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Xcel to repower Black Dog coal fired units with natural gas 201115 viewsMarch 16, 2011 POWERnews reports:

Xcel to Repower Black Dog Coal-Fired Units with Natural Gas

Xcel Energy wants to retire its last two coal-fired power plants (Units 3 and 4) at the Black Dog power plant in Burnsville, Minn., and replace them with natural gas–fired units. Black Dog Units 1 and 2 were converted to natural gas combined-cycle operation in 2002. Xcel says the conversion would be “more economical” than alternatives.

“Repowering this plant with state-of-the-art natural gas technology is more economical than any of the alternatives available to us, makes great use of an existing plant site and existing transmission resources and will help meet our customers’ needs in an environmentally sound manner,” said Judy Poferl, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company. “The project presents a great opportunity to modernize our power supply in a way that takes advantage of Black Dog’s unique location and the infrastructure that has developed there over time.”

The company said it filed an application with state regulators on Monday for a “certificate of need” of a combined-cycle facility on the Black Dog site, separate from the main building. The new facility will include “two combustion turbines, two heat recovery steam generators and a steam turbine generator located in what is now the plant’s coal yard,” Xcel said.

The company added that integrating combustion turbine and steam turbine technology “provides an extremely efficient electricity production process.” Claiming combined-cycle technology would be “about 50% more efficient” than the existing traditional steam plant, the company also said that the plant would generate more power; the repowering is expected to replace 253 MW of coal-fired generating capacity with 700 MW of gas power. The project will include a new substation and connection to the on-site 345-kilovolt transmission lines. A higher-capacity natural gas line will also be installed to serve the facility.

The Black Dog proposal requires review and approval by various state agencies, including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. As part of the certificate of need process, independent power suppliers will have the opportunity to propose alternative developments.

If the $600 million project is approved, site preparation could begin in 2012 and foundation construction could begin in 2013, Xcel said. It would then come online by 2016.

Xcel had last September shut down its 538-MW Black Dog plant after it was rocked by an explosion. No personnel were harmed, but three firefighters responding to a smoldering fire in a coal hopper received minor injuries, police said.

The company did not comment as to whether this was a factor in its decision to repower the plant. It said, however, that the project was similar to the company’s Minnesota Metro Emissions Reduction Project, which led to repowering the High Bridge and Riverside plants from coal to natural gas and upgrades at the Allen S. King plant.

“Combined with the previous emissions reduction project, the conversion of the Black Dog plant supports the utility’s overall goals to make strategic use of critical locations, expand generating capacity, keep rates reasonable and reduce emissions to meet environmental requirements,” it said.

Sources: POWERnews, Xcel Energy
Burnsville Family Festival15 viewsBurnsville Family Festival - October 12, 2019 at the high school.
Farmers Market15 viewsSeptember, 2019 Farmers Market at School District 191 Administrative Building.
Holiday season in Burnsville14 viewsThe Heart of the City area decorated for the holidays. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.
Gateway Bridge14 viewsThe Gateway Bridge over 35 at Burnsville Parkway, compliments of the City of Burnsville.
Attractions14 viewsThe 2019 - 2020 Burnsville Community Guide, page 18 published by Sun/Thisweek News includes a listing of area attractions including the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, Caponi Art Park, Cascade Bay, Dakota Curling, Elko Speedway and the Dakota City Heritage Village.
Farmers Market14 viewsSeptember, 2019 Farmers Market at the School District 191 Administrative Building.
Glo Run 201914 viewsNEW in 2019 GLO RUN NIGHT RACE FOR ALL AGES SEPT. 28, 2019.

Moms, dads, kids and people of all ages are invited to a “Run in the Dark at Lac Lavon Park.” Participants will receive glowing items before the race to help light up the course. Runners can wear their own neon attire for extra fun and glow. Neon signs and lights throughout the course will guide runners on the one-mile route.DJ music and carnival games before the start will help participants get their blood flowing. All participants will receive a t-shirt. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.
Burnsville Community Builders 201914 viewsThe Community Builder Award began in 1998 and has been presented each year to individuals, groups or businesses that make contributions that build community and a lasting impact on the quality of life in Burnsville. Jack Kennelly's Burnsville Historical Society project, this site, was included in 2019.
Burnsville streets circa 201713 viewsA fall scene of Burnsville, compliments of the City.
New city manager Melanie Mesko Lee sees opportunities ahead 201813 viewsCouncil hires Hastings administrator Mesko Lee

Burnsville’s next city manager sees the city as a land of opportunity.

Melanie Mesko Lee, the Hastings city administrator who will begin work in Burnsville on Jan. 14, said the job offers professional advancement in a bigger city and an opportunity to help Burnsville chart its future.

Mesko Lee is familiar with the area, having grown up in Eagan and graduated from Burnsville High School in 1992. And through collaboration with other local governments in Dakota County while working in Hastings, she said she knows the Burnsville city staff’s reputation.

“So I know that there’s good things happening,” Mesko Lee, 44, said in an interview. “There’s a lot of opportunity. I find that the (City Council) has done some very nice strategic visioning, and the staff is highly regarded. I’m looking at it as a package deal with lots of opportunities, and I was hoping it would be a good fit. Luckily, it seems like it is.”

After a split vote on city manager selection two weeks earlier, the council voted unanimously Nov. 20 to approve a one-year contract that will pay Mesko Lee a starting salary of $170,000 in the city of 61,439. Her salary is $143,909 in Hastings, a city of 22,722.

In Burnsville she will lead a staff of about 280 full- and part-time employees (not including seasonal workers). Hastings has about 150 employees, including paid, on-call firefighters who supplement the full-time fire and EMS staff, she said.

The council split 3-2 on a Nov. 5 vote to select a replacement for Heather Johnston, who resigned as city manager in June.

Council members Bill Coughlin, Dan Gustafson and Cara Schulz voted for Mesko Lee. Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and Council Member Dan Gustafson backed Dana Hardie, the only internal candidate among three finalists. Hardie, Burnsville’s administrative services director, is serving as interim city manager.

Aside from the interim post Hardie has no city manager experience. Mesko Lee has been city administrator in Hastings since 2013 and had been the assistant administrator since 1999.

Kautz prefaced her Nov. 20 vote by saying she has “mixed emotions” about Mesko Lee’s appointment and is “anxious about the path that has been chosen.”

“You come to us, Ms. Lee, to a city that is three times larger than the city you now are in, and very complex,” the mayor said, addressing Mesko Lee. “However, I remain optimistic, because, Ms. Lee, you’re not going to be doing this alone. You will be joining a team of extremely intelligent, knowledgeable, professional and experienced staff, a staff that I trust and care about deeply.”

It “isn’t a negative when people work well together,” said Kautz, who had touted an abundance of praise for Hardie from a committee of city department leaders that interviewed the finalists.

“I’m excited,” Mesko Lee said when asked about the split vote and Kautz’s comments. “And I’m looking forward to getting to know the team a little better. This is a good organization. It’s got a lot of great things going for it, and I just feel fortunate to be offered the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Schulz followed Kautz with her own remarks, welcoming Mesko Lee back to Burnsville.

“It’s always nice to have a graduate come back home,” Schulz said. “It’s also been nice to hear from people who have worked with you who say they will miss you, will miss your leadership. They were so pleased to work with you and be mentored by you.”

Redevelopment “is the term that I heard consistently” while researching Burnsville and talking with staff and council members, Mesko Lee said. It’s a chance to build relationships with business owners and influence the city’s future, she said.

Burnsville’s Minnesota River Quadrant is targeted for redevelopment from mining, landfilling and heavy industry.

“We’re thinking about what’s the long-term end game,” said Mesko Lee, who has a master’s in public administration from Hamline University and a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Mankato State University. “I know the city has some identified ideas, and they’re working with the property owners. I certainly am looking forward to learning more about the proposals and the opportunities. But it’s a very complex, very nuanced development challenge.”

Under her leadership Hastings has had its own redevelopment projects, including the city-led Riverfront Renaissance. Planning began in 2013 for trail and park improvements along the Mississippi River and streetscape and parking improvements in the nearby historic downtown.

Through its Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority the city has also been involved in projects such as renewal of the former Hudson Manufacturing Building, which the city bought and this year transferred to a developer for a 67-room hotel, 22 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail and event space.

“That will tie into the Riverfront Renaissance, because that’s on the west side of the bridge,” said Mesko Lee, who noted that completion of the new Hastings Bridge in 2013 was a catalyst for riverfront projects. “Downtown is on the east side of the bridge.”
Burnsville Community Theatre 201813 viewsBurnsville Community Theatre is run through Community Education in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.

August 2, 2018 Savage Pacer Story: Photo from Burnsville Community Theatre.

Burnsville Community Theatre presents 'Cinderella' this month

By Christine Schuster cschuster@swpub.com

Burnsville Community Theatre’s production of Cinderella opens Aug. 9 at the Burnsville High School Mraz Center.

Earlier this summer, “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” kicked off the inaugural season for the community theatre. Cinderella marks the second production for the group, which is operated through District 191’s Community Education program and open to anyone — including those outside the district.

The cast, ranging in age from just 5 years old to adults, is preparing to entertain audiences with the classic tale.

The Burnsville Community Theatre brings not only a range of ages to the stage, but a range of theatrical experience.

Georgia Martin, 9, said it’s her first time in a real production. Her favorite part of the show is the performance of “In My Own Little Corner,” where she plays a sleeping mouse.

Emily Powers — who goes by her stage name, Seralina Powers — went on to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City after graduating from Burnsville High School. She returns to the Burnsville stage this summer portraying Cinderella’s evil stepmother.

“It’s fun to be one that no one likes,” Powers said. “It’s about developing the backstory personally, for me, to understand why she acts the way she acts.”

The show is directed by Amy Stead and runs Aug. 9-11 and 16-18 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at www.mrazcentertickets.com.
Dakota County is Vikings Country - attractions13 viewsThe 2019 - 2020 Burnsville Community Guide, published by Sun/Thisweek News, page 17, profiles Burnsville attractions including the Alimagnet Dog Park, Birnamwood Golf Course, The Burnsville Ice Center, the Lions Playground and those in the area including the Minnesota Zoo and Dakota County Fair Grounds.
Minnesota Valley Transit bus13 viewsMInnesota Valley Transit bus interior 2018.
Donald Trump's Burnsville visit runs smoothly 201912 viewsThe Savage Pacer, April 16, 2019 reports on President Donald Trumps visit to Burnsville at Nuss Truck and Equipment on April 15, 2019.
Black Dog Smoke Stacks to come down 201912 viewsThe Burnsville Bulletin Spring 2019 reports: Changes are coming to a Burnsville landmark - visible by car and by plane - later this summer. Between May and September, Xcel Energy will be removing the last remaining smoke stack from the Black Dog Power Plant...
New festival to include former music event 201912 viewsApril 26, 2019 Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News reports:

New festival to include former music event- by John Gessner

Under photo:
Singer Mick Sterling, left, and Burnsville City Council Member Dan Gustafson are reviving the Art and All That Jazz Festival, which ran from 2004 to 2012 in Burnsville’s Nicollet Commons Park.

Art and All That Jazz will close Party on the Plaza series

A new community festival and a local music event that went missing are coming to Burnsville’s Heart of the City this summer season.

The city of Burnsville is launching Party on the Plaza, a series of three daylong, street-fair-style events in and around Nicollet Commons Park and the adjacent Ames Center plaza.

The first two events, on Thursdays, June 6 and July 25, will begin with children’s entertainment at noon and continue until 9 p.m. with adult bands and adult beverages.

The series finale will be the Saturday, Aug. 17, return of Art and All That Jazz, a music and art festival that ran from 2004 to 2012 in the Heart of the City. A day of music in the park and in the Ames Center’s black-box theater will be capped by “A Billy Joel State of Mind,” an outdoor performance at 8:30 p.m. featuring Minnesota singer Mick Sterling accompanied by the Dakota Valley Symphony.

“Potentially, a 60-piece orchestra is going to be joining us,” said Sterling, the veteran soul and rock singer whose company, Mick Sterling Presents, is booking the entire day’s lineup and the evening headliners for the other Party on the Plaza dates.

The Johnnie Brown Experience will play from 7-9 p.m. on June 6, and Stereo Kitchen from 7-9 p.m. on July 26.

Hearing word that Art and All That Jazz might make its return this year, the city held open the last of the three dates, said Garrett Beck, Burnsville’s parks, recreation and facilities director.

“So we partnered with them to kind of be the grand finale of our Party on the Plaza event,” Beck said.

The idea of an outdoor fair with food, music and merchandise started with City Council members Cara Schulz and Dan Gustafson, who were familiar with the weekly Thursdays Downtown in Rochester.

Asked to consider ways to bring those features to Burnsville, Beck and his staff looked to sync up with existing Burnsville events, namely the Wednesdays in the Park music series at Civic Center Park and the Thursday Rockin’ Lunch Hour concerts for kids at Nicollet Commons.

With Party on the Plaza, the city announced it will no longer host Wednesdays in the Park or the New Spaces Sunday Music in the Park series.

The city’s parks master plan calls for bringing more events involving food trucks and other vendors to city parks, Beck said.

Party on the Plaza fits the bill, he said. The city has commitments from 10 food trucks and cart vendors, he said. Other attractions will include craft and art vendors, a Kids Village, a bouncy house and participation by event partners including the YMCA, the Dakota County Library, School District 191 and youth athletics, Beck said.

“We want our community to come out to it, and we want our community groups who are serving our community to be a part of it,” Beck said. “It’s a both-way type of situation that we’re excited about.”

Music festival

Art and All That Jazz — founded by Council Member Gustafson, a one-time Minneapolis nightclub owner — drew up to 15,000 people over the course of a day but eventually fell on hard times.

The nonprofit festival was offering free admission while seeing corporate sponsorships drop the last three years, Gustafson said.

“Corporate spending was in a different direction at that time — survival mode, basically — so they couldn’t do it,” he said. “But things have changed, and corporations are coming back now and they’re getting more engaged in community events. The timing’s good.”

Leaning toward smooth jazz with some rhythm and blues, the festival attracted such national headliners as Larry Carlton, Greg Adams, Nick Colionne, Jesse Cook and Mindi Abair. One year when the festival was too strapped to bring the scheduled headliner, Gustafson gave the gig to Mick Sterling and the Irresistibles, a 10-piece soul and R&B band.

“I will tell you this: The year that he headlined, the crowd was just as big,” Gustafson said.

He credits Doron Jensen, co-owner of Jensen’s Cafe in the Heart of the City, with assembling the principals, including Sterling, needed to revive the festival this year.

Its new moniker is Mick Sterling presents Art and All That Jazz.

“Dan created the blueprint,” said Sterling, who once played Gustafon’s old club with his former band the Stud Brothers. “We’re not really doing anything different than Dan’s already created. We’re just kick-starting it again. It’s a beautiful festival.”

The festival will include an art show, a staple since the beginning, along with food vendors and other attractions.

Sterling’s Billy Joel segment is one of the numerous tribute shows the versatile singer offers and stars in through his production company. The tentative lineup also includes:

Outdoors in the park — “AMY,” an Amy Winehouse tribute featuring Cate Fierro; Steeling Dan; Patty Peterson and the Women of Jazz; “Take Me Back Home,” a Merle Haggard tribute featuring Bobby Vandell; and Steve Clarke and the Working Stiffs with an all-star high school band.

Indoors in the Ames Center — The Adam Meckler Orchestra, Jaedyn James and the Hunger, Joyann Parker, Rhaelee Gronholz, and two high school bands to be named.
Farmers Market12 viewsThe Diamondhead Farmers Market, September 2019 at the School District Administration Building.
Crosswalk safety 201912 viewsCrosswalk Enhancement Projects in Burnsville

Flashing lights can make people nervous; red lights can be frustrating; but flashing lights and red lights together can get the attention of drivers -- and that is exactly what is needed to keep walkers and bikers safe on City streets.

To help enhance pedestrian safety, the City of Burnsville, along with state and local partners, has installed new crosswalk technology at some areas with increased levels of concern.
Get connected with the community 201911 viewsThe Burnsville Community Guide 2019 - 2020 published by the Sun/Thisweek News included on page 5 information about the city including: School's, Population, Employment, Housing, Government and other information.
Volunteer opportunities abound 201911 viewsThe Burnsville Community Guide 2019 - 2020, page 25, published by the Sun/Thisweek News includes volunteer opportunities throughout Burnsville.
Burnsville Family Fest11 viewsAbout 900 community members filled the halls of Burnsville High School on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 for Burnsville Family Fest. Events included a performance by the BHS Theater Guild, Rockin' Readers with One91 principals, and a tricycle race between four elementary school principals. Photo compliments of the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce.
Burnsville water tower 201911 viewsOne of Burnsville's water towers viewed from County Road 42.
Warrior Building11 viewsBack view of the Warrior Building, Travelers Trail built 1964.
Twelve community builders recognized with 2019 awards11 viewsBurnsville Bulletin - Winter 2020 - The winners of the 2019 Community Builder awards, including Jack Kennelly for his Historical Society volunteer efforts, are listed.
Burnsville VFW 201910 viewsBurnsville VFW members are selling Buddy Poppies at the Cub in Burnsville’s Heart of the City. Photo May, 2019.
Winter LIghting Ceremony10 viewsThe Wednesday before Thanksgiving each year, Burnsville's Heart of the City is set aglow during the community's Annual Winter Lighting Ceremony. Photo compliments of Experience Burnsville.

More than 200,000 mini lights, 230 streetlight snowflakes and a 30-foot-tall tree will come to life again this November, and all Burnsville residents and winter-lighting enthusiasts are invited to attend.

Residents and visitors are invited to attend the ceremony and stroll through the lights. The ceremony includes a special appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Claus as well as entertainment by local school choirs.
Demographics prepared for Nicollet Plaza10 viewsDemographics prepared for the Nicollet Plaza, Highway 13 and Nicollet Avenue, 2019.
Skateboarding aspirations10 viewsMay 15, 2015 Minneapolis Star Tribune - Camp builds interest in Burnsville Skate Park.
Summer in Burnsville 20199 views101 West Burnsville Parkway, Hot Diggity Dog and fresh lemonade.
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