Friday, December 30, 2011

Mendota Heights Has a New City Administrator

Justin Miller (no relation to me) began his new position as city administrator in Mendota Heights, MN on December 28, 2011.  He was selected in October to fill the position vacated by David McKnight over the summer when he left to become city administrator in his hometown in Farmington.

Back in October, Mayor Sandra Krebsbach said the decision was unanimous among the five council members. She said Miller’s strong leadership skills, current data management experience and technology skills will be an asset to the city. In addition, she said he will be instrumental in developing the city’s industrial park.

“For the residents, he will provide excellent service. He will be accessible, effective and I think the residents will enjoy and benefit from him being our city (administrator),” Krebsbach said.

Justin Miller received a bachelor’s degree in political science and business administration from Austin College of Sherman, TX and a masters of public administration degree from the University of Kansas.  He has served as city administrator in Falcon Heights since 2006. Prior to that he has been employed with the cities of Chanhassen and Des Moines, IA, according to a statement released by the city.

Here is a question and answer interview with Justin Miller on his first day at work in Mendota Heights City Hall by Mendota Heights Patch editor.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Endangered Asian Wild Dogs Exhibit Opens At Minnesota Zoo

Looking for something new to do or see while the kids are on winter break?

No matter how many times you've been to the Minnesota Zoo, starting Friday you and your family can see a new exhibit of Asian wild dogs, called dholes (pronounced "dohlz").

The zoo is the third in the U.S. to exhibit the animals, according to a news release.

The endangered dhole is found in China, India, Russia and Thailand; about 2,500 are left in the wild, the release says. The growth of Asia's human population contributes to their endangered status, causing habitat loss and lack of prey, as well as disease.

The Minnesota Zoo is open normal hours throughout the new year's holiday and into 2012—9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Is It A Good Time To Buy?

Buyers often ask when is a good time to buy, and one thing I always tell them to look at is housing affordability. This housing affordability index measures housing affordability for the Twin Cities region.  An index of 120 means the median household income was 120% of what is necessary to qualify for the median-priced home under prevailing interest rates. A higher number means greater affordability. The past months housing affordability index was 256, which increased 10.3% from the previous month. That means the median household income has 256% of what it takes to qualify for their next dream home. Of course, every buyer has different circumstances. It may be time to sit down with a professional to determine if now is the right time for you to buy!

District 196 Magnet School and K-Plus Applications for 2012-2013

Is your family applying for enrollment in District 196 elementary magnet schools or K-Plus programs for the 2012-2013 school year? Elementary students in District 196 can apply to any of the district's  three elementary magnet schools, Cedar Park Elementary Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Apple Valley, Diamond Path Elementary School of International Studies in Apple Valley and Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts and Science in EaganOne-hour tours will be given at the three magnet schools at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on January 10th and 11th.  Enrollment is determined by lottery and there are space restrictions at each school and each grade level.  

Kindergarten Plus (K-Plus) is District 196's optional, fee-based, full-day program that complements the district's half-day kindergarten program. Morning and afternoon sessions are taught by a licensed kindergarten teacher, resulting in a cohesive, all-day experience for students.  Information nights for  K-Plus are being held at  6:30-8 p.m.; January 3rd at Red Pine Elementary and January 5th at Echo Park Elementary.

Application forms for both programs are available at all elementary schools, the district website and District Office.  Applications are due by January 20th at 4 p.m.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

$1 Million in Grants From the Met Council to Apple Valley, MN

The Metropolitan Council awarded $9 million in grants in 2011 from the Livable Communities Act Grant Program. The city of Apple Valley, MN received more than $1 million of these grants for development projects including pedestrian trails to the Apple Valley Transit Station, park improvements and 30 affordable senior housing units.  The nearby community of Rosemount, MN also received a grant for the Steeple Center development project. Here is more information on the projects. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Free Family Event Now Celebrating It's 20th Season!

Once again it's time to bundle up the kids, pick up the grandparents and head to the Target Holidazzle Parade. Every year since 1992, when the first parade marched down Nicollet Mall, over 300,000 spectators converge on downtown Minneapolis to join the sparkling fun.
Thrilling the crowds on Nicollet Mall from 12th Street to 4th Street, Target Holidazzle continues Thursdays through Sundays until December 18 at 6:30 pm. Brave the wind chill and watch streetside, or keep warm in the "Hot Seats" or downtown skyways.
Find the complete parade schedule here.
Find directions here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Favorite Lunch Spots In Apple Valley, MN

Here are a few videos we made at our favorite lunch spots in the Apple Valley, MN/Eagan area.  We are not professional video-graphers but these should give you a quick look at our recommended restaurants.  If you are interested in other information about the Apple Valley, MN area we are always adding new videos to the Around Town section on our YouTube channel.

Valley Diner