A powerful research tool for the serious or casual visitor.
Home > General > 2000 - 2009

Most viewed - 2000 - 2009
Year in Review 2004140 viewsHeart of the City blossomed in 2004
Elections, Hooters, new leaders also made news
Year in Review
byJohn Gessner

(caption) The old Kmart building on Travelers Trail was reduced to rubble in October. In its place is being built the mixed-use Nicollet Plaza development on the largest parcel of land in the Heart of the City.

Many of Burnsville’s 2004 news highlights came from the Heart of the City redevelopment district — the new “downtown” taking shape along Nicollet Av­ enue between Highway 13 and Burnsville Parkway.
Ground was broken on a sprawling mixed-use project that will include a Cub Foods store. A hotel project fell through, though another hotel developer is attempting to build on the same site. Nicollet Commons Park opened, and more condos and retail space were approved. The park became a focal point for local activities including concerts and part of the annual Fire Muster community celebra­ tion.
Burnsville got a new police chief in 2003, as department veteran Bob Hawkins replaced the retiring Dave Farrington. Tammy Omdal was hired as the See Year, 6A

Year/from 1A
city’s chief financial officer, re­ placing Steve O’Malley.
A mostly reluctant City Council — three of whose five members are women — ap­ proved plans for a Hooters Res­ taurant. In November voters chose a new council member, Dan Gustafson, and ousted in­ cumbent Steve Chemey.
Republican State Rep. Duke Powell survived a strong chal­ lenge from DFLer Will Morgan in Burnsville’s key House dis­ trict. U.S. Rep. John Kline eas­ ily beat DFLer and Burnsville Council Member Teresa Daly in her bid for higher office.
Officials mulled new regula­ tions for apartments while work­ ing to solve crime and property problems at one of Burnsville’s most troubled complexes, Colo­ nial Villa.
At Cedar Alternative High School, many will remember 2004 as the year three teens died while exploring riverfront caves in St. Paul.
Heart of the City
In July the City Council unanimously approved plans for Nicollet Plaza, which will brine housing. ■a Cub Foods
store, a bank and retail uses to the southeast corner of Nicollet Avenue and Highway 13.
Now under construction by Opus Northwest LLC, the de­ velopment will encompass the long-vacant Kmart property, the Cancun Restaurant site and vacant land immediately to the east. The Nicollet Plaza prop­ erty covers 17 of the 54 acres in the Heart of the City district.
Also in July, five months after severing ties with the would-be developer of a hotel and public arts center, the city reached an agreement with a new developer pursuing the project.
It requires the firm, Faulkner USA, to make preliminary pay­ ments for the property while preparing plans and securing fi­ nancing. The company has until March 31, 2005, to put the proj­ ect together.
The project would be built on 6.2 acres of city-owned land west of Nicollet Avenue and south of Highway 13. It consists of the old AAA Minnesota/Iowa property and part of the old Bumper’s Restaurant and Sports Bar property.
The city — which bought the property for $1.76 million — kept it off the market for two years while entertaining plans
from Spirit Mountain Land Holding LLC, whose proposal included a hotel, corporate train­ ing center and theater building that would have doubled as an arts center.
That came to an end on Feb. 20, when the Phoenix-based group failed to wire $1.77 mil­ lion to buy the property as required by a redevelopment agreement with the city.
The city then issued a request for proposals seeking develop­ ers of a mixed-use project that would include a hotel; commer­cial, office and residential uses; and the arts center.
In September the council approved another development that, like Nicollet Plaza, will bring condominiums and street- level commercial uses to the area. ParkCrest on Nicollet will be located at Nicollet Avenue and 125th Street. The project will also include an outdoor plaza.
Meanwhile, the International Chefs’ Culinary Center and the Ficus and Fig shop opened in the Heart of the City’s Grande Market Square building.
Park, events
In June more than 1,500 peo­ple got a free picnic dinner at
the dedication of Nicollet Com­mons Park at 126th Street and Nicollet Avenue.
In its first season, the park became the site of a summer concert series, a jazz festival and the Heart of the City Half Marathon. Some Fire Muster activities were moved from the traditional location in Civic Center Park to Nicollet Com­mons.
The annual September event featured the world’s longest fire-truck parade, which will be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.
New leaders
Police Chief Dave Far­rington, who came to Burnsville in 1971 as a part-time community-service officer, retired May 31. He had been chief for six years, replacing Mike DuMou- lin, who had been chief for 25 years.
“It’s time to decompress,” said Farrington, 55, who spent his years as chief rebuilding a department hit by a wave of re­tirements.
Bob Hawkins, a Police De­partment veteran whose roots in the community date back to childhood, was hired in August as the city’s new police chief. Hawkins, 44, is the son of local educators who moved to Burns­ville in 1964. He had been act­ ing chief since Farrington’s re­tirement.
Sgt. Eric Werner replaced Hawkins as a police captain.
Tammy Omdal, Minneapolis’ former budget director, became Burnsville’s chief financial of­ficer, replacing Deputy City Manager Steve O’Malley after he took a job in Wisconsin.
Elizabeth Kautz extended her 12-year mayoral tenure by trouncing little-known challeng­er Gregory Staffa in September.
Newcomer Dan Gustafson, a business owner active in the Burnsville Chamber of Com­merce and the Burnsville Break­fast Rotary, was elected to the City Council. Incumbent Steve Cherney was ousted in his bid for a second term. Liz Workman was the top vote getter in the five-way race for two council seats.
First-term Council Mem­ber Teresa Daly lost her bid for higher office, easily beaten in the 2nd District congressional race by incumbent U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Lakeville.
First-term incumbent state Rep. Duke Powell, R-Bumsville, edged DFL challenger Will Morgan, a Burnsville High School teacher, by 50 percent to 47 percent in House District 40A. The strong challenge in a traditionally Republican district was reflected in DFL electoral gains in the House.
See Year, 8A

Year/from 6A
In a special election July 13, Apple Valley Republican Chris Gerlach was elected senator in District 37, replacing Burns­ville Republican Dave Knutson, who was appointed to a Dakota County District Court judge­ ship by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Church rebuilds
The arson fire that destroyed part of Grace United Method­ist Church in July 2003 was relegated to history Aug. 8 as parishioners broke ground on a bigger, better church home.
Parishioners hope to occupy the $2.1 million addition by Easter 2005.
The fire that destroyed a 1987 church addition that in­cluded the sanctuary and of­fices was set by 18-year-old Kyle Anthony Rousseau of Burnsville. He’s serving a four- and-a-half year prison term for violating his probation by smuggling marijuana into the Dakota County Jail and smok­ing it just hours after he was sentenced for second-degree

The City Council discussed a best-practices program for Burnsville apartment complex­es that would build on steps taken in recent years to reduce crime, nuisance and property- code violations at the most troublesome complexes. Ac­tion on such a plan is expected in 2005.
Meanwhile, progress was reported by police and building inspectors working with the management of Colonial Villa Apartments (formerly Con­ nelly Estates). City officials began the effort in January, citing an unacceptable volume of police calls and code vio­lations. Though management subsequently expelled a police officer from a substation on the property, conditions at the
complex improved in 2004, of­ficials said.
A Hooters Restaurant came to Burnsville — without the blessing of some of the City Council members who voted for it June 7.
All three women on the five- member council publicly ob­jected to the brief tank tops and short shorts worn by female
wait staff of the Atlanta-based j Hooters of America chain. But only Council Member Teresa Daly ultimately voted against ! plans to remodel the old Em­bers Restaurant south of Burns­ville Parkway and west of I- 35W. Daly said her vote was 1 based on principle, not legali­ties, since Hooters was a legal use for the site.
Water restrictions
An odd-even and midday ban on outdoor watering took effect in June. The new rules satisfy conservation standards for future well drilling set by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
No smoking ban
In the wake of bar-restau­rant smoking bans enacted by Bloomington and Minneapolis, Burnsville City Council mem­bers repeated that they’re not interested in a smoking ban here unless it’s ordered by the state.
Ralph Clover, Burnsville’s first parks supervisor, died July 2 at age 85.
Three students from Cedar Alternative High School in Ea­ gan died after being overcome by carbon monoxide while exploring St. Paul’s Wabasha ! Street caves April 27.
Dead were Patrick Dague, 17, of Burnsville; Nick Larson, 17, of Savage; and Natalie Van-
Vorst, 17, of Savage.
Year in Review (continued) 2008129 viewsbyJohn Gessner

Editor’s note: This por­tion of the Burnsville 2008 year in review story was mistakenly omitted from the Dec. 26 edition.

Sports theft
A former youth sports commissioner who said he had a gambling problem was charged in February with embezzling more than $43,000 from the Burnsville Athletic Club.
Douglas Jay Jahnke al­legedly diverted registration fees and other money from the girls in-house basketball program while serving as commissioner from 2005 to 2007.
Jahnke allegedly altered checks or had players’ fami­lies make checks to him. Police say they documented 378 altered or forged checks and eight fraudulent cash transactions.
The 47-year-old Burns­ville resident was charged with six counts each of theft by swindle, check forgery and offering a forged check. His trial is scheduled to open Jan. 27.

Vehicular homicide
Armando Velasquez, 20, of Faribault, was sentenced in October to 57 months in prison for the hit-and-run that killed a man on April 5 outside the former Event Center at the Towne and Country Square mall. Velasquez had pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Carlos Eduardo Noriega, 32, of Prior Lake. The crime stemmed from an alterca­tion at the Event Center. Martina Narvaez pleaded guilty to aiding an offender for helping Velasquez try to avoid arrest. Similar charges were pending against Fran­ cisco Javiar Velasquez.

Attack, arson
Three men await trial in the May 11 break-in, attack and arson at a Burnsville man’s townhome. Paul Traub, 13603 Knox Drive, was stabbed and beaten by intruders who also stole his car and set the townhouse on fire. “These were nasty people,” said a neigh­bor, Wanda Trousil. “Nobody deserves to have that happen to them. He’s such a nice man.” Traub, 52, was in bed in the early-morning hours intruders entered through his open garage door. Charged with attempted murder, burglary and arson are Shaquen Perril Whit­field, 19, of Prior Lake; Irvin Scott Cook, 18, ad­dress unknown; and Lance Dwayne Wilkins, 21, of Pri­or Lake.

Stock swindle
Burnsville resident Eldon Anderson was sentenced Nov. 20 to 97 months in prison for defrauding in­vestors by selling stock in a business he called EPCOM Wireless Corp.
The 56-year-old, called a “consummate con man” by federal prosecutors, plead­ed guilty in March to one count of securities fraud. Anderson was ordered to pay more than $1.4 mil­ lion in restitution for frauds committed since 1994. “He invested a lot of time in friendships,” said Richard Hatcher of Burns­ville, a former neighbor of Anderson’s who lost $3,000 investing with him. “His part-time job was taking your money.”

Ex-mayor dies
Burnsville’s second may­or was a devout Mormon who didn’t like noisy bars or raunchy radio. Alfred E. Hall’s morals may have propelled him into politics. But Hall’s legacy is his stewardship of a village and city rapidly changing from rural to suburban. Hall, 80, died March 30 in Dallas, Texas, where he moved his family in 1976. He was mayor from Janu­ary 1966 to January 1970. A Mormon bishop, Hall thought liquor sales should be limited to mu­nicipal stores, though he never achieved that goal. He made news in the early 1970s for tangling with a youth-oriented AM radio station, U100, whose con­tent he found offensive.

Ice time
In June, a judge dismissed claims that Burnsville’s allo­cation of ice time is unfair to Burnsville youths who play in the Apple Valley Hockey Association. A suit filed by six AVHA parents who live in Burns­ville challenged the city’s policy of giving “legacy us­ers” priority in renting ice at the Burnsville Ice Center. The suit followed a bitter dispute that erupted in 2006 when the AVHA, a nonle­gacy user, was negotiating with the city for ice time. The AVHA, which must accept Burnsville youths who live in Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District 196, wanted prime- season ice time to be allo­cated based on the number of its Burnsville members as a percentage of total ice­ time users.

Hotels, problems
Burnsville’s hotels and motels came under in­ creased scrutiny in 2007 and 2008. Worries about prosti­tution, other crimes and cleanliness prompted the City Council to look into — but ultimately reject — city licensing of Burnsville’s 10 lodging properties. Sting operations from June 2007 through March 2008 showed prostitution to be a lingering problem. Sev­ en stings netted 40 arrests at five lodging properties and two apartment complexes, Police Chief Bob Hawkins said. The Red Roof Inn at 12920 Aldrich Ave. S. was not part of the sting opera­tion, but had significantly more police calls from June to December 2007 than neighboring lodging prop­erties, according to police.

Banquet center closes
The International Chefs’ Culinary Center, a banquet hall whose October 2004 opening helped inaugurate Burnsville’s Heart o f the City, closed Oct. 8. Located in the Grande Market Square building in the Heart of the City, the 440-seat center was the brainchild of Burnsville resident Ron Achterkirch, a former Control Data execu­tive and software-company founder whose worldwide travels inspired a love of fine dining. Achterkirch said his in­ ability to renegotiate his lease with building owner Sherman Associates and skyrocketing food prices doomed the business. “I’ll bet I’ve been to 100 events in his place in the last couple of years,” City Council Member Dan Gustafson said. “It was get­ting a lot of support from a lot of groups, but just not enough.” Some of Achterkirch’s booked wed­dings and other events were moved to the new Applewood Event Center, which opened recent­ly in the Towne and
Country Square mall at Highway 13 and Cliff Road.

Garbage zones
Garbage collection in Burnsville’s single-family neighborhoods will be lim­ited to one day a week in each of five zones. In May, the City Coun­cil unanimously approved a “day-specific” collection system. Collection of trash, recyclables and yard waste will be limited to one week­ day in each zone. The. five licensed haulers doing business in the city agreed to the change, which takes effect Jan. 1. Day-specific collection is the tightest regulation to emerge from years of peri­ odic debate over clamping down on trash-collection nuisances in Burnsville neighborhoods.

River Quadrant
City officials and local legislators held a news conference in April to tout a tax measure that could net Burnsville up to $80 million to prepare its vast riverfront
for redevelopment. The law, approved by the 2007 Minnesota Legisla­ture, allows the city to create tax-increment financing districts in the 1,700-acre area west of Interstate 35W and north of Highway 13 and pool the revenue for use throughout it.

Cops at risk
The Police Department held a news conference in July to raise awareness of roadside dangers cops face when stopping vehicles. Over the previous two and a half years, there were
eight incidents in which of­ficers’ vehicles had been hit or officers had been injured in traffic-related incidents, most of them traffic stops.

Apartment rehab
Chancellor Manor, Da­kota County’s largest subsi­dized housing complex will be acquired and rehabili­tated for $24.2 million, in an effort to deter crime and improve the property.
Final funding approval was announced Oct. 23 for the 200-unit apartment and townhome development built in 1972 and housing 493 low-income residents. The nonprofit Commu­nity Housing Development Corporation (CHDC) will own and manage the com­plex, located near County Road 42 on Irving Avenue South. Renovation is ex­ pected to begin next year and be completed in 2010. The Dakota County Com­munity Development Agen­cy is contributing $2.5 mil­ lion to the project.

Mediterranean Cruise Cafe
The Mediterranean Cruise Cafe, formerly in Eagan’s Cedarvale redevel­opment area, is moving to Burnsville. The City Council ap­proved the sale of .6 acres of city-owned land between Nicollet Commons Park and Red Lion Liquor in the Heart of the City. Mediter­ranean Cruise owner Jamal Ansari paid $165,000 for the land and will build a pump room where the city will house pumps feeding the artificial stream in the park. The city will pay $165,000 for an easement granting access to those facilities.
Ansari plans to open in late January.

John Gessner is at burnsville. thisweek@ecm-inc. com.
Year in Review 2005106 viewsJohn Gessner is at burnsville. thisweek@ecm-inc.com

2005 was a year of progress in Burnsville.
It brought new development to once-blighted property in the Heart of the City, where city leaders also studied the costs of building a performing-arts cen­ter.
2005 was a year of com­ passion, as citizens, churches, firefighters and city leaders did their small part to bring relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
2005 was also a year of crime and foreboding. Three murders were committed in Burnsville. The drug methamphetamine was blamed in a grisly slaying and an attempted murder, as well as a rash of related crimes that prompted police to launch a special street-crimes unit in 2006. A public forum on the meth epidemic drew some 250
teens and adults.
Heart and art
Nicollet Plaza opened on the long-vacant Kmart property and surrounding land, returning life to the blighted southeast comer of Nicollet Avenue and Highway
13 and furthering development of a mixed-use “downtown” in the Heart of the City.
Covering 17 of the 54 acres in the Heart of the City, the proj­ect is anchored by a Cub Foods store adjacent to other retail stores. Still not fully built, the project will also include condo­ miniums, rowhouse-style town- See City, 12A

homes, and an office and bank building.
City officials started over in their quest to bring a perform­
ing-arts center to city-owned land in the Heart of the City.
The city and local arts groups had pinned their hopes on two would-be hotel developers who said an arts center could be part
of their larger projects in Burns­ville’s redevelopment district.
But the first developer failed to deliver a project, and the sec­ ond has failed to meet a pay­ ment deadline in its quest to buv
the land for a hotel, retail office and housing project.
This year the City Council will discuss whether the 700- to 900-seat project can be funded and built. A consultant’s esti­ mate put the cost at around $40 million, but officials are confi­dent it can be built for less.

Meth and crime
The City Council approved a Police Department budget re­ quest for two officers who will focus on drug and drug-related crimes.
“We have a real problem with methamphetamine,” said Police Chief Bob Hawkins. Through the first six months of 2005, drug crimes were up 57 percent, from 208 to 327, compared with the same period in 2004. Also up were robberies (20 percent). See City,13A

aggravated assaults (44 per cent), residential burglaries (74 percent) and commercial bur glaries (78 percent).
Two grisly crimes were meth-related. Derrek Lawrence Hopkins, 24, is accused of mur dering his 50-year-old aunt, Di ane Hedalen, at her Burnsville apartment. He allegedly beat her with his fists and a wooden chest and slit her throat. Hopkins had been taking meth daily for more than a week before committing Dakota County's first meth-fu- eled homicide, said County At torney James Backstrom.
David Edward Makarim, 26, is accused of attempted murder in the Jan. 17 stabbing of his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend at her Burnsville apartment. He later used the knife to threaten police officers, who shot him in the leg. Makarim was also on meth, Hawkins said.
In an Oct. 28 meth forum at Burnsville High School, Back strom said he’s never seen a problem “more pervasive, more dangerous and more scary”in his 28 years in the county attor ney’s office.
Two other murders occurred in 2005. Patricia Ann McGhee was shot to death in her apart ment May 14. Johnny Jerome Clark — the father of her three children — was charged with second-degree murder. McGhee had kicked Clark out o f the apartment three weeks earlier.
Maris Jo Miles was murdered Dec. 30 at her home. Charged is her stepson, 23-year-old Ste phen Miles of Eagan, who al legedly killed her with hatchet blows to the head and then cut off the head with a knife. His attorney says Miles is mentally ill.
Fishing Hat Bandit Burnsville resident John

Whitrock, the Twin Cities’no torious “Fishing Hat Bandit,” pleaded guilty May 13 to steal ing more than $84,000 in a string of 22 bank robberies. His nickname came from the floppy hat he often wore during heists. The 57-year-old was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Stranded in the Houston As trodome with other Hurricane Katrina survivors, Dominick Ballard and Troilynn Baxter of New Orleans’Gentilly neigh borhood took a chance on a bus ride to Minnesota and wound up in the Burnsville home of John and Joan Boone.
Burnsville rallied around survivors of the September di saster.
Cash, food and supplies were collected through Burnsville Katrina Relief, sponsored by the city. Prince o f Peace Lutheran Church and local businesses.
Burnsville resident Ed Lord ledateamof150AmericanRed Cross volunteers that set up a massive relief center in Mon roe, La. Some 3,000 hurricane evacuees took shelter inside a 314,000-square-foot building. Lord, the former head of the Veterans Affairs office of Emer gency Medical Preparedness, called the effort the “Miracle in Monroe.”
Ton and Mary Eischen of Burnsville spent eight weeks in Biloxi, Miss., helping to run a relief center at a church and fix ing up damaged homes. The re tirees are members of St. James Lutheran Church in Burnsville. Their relief work was done through Lutheran Disaster Re sponse.
Burnsville firefighter/para- medics Kyle Engen and Mike Klarich answered a post-Katrina call to firefighters from the Fed eral Emergency Management Agency. They spent three weeks in Louisiana assessing damage and living conditions follow ing Hurricane Katrina and then

Hurricane Rita.
Ballard and Baxter, who were
planning to marry when the hur ricane struck, are now starting over in Burnsville. They found jobs and an apartment at the Co lonial Estates complex.
Rental housing
The City Council approved a rental licensing ordinance Nov. 23, after more than a year of tweaking and consultation with sometimes-recalcitrant property owners and managers.
Licensing of rental housing was recommended by police and other city departments to stem crime and nuisance problems at troubled apartment complexes. The licenses are free, which helped owners and managers to endorse the program.
Freeway congestion
“Revive 35”became the slo gan of a campaign to mobilize south metro citizens tired of traf fic congestion on I-35/I-35W. It was launched by the 35W Solu tions Alliance.
Officials complained of funding shortages for needed improvements to serve the ar ea’s growing commuter popula tion and pressed for funding for a new interchange at Highway
13 and County Road 5 in Burns ville. U.S. Rep. John Kline, R- 2nd District, secured $3 million for the project in the federal highway funding bill.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Department of Transportation developed possible fixes for Burnsville’s congested portion of the freeway, which prom ises to grow more congested as development pressures to the south increase.
Recommendations include closing the Black Dog Road interchange and moving a rede signed Cliff Road interchange to the north.

Airport and noise
Residents of Burnsville and neighboring communities got fair warning about increased noise from a new runway at Minneapolis-St. Paul Interna tional Airport. A series of meet ings and presentations was held in April, including several in Burnsville.
So how bad is the increased noise from the runway, which handles about 37 percent o f the airport’s departures and 17 per cent of its arrivals?
Ask residents o f northeast Burnsville, the city’s most af fected area, and they’ll probably say they won't know for sure until open-window weather re turns in the spring.
Among local people serving in Iraq:
Lt.Col.DavidRabbofBurns ville, commanding officer of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 785th Combat Stress Co., returned in February from 12 months in Iraq, where his 85-member unit fanned out across the theater to help soldiers cope with fear, fa tigue and trauma.
Shelley Hermes, a physical education teacher at Eagle Ridge Junior High in Savage, returned in September after commanding
135 members of the National Guard’s Bravo Company 134th Signal Battalion, which served
11 months in Baghdad.
Buck Hill
The City Council voted
March 21 to give Buck Hill Ski Area expanded development rights on part of its property in exchange for zoning that will help ensure the ski hill remains for decades to come.
High-density, owner-occu pied lownhomes and some com mercial uses will be allowed on the northern 21 acres of Buck Hill property.
The deal assured that Buck

Hill wouldn’t go the way of another southwest Burnsville amenity — Orchard Gardens Golf Course, which was plowed under to make way for home sites.
Fire chief
Fire Chief Ron Payne re
tired in April after 12 years as chief. He was replaced Oct. 17 by Steve Harklerode, 44, the department’s acting chief. Har klerode hadn’t initially applied for the top job, but reconsidered after the city’s offer to Roseville Fire Chief Richard Gasaway fell through.
Remains found
Human bones discovered by a man walking in Murphy-Han- rehan Park Reserve in southwest Burnsville May 9 were those of AnneWhite,53,ofSavage,who had been missing since 1999.
Foul play was ruled out in White death. She was last seen Feb. 7, 1999, at the nearby Sav age home of her ex-husband, Phil Swan. She had gone there complaining of marital prob lems.
Athletic fields were named for local youth sports boosters.
Mel Larson Field was dedi cated at Black Dog Park. Burns ville’s premier youth football venue. Larson has coached Burnsville Athletic Club foot ball for 29 years and been foot ball commissioner for 20.
Baseball Field 1 at Alimag- net Park was named for Rich Vander Laan, a baseball booster for more than 20 years and the president of Baseball Asso ciation 191. Field 2 was named for the late Bob Bunnell, the founder of the Burnsville Bob cats town team and a former city parks commissioner who helped plan and secure voter approval
See City, 14A

I4A January7,2006 THISWEEK City/from 13A
of a parks bond referendum that included a second field at Ali- magnet.
A group of former play ers and coaches is now asking chool District 191 to name the football field at Pates Stadium after retired football coach Dick Hanson.
Owners of the Hooters Res
taurant in Burnsville withdrew their request for an outdoor pa tio.
The request faced opposition from city staff and the Planning Commission, which voted 3-2 July 11 to recommend denial of a planned unit development amendment to allow the patio. Though inadequate parking was the sticking point. Hooters also has local detractors who
dislike the female wait staff’s skimpy outfits. One of them, City Council Member Teresa
Daly, said she had planned to vote against the deck request.
Year ini Review 200793 viewsbyJohn Gessner
Burnsville boondoggle or a shining star in the Heart of the City?
Debate over the S20 million Burnsville Performing Arts Center got hotter as the weather got warmer
in 2007. ' Bythetime a divided City Council cast an expected
Roger Rich- ardson, Burns- yille’s first city mayor, died in C)ctober
final vote for the project in July, police officers stood guard in the lobby to quell shouting matches, and oppo­ nents were warning support­ ing council members that their days in office were numbered.
“Cowards! Cowards!” a man shouted at offending of­ ficials after the vote.
Years of discussion over an arts center had probably gone unnoticed by many residents. But the council’s decision to build it with public funding af­ ter a series of private develop­ ment plans fell through caught the attention of many, includ­ ing opponents who turned up the heat through a citizen group called No Performing Arts Center.
'• Those who’d support­ ed an arts center for years were steadfast but frequently drowned out by the growing opposition movement. Sup-
Filephoto by Rick Orndorf
City officials broke ground on the Burnsville Performing Arts Center in July. From left are Deputy City Manager Tammy Omdal, City Council Member Dan Gustafson, Mayor Elizabeth Kautz, former Council Member Teresa Daly (who supported the project while in office), Council Member Liz Workman and Deputy City Manager Tom Hansen. Council members Charlie Crichton and Dan Kealey, who voted against the project, didn’t participate in the ceremony.
porters included members of local arts groups and citizens involved in planning the Heart of the City redevelopment, who said the draw of an arts center had always been part of the vision.
“The good thing about de­ mocracy is we elected council
people to represent us,” com­ munity-theater veteran Len Nachman said at the July council meeting. “The council is representing all the people.”
While the arts center con­ sumed much of Burnsville’s attention in 2007, other news- See City, 8A making events included rede­ velopment proposals in the Heart of the City, a win on airport noise, a takeover of Burnsville legislative seats by Democrats, apartment and house fires and the death of the city’s first mayor.
Arts center
The council’s direction on an arts center was essentially set in December 2006, when it approved a two-track plan: Ei­ ther developer M.A. Morten- son would build a new home for the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres on city-owned land west of Nicollet Commons Park, or the city would build its own performance center.
In early 2007, the Chanhas­ sen crossed Burnsville off its list* and the city terminated a contract with Mortenson when the builder sought additional subsidies for an adjacent hotel project.
The Mortenson deal was the third public-private deal for construction of a Burnsville arts center to fall through in recent years.
In March, the council voted 3-2 for a $20 million financing plan — including a $16.5 mil­ lion bond sale — that officials insisted will not raise property owners’taxes. Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and council members Dan Gustafson and Liz Work­ man voted for the plan; council members Charlie Crichton and Dan Kealey voted against.
The council division con­ tinued on July 2, as members voted 3-2 for a needed rezoning and other site approvals. Dave Erickson, an opposition leader, warned the council of a “rising tide of anger” over the project.
An estimated 1,500 people
attended a ground-breaking ceremony July 10. The cen­ ter — with a 1,000-seat main theater, a 150-seat black-box theater, community meet­ ing rooms and gallery space — is expected to open late next year.
Airport noise
Northeast Burnsville resi­ dents got relief from the ex­ cessive aircraft noise that had plagued their neighborhoods after a new airport runway opened in October 2005.
The percentage of aircraft departing Runway 17/35 and flying over northeast Burnsville dropped from 43 percent to 9 percent, the Metropolitan Air­ ports Commission reported in April.
The reduction in overflights under a new departure heading used by the Federal Aviation Administration was begun on a trial basis Feb. 7 and later made permanent.
Departing aircraft fanned out to 215 degrees over the Minnesota River — close to what MAC officials had predicted before the runway opened — instead of the 190- degree heading the FAA had said was needed for safety.
Heart of the City
Two office buildings with a restaurant and catering center are planned for the old AAA Minnesota/Iowa property west of Nicollet Avenue, next to the arts center.
But the project won’t in­ clude a hotel. Anderson Development, which in September added a hotel to its plans in a competition with two other suitors for the city- owned property, reported in November that none of the
16 hotel chains it had courted were interested in the site.
The City Council, acting as the Economic Development Authority, proceeded without the hotel, approving a redevel­ opment contract and $2 mil­ lion in tax-increment financ­ ing. The project comes with 500 public parking stalls.
The TCF Bank site at Nicollet Avenue and Burnsville Parkway will be redeveloped. The Economic Development Authority granted up to $1.5 million in tax-increment fi­ nancing Oct. 15 to Wellington Management Inc., which plans to build a two- or three-level medical office building, a drug­ store and a two-level parking deck.
DFLers in the
In a stunning political rever­ sal, five of the six Burnsville- area seats in the state Leg­ islature went to DFLers in November 2006. The new leg­ islators completed their first session in 2007.
The two new lawmakers from Burnsville, District 41 Sen. John Doll and District 41A Rep. Will Morgan, bucked their party by voting against income-tax increases.
Republicans wasted little time in their campaign to re­ claim Morgan’s seat in 2008. By May, two candidates — for­ mer Burnsville City Council Member Deborah Moran and District 191 School Board Member Todd Johnson — had announced.
Fire broke out June 14 at Raven Hill Apartments on .Harriet Avenue, leaving about 200 people homeless for the night. One woman was injured jumping from a second-story
window, and a man was arrest­ ed for disorderly conduct when he tried, against police orders, to save a pet inside.
Susan Kay Gilbertson, 67, died eight days later of injuries suffered in a July 16 fire in her apartment at The Woods of Burnsville complex on Port­ land Avenue. Firefighters had rescued her from the burning unit.
Lightning was blamed for a string of five fires Aug. 14 and

st mayor dies
Roger Richardson, the city
of Burnsville’s first mayor, died Oct. 13 at 85.
He was Burnsville Town Board chairman and the night- shift boss at Northern States Power’s Black Dog generating plant during a historic annexa­ tion battle between Burnsville and Bloomington, its neighbor across the Minnesota River.
While Richardson’s em­ ployer, the chief target of Bloomington’s annexation bid, sided with that city, Richard­ son stood firm for Burnsville.
Burnsville prevailed, the township incorporated and Richardson was elected mayor of the new city July 14, 1964.' Defeated in his re-election bid, he served through 1965.
Richardson, who lived for 45 years on Shirley Drive, was a board member at St. John the Baptist Catholic School- in Savage for 20 years and served as Dakota County civil defense director in 1966.
Charter school woes
An embattled Burnsville charter school didn’t resume classes this fall after one year of operation.
Dakota Academy Charter School was embroiled in a long battle with its chartering spon­ sor, Crossroads College of Rochester, which complained that the school didn’t deliver timely information about school operations or address management concerns.
The school failed in its bid for a court injunction to pre­ vent the state Department of Education from closing it.
Water-treatment plant
An idea first hatched in 1994 came to fruition last year, as Burnsville, Savage and Kraemer Mining and Materi­ als reached agreement on a plan to build a water-treatment plant on Kraemer’s riverfront
The plant will capture and treat about 4 million gallons per day of water pumped from the company’s limestone min­ ing quarry into the Minnesota
River. Costs of the $13.5 mil­ lion plant — which will include treatment facilities on the site of Burnsville’s existing treat­ ment plant and a watermain
from Kraemer property — are split between the three parties and a $5.5 million state contri­ bution.
Ice time
The Apple Valley Hockey Association’slong-runningdis­ pute with the city of Burnsville over ice time is headed to court.
In July, the hockey group — which consists of Burnsville families living in School Dis­ trict 196 — filed suit against the city. It alleges that the city’s method of allocating ice time at the Burnsville Ice Center un­ fairly favors user groups with longstanding ties to the city at the expense of residents.
The plaintiffs say ice time should be allocated based on the percentage of Burnsville youths within the groups.
A court date is set for June 11.
Traffic deaths
Mary Ajiba Omot, 39, of Burnsville, was struck and killed while walking across County Road 5 in the 13000 block in the early-morning hours of June 9.
A 65-year-old Apple Valley man was killed Sept. 18 when the car he was riding in was broadsided in the intersection of Cliff Road and West River Hills Drive. The driver of the other vehicle, 27-year-old Syresta Guytun of Burnsville, ran a red light, police say.
Samantha Ann Heiges, 21, was charged Sept. 20 with drowning her newborn baby girl after giving birth in the bathtub of her Burnsville
Erik Ryan Matlock, 23, was
charged with aiding the crime, which allegedly occurred in May 2005.
Heiges claims the abusive Matlock threatened her and the baby’s life unless the baby was disposed of.
An acquaintance of Heiges’ told Burnsville police earlier this year that Heiges had con­ fessed the crime to him, Da­ kota County Attorney James Backstrom said.
Heiges, now living in Coon Rapids, was charged with second-degree manslaughter and first-degree murder. Mat- lock, now living in Blaine, was
charged with aiding an offend­ er in second-degree murder.
Bruce W. Betcher of Burnsville was sentenced May 7 to a total of 750 years in fed­ eral prison in a child pornog­ raphy case investigated by U.S.
Immigration and Customs En­ forcement.
Betcher, 53, was convicted in May 2006 on 24 counts of manufacturing child pornog­ raphy, one count of receiving
child pornography and one count of possessing child por­ nography, according to ICE.
Betcher took digital photo­ graphs of minor relatives en­ gaged in sexually explicit con­ duct, ICE said.
Justine Alex Reisdorf, 19,
of Eagan pleaded guilty Sept. 12 to placing an Internet ad advertising prostitution. A charge of sex trafficking of a
minor was dismissed.
Reisdorf was accused of
recruiting high school girls in School District 191 to work as prostitutes at a rented Burnsville townhome where
she lived and at a Burnsville hotel where she worked.

ice said this spring they had arrested 16 men in a span
of weeks for lewd behavior just west of I-35W in the Minne­ sota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
Police arrested six men, ages 40 to 80, in a crackdown from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 29. They were arrested for sex acts and flashing, which occurred in open spaces at the river’s edge or along the footpaths through the trees, police said.
The men were charged with indecent exposure, a misde­
meanor with a possible penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Fire Muster
The annual Burnsville Fir5 Muster community festival was moved from its traditional early-September slot to Aug. 8 to 12 to accommodate the annual summer convention of the Society for the Preserva­ tion and Appreciation of An­ tique Motor Fire Apparatus in
More than 200 memberc
came to town for the conven­ tion and the Fire Muster truck parade. Local society members Ken and Janet Peterson were largely responsible for bring­ ing the convention to town.
Bob’s benched
Employees and customers of Benchwarmer Bob’s Sports Cafe may have caught wind of the financial and legal woes en­ tangling the popular Burnsville restaurant and nightspot.
They didn’t expect to find a sign on the door Feb. 7 saying it was closed.
Five partners in the business — including former Minne­ sota Viking Bob Lurtsema and former Minnesota Twin Kent Hrbek — have won a $650,000 settlement against Nicholas Grammas, the general partner who ran the restaurant. They say the Plymouth man used more than $1 million in bank loans obtained through the partnership to prop up fail­ ing Twin Cities restaurants he owned.
What the partners will do with the property at 251 W. Burnsville Parkway remains to be seen. But some locals will miss Benchwarmer Bob’s, which thrived for 13 years in a building where an American Legion club and several other restaurants had come and
John Gessner is at burnsville. thisweek@ecm-inc.com.
Rural Burnsville - a step back in time 200991 viewsA Star Tribune article which appeared online June 2, 2009 - Reporter Dean Spiros talks with residents of Orchard Gardens described as a suburban neighborhood that time forgot where tire swings compete with video games for kids' attention. Where lot sizes are measured in acres rather than feet. Where childhood friends and neighbors remain that way 40 plus years later. Interviews include Dan Callahan and Dave Geary.
The Rivers Senior Housing, South River Hills.89 viewsLocated at 11111 River Hills Drive, Burnsville, the Rivers is an assisted living facility in Burnsville, MN. The Rivers offers activities at their location for residents. These activities generally allow residents to maintain healthy lifestyles by encouraging movement and socializing with their peers. Photo 2017.
Secure your spot inside the Burnsville Centennial Time Capsule87 viewsThe Community is invited to submit entries for box to be opened in 2064. Get creative with your entry: Write a letter to your grandchidlren, enclose photos, make a prediction, or pursue any other creative idea. The submissions will be professionally bound and preserved to stand the test of time...The capsule will be opened on the event of the city's 100th Anniversary.
Burnsville reaches out to Russian speaking population 200087 viewsJanuary 8, 2000 the Burnsville Sun/Thisweek News reports: The Russian speaking immigrants who received a guided tour of Burnsville's Fire Station 2 in November returned the favor December 21. They brought firefighters a pre-Christmas meal...The visits were part of a new city push to welcome and assist Burnsville's growing population of Eastern European immigrants....
Secret donor gives $1 million to Burnsville Fire Victims 200886 viewsThe December 23, 2008 Pioneer Press reports that dozens of families left homeless after a fire at a Burnsville apartment complex have an early Christmas present awaiting them - $1 million dollar donation. An anonymous donor contributed the money to a fund to aid those in the Burncliff fire.
Grand Opening Celebration Burnsville Performaning Arts Center 8 pages84 viewsThe Ames Center, formerly Burnsville Performing Arts Center, opened in January 2009. The center has two theatres, a 1,014 seat proscenium stage and an intimate 150 seat Black Box Theatre. The Lobby is two stories tall, all glass, with a sweeping view of Nicollet Commons Park, The Minnesota River Valley, and the Minneapolis Skyline.

In addition to the Theatres, the center has a 2,000-square-foot art gallery, meeting rooms and a large rehearsal room. There is additional space for banquets, special events and receptions. Presentations at the Ames Center include cultural events, dramas, comedies, dance and musical acts from local arts organizations and national touring artists.
Festival celebrates Burnsville's Diversity 200784 viewsThe June 30, 2007 St. Paul Pioneer Press reports on Burnsville's FIRST International Festival at the Nicollet Commons Park in Burnsville.
Food came from Outback Steakhouse, Baker's Square and Dino's with international entertainment. Admission was free.
I Love Burnsville 200881 viewsthe March 6, 2008 Dakota County Tribune reports on the first of what will become an annual event in Burnsville. It featured a community garage sale, spring clean up activities and children, family and senior events. Deputy City Manager Tom Hansen said "It's a celebration of Burnsville and reconnecting neighborhoods."
Burnsville High opens doors to displaced fire victims 200881 viewsDecember 23, 2008 Savage Pacer reports: Burnsville High School opened its doors while staff and students opened their hearts to those displaced by a fire at a nearby Burncliff Manor Apartments December 22. About 80 residents were transported to the school after the fire and 29 spent the night in the gym and used the locker rooms. Local businesses, civic organizations and individuals have donated food, blankets, pillows, clothing and many other items to assist the displaced apartment dwellers...
Parkwood housing 2017 photo80 viewsHousing development on Burnsville Parkway.
MPR report on December 2008 fire80 viewsMinnesota Public Radio (MPR) news report on the 2008 apartment complex fire at Burncliff Manor Apartments December 2.
Orchard Gardens Golf closed 200479 viewsOrchard Gardens Golf Course is a Semi*Private, t hole golf course located in Burnsville,Minnesota.

The course opened for play in 1967. The course designer was Martin Auto.Orchard Gardens Golf Course had four holes that are extremely hilly. Their website said: "Be prepared for the ball to be either above or below your feet at any given time. The course has tree-lined fairways. Several sand bunkers corne into play on every hole. The ladies tee off from the same set of tees as the men on this 9-hole course. The course plays to 1,570 yards and is a par-27 challenge for men and par-30 for ladies."

Orchard Gardens Golf Course closed in ?004 and has been replaced with residential homes.
Second International Festival 200878 viewsAfter a successful debut in 2007, the International Festival returned to Nicollet Commons Park June 28, 2008. The first year an estimated 2500 people attended.
Oakleaf Townhouse rental housing76 viewsLocated at 12213 17th Ave South, provides rental options for residents wishing a townhome.
Orchard Garden Station76 viewsAnother photo of Burnsville's National Historic site - Orchard Garden Station.
Census 2002 delves into details75 viewsJune 6, 2002 Burnsville Sun Current reports: Burnsville and Shades of Gray (population getting older) and Commuters challenged in the County - Transportation issues.
Opposing views of amphitheater project 200170 viewsJanuary 3, 2001 the Sun Current Newspaper reports: A 19,599 seat amphitheater on the edge of the Minnesota River was not music to the ears of many Burnsville and Bloomington residents this past year.

In turn, the sound of citizen groups clashing with city leaders throughout the approval process was less than harmonious to those who sought a simple resolution.

Residents on both sides of the river resisted a proposal to construct the amphitheater next to the site of a former landfill, while city leaders clamored to tell residents how the project would benefit their community...
Chronology of key events in Burnsville during 200070 viewsJanuary 3, 2001 the Sun Current features a 12 month overview of events in Burnsville durng 2000.
2001 remembered - 67 viewsJanuary 5, 2002 the Burnsville Sun/Thisweek News looks back over the top stories of the year 2001.
2003 was the last year of Orchard Gardens - Golf course, amphitheatre, new leaders make news this past year 200466 viewsJanuary 3, 2004 the Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News looks back at Burnsville events during 2003 such as the end of Orchard Garden's Golf Course, the amphitheatre discussin, Craig Ebeling the new city manager replacing Greg Konat, An update on the Heart of the City, Budget blues, Church arson at Grace United Methodist, a tobacco fight, Should there be more fire fighters? A crackdown on speeding.
Ushering out the old, ringing in the new in Burnsville 200162 viewsJanuary 3, 2001 the Burnsville Sun looks back at the year 2001.
Year in Review 200661 views
Looking back: A century of Burnsville History 200054 viewsJanuary 8, 2000 the Burnsville Sun/Thisweek News publishes this history of Burnsville, as a new decade begins. It also coincides with the publication of Burnsville 2000 A Community History.
YMCA53 viewsLocated at 13850 Portland Avenue South near the Ridges Campus. The Burnsville YMCA offers swim lessons, group exercise classes, personal training and other great fitness and community building programs. Gym membership includes access to all fitness center and pool facilities.
35 files on 2 page(s) 1