-12, 1:30-3:30 p.m., must arrive before 1:30 p.m. to register, no late arrivals will be accepted. Gather with neighborhood friends and head to Jaycee Park for a ton of wet ’n’ wild fun. There will be nothing dry about this event. Participants will enjoy many age-appropriate water activities that are sure to leave them wet and feeling wild.  Participants need to wear their swimsuit or clothing that can get wet and must wear tennis shoes. Also bring a towel and apply sunscreen before arriving. Open to Rosemount residents only. Sponsored by Rosemount Fire Department and Rosemount Parks & Recreation. More information: Rosemount Parks & Recreation 651-322-6000.

Community Appreciation Cookout, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Merchants Bank, 15055 Chippendale Ave. W. Free cookout. More information: 651-423-5000.

Kids Hula Hoop Contest, 2-3 p.m., Rosemount Eye Clinic parking lot. Prizes for all and special prizes for those who win their age group. More information: 651-423-3300.

Family Bingo, 1-3 p.m. and 4-6 p.m., Rosemount American Legion, 14590 Burma Ave. All ages but those 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult, $5 for eight games. Bring an item for the food shelf and receive a free dauber. More information 651-423-3380.

Velvet Tones Root Beer Floats, 3-7 p.m., American Legion outdoor pavilion, 14590 Burma Ave. The senior singing group’s only fundraiser of the year. Floats are $1.50 each or four for $5. More information: 651-334-3467.

Asante Children’s Choir Concert, 5:30-7:15 p.m., Rosemount Central Park Amphitheater. Community of Hope Church hot dog dinner at 5:30 p.m., concert at 6 p.m. by East African children’s chorus dedicated to spreading love, hope and joy while raising awareness for the plight of orphans and other vulnerable children in war-torn region. Freewill offering will be taken, merchandise for sale to benefit the Asante ministry. More information: www.asantechoir.org.

3-on-3 Boys Basketball Tournament, 5:30-9:30 p.m. (same time on July 22), Rosemount High School. For fifth-graders through adults with multiple divisions. Register $50/team by July 12 at High School Boys page at www.rosemountbasketball.com.

Trike, Big Wheel and Scooter Race, registration 5:30 p.m., races 6 p.m., Rosemount American Legion, 14590 Burma Ave. Ages 3-8, grilled burgers and hot dogs. More information 651-423-3380.

Penny Scramble, following the kiddie races, Rosemount American Legion, 14590 Burma Ave. Ages 3-8, winners receive $50 gift from Vermillion State Bank. More information 651-423-3380.

Pickleball Lessons and Demonstration, 6 p.m. to dusk, Claret Park, behind Cub Foods. Free event with paddles and balls provided. Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. It is played with a hard paddle and a version of the wiffle ball. The modification to the court and equipment makes it much easier to play than tennis, and it appeals to both young and old. More information: Terry Taylor 612-749-3600 or tomturck@charter.net.

Thursday, July 25

Youth Fishing Derby, registration starts at 9 a.m., Schwarz Pond Park. Pre-fishing and warm-up is scheduled from 9-9:45 a.m. The contest will run from 10-11 a.m. Open to youths 13 years of age and under, children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Awards for the largest fish will be given in each age group. The event will be cancelled if there is inclement weather in the morning. Winners will go away with great prizes. To check on the status of the event, call the Parks and Recreation Information Line at 651-322-6020, choose #6. Sponsored by CF Industries and Rosemount Parks & Recreation. More information: Rosemount Parks & Recreation 651-322-6000.

Rosemount Photo Contest, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Rosemount Steeple Center, public viewing and People’s Choice Award voting. More information at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/parks or call 651-322-6000.

2013 NHL Player Charity Game, 5-8:30 p.m., Rosemount Community Center and Arena, 13885 S. Robert Trail. Proceeds will go to Minnesota Sled Hockey Association, Caneff Family Scholarships and Rosemount boys hockey program. Autograph session in Banquet Hall, 5:30-6:30 p.m., silent auction, door prizes, game at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30. Information and ticket sales at rosemounthockey.com or from any RHS boys hockey player.

Family Fun Night, 5-10:30 p.m., Central Park. Amusement rides, food booths, games and entertainment, Central Park Amphitheater.

Full Bingo Session, doors open at 6 p.m., session at 7 p.m., Rosemount American Legion, 14590 Burma Ave., $10 per pack, electronic machines available, 18-plus. More information: 651-423-3380.

Leprechaun Days Entertainment, 6:30-10:30 p.m., Central Park Amphitheater, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Kidsdance Productions DJ music, 8:30-10:30 p.m. music by Rocket Club.

Celts Beer Garden, 5-10:30 p.m., Central Park, www.Celts-Pub.com/facebook.

Rosemount Photo Contest, 7 p.m., Rosemount Steeple Center, photo presentation and awards display. More information at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/parks or call 651-322-6000.

Friday, July 26

Puppets in the Park, 9:30 a.m. Camfield Park, 10:15 a.m. Connemara Park, 11 a.m. Bloomfield Park, 11:45 a.m. Jaycee Park. Sponsored by Rosemount Parks & Recreation. More information: Rosemount Parks & Recreation 651-322-6000.

Midsummer Faire and Amusement Rides, 5-11 p.m., Central Park. Food, games and business booths.

Celts Beer Garden, 5-11 p.m., Central Park, www.Celts-Pub.com/facebook.

Steak Fry Under the Stars, 5 p.m. until gone, Rosemount American Legion, 14590 Burma Ave., $12.50 with baked potato, beans and roll; karaoke inside starts at 9 p.m. More information: 651-423-3380.

Leprechaun Days entertainment, 7-11 p.m., Central Park Amphitheater, music by Arch Allies, hip-hop dance group to perform at 6:30 p.m.

Rockin’ at the Legion, 7-11 p.m., Rosemount American Legion parking lot, 14590 Burma Ave. Live music by Bad Girlfriends. More information 651-423-3380.

Saturday, July 27

Insanity Street Workout, 8:30 a.m. registration, 9:30-10:30 a.m. workout, Nickie Carrigan Fitness Warehouse, 3065 145th St. (across from the Post Office). All ages and fitness levels may participate. More information: www.NickieCarriganFitness.com or call 651-983-8368 to register.

Grand Day Parade, 11 a.m. start at Rosemount High School. For more information, call (651) 423-4603. Bring canned goods for local food shelf drive.

Lightin’ Up Family Block Party, following parade until 3:30 p.m., Lighthouse Church, 3285 144th St. W. Free food, petting zoo, music, inflatables and more. More information worldwidelighthouse.com or 651-423-2566.

Rosemount Photo Contest, noon-4 p.m., Rosemount Steeple Center, public display of awarded photos. More information at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/parks or call 651-322-6000.

BBQ Chicken & Corn Feed, noon until gone, Rosemount American Legion Pavillion, 14590 Burma Ave., $7, more information: 651-423-3380.

Rosemount Plaza Open House, noon to 6 p.m., Rosemount Plaza parking lot and building, 14555 S. Robert Trail. Live music, food trucks, pine derby racing, sponsored by Gerenza Properties. More information: 651-895-3535.

Friends of the Robert Trail Library Book Giveaway, 1-3 p.m., Robert Trail Library, 14395 S. Robert Trail. Children and young adults may select a free book of their choice. More information: 651-255-8545.

Petting Zoo, 1 p.m., Fluegel’s Farm, Garden & Pet, 14700 S. Robert Trail. More information: 651-423-1587.

Midsummer Faire and Amusement Rides, 1-11 p.m., Central Park. Food, games and business booths.

Celts Beer Garden, 1-11 p.m., Central Park, Bean Bags Tournament, pre-register 12 noon-1:30 p.m., $20 per team with 100 percent payback, tournament time is 2-6 p.m. DJ music 1-6:30 p.m. (www.partyunit.com) also plays during band breaks, www.Celts-Pub.com/facebook.

Irishette Dance Team, 2 p.m., Central Park Amphitheater. The team will introduce the 2013 fall members and preview its football halftime performance. More information: 651-324-4745.

Bar Bingo, 2-4:30 p.m., Rosemount American Legion, 14590 Burma Ave. Adults 18 and over. More information: 651-423-3380.

Commode Races and Tailgate Party,  6 p.m. registration for races, 6:30 p.m. races start, 7:30 p.m. party and car blessing, Church of St. Joseph parking lot, 13900 Biscayne Ave. Entertainment by Jam Sound & Lights. More information: 651-423-3312

Leprechaun Days entertainment, 7-11 p.m., Central Park Amphitheater. Music by Sweet Siren, Rince na Chroi Irish Dancers to perform from 6:30-7 p.m.

Rockin’ at the Legion, 7-11 p.m., Rosemount American Legion parking lot, 14590 Burma Ave. Live music by Wreckless, karaoke inside 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m. More information: 651-423-3380.

Fireworks, 10 p.m. Can be viewed from Erickson and Central parks.

Sunday, July 28

Free Pancake Breakfast, 8:30-10 a.m., Lighthouse Church, 3285 144th St. W. Indoor service to follow from 10-11:30 a.m. More information: 651-423-2566.

Rosemount Area Hockey Association “Try Hockey for Free” and Street Hockey Tournament, 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., Rosemount Community Center Arena, 13885 S. Robert Trail. Hockey and non-hockey specific vendors, concussion awareness and baseline testing, custom mouthguard fitting – 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. street hockey tournament in the parking lot, 9:45-10:45 a.m. girls try hockey for free, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m Rosemount High School Girls Alumni Game, 12:30-1:15 p.m. boys try hockey for free. Register at www.rosemounthockey.org. More information: 651-485-2725.

Sneaky Pete’s Garden Tractor Pull, 10 a.m. weigh-in, 1 p.m. start, Rosemount VFW, 2625 120th St. W., 750-1800 pound garden tractors compete against others in their weight class. Those who pull the longest distance win prizes. Open to all ages who bring their own tractors. More information at 651-437-8291 and www.sneakypetespullers.com.

The post Rosemount Leprechaun Days schedule of events 2013 appeared first on SunThisweek.

Burnsville premieres new Lions Playground

Mon, 06/24/2013 - 21:17
The nature-themed structure was unveiled at a grand opening celebration June 7

Children playing on the Lions Playground in Burnsville.
Courtesy of the City of Burnsville

Children flooded the new Lions Playground in Burnsville last Friday for face painting, fire trucks, food and entertainment when the city of Burnsville and the Burnsville Lions Club held the grand opening celebration for the new playground at Cliff Fen Park.

Located off Cliff Road and Nicollet Avenue, the nature-themed playground was unleashed to the public as Burnsville’s new recreational hot spot.

By 6:30 p.m., in excess of 500 children, parents, grandparents and community members filled the park.

The city and the Lions Club, provided face-painting, food and entertainment. The Burnsville Police and Fire departments showed off their vehicles to wide-eyed boys and girls.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was marked by speeches from Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and Lions Club President Mark Moen.

The Lions Playground has earned its name from the $50,000 that the Lions donated for the park’s construction. With the combined effort of the Lions and the city, the grand opening exceeded expectations.

“There was nothing but extremely positive feedback from the people who attended,” Garrett Beck, Burnsville’s recreation supervisor, said. “We were aiming for somewhere in the 300 range. Well over 500 people were there for the evening.”

Employees of the Burnsville Recreation and Facilities Department breathed a sigh of relief in reaction to the positive feedback.

The Lions Playground predecessor held high esteem with the Burnsville community.

The previous castle-like structure, named Skyland Playground was constructed in 1990 at Cliff Fen Park, and remained a playtime destination for the next 23 years. Many Burnsville residents recall watching their children play on the wooden structure, while younger community members think of romping through the playground themselves.

Last fall, Skyland Playground was reaching for its last lifeline. After several attempts to patch the old structure, it was demolished in November. The city struggled with finding a replacement to fill Skyland’s big shoes.

“Replacing such a popular park was really difficult. It was hard to find the right materials, layout and theme that the community would love,” Beck said.

Before construction, the city knew that the playground was going to be a big project, and placed funds in their parks’ capital plan.

Burnsville Lions Club member Bill Johnson overheard at a city meeting about plans to build a new place for children to play. Johnson loved the idea and prompted the Burnsville Lions to lend their support.

Moen supported the project and the Lions donation. The City Council put an additional $250,000 toward the plan  to help Lions Playground become Burnsville’s new recreational place-to-be.

Johnson attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and was enthusiastic about watching an idea mold into a reality before him.

“We heard such favorable comments from everyone. It will really be a big draw for Burnsville,” Johnson said.

Due to the Lions’ donation, along with numerous volunteer acts, the local club has been selected as one of the three finalists for the Lions Club International 2013 World of Service Award in the category of Outstanding Environmental Impact Project. Moen will be attending the ceremony in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8.

As for the playground, the city chose to mirror Cliff Fen Park’s natural appearance. The new playground” is filled with climbing boulders and tree designs.

Although there is an environmental theme, the park has a technological twist. Wi-Fi fills the play area for resting babysitters and parents. The city also plans to install electricity and lights to the picnic shelters in the near future.

The Parks Department created the playground through a survey of children in the community.

From the research, they separated the equipment into age groups. Certain areas are perfect for children ages 2-5 and others for ages 5-12.

The playground is meant to accommodate children at any stage in life.

Teens can sit on a nearby bench and access Wi-Fi on their phone as their younger siblings climb, swing and play. Adults can access additional amenities such as nature trails, a volleyball court, a soccer field and soon, lighted picnic shelters.

The post Burnsville premieres new Lions Playground appeared first on SunThisweek.

Southbound I-35E, Cedar Avenue ramps to close in Burnsville, Eagan

Mon, 06/24/2013 - 20:58

As concrete pavement repair begins on southbound I-35E in Burnsville and Eagan next week, southbound traffic will be shifted to a single lane of traffic on the northbound side of the interstate between Cedar Avenue and Cliff Road.

Following the traffic shift, both directions of the interstate will be in a single lane of traffic in each direction head-to-head. At the same time, the ramps between Cedar Avenue and the southbound interstate will close. Single lane restrictions also will be extended northward to Diffley Road.
Weather permitting, concrete pavement repair in this stretch of roadway will be completed by late Monday, July 1 and southbound traffic will be shifted back to a single lane on the southbound side of the interstate and the ramps at Cedar Avenue will reopen.
I-35E traffic has been reduced to a single lane of traffic in each direction since midnight on Saturday, June 15 between the I-35E and the I-35/35W/35E split and Cedar Avenue. They will remain a single lane in each direction through mid-July.

All work is weather permitting and could change for inclement weather.

To sign up for the project’s email updates or for more information, visit the project’s website at www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/i35eelkotoeagan/

For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota visit www.511mn.org.

The post Southbound I-35E, Cedar Avenue ramps to close in Burnsville, Eagan appeared first on SunThisweek.

Sun Thisweek-Dakota County Tribune digital newspapers June 20 and 21

Mon, 06/24/2013 - 20:55

Links to digital versions of Sun Thisweek for June 21, 2013, and the Dakota County Tribune for June 20, 2013, are below:

Sun Thisweek Apple Valley

Sun Thisweek Burnsville-Eagan

Sun Thisweek Lakeville

Dakota County Tribune Farmington-Rosemount

For past digital versions of the newspaper, click here.

The post Sun Thisweek-Dakota County Tribune digital newspapers June 20 and 21 appeared first on SunThisweek.

Dave Thompson confirms he will seek GOP gubernatorial nomination

Mon, 06/24/2013 - 20:35

State Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, is expected to make an announcement on Wednesday that he is running for the Republican nomination to take on Gov. Mark Dayton in the 2014 election.

Dave Thompson

Thompson told Minnesota Public Radio News that he would launch the campaign this week and that he expected to file the fundraising paperwork today.

Thompson is planning an event in Lakeville at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Pioneer Plaza Park just off Holyoke Avenue downtown to spread the news.

An invitation to the event says: “Please join Dave, his family and friends to celebrate as we share an exciting announcement!”

Former Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers made his announcement that he would seek the GOP nomination at a residence in Maple Grove. Zellers lives in Maple Grove with his family.

Zellers’ entry into the race is not unexpected. He joins a growing cadre of Republicans, including Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson and businessman Scott Honour, seeking to replace Dayton.

The post Dave Thompson confirms he will seek GOP gubernatorial nomination appeared first on SunThisweek.

Rep. Kurt Zellers enters governor’s race

Mon, 06/24/2013 - 14:51

by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol Reporter

Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, gave a brief speech at his gubernatorial candidacy announcement in Maple Grove. (Photo by T.W. Budig)

Former Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers wants to take a friend’s place.

“Absolutely,” Zellers said of Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton being a friend. “We can still be friends, but I just disagree with the way he’s taking the direction of the state,” Zellers said on Sunday, June 23, of jumping into the governor’s race. Zellers made his announcement at a residence in Maple Grove, the city where the North Dakota native lives with his wife, Kim, a fourth-grade teacher, and children Reagan and Will.

Zellers’ entry into the race is not unexpected. He joins a growing cadre of Republicans, including Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson and businessman Scott Honour, seeking to replace Dayton.

Zellers described his family as “smack dab” in the middle class, facing budgeting decisions, such as checking for deals on car tires, that the wealthy governor doesn’t have to do nor can he really understand, Zellers said.

Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, hugs his daughter Reagan after his announcement. (Photo by T.W. Budig)

“I don’t begrudge Gov. Dayton for not having budgeting experience,” Zellers said, standing on a small stage under a tree. “But I also fundamentally do not believe it gives him the right to say he understands what those of us in the middle class go through. And it sure doesn’t give him the right to say he’s fighting for us.”

Zellers is currently serving his sixth term in the House.

House Republicans, as Senate Republicans, gained the majority in 2010 — Zellers being elected Speaker by the new Republican House majority. But Zellers saw his majority and speakership slip away in the Democratic election surge of 2012.

Asked by a reporter about the reversal, Zellers was self-deprecating.

“In 2010 I was the hero. In 2012, I was not quite the hero,” he said.

Speaking about the loss last spring, Zellers was more direct.

“That’s a pretty big, traumatic swing in one’s career,” he said.

He worked as hard as he could last election and left everything on the field, Zellers insisted.

Zellers intends to seek the Republican Party gubernatorial endorsement. But he also expects a Republican gubernatorial primary and believes Republicans who support him should have a chance to vote for him in a primary.

“I’ll prepare for the convention first, the primary second, and Mark Dayton lastly,” Zellers said.

Zellers considers himself an underdog in terms of campaign finance, competing against wealthy Republican opponents.

He spoke of a gubernatorial campaign costing around $5 million.

“I will not be outworked,” he said.

In his announcement speech, Zellers harkened back to his North Dakota upbringing, family members who taught him about thrift, being true to one’s conscious and the value of enterprise.

Zellers called for a renewed focus on education, the state’s economy and spoke of the Republican agenda turning around the state budget.

“We collect more than enough,” Zellers said of taxes.

He chided Dayton and Democrats for not just taxing wealthy Minnesotans, but, through the expansion of the state sales tax and increasing the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1.60, of taxing the middle class. Zellers spoke of striving as governor to create a state that is alluring to outside business and supportive of small Minnesota business.

DFL State Party Chairman Ken Martin was dubious of Zellers’ credentials.

“Rep. Kurt Zellers’ short tenure as speaker of the House will be forever remembered for his lack of leadership and uncompromising partisanship, which led to the longest government shutdown in our state’s history,” Martin said in a statement.

“After finally seeing some progress this past legislative session, the last thing Minnesotans need is to return to the times of ‘Shutdown Kurt’ where we would undoubtedly see gridlock, partisanship and shutdowns once again,” Martin said in part.

Zellers works in public relations, something he has done politically, having worked as communications director for former Republican U.S. Sen. Rod Grams and also the Republican Minnesota House.

Zellers earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Dakota; he played defensive back on the university football team and a North Dakota football adorned speaker’s office.


Tim Budig can be reached at tim.budig@ecm-inc.com

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Vehicle-motor cycle accident kills one in Lakeville

Mon, 06/24/2013 - 13:53

A 26 year-old Claremont man is dead after the motorcycle he was riding was struck by a car in Lakeville Saturday, Jun 22 at approximately 6:14 p.m..

James Alan Batten II was thrown from the motorcycle that was traveling northbound on Cedar Avenue after a vehicle on 202nd Street made a left turn directly in the path of the motorcycle, according to Lakeville police.

Batten tried to stop, but crashed into the rear of the vehicle and landed on pavement, police said.

Lifesaving measures were unsuccessful, and Batten died at the scene.

The driver of the other vehicle was treated for minor injuries.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash, which remains under investigation.

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Ceremonial launch of the Metro Red Line

Sat, 06/22/2013 - 21:09

The Metro Red Line welcomed passengers on June 22 in a ceremonial launch event at many of the stations along Cedar Avenue. The Apple Valley Transit Center hosted many community leaders, dignitaries, and local business in a formal program with speeches and recognition for the promotion, advancement, and launch of the Metro Red Line.  Photos by Rick Orndorf

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Short Redhead Reel Reviews for the week of June 21

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 20:53

by Wendy Schadewald
Special to Sun Thisweek and the Dakota County Tribune

Rating system:  (4=Don’t miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)

“Before Midnight” (R) (3) [Sexual content/nudity and language.] — In this dialogue-heavy, down-to-earth, well-acted, realistic, 108-minute Richard Linklater sequel to “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset,” a bitter married couple (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) are slowly moving apart after meeting on a train in Vienna years earlier and now spend their vacation in Greece discussing their twin daughters (Jennifer and Charlotte Prior), reminiscing about their marriage, and constantly bickering.

“The Bling Ring” (R) (2.5) [Teen drug and alcohol use, and language, including some brief sexual references.] — An intriguing, factually inspired, cameo-dotted (Leslie Mann, Kirsten Dunst, and Paris Hilton), 90-minute, Sofia Coppola film, which is based on Nancy Jo Sales “Vanity Fair” article “The Suspects Wore Louboutins,” about a group of bored, privileged, designer-obsessed Los Angeles teenagers (Emma Watson, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Claire Julian, and Taissa Farmiga) who blatantly and nonchalantly rob the homes of wealthy celebrities in the Hollywood Hills after tracking their whereabouts on the Internet.

“Chasing Ice” (PG-13) (4) [Brief strong language.] [DVD only] — Phenomenal, breathtaking, jaw-dropping photography dominates scientist and “National Geographic” photographer James Balog’s educational, discussion-provoking, critically acclaimed, 75-minute, 2012 documentary that shows irrefutable evidence of the drastic effects and impact of global warming through time-lapsed photography over more than a three-year-period in Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, and Montana using numerous cameras at various locations, including Alaska’s Columbia and Mendenhall glaciers, Greenland’s Llulissat and Stores glaciers, Montana’s Glacier National Park, and Iceland’s Solheim glacier, and interviews with “National Geographic” editor Dennis Dimich, Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) photographer assistant Svavar Jonatansson, photographer and Oscar-winning filmmaker Louie Psihoyos, Aspen Institute member Kitty Boone, “National Geographic” editor Dr. Sylvia Earle, EIS engineer Adam LeWinter, Ohio State University climatologist Dr. Jason Box, EIS videographer Jeff Orlowski, University of Colorado glaciologist Dr. Tad Pfeffer, National Center for Atmospheric Research oceanographer Dr. Synte Peacock and Senior Scientist Dr. Gerald Meehl, Stanford University Woods Institute Senior Fellow Dr. Terry Root, University of Arizona Director of Tree-Ring Research Dr. Thomas Swetnam, and former Central Intelligence Director R. James Woosley.

“Dirty Wars” (NR) (3.5) — Tenacious, veteran, investigative, Brooklyn war journalist Jeremy Scahill, who wrote the bestselling book “Blackwater” and writes for “The Nation,” magazine, narrates his powerful, educational, eye-opening, thought-provoking, critically acclaimed, 90-minute documentary that chronicles his diligent attempt to expose the global “war on terror” role of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the numerous murders of innocent citizens in war-torn countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia by American soldiers during covert nighttime raids and consists of interviews with the families of innocent victims to gather their heartbreaking stories to encourage Congress and American military leaders to take responsibility for their actions and to consider these victims not merely “collateral damage.”

“Epic” (PG) (3.5) [Mild action, some scary images, and brief rude language.] [DVD only] — A colorful, family-oriented, action-packed, 3D, entertaining, 102-minute animated film about a headstrong, 17-year-old girl (voiceover by Amanda Seyfried) who ends up being magically shrunk in size during a storm while visiting her estranged, eccentric scientist father (voiceover by Jason Sudeikis) and then tries to help the beautiful “mother nature” queen (voiceover by Beyoncé Knowles), a hummingbird-riding leaf warrior (voiceover by Colin Farrell), an immature wannabe warrior (voiceover by Josh Hutcherson), and other forest inhabitants (voiceovers by, Steven Tyler, Chris O’Dowd, Aziz Ansari, Pitbull, Allison Bills, Edie Mirman, John DiMaggio, et al.) to save their lush, green world from a power-hungry, destructive leader (voiceover by Christopher Waltz) and his minions (voiceovers by Blake Anderson, Jason Fricchione, et al.) who are bent on killing the forest.

“Inside Man” (R) (2.5) [Language and some violent images.] [DVD only] — After a clever and cocky bank robber (Clive Owen) and his jumpsuit-wearing cohorts take hostages at a New York City bank in this twist-filled, cliché-sprinkled Spike Lee film, an intense detective (Denzel Washington) and his team (Willem Dafoe, et al.) work to resolve the crisis while a nervous bank founder (Christopher Plummer) hires a tough, well-connected woman (Jodie Foster) to safeguard a reputation-damaging secret from his past.

“V for Vendetta” (R) (3) [Strong violence and some language.] [DVD only] — When a masked burn victim (Hugo Weaving) uses unconventional methods to seek revenge against his Nazi-like captors responsible for monstrous, biochemical warfare experiments and to inspire and give hope to a British television network employee (Natalie Portman) and the other oppressed people (Stephen Fry, et al.) living in Orwellian London in this futuristic film thriller with striking photography and sets, the chief police inspector (Stephen Rea) tries to uncover the identity of the popular terrorist while the maniacal government leader (John Hurt) tries to cover up the terrorist’s agenda and vendetta.

“World War Z” (PG-13) (3) [Intense frightening zombie sequences, violence, and disturbing images.] — When a deadly disease breaks out worldwide that turns victims into zombies within twelve seconds and threatens all of mankind in this suspenseful, violent, intriguing, well-paced, star-dotted (James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox, and David Morse), 3D, 2-hour thriller based on the Max Brooks novel, a United Nations investigator (Brad Pitt), who lives with his wife (Mierelle Enos) and two daughters (Sterling Jerins and Abigail Hargrove) in Philadelphia, travels to North Korea and Israel to search for patient zero and then heads to Wales to find a possible cure and vaccine.

Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident.

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Mental health services to expand in District 191

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 20:23

Four more mental health specialists will work in School District 191 next year under a new contract with Twin Cities-based Headway Emotional Health Services.

The district will have 13 specialists in 2013-14 under a $275,000 contract approved June 20 by the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School Board.

Two are being added districtwide. Two are being added between Burnsville Alternative High School and Sky Oaks Elementary, which are funding them with compensatory aid tied to concentrations of low-income students.

The district will spend $100,000 more under the new contract than it did in the recently completed school year. The alternative high school is paying $80,000 of the total cost, and Sky Oaks is paying $20,000.

Next year will be the third year the district has provided mental health services. Specialist ranks have grown each year.

“I haven’t talked to anyone in the buildings that isn’t just thrilled with this,” Board Chair Sandy Sweep said.

Though other districts have mental health collaborations, District 191 is said to be unique in extending services across all its schools.

The district has been on the “leading edge” in Minnesota and the nation, Board Member Dan Luth said, adding that it’s trying to erase “decades” of stigma around mental-health problems.

“The mental health of our students is just as important as their regular physical health,” Luth said.

The specialists spend much of their time with students outside the school day, under agreements with their families, said Lisa Rider, district business services director.

The services are needed in “almost every building, if not every building,” Luth said.

Headway’s specialists have master’s degrees in a mental health discipline or are in their second year of master’s studies.

Students are referred for services mostly by teachers, Ann Meehan, a Headway mental health counselor, told the School Board in January.

At the elementary level, most of what she deals with are student outbursts, whether caused by depression, anxiety or a behavior disorder, she said.

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Lt. Col. Mark Weber is laid to rest at Fort Snelling Cemetery

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 19:22

A funeral service and interment were held today for Rosemount resident and Minnesota National Guard Lt. Col. Mark Weber, who died on Thursday, June 13, after a three-year cancer battle. Minnesota National Guard Chaplain Col. John Morris offered words of encouragement to a crowd of about 100 people who gathered at Fort Snelling National Cemetery for the interment. Family members and friends paid their final respects to Weber as a 21-gun salute was fired and Taps was played. An American flag was presented Weber’s wife Kristin and three sons – Matthew, Joshua and Noah – and his parents Dennis and Illean Weber. A funeral service was held prior to the interment at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley.  Photos by Rick Orndorf

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Lady Katherine closes after mold discovered in studio

Wed, 06/19/2013 - 22:52
Piccolo’s Pizzeria appears closed in same mall

The lights remain off and a closed sign is posted in the front window at Piccolo’s Pizzeria at 4162 Pilot Knob Road. Calls made to the pizzeria during peak purchase hours were unanswered. Lady Katherine’s closed earlier this year in the Hilltop Plaza after mold was discovered in the studio. (Photo by Jessica Harper)

Pole dancing fitness studio, Lady Katherine, has closed its Eagan location after mold was discovered in the space at 4178 Pilot Knob Road.

The mold issues, which were caused by ice damage last winter, have since been remedied by the owner, said Jon Hohenstein, Eagan community development director.

Katherine Fossler, owner of Lady Katherine, has since consolidated the Eagan studio with the Hudson, Wis., location.

Fossler opened the Eagan location in December 2011 to provide the unique fitness classes south of the river.

She said she is looking to reopen the second location in either northern Eagan, Mendota Heights or Inver Grove Heights by this fall.

“This has given me an opportunity to move where I wanted to initially,” she said. “Now there’s a lot more choices.”

Lady Katherine isn’t the only business that appears to have closed recently in the Hilltop Plaza.

The lights remain off and a closed sign is posted in the front window during a recent daytime stops to Piccolo’s Pizzeria at 4162 Pilot Knob Road. Calls made to the pizzeria during peak purchase hours were unanswered.

Piccolo’s owner, William (Jack) Morrison, could not be reached for comment.

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Lightning dethroned in final seconds

Wed, 06/19/2013 - 22:15

Eden Prairie prevails 9-8 in state boys lacrosse final

Eden Prairie goalie Max Fahey blocks a close-range shot by Eastview’s Ryan McNamara in the state boys lacrosse championship game. Photo by Rick Orndorf

Eastview kept taking Eden Prairie’s best shots and coming back – until Eden Prairie’s final shot left the Lightning with no time to come back.

The Lightning held on gamely to its dream of winning back-to-back state boys lacrosse championships before a goal by Eden Prairie freshman J.D. Spielman with 12.4 seconds remaining gave the Eagles a 9-8 victory in the title game Saturday night at Chanhassen High School.

Eastview never led in the game but on four occasions came back to tie it. The last tie was 8-8, after goals by Michael Stillings and Ryan McNamara 34 seconds apart brought the Lightning back even with 5 minutes, 18 seconds to play.

“When it was 8-8 and we had the ball, I was pumped,” McNamara said. “I thought we were going to be able to do it. But they made a great play at the end.”

Eden Prairie was awarded possession with 2:45 remaining after Eastview’s Brett Schweiger fired a shot wide of the Eagles’ goal. After calling timeout with 2:27 left, Eden Prairie held the ball until Nic Bentz found Spielman open on the back side of the formation for a close-range shot.

Eastview was able to get it to Tanner Hamill for a last-second shot, but the Eden Prairie defense blocked it.

It was the first victory for Eden Prairie (18-0) in five appearances in the state championship game. Eastview (14-4), which defeated Eden Prairie 10-4 in last year’s state final, dubbed this season as “The Return.” The Lightning indeed made it back to the state tournament, although it didn’t get the outcome it sought.

Michael Stillings (25), Brett Schweiger (5) and Nick Abbott celebrate following an Eastview goal in the state boys lacrosse championship game. Photo by Rick Orndorf

“We lost a lot of players from last year’s team,” McNamara said. “But we also had a sophomore goalie step up and some junior defensemen step up. We definitely thought we had a chance to win the state tournament again.”

Slow starts were a theme for Eastview, which scored only two first-quarter goals in its three state tournament games. The Lightning was able to recover and beat Orono (10-5) and Champlin Park (10-6) in the first two rounds as the defense locked down on the opponent.

“It’s all about back-side support and on-the-ball defense,” coach Tim Roche said following the semifinal victory over Champlin Park. “When we’re doing those well, we know we’re on our game. We’re very good when we can see what’s in front of us.”

The Lightning never did completely recover from its slow start against Eden Prairie. The Eagles scored the first three goals of the championship game before the Lightning’s Mitch Beattie put his team on the scoreboard with 2:01 remaining in the first quarter. Nick Abbott, Shane Kenealey and Schweiger scored in the second quarter. McNamara, the Lightning’s leading scorer, had two goals in the second quarter before completing his hat trick with the goal that tied the game 8-8.

The Lightning didn’t have an answer for the last-minute goal by Spielman, one of two sons of Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman who play lacrosse for Eden Prairie.

Saturday’s game was the third state final for Eastview, which was runner-up in 2009. The Lightning was trying to become the fifth school to win two consecutive championships; the last to do it was Benilde-St. Margaret’s in 2009-10.

McNamara and Hamill, who each scored seven goals in the state tournament, were named to the all-tournament team, as was Beattie, who had four goals and three assists in three games.

McNamara, who scored 52 goals this season, including 12 in the Section 3 championship game, will follow the Lightning from a distance next year when he’s playing lacrosse for Marquette University.

He said he expects to see his alma mater back at the state tournament.

“They have a lot of good young players coming up,” he said. “They’ll definitely have a good team next year.”

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Panthers come up just short of another upset

Wed, 06/19/2013 - 22:10

Girls lacrosse team second at state tourney

Lakeville North’s Lexie Witte controls the ball during the state girls lacrosse championship game against Blake on Saturday at Chanhassen High School. Photo by Rick OrndorfShortly after the final horn Saturday evening, the question hung in the air: Did Lakeville North lose or just run out of time?

Shortly after the final horn Saturday evening, the question hung in the air: Did Lakeville North lose or just run out of time?

The Panthers, who already had pulled one historic upset in the state girls soccer tournament, fell just short of another when they fell to Blake 14-12 in the championship game at Chanhassen High School last weekend.

Blake led by as many as seven goals in the first half before holding off a Lakeville North rush in the second half to win its fourth consecutive state title.

“We didn’t play with any heart or passion in the first half,” said junior attack Kacie Waagbo, a North captain. “Our coach (Mo Gaitan) knew it, and she gave us the best halftime pep talk I’ve ever heard.”

Gaitan declined to tell a reporter what she said at halftime, saying she might need to use that speech again someday. But the Panthers’ first-half problems weren’t hard to diagnose.

“We were out-hustled and outworked,” the coach said. “In the second half, we went back to being the team we were in our last two (state tournament) games.”

Saturday’s game was historic in the sense that it was the first time a team other than Blake and Eden Prairie appeared in the final since the Minnesota State High School League began sponsoring the state tournament in 2007. Blake and Eden Prairie had met in the championship game six years in a row, and some undoubtedly assumed the same would be true this year. Lakeville North’s 13-12 overtime upset of No. 1-seeded Eden Prairie on June 12 changed all that.

“I think we received a ton of respect in the lacrosse community when we beat Eden Prairie,” Waagbo said. “And it gave us a lot of confidence. We definitely thought we could win this (championship) game.”

Lakeville North trailed 9-2 less than 18 minutes into the game before scoring three of the final four goals of the first half. The second half didn’t start much better, and North was down 12-6 with 20 minutes to play. The Panthers chipped away with two goals by Waagbo and one each by Lauren Storhoff, Hannah Koloski, Emmie Madsen and Makayla Kubisiak.

Emmie Madsen of Lakeville North moves upfield in the state girls lacrosse championship game. Photo by Rick Orndorf

Kubisiak’s goal with 3:55 remaining made it 14-12. North recovered the ball on the ensuing faceoff but turned it over shortly thereafter, and Blake stalled out most of the remaining time.

“We knew the odds were against us, but it didn’t stop us,” Gaitan said. “The comeback was great. The kids just kept fighting.”

Koloski and Madsen each scored three goals for North in the championship game. Kubisiak and Waagbo scored twice each. Koloski and goalie Alyssa Friesen each had six ground-ball recoveries, and Friesen made six saves.

Koloski and Waagbo were named to the all-tournament team.

This was the first time Lakeville North qualified for the state girls lacrosse tournament on its own. A combined Lakeville North-Lakeville South team played at state in 2010.

North, which finished 14-5, has raised expectations for next season – and, for that matter, all future Panthers teams. Seven seniors have played their final high school game, but Waagbo and Kubisiak are among those returning next year.

Asked if the Panthers can return to state next season, Gaitan said, “we don’t expect anything less. We have a lot of good kids.”

But the Panthers will take some time to savor this season’s accomplishment. Waagbo said if the players had been told at the beginning of the season they would finish second in the state tournament, they would have happily accepted it.

“This team is an amazing group of girls,” Waagbo said. “We had a great season, finished second in the state, and I’ll take it.

“But I can’t wait for next season.”

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Linder lowers time, raises her profile

Wed, 06/19/2013 - 22:02

Eagan resident is two-time state champ in 400 dash

Cretin-Derham Hall junior Megan Linder, an Eagan resident, won the state Class AA girls 400-meter championship for the second consecutive year. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

Like most people who compete on the track, Megan Linder has a favorite race – but it’s not the one at which she has had the most success.

Linder prefers the shorter sprints, the 100- and 200-meter races, as do many fans. As for the 400 – where she’s a back-to-back state Class AA girls champion – that’s a little more like work.

“My favorite is the 200 because it’s that last (sprint) race of the night, and it’s a lot easier than the four,” Linder said. “The 400 is absolutely draining, mentally and physically.”

But Linder also is a pragmatist, and the Eagan resident and Cretin-Derham Hall junior realizes the 400 is the key to her track and field future.

“I think (the 400) is what I’m doing in college,” she said.

Linder won the 400 in 55.62 seconds at the state meet June 8 at Hamline University, about nine-tenths of a second faster than her winning time in 2012. It’s also her personal record in the event; her previous PR was the day before in the state preliminaries.

She needed to be faster because her first-place time from last year would have been good for fifth place this year.

“I think last year there was a little less pressure,” she said. “I thought, ‘Maybe I can do it, I’m not sure. Just give your best, no matter what happens.’

“This year there was more pressure because I was expected to win. I just kept saying, ‘I believe I can do it.’ ”

After winning the state championship in the 400 in 2012, Linder increased her weight training in the off-season. She said she was concerned the bad weather that plagued most spring sports in April and May would set her back.

“It was hard missing all of those easy, non-pressure meets (early in the season) because they help you build momentum for the end of the season,” Linder said.

Once she got back to the state meet, Linder said she had a good idea of how to prepare.

“I just focused on really being relaxed,” she said. “A lot of people at the state level are tense and nervous, and it affects your running form.

“I don’t focus on anyone else because in the end that doesn’t get you where you need to be. I focus on what I need to hit to get where I want to be.”

In the 200, Linder’s favorite race, she finished fourth at state in 25.26. Osseo senior Phillis Webb won in 24.83.

Three sprinters with Eagan ties finished almost in a dead heat in the 200 final. Eagan High School ninth-grader Maddie Gourley was third, .002 ahead of Linder. Eagan junior Emerald Egwim was fifth, .01 behind Linder.

Linder was seventh in the 100 in 12.56 but was only .02 from finishing third. She scored 21 of Cretin-Derham Hall’s 30 points as the Raiders finished seventh in the Class AA team standings.

After taking a week off from training, Linder planned to be back at it this week. She is scheduled to compete in the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships in North Carolina in July. That meet could help shape her college future. Linder said she would like to run track at a school in California or the southern United States.

And next season? “I think I’m just going to try to get some more PRs next year,” she said.

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Blaze lacrosse 1-2 at state tourney

Wed, 06/19/2013 - 21:58

Burnsville falls to Armstrong in consolation final

Samantha Vikstrom of Burnsville moves the ball upfield against Lakeville North in the state girls lacrosse tournament. Photo by Rick Orndorf

Burnsville’s first trip to the state girls lacrosse tournament ended with a weather-delayed 14-12 loss to Robbinsdale Armstrong in the consolation championship game.

Saturday’s game at Chaska High School was to conclude at about the time Lakeville North and Blake were warming up for the championship game at Chanhassen High. But thunderstorms rolled through the area, delaying play at both sites. The championship game and consolation final ended up taking place at about the same time.

On the subject of time, that’s a commodity that ran short for Burnsville in the consolation final. The Blaze, which trailed 12-7 with 10 minutes, 31 seconds left, scored five of the game’s last seven goals.

Goals by Bailey Childs and Madison Maas put Burnsville ahead 2-0 just 2:32 into the game. Armstrong scored six goals in the next 9:03 – three by Mari Verbeten – to take a lead it would not give up. The Blaze cut Armstrong’s lead to two goals on five occasions but could not get closer.

Junior midfielder Lindsey Coleman led Burnsville with three goals and four assists, scoring on the only three shots she took.

Childs, Maas, Briita Nelson and Kallie LaValle scored twice each, and Emma Wittchow had one goal.

After a 16-12 loss to Lakeville North in the state quarterfinals, Burnsville defeated Champlin Park 11-9 in the consolation semifinals June 13.

Coleman and Childs each scored three goals for the Blaze, with each completing her hat trick after Champlin Park tied the game 9-9 with nine minutes remaining. Emily Skogseth had a goal and assist, and Samantha Vikstrom had two assists.

Lakeville North became the first South Suburban Conference team to reach the state championship game when it defeated No. 1-seeded Eden Prairie 13-12 in overtime in the semifinal round. Blake defeated North 14-12 to earn its fourth consecutive state championship.

Coleman, who had eight goals and five assists in three games at state, was named to the all-tournament team.

Burnsville (15-3) closed its most successful season, which included a regular-season victory over Lakeville North and second-place finish in the South Suburban Conference. The Blaze’s only regular-season loss was by one goal to SSC champion Lakeville South.

The girls lacrosse team graduated five seniors – Maas, defender Joelle Strand, midfielder Alexa Pearson, attacker Tiana Khamvongsa and goalie Jaclyn Hinz. Coleman, Childs, Nelson, Skogseth, Vikstrom and Wittchow are among the players who will be back next season as Burnsville tries to reach the state tournament again.

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Keeping pace at state tough for Wildcats

Wed, 06/19/2013 - 21:52

Eagan girls place sixth in Class AAA golf

Eagan’s Erin Klucas watches her tee shot during the state Class AAA girls golf tournament at Bunker Hills. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

The state tournament is much more competitive than anything most high school golfers will see all season. That wasn’t exactly a surprise to the Eagan girls team, which finished sixth in the Class AAA tourney last week.

Eagan was coming off a season-best team score of 341 in the final round of the Section 3AAA tournament at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids. The state meet was held at the same course June 11-12. If Eagan had matched its low score of the season each of the two days at state, it would have finished fifth. It would have taken another major drop in scores for the Wildcats to contend for the championship, won by Edina with a two-day score of 644.

Eagan shot 347 the first day but struggled the second day, coming in with 361 for a 708 total. A weather delay in the second round, which pushed back the girls tee times 90 minutes, probably didn’t do anything good for the Wildcats’ nerves.

Wildcats senior Mallory Drenttel overcame a rough start to tie for 26th place individually. Drenttel shot 46 on her first nine holes, but came back with 38 on her second nine for an 84. She shot 83 in the second round.

Shelby Braun, also a senior, had 85-89–174 to tie for 45th. Senior Erin Klucas had 84-94–178 and tied for 54th.

Also competing for the Wildcats at state were eighth-grader Molly Ploetz (tie for 71st, 94-95–189), sophomore Karli Simon (76th, 98-96–194) and junior Ina San Jose (tie for 82nd, 101-104–205).

Edina led the team competition by four strokes over Alexandria after the first day and ended up winning by 11.

Wayzata junior Sarah Burnham and New Prague junior Kenzie Neisen tied for the individual championship at 140, 6 under par. Neisen shot 68 and Burnham 69 in the second round; those were the only two rounds below 70 in the Class AAA tournament.

Defending champion Celia Kuenster of Cretin-Derham Hall finished third, four strokes behind Burnham and Neisen.

Opatz improves by 10

Eastview junior Kari Opatz shot 77 in the second round – a 10-stroke improvement over her first round – to earn a tie for 19th at state.

Opatz’s 36-hole total of 164 was six strokes lower than her score at the 2012 state meet, where she tied for 24th. She qualified for this year’s tournament by winning the Section 3AAA individual championship.

Opatz’s teammate, junior Madi Roe, shot 82-88–170 to tie for 40th place. That was a 20-stroke improvement over her finish at state in 2012.

Kerr places 43rd

Apple Valley junior Lauren Kerr, making her third consecutive appearance at state, tied for 43rd with 90-83–173.

Kerr has improved each year at state, and her second-round 83 is the first time she has shot below 90 in the Class AAA tournament. She was 74th at state as a ninth-grader and tied for 53rd last year.

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Notebook: Coaches arrive, depart

Wed, 06/19/2013 - 21:48

Eastview hires Reiff to lead volleyball program

Summer doesn’t mean an end to sports activity at local high schools, as several of them have coaching vacancies to fill for the 2013-14 school year.

Eastview has filled its volleyball head coaching position, hiring Ted Reiff, who was head coach at Benilde-St. Margaret’s the last three years. Reiff takes over for Becky Egan, who was named head coach at Hamline University in March.

Before coaching at BSM, Reiff was head coach at Holy Angels for eight years. He previously coached at the University of Wisconsin, Augsburg College, Minnesota State, Mankato, Prior Lake and Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial high schools. He also has coached in several club programs, including Northern Lights Volleyball and M1 Volleyball.

“I couldn’t be more excited to become a member of the Eastview community and to step into the head coaching role of Eastview volleyball,” Reiff said in a news release from the school. “This is one of the premier volleyball programs in Minnesota and I look forward to taking the baton from coach Egan.”

Apple Valley High School has to hire replacements for boys track and field coach Rod Dirth, who retired, and volleyball coach Shelly Lundin, who resigned. That’s in addition to the boys swimming coaching vacancy created when Mike McManus announced his retirement earlier this spring.

Dirth coached and taught physical education and mathematics for 33 years and has more than 60 seasons’ combined experience coaching track and field and football. His track and field teams won two section championships in the last three years. Dirth also was on the coaching staff for Apple Valley’s state championship teams in 1986, 1991 and 1992.

Lundin resigned because she is moving to Astana, Kazakhstan, where her husband, former AVHS hockey standout Mike Lundin, will play for Barys Astana of the Kontinental Hockey League. Mike Lundin played for the Ottawa Senators last season after playing for the Minnesota Wild in 2011-12.

Shelly Lundin had been on the AVHS volleyball staff since 2009 and was head coach in 2012.

Burnsville High School is seeking a softball coach for the second consecutive year after declining to renew the contract of Aaron Vail, who coached the Blaze to a 9-10 record last season.

Vail, who announced on his Twitter account that he would not be back at Burnsville, said the news took him by surprise. His previous coaching stops included North St. Paul High School and Dakota County Technical College.

New Balance Nationals

Danielle Anderson of Eagan High School competed in two events at the New Balance Nationals track and field meet last weekend in Greensboro, N.C.

Anderson placed 11th in the girls 5,000-meter race in 17 minutes, 12.53 seconds and was 19th in the 2-mile run in 10:52.46.

She is scheduled to run the 5,000 in the USA Track and Field Junior Championships this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.

Earlier this month Anderson placed second in the 3,200 meters and eighth in the 1,600 at the state Class AA meet at Hamline University. She will go to the University of Minnesota in the fall and compete in cross country and track.

We still have baseball

In Minnesota, there’s little if any downtime between the end of the high school baseball season and the beginning of the American Legion season.

This weekend the Burnsville Cobras will hold their annual Snake Pit Invitational at Alimagnet Park. Burnsville will play Blue Springs, Mo., at 7:30 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, the Cobras will play Andover at 9 a.m. and Eden Prairie at 7:30 p.m. The final round of the tournament will be Sunday.

The Cobras have to do without Tyler Hanson and Cooper Maas for at least part of the weekend because they will play in the Minnesota High School All-Star Series on Friday and Saturday in Chaska.

The Cobras consist of most of the 2013 Burnsville High School baseball team, which finished second in the Section 3AAA tournament, plus college players and BHS alumni Bo Hellquist and Tyler Hill. Burnsville was ranked second in this week’s state American Legion baseball poll.

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