ABC Newspapers http://abcnewspapers.com Local News from The Anoka County Union, Blaine Spring Lake Park Life and The Coon Rapids Herald Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:56:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UnionHerald crime briefs week of June 22, 2015 http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/unionherald-crime-briefs-week-of-june-22-2015/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/unionherald-crime-briefs-week-of-june-22-2015/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:56:50 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161708 Woman robbed of iPhone in parking lot

A woman, 24, reported being robbed of her iPhone in the parking lot of Cub Foods, 12900 Riverdale Blvd., Coon Rapids, the evening of June 17.

According to the Coon Rapids Police report, the woman had advertised the iPhone for sale in a Craig’s List posting and, in text messages with an interested buyer, had agreed to a $300 price and meeting in the parking lot at Cub.

Shortly before 8:30 p.m. June 17, the woman was waiting by her car in the parking lot when a silver Chevrolet Malibu pulled up and dropped off a man, who discussed purchasing the iPhone with the woman, the police report states.

He began to walk away with the iPhone in his hand, and when the woman attempted to stop him, the man allegedly pulled up his shirt to display a pistol in his waistband and told the woman to stop.

The suspect ran back to the Malibu with the iPhone, got into the passenger seat and the car left .

He was described as a black male in his 20s, thin build, wearing a black hoodie and brown pants.

The driver of the Malibu was described a white female with blond hair in a ponytail and wearing a gray sweatshirt.

~ Peter Bodley

Stepdad convicted of sexual conduct felonies

Darren Lee Schaffer, 45, of Moorhead, Minnesota, was sentenced in Anoka County District Court June 2 after engaging in criminal sexual conduct with one of his stepdaughters when they lived together in Andover.

Schaffer was convicted of felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct for putting his hand down his stepdaughter’s pants and rubbing her vagina multiple times when she was between the ages of 7 and 10, from 2003 to 2006.

In a statement to police, the stepdaughter said she could recall three instances of inappropriate touching, but that there may have been more, the criminal complaint states.

She alleged that Schaffer touched her on the living room couch and in the bed he shared with her mother while her mother was at work. She said he touched her in her own bed when her mother was in another room in the house, possibly making dinner, according to the complaint.

In May, Schaffer was convicted of first-degree sexual conduct in Stearns County District Court for inappropriate contact with another stepdaughter, the woman’s sister.

He was sentenced to a 90-month prison sentence in Anoka County District Court with credit for 404 days served.

~ Olivia Alveshere

 

Man convicted of burglarizing Anoka AVR ready-mix plant

Donald Eugene Lang III, 23, no permanent address, will serve prison time after breaking into the AVR ready-mix concrete plant on North Street in Anoka in December.

After being convicted of felony third-degree burglary in Anoka County District Court, Lang was sentenced June 4 to 21 months in prison with credit for 170 days served.

The Anoka Police Department responded to the AVR plant Dec. 19 after receiving a call from the alarm company.

Officers saw footprints in the snow leading to the building, but not going away from the building, and saw that the building that secured the pit area had been broken into, according to the criminal complaint.

Police identified themselves, and Lang responded from within the building, cooperating with them, the complaint states.

Lang told police he went inside to “stay warm,” but he was in possession of numerous theft tools, according to the complaint.

~ Olivia Alveshere

Ramsey man convicted after drug bust

After being caught selling drugs in the Willy McCoy’s parking lot in Ramsey two years ago, a 33-year-old man has been sentenced in Anoka County District Court.

Jacob Eric Wolfe, of Ramsey, was convicted of a second-degree drug felony for selling methamphetamine.

He had a 57-month prison sentence stayed for 15 years June 11. Additionally, he had all but $500 of a $100,000 fine stayed. He has the option of doing community service rather than paying the $500.

The Anoka-Hennepin Drug Task Force worked with an individual to bust Wolfe selling drugs the afternoon of June 6, 2013, according to the criminal complaint.

Law enforcement gave the individual $800 and an audio transmitting device so that he or she could signal when the transaction was complete, the complaint states.

Law enforcement saw Wolfe enter the individual’s car, and when they swooped in after receiving the signal, they found $800 in Wolfe’s pocket and a bag of a white substance that tested positive for meth. With the packaging, it weighed 10.5 grams, according to the complaint.

~ Olivia Alveshere

Coon Rapids man allegedly caught with drugs in stolen vehicle

James Allen Hage, of Coon Rapids, is charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors after allegedly stealing a car from Champlin and using methamphetamine in it.

Hage, 30, was arraigned in Anoka County District Court June 16, charged with receiving stolen property, fifth-degree drug use, driving with a revoked license and driving without insurance.

An Anoka County Sheriff’s Office deputy pulled Hage over the evening of June 13 when he allegedly illegally passed road closed barricades in the 300 block of Viking Boulevard in Oak Grove.

Records indicated his license was revoked, and Hage told the deputy he did not have insurance, the criminal complaint states.

Records also showed the car Hage was driving was reported stolen from a Champlin driveway a day earlier, the complaint alleges.

In a search of the vehicle, the deputy found three used syringes in the car, one of which contained a crystal-like residue that tested positive for meth, the complaint states.

Hage allegedly said the syringes and meth belonged to him, according to the complaint.

~ Olivia Alveshere

 

Ex-boyfriend charged with burglary, criminal sexual conduct

A 33-year-old man was arraigned in Anoka County District Court June 16 on first-degree burglary and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct felony charges.

Willie George Wheeler III, address unknown, is accused of breaking into the Anoka apartment where his ex-girlfriend and son live March 6.

Wheeler’s ex-girlfriend’s mother was at the residence that date to babysit her grandson, and she told police that she awoke at 6 a.m. to Wheeler touching her vaginal area over clothing and touching her bare breasts under her tank top, according to the criminal complaint. He offered her money to let him see her breasts, she allegedly told police.

The woman noticed Wheeler had what appeared to be part of the deadbolt lock with him, the complaint states.

The woman asked him to leave repeatedly, and eventually, he did, according to the complaint.

Her daughter returned home to help her, and at about 8 a.m., Wheeler allegedly returned.

His ex-girlfriend confronted him about breaking the door and touching her mother, and he fled, the complaint states.

A warrant was issued for his arrest March 10, and that warrant was returned June 16.

~ Olivia Alveshere

Woman jumps off second-floor balcony to escape boyfriend

Jeffrey William Davlin, 23, of Anoka, was arraigned on four felonies and one misdemeanor in Anoka County District Court June 16.

Davlin is facing first-degree criminal sexual conduct, terroristic threats, domestic assault by strangulation and false imprisonment felony charges and misdemeanor domestic assault.

The Anoka Police Department responded to the 2700 block of Ninth Lane in Anoka June 14 to meet with a 22-year-old woman who said there was an incident with her boyfriend, Davlin, the previous evening in the apartment they shared, the criminal complaint states.

The woman allegedly told police that Davlin accused her of seeing other men and yelled at her, locking her in their bedroom for more than 24 hours.

During this episode, he allegedly forced her to have sex with him, stated that he should put a knife in her heart and just end it, cut off some of her hair with a scissors and choked her, the complaint states.

The woman jumped off of the second-floor balcony to escape and phoned police at a neighbor’s residence, according to the complaint.

She alleged that Davlin had been using marijuana and methamphetamine for the two days preceding the incident, the complaint states.

~ Olivia Alveshere

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Blaine student winner of Sen. Al Franken’s poetry contest http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/blaine-student-winner-of-sen-al-frankens-poetry-contest/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/blaine-student-winner-of-sen-al-frankens-poetry-contest/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:51:07 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161703 Larissa Snyder, a student at Jefferson Elementary in Blaine, was one of nine winners in U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s fourth-annual student poetry contest honoring Minnesota veterans. The theme of this year’s contest was “Celebrating the Veteran in My Life.”

Larissa Snyder, a student at Jefferson Elementary, was one of nine winners in U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s fourth-annual student poetry contest honoring Minnesota veterans.

Larissa Snyder, a student at Jefferson Elementary, was one of nine winners in U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s fourth-annual student poetry contest honoring Minnesota veterans. Photo submitted

Snyder, the daughter of Jason Snyder of Blaine, was honored recently at a special reception at Franken’s St. Paul Senate Office. Her poem, entitled “Grandpa,” will be displayed in Franken’s Senate Office and because her poem won first place in the K-5 age group, she will receive a signed book from renowned Minnesota author, Garrison Keillor.

The contest, which recognizes both the “Month of the Military Child” and “National Poetry Month” is designed to help thank Minnesota families for their sacrifices while a loved one serves in the military. It was open to students in elementary, middle school and high school age groups.

Contest judges, included Minnesota Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Larry Shellito, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard Major General Richard Nash, Minnesota Commissioner of Education Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Command Chief Master Sergeant of 934th Air Lift Wing Bryan Payne and the Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen.

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Spending Time in Retirement http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/spending-time-in-retirement/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/spending-time-in-retirement/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:30:02 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=24f757568302f30d265969581bdc1d97 Every day you read headlines talking about the money you need for retirement. What happens to the rest of your life – and who you think you are – after you punch your last time clock? Here’s how to consider changes that won’t come with a dollar sign.

I just ended seven years of teaching financial planning at Purdue University. This does not mark my retirement from the financial services industry (I still have my advisory firm), but it does evoke a substantial amount of emotion. As I walked the university halls one more time, colleagues thanked me for my service and asked what I will now do in what they termed my “spare time.”

Be assured, any looming extra time was already spoken for before my resignation letter hit the department head’s desk. How to spend time in retirement looms large for anyone thinking about leaving the workforce. For many, the golden years turn out to be far more emotional than expected.

Retirement marks a closure of (you hope) happy employment memories even as it opens new opportunities. Most people who we help plan for retirement expect no problem filling days with grandchildren, hobbies, traveling and volunteer work. We find that eventually most couldn’t be more right; many of our retirees wind up wondering how they once got everything done while employed.

One frequently unexpected challenge for many retirees: the emotional space associated with the identity left behind. Men in particular (although I see both men and women affected) often align personal identity more with work performed than with financial earnings.

Self-fulfillment comes from being good at what you do, knowing the rules and ropes that come with experience and feeling confident in a day-to-day regimen that offers emotional security. The satisfaction that you derive from other people counting on your work matters more than you might think.

You can sit down with a qualified financial planner to determine when you can retire financially. You’ll make some assumptions about money and spending; wisdom and sound management help provide confidence moving forward financially after your career.

And the other parts of your new life? According to a recent article in Psychology Today, key questions about intangibles before retirement include:

1. Do you enjoy your job? Does it provide a sense of meaning and purpose in your life?

2. If your job is stressful, is it retirement you seek, or a change in careers?

3. Does your job provide critical social needs in your life?

4. Are you prepared psychologically to retire? (“Do you have a retirement plan? Do you have hobbies or interests that will fill your time?”)

The challenge of that time of life seems to involve dealing with unknowns, both financial and emotional. A few examples of post-retirement challenges we’ve observed:

  • Your spouse is used to having the house alone during the day. Suddenly your presence invades his or her space.
  • You spent your days at work making big decisions and thriving on pressure. After retirement, things you never noticed before suddenly seem urgent as your brain searches for problems needing the familiar big decisions.
  • A favorite hobby that always relaxed you no longer delivers the same sense of relief.
  • The grandchildren’s softball, soccer and other sports feel more like a full-time job than treasured moments.

Leaving your career marks not just an end but also a beginning. Happy days are ahead – if you plan.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Joseph “Big Joe” Clark, CFP, is the managing partner of the Financial Enhancement Group LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisory firm in Indiana. He is the host of Consider This with Big Joe Clark, found on WQME and iTunes. Big Joe can be reached at bigjoe@yourlifeafterwork.com, or (765) 640-1524. Follow him on Twitter at @Big Joe Clark and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FinancialEnhancementGroup.

Securities offered through and by World Equity Group Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services can be offered by the Financial Enhancement Group (FEG) or World Equity Group. FEG and World Equity Group are separately owned and operated.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Every day you read headlines talking about the money you need for retirement. What happens to the rest of your life – and who you think you are – after you punch your last time clock? Here’s how to consider changes that won’t come with a dollar sign.

I just ended seven years of teaching financial planning at Purdue University. This does not mark my retirement from the financial services industry (I still have my advisory firm), but it does evoke a substantial amount of emotion. As I walked the university halls one more time, colleagues thanked me for my service and asked what I will now do in what they termed my “spare time.”

Be assured, any looming extra time was already spoken for before my resignation letter hit the department head’s desk. How to spend time in retirement looms large for anyone thinking about leaving the workforce. For many, the golden years turn out to be far more emotional than expected.

Retirement marks a closure of (you hope) happy employment memories even as it opens new opportunities. Most people who we help plan for retirement expect no problem filling days with grandchildren, hobbies, traveling and volunteer work. We find that eventually most couldn’t be more right; many of our retirees wind up wondering how they once got everything done while employed.

One frequently unexpected challenge for many retirees: the emotional space associated with the identity left behind. Men in particular (although I see both men and women affected) often align personal identity more with work performed than with financial earnings.

Self-fulfillment comes from being good at what you do, knowing the rules and ropes that come with experience and feeling confident in a day-to-day regimen that offers emotional security. The satisfaction that you derive from other people counting on your work matters more than you might think.

You can sit down with a qualified financial planner to determine when you can retire financially. You’ll make some assumptions about money and spending; wisdom and sound management help provide confidence moving forward financially after your career.

And the other parts of your new life? According to a recent article in Psychology Today, key questions about intangibles before retirement include:

1. Do you enjoy your job? Does it provide a sense of meaning and purpose in your life?

2. If your job is stressful, is it retirement you seek, or a change in careers?

3. Does your job provide critical social needs in your life?

4. Are you prepared psychologically to retire? (“Do you have a retirement plan? Do you have hobbies or interests that will fill your time?”)

The challenge of that time of life seems to involve dealing with unknowns, both financial and emotional. A few examples of post-retirement challenges we’ve observed:

  • Your spouse is used to having the house alone during the day. Suddenly your presence invades his or her space.
  • You spent your days at work making big decisions and thriving on pressure. After retirement, things you never noticed before suddenly seem urgent as your brain searches for problems needing the familiar big decisions.
  • A favorite hobby that always relaxed you no longer delivers the same sense of relief.
  • The grandchildren’s softball, soccer and other sports feel more like a full-time job than treasured moments.

Leaving your career marks not just an end but also a beginning. Happy days are ahead – if you plan.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Joseph “Big Joe” Clark, CFP, is the managing partner of the Financial Enhancement Group LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisory firm in Indiana. He is the host of Consider This with Big Joe Clark, found on WQME and iTunes. Big Joe can be reached at bigjoe@yourlifeafterwork.com, or (765) 640-1524. Follow him on Twitter at @Big Joe Clark and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FinancialEnhancementGroup.

Securities offered through and by World Equity Group Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services can be offered by the Financial Enhancement Group (FEG) or World Equity Group. FEG and World Equity Group are separately owned and operated.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Spring Lake Park man builds classic sailboat http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/spring-lake-park-man-builds-classic-sailboat/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/spring-lake-park-man-builds-classic-sailboat/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:46:38 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161699 If you build it, they will come. Dennis Pease of Spring Lake Park, and nearly 100 of his closest friends and family were present June 14 at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis to launch his new sailboat, named Shamrock, into the water for the first time. Pease, who purchased the boat’s blueprints in 2006 from WoodenBoat Magazine, finally finished the craft in June after years of development.

Spot, the family dog, looks extra petite next to the 17-foot long sailboat.

Spot, the family dog, looks extra petite next to the 17-foot long sailboat.  Photo submitted

The cat-ketch sailboat, measuring 17 feet long with the tallest sail reaching 14 feet, is sure to stand out on any lake in Minnesota. The trapezoidal sails, known as gaff rigs, give the boat a unique look as most sailboats have a traditional marconi rig.

The boat, originally named Coquina, was designed in 1889 by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, an American naval architect who designed boats for The America’s Cup races. The America’s Cup, also known as the “Auld Mug,” is a trophy awarded to the winner of the races between two sailing yachts.

“It is a very classic boat,” Pease said. “Anybody that has a yacht knows the name Herreshoff so the designer is renowned.”

Pease saw the boat on the cover of WoodenBoat Magazine and his admiration for Herreshoff and love for wooden boats drove him to buy the prints.

“I knew it was going to be a good boat,” said Pease. “I thought if it is good enough for old Herreshoff, it is good enough for me.”

Growing up on the Mississippi River, Pease became interested in boating at a young age.

“I built my first boat when I was about 12,” said Pease. “I grew up like Tom Sawyer right on the river, so we would find boats that would float down the river and we would fix them up and use them for a year or two or until somebody else would steal them from us.”

Not every craft was a luxury sailboat like Shamrock.

“The first boat I ever built was like a kayak and then I built a small sailboat back in high school with my brothers,” he said.

Fast forward to present day and Pease has definitely earned bragging rights on the water.

His career as an electrician, and some help from friends, aided Pease’s mission to bring the boat from print to life.

“I learned how to read drawings pretty well when I was an electrician,” he said. “I was an electrical inspector for Minneapolis schools for about eight years and I had to read drawings all the time so I could see the boat before I started.”

Building the boat did not come without interruption either, construction of the boat was brought to a major halt in 2008 after Pease was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

After spending time at Rochester Mayo Clinic, Pease was given a clean bill of health and the motivation to move forward.

“I had to deal with that and after I realized, ‘Hey, I’m going to live,’ I had to decide whether to finish this boat or not,” Pease said.

It was not much of a debate because Pease was back in the shop in early 2013.

“I was determined that I was going to finish it before I die,” Pease said.

Just in time for the 2015 boating season, Shamrock, named after Pease’s Irish heritage, is ready to set sail and participated in the North Folk School Wooden Boat Show and Summer Solstice Festival in Grad Marais June 19-21.

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Patriotic music takes the stage for Anoka’s Independence Day celebration http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/patriotic-music-takes-the-stage-for-anokas-independence-day-celebration/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/patriotic-music-takes-the-stage-for-anokas-independence-day-celebration/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:39:17 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161692 The Rum River Brass Band and North Suburban Concert Band will drum up patriotic spirit with a free concert celebrating American freedom and independence.

The North Suburban Concert Band performs during the July 4 ice cream social at George Green Park, Anoka.

The North Suburban Concert Band performs during the July 4 ice cream social at George Green Park, Anoka. File photo

As part of the city of Anoka’s celebration of Independence Day, the bands provide patriotic music during the annual ice cream social. The event is staged noon to 3 p.m. July 4 at George Green Park, 1498 Sixth Ave., Anoka.

The audience is invited to enjoy root beer floats while the bands play on. Root beer floats are served compliments of Two Scoops and Better Values Liquor Stores.

Bring a picnic lunch, a blanket and lawn chairs, relax under the canopy oaks and maples and enjoy all the park has to offer.

The Rum River Brass Band presents another free concert July 5 when it entertains during Anoka’s Concerts in the Park series. That free concert is also performed in the Bicentennial Bandshell, located on the southwest corner of George Green Park.

Sue.Austreng@ecm-inc.com

 
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UnionHerald Looking Back for June 26 http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/unionherald-looking-back-for-june-26/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/unionherald-looking-back-for-june-26/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:00:36 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161633 Going camping?

Going to get out into the open, out into the fresh air — back to nature — back to the life worth while? You can’t enjoy camping without a thorough preparation. To you who are going camping, and to every wise housekeeper, our sale of vacation necessities affords you an opportunity of purchasing all needed articles at a “worth while” saving. For bathers, for 4th of July, for campers come to Woodward’s.   

-100 years ago, June 29, 1915
Anoka Herald

Swim classes start with big splash

With a total of 207 swimmers already registered for instruction at Rice street beach, Anoka’s swimming and water program got underway at the beach Wednesday despite the poor weather. Beachmaster Les Mason reports that on the first day of registration a total of 118 had placed their names on the list. On Tuesday the total was 145, on Wednesday 184 and on the fourth day of the listing the total was 207. This registration is the largest in the history of the beach for the first four days of the program.

– 75 years ago, June 26, 1940
Anoka County Union

Boy run over by car    

Coon Rapids police and Deputy Tom Anderson administered oxygen to Jeffery Daley, two-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Allan Daley, after he was run over by a car backing from a driveway near his home about 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Driver of the car, Arnold Letellier, 37, of Crystal, told authorities he did not see the boy. The boy was taken to Mercy Hospital. He was discharged Monday.

– 50 years ago, June 25, 1965
Coon Rapids Herald

At area libraries kids, parents find many adventures

“Where’s Waldo?” That seems to be the question most kids are asking at the 10 Anoka County Library branches this summer. But librarians are not always able to locate the crafty Waldo on library shelves. Why? Because it is the most popular children’s book on shelves, bar none.

– 25 years ago, June 29, 1990
Anoka County Union

• Compiled by Sue Austreng

Editor’s note: “Looking Back” is reprinted exactly as the items first appeared.

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Class of 2015, What’s Next? http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/class-of-2015-whats-next/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/class-of-2015-whats-next/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 16:00:02 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=fe09b1444030cd405fe7679f31a66d57 The graduation parties are over. Your diploma is at the frame shop. Now what? What’s next in your life transition? College, graduate school, a job, the military? What is your strategy for moving forward with passion and purpose?

In his 2001 bestseller, author John Ortberg detailed a secret to success reflected in the title of his book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. A mega-church pastor, Ortberg frames faith in God as a key aspect of progress and recovery from setbacks and failure. “The boat” represents safety and security in uncertain and potentially turbulent seas. Ask yourself, “What produces fear in me, especially when I think of leaving the boat and stepping out in faith?”

Faith in God is important, but you must have faith in yourself, approaching life realistically, recognizing that success, however you define it, is a do-it-yourself-project. As political battles deepen you will hear about fairness, about entitlements, about sensitivity and not offending anyone.

Actor Matthew McConaughey in a graduation address at the University of Houston dropped a nugget of realism on the Class of 2015: “Life is not easy ... don’t try and make it that way. It’s not fair, it never was, it isn’t now, it won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitlement trap of feeling you are a victim. You are not. Get over it and get on with it. And, yes, most things are more rewarding when you break a sweat to get ‘em.”

Climbing out of your boat entails risk. In investing and in life, risk and reward go together. You will not reach financial independence and self-actualization without taking risks. Atlanta-based entrepreneur Michael J. Coles is a case in point. Raised in humble circumstances, Coles went on to become a successful business leader and philanthropist. The Kennesaw State University Michael J. Coles College of Business bears his name.

After starting in the clothing business, in 1977 Michael and a friend had an idea for a cookie store. While neither had experience in food service, they knew how to make great cookies. But they couldn’t find a shopping mall that would take a chance on them and rent space. Perimeter Mall, just off of I-285 in the northern Atlanta suburbs, was their desired location.

Although mall management initially brushed them off, they persisted. Told the rent would be $25,000 per year on a 10-year lease, totaling $250,000, the manager said, “Do you know how many cookies you have to sell just to pay the rent?”

Think about that. You and your partner have a great idea but no experience with a single-theme food concept, no market as yet, no track record. You are married with family obligations, bills to pay. You each kick in $4,000 in seed money to get started ($16,138 in today’s dollars). When told of the rent obligation for which you will have personal liability, a shiver of fear grips your psyche. In 1977 dollars adjusted for inflation, $25,000 per year in rent is $100,864 today; $250,000 in total obligation represents just over $1 million in 2015 dollars.

Sure, cookies are tasty, but the mall manager has a point: Coles had to sell enough to pay rent, buy supplies and equipment, pay help and make sufficient profit to support his family. It takes a unique individual to step out and take a leap of faith. The 1977 opening day of The Great American Cookie Company was a disaster. The cookies in the baking oven caught fire, filling the store and mall area with smoke as the fire department rolled up. The second day was much better.

Six weeks after opening the first store, Michael was in a near-fatal motorcycle accident. Told he would never walk again unaided, he thought, “I was disabled not just in my legs, but in my mind.”

Determined to overcome, he took charge of his therapy, eventually setting two cross-country cycling records. Failure and setbacks are part of success. The company was sold in 1998 when multiple store sales exceeded $100 million per year. Coles went on to found and revive other companies in diverse fields, noting that each setback, in business and personally, motivated him to re-energize and take life to the next level.

You, dear graduate, will not walk across the water to the beach unless you get out of the boat. Actually, there is no beach, just a fast-moving current. You must find the courage and energy to keep swimming! May the gift of faith be yours.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Lewis Walker, CFP, is president of Walker Capital Management, LCC in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Securities and certain advisory services offered through The Strategic Financial Alliance Inc. (SFA). Lewis Walker is a registered representative of The SFA, which is otherwise unaffiliated with Walker Capital Management. 770-441-2603. lewisw@theinvestmentcoach.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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The graduation parties are over. Your diploma is at the frame shop. Now what? What’s next in your life transition? College, graduate school, a job, the military? What is your strategy for moving forward with passion and purpose?

In his 2001 bestseller, author John Ortberg detailed a secret to success reflected in the title of his book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. A mega-church pastor, Ortberg frames faith in God as a key aspect of progress and recovery from setbacks and failure. “The boat” represents safety and security in uncertain and potentially turbulent seas. Ask yourself, “What produces fear in me, especially when I think of leaving the boat and stepping out in faith?”

Faith in God is important, but you must have faith in yourself, approaching life realistically, recognizing that success, however you define it, is a do-it-yourself-project. As political battles deepen you will hear about fairness, about entitlements, about sensitivity and not offending anyone.

Actor Matthew McConaughey in a graduation address at the University of Houston dropped a nugget of realism on the Class of 2015: “Life is not easy ... don’t try and make it that way. It’s not fair, it never was, it isn’t now, it won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitlement trap of feeling you are a victim. You are not. Get over it and get on with it. And, yes, most things are more rewarding when you break a sweat to get ‘em.”

Climbing out of your boat entails risk. In investing and in life, risk and reward go together. You will not reach financial independence and self-actualization without taking risks. Atlanta-based entrepreneur Michael J. Coles is a case in point. Raised in humble circumstances, Coles went on to become a successful business leader and philanthropist. The Kennesaw State University Michael J. Coles College of Business bears his name.

After starting in the clothing business, in 1977 Michael and a friend had an idea for a cookie store. While neither had experience in food service, they knew how to make great cookies. But they couldn’t find a shopping mall that would take a chance on them and rent space. Perimeter Mall, just off of I-285 in the northern Atlanta suburbs, was their desired location.

Although mall management initially brushed them off, they persisted. Told the rent would be $25,000 per year on a 10-year lease, totaling $250,000, the manager said, “Do you know how many cookies you have to sell just to pay the rent?”

Think about that. You and your partner have a great idea but no experience with a single-theme food concept, no market as yet, no track record. You are married with family obligations, bills to pay. You each kick in $4,000 in seed money to get started ($16,138 in today’s dollars). When told of the rent obligation for which you will have personal liability, a shiver of fear grips your psyche. In 1977 dollars adjusted for inflation, $25,000 per year in rent is $100,864 today; $250,000 in total obligation represents just over $1 million in 2015 dollars.

Sure, cookies are tasty, but the mall manager has a point: Coles had to sell enough to pay rent, buy supplies and equipment, pay help and make sufficient profit to support his family. It takes a unique individual to step out and take a leap of faith. The 1977 opening day of The Great American Cookie Company was a disaster. The cookies in the baking oven caught fire, filling the store and mall area with smoke as the fire department rolled up. The second day was much better.

Six weeks after opening the first store, Michael was in a near-fatal motorcycle accident. Told he would never walk again unaided, he thought, “I was disabled not just in my legs, but in my mind.”

Determined to overcome, he took charge of his therapy, eventually setting two cross-country cycling records. Failure and setbacks are part of success. The company was sold in 1998 when multiple store sales exceeded $100 million per year. Coles went on to found and revive other companies in diverse fields, noting that each setback, in business and personally, motivated him to re-energize and take life to the next level.

You, dear graduate, will not walk across the water to the beach unless you get out of the boat. Actually, there is no beach, just a fast-moving current. You must find the courage and energy to keep swimming! May the gift of faith be yours.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Lewis Walker, CFP, is president of Walker Capital Management, LCC in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Securities and certain advisory services offered through The Strategic Financial Alliance Inc. (SFA). Lewis Walker is a registered representative of The SFA, which is otherwise unaffiliated with Walker Capital Management. 770-441-2603. lewisw@theinvestmentcoach.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Blaine assisting in Oak Park Plaza renovation project http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/blaine-assisting-in-oak-park-plaza-renovation-project/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/blaine-assisting-in-oak-park-plaza-renovation-project/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:27:46 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161676 The city of Blaine will help a Chicago developer rehabilitate an aging shopping center.

The city of Blaine will be providing $2.1 million in tax increment financing assistance to help a Chicago development company renovate Oak Park Plaza.

The city of Blaine will be providing $2.1 million in tax increment financing assistance to help a Chicago development company renovate Oak Park Plaza. Photo by Eric Hagen

Oak Park Plaza was developed in the early 1960s at the southeast corner of 109th and University avenues. It was once home to a grocery store, a pharmacy, a barber, beauty salon, Salvation Army thrift store, dry cleaner and restaurants. Today, Frattalone’s ACE Hardware and Star Liquor are the only tenants left. In between are dark windows plastered with “for lease” signs.

According to Executive Vice President Hugh Robinson, Tri-Land Properties Inc. is planning to demolish a portion of the north side of the strip mall that was home to grocery stores, such as Piggly Wiggly and Jubilee Foods, and build a new 45,000-square-foot space for Cub Foods. The other 61,000 square feet of the mall would get a face-lift and interior remodeling, and a parking lot and storefront sidewalk would be reconstructed.

Robinson said Tri-Land is investing $12 million into this project. In addition, the city of Blaine will be giving $2.1 million in total tax increment financing assistance. Groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for later this year, but Robinson said Tri-Land has some more environmental reviews to complete.

“We need this. The residents of the area support this,” Council Member Mike Bourke said.

Council Member Dave Clark has heard some question why the city would offer tax increment financing dollars to bring another grocery store in.

“This is not about subsidizing a Cub Foods store,” Clark said. “This is about economic development. Anyone who has driven by the corner of 109th and University knows that corner is in pretty tough shape.”

Clark believes this project could provide the “spark” that will lead to more redevelopment along the University Avenue corridor, which is a border between Blaine and Coon Rapids.

Oak Park Plaza is the oldest shopping center in Blaine, developed when Blaine was still a village. It was built by Vern Donnay, who was also responsible for bringing in a 1,500-home neighborhood just south of the strip mall.

Another building was added in Oak Park Plaza in 1983 and will also be renovated as part of this new project.

Tri-Land bought the property 10 years ago and at that time believed Rainbow Foods would be relocating from its site near Northtown Mall, according to Robinson. That deal fell through, and the Chicago firm was unable to find a grocery tenant. Empty cash registers and check-out lanes are still visible through the large pane glass windows.

Robinson said Tri-Land is also talking with a couple of other potential tenants who are waiting to see the redevelopment happen before signing any lease. All vacant space will be gutted and updated to meet current codes and to bring in new lighting and HVAC equipment.

Mayor Tom Ryan said he spoke with “a lot of happy people that want this center to come back” as he was getting a screen door repaired at ACE Hardware the day before the June 18 meeting when the council approved the tax increment financing assistance.

“We do a lot of exciting things for the east side of town. This is fun to do something on the west side of town,” Ryan said.

eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

 
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New vendor picked for bus services in the county http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/new-vendor-picked-for-bus-services-in-the-county/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/new-vendor-picked-for-bus-services-in-the-county/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:26:05 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161674 Bus service provided by Anoka County will have a new operator.

On the recommendation of its Transportation Committee, the Anoka County Board June 9 approved contracts with First Transit Inc. to provide regular route bus service and Transit Link dial-a-ride services in the county as well as a contract for a master vehicle lease agreement.

The new contracts, which go into effect Aug. 31, total $10.2 million over five years but are subject to amendment during that time period, according to Tim Kirchoff, county supervisor of transit operations and planning.

They are the result of a request for proposals and recommendation from an evaluation panel, which included county staff and representatives from the Metropolitan Council, said Doug Fischer, county division manager for transportation.

The Metropolitan Council reimburses the county 100 percent for providing these transit services, while the county picks up the administrative cost of having its own staff work on the program, Fischer said.

The request for proposals produced four responses, and the panel reviewed them not only on the basis of cost, but also qualifications, he said.

“First Transit not only met all the qualifications, but also submitted the lowest bid,” Fischer said.

According to Kirchoff, one of the four responses was not responsive and another vendor lacked some of the required qualifications.

That left the panel to decide between First Transit Inc. and MV Transportation Inc., which is the current transit operator in the county through a five-year contract awarded in May 2010, Kirchoff said.

The new contracts include service not only in Anoka County, but also northeast Ramsey County, an area the Metropolitan Council asked the county to cover in 2010, he said.

The price is less than the current agreement, but it does not include Metro Mobility, which was a county function in previous contracts, but has now been taken over by the Metropolitan Council, according to Fischer.

Anoka County Traveler fixed routes provided by the county with reimbursement from the Metropolitan Council are:

-Route 801, which has Monday through Friday service between Rosedale Shopping Center and the Brooklyn Center Transit Hub during peak hours and midday runs between Rosedale and the Columbia Heights Transit Center.

-Route 805, which travels between downtown Anoka and Northtown Mall via Coon Rapids on Monday through Saturday.

-Route 831, which provides Monday through Friday service between Northtown Mall and 117th Avenue and Jefferson Street Northeast in Blaine.

-Route 865, a Monday through Friday new northern route starting Aug. 25 between East Bethel and downtown Minneapolis with stops in Ham Lake and Blake.

In addition, the Transit Link public dial-a-ride service operates in areas of the county where there are no fixed routes, but requires advanced reservations.

The contract awards are contingent on approval by the Metropolitan Council of an inter-agency agreement with the county to provide the bus service.

The Metropolitan Council is scheduled to take action on the agreement June 24, Kirchoff said.

First Transit has a strong presence in the Twin Cities and was the vendor under contract with Anoka County prior to the change to MV Transportation in 2010, according to Fischer.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, First Transit operates in 242 locations in 39 states in the U.S., as well as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and four Canadian provinces, the company’s website states.

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Funds: Similar; Results: Not http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/funds-similar-results-not/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/29/funds-similar-results-not/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:00:02 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?guid=5d9a5d066a44825ac597a943d572c7ec Fortunes change for mutual funds, even the best ones. That’s true for funds that seem to be alike. Subtle differences, however, can spell a noteworthy divergence in performance. A case in point is the contrast between good funds from Dimensional Fund Advisors and Vanguard Investments.

Recently, the difference in historical performance between DFA U.S. Small Value (DFSVX) and Vanguard Small Cap Value (VISVX) has narrowed. For example, for the 10-year period ending December 2014, the compound annual return of DFSVX was 7.9%, while VISVX earned 8.3%. Comparatively, for the 10 years ending December 2012, returns were 11.3% for DFSVX and 9.6% for VISVX.

What explains this reversal? It’s not so much their costs. The DFA fund is slightly more expensive to run than the Vanguard offering (charging investors 0.53% of assets yearly, versus 0.23%), but the difference isn’t very wide and both are relatively cheap. What separates them is their asset allocation.

From January 2003 through December 2012, an analysis shows the two funds had roughly comparable concentrations in value stocks, which trade at a lower price than their fundamentals warrant. But DFSVX had markedly higher exposure to market risk – meaning its holdings were more vulnerable to volatility – and owned much smaller companies.

Both the equity market and small-cap stocks did exceedingly well during the earlier timespan, with an average annual equity risk premium – stocks’ extra performance over risk-free Treasury bonds – of 8 percentage points and a 4.3 percentage point size premium, which is how much small stocks exceed large. So it’s not surprising to see that DFA Small Value had substantially higher performance than Vanguard Small Value for the 2012-ending period.

From January 2005 through December 2014, an analysis shows exactly what we found in the earlier period: DFSVX had markedly higher exposure to market risk and small-cap risk than VISVX. Both the market premium and size premium were positive over this period, albeit the average annual size premium was just 1.0 percentage point. What explains the slightly lower returns of DFSVX compared with VISVX?

First, it’s worth noting that the average annual returns of DFSVX were slightly higher than VISVX, but the compound returns were lower due to the higher volatility of DFSVX (24.2% volatility). That’s in contrast to VISVX’s 20.5%.

The primary explanation for the performance differential was that the higher volatility of DFSVX compared with VISVX more than offset the incremental return benefit of having more exposure to market risk and small-cap risk. In periods such as 2003–2012 when the size premium was closer to its historical average, the additional volatility does not tend to offset the higher average annual returns.

Second, DFA Small Value excludes both real estate investment trusts, which are pools of properties or mortgages that trade like stocks, and highly regulated utilities, while Vanguard Small Value does not.

Over this later 10-year period, both REITs (using the Dow Jones U.S. Select REIT Index) and utilities (using economist Ken French’s utilities industry series) had higher returns than Vanguard Small Value itself, indicating that this is likely another explanatory factor.

The higher returns of these two sectors, which are frequently a substantial portion of VISVX’s portfolio, likely pulled VISVX’s returns up relative to what they would have been had Vanguard followed the same sector-exclusion methodology as DFA.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jared Kizer is the director of investment strategy for the BAM ALLIANCE, a community of more than 140 independent wealth management firms located throughout the United States. See its disclosures page for more information. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JaredKizer. A St. Louis resident, Jared co-authored the book The Only Guide to Alternative Investments You’ll Ever Need in 2008 with financial author Larry Swedroe. To learn more about the BAM Alliance or to find an independent member firm, please visit www.TheBAMAlliance.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

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Fortunes change for mutual funds, even the best ones. That’s true for funds that seem to be alike. Subtle differences, however, can spell a noteworthy divergence in performance. A case in point is the contrast between good funds from Dimensional Fund Advisors and Vanguard Investments.

Recently, the difference in historical performance between DFA U.S. Small Value (DFSVX) and Vanguard Small Cap Value (VISVX) has narrowed. For example, for the 10-year period ending December 2014, the compound annual return of DFSVX was 7.9%, while VISVX earned 8.3%. Comparatively, for the 10 years ending December 2012, returns were 11.3% for DFSVX and 9.6% for VISVX.

What explains this reversal? It’s not so much their costs. The DFA fund is slightly more expensive to run than the Vanguard offering (charging investors 0.53% of assets yearly, versus 0.23%), but the difference isn’t very wide and both are relatively cheap. What separates them is their asset allocation.

From January 2003 through December 2012, an analysis shows the two funds had roughly comparable concentrations in value stocks, which trade at a lower price than their fundamentals warrant. But DFSVX had markedly higher exposure to market risk – meaning its holdings were more vulnerable to volatility – and owned much smaller companies.

Both the equity market and small-cap stocks did exceedingly well during the earlier timespan, with an average annual equity risk premium – stocks’ extra performance over risk-free Treasury bonds – of 8 percentage points and a 4.3 percentage point size premium, which is how much small stocks exceed large. So it’s not surprising to see that DFA Small Value had substantially higher performance than Vanguard Small Value for the 2012-ending period.

From January 2005 through December 2014, an analysis shows exactly what we found in the earlier period: DFSVX had markedly higher exposure to market risk and small-cap risk than VISVX. Both the market premium and size premium were positive over this period, albeit the average annual size premium was just 1.0 percentage point. What explains the slightly lower returns of DFSVX compared with VISVX?

First, it’s worth noting that the average annual returns of DFSVX were slightly higher than VISVX, but the compound returns were lower due to the higher volatility of DFSVX (24.2% volatility). That’s in contrast to VISVX’s 20.5%.

The primary explanation for the performance differential was that the higher volatility of DFSVX compared with VISVX more than offset the incremental return benefit of having more exposure to market risk and small-cap risk. In periods such as 2003–2012 when the size premium was closer to its historical average, the additional volatility does not tend to offset the higher average annual returns.

Second, DFA Small Value excludes both real estate investment trusts, which are pools of properties or mortgages that trade like stocks, and highly regulated utilities, while Vanguard Small Value does not.

Over this later 10-year period, both REITs (using the Dow Jones U.S. Select REIT Index) and utilities (using economist Ken French’s utilities industry series) had higher returns than Vanguard Small Value itself, indicating that this is likely another explanatory factor.

The higher returns of these two sectors, which are frequently a substantial portion of VISVX’s portfolio, likely pulled VISVX’s returns up relative to what they would have been had Vanguard followed the same sector-exclusion methodology as DFA.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jared Kizer is the director of investment strategy for the BAM ALLIANCE, a community of more than 140 independent wealth management firms located throughout the United States. See its disclosures page for more information. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JaredKizer. A St. Louis resident, Jared co-authored the book The Only Guide to Alternative Investments You’ll Ever Need in 2008 with financial author Larry Swedroe. To learn more about the BAM Alliance or to find an independent member firm, please visit www.TheBAMAlliance.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

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Talking nature: Sharp-tailed grouse dancing in a lek http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/28/talking-nature-sharp-tailed-grouse-dancing-in-a-lek/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/28/talking-nature-sharp-tailed-grouse-dancing-in-a-lek/#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 17:00:42 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161613 A few weeks ago my friend Travis told me about his trip to northern Wisconsin to a blind where he watched sharp-tail grouse doing their dance, and he said that he had such a good time that he might want to go back there soon.

He told me that it was almost a spiritual experience. Travis had taken wonderful photos of the grouse and asked me if I would like to go with when and if he went back. I said, “Absolutely.”

Two male sharp-tail grouse in a face-off. Photo by Ron Taube

Two male sharp-tail grouse in a face-off. Photo by Ron Taube

The plans were finalized, and at 1:45 a.m. on the first Saturday morning in May, Travis picked me up in his red Grand Am at my house. We had both dressed in layers because even though the predictions for the day were to be highs in the 70s, he had told me that it got quite cold out in the lek.

When I got home I looked up the word lek. Here is the Wikipedia definition of a lek: “A lek is an aggregation of males that gather to engage in competitive displays that may entice visiting females who are surveying prospective partners for copulation. Leks are commonly formed before or during the breeding season. A lekking species is defined by the following characteristics: male displays, strong female mate choice, and the conferring of male indirect benefits. Although lekking is most prevalent among avian species, lekking behavior is found in insects, amphibians, and mammals as well.” The word is Swedish for play.

The area where we were going to was named Namekagon Barrens, and it is a large wildlife area north and east of Danbury Wisconsin. Our drive would take us north on Interstate 35, then east from Hinckley to Danbury on Highway 48, then north-east on state Highway 35 to Namekagon.

We noticed fog in several areas as we drove and hoped that it would melt off by sunrise, which it did.

What we didn’t count on was that when we arrived the fog would make it difficult for us to find the blind.  In the two weeks since Travis was there, there had been a burn off of shrubbery and grasses. Travis had a flashlight and I was using the flashlight on my iPod touch, but even with both it took us almost half an hour to find the blind in the dark. The blind was basically a tent 6 feet square and about 6 feet high at its peak.

We unzipped the opening and inside were two large, round buckets with makeshift cushions on boards that were to be our seats. There were four openings of about 18 inches square that were to be our windows. We opened them up and took our seats. It was 4:30 a.m. when we first looked out at the lek. The first thing we saw after we opened one window was the bright orange moon shining out over the bog.

We could hear sounds of the grouse but saw little until a bit of light started to filter in around 5 a.m., then we saw our first sharp-tails in the distance. The sharp-tail grouse is a medium-sized prairie grouse. It is known as the fire grouse or fire bird by Native Americans because they rely on prairie fires to keep their habitat open. This was undoubtedly the reason why the area had been burned.

Adult sharp-tails have two central square-tipped feathers in their tail slightly longer and darker than their outer tail feathers, and that’s where they derived their name. Their plumage is light and dark shades of brown against a white background.

Adult males have yellow stripes over their eyes like eyebrows and a violet patch on their neck. This patch helps to distinguish them from prairie chickens.

The female sharp-tail is smaller than the male and lacks the extended feathered eyebrows and patch. They have smaller and less distinct eyebrows.

To watch the grouse do their display is quite amazing. The males all start at the same time and all end at the same time. It’s like when one frog starts to croak and then they all croak.

One of the males will start to move very rapidly in a dance that reminded me of the way the singer James Brown used to dance very rapidly and with his feet close together. While the bird is dancing there is a kind of a purring sound and it’s as if he’s up on his toes like a ballerina. The dance goes on for maybe 10 seconds; then he stops and stands perfectly still for a few seconds and then he starts again.

Now magnify this by 50 to 100 birds and you have what looks like a perfectly choreographed ballet with everyone starting at the same time and everyone stopping at the same time.

After the dance the males then start what I call face-offs. They pair off usually in twos but sometimes in threes or fours and squat down and stare at each other with their faces less than a foot apart. Often nothing happens from this face-off but sometimes there is an attack and a short battle ensues. Sometimes these battles happen in the air.

Then they stop, do their dance and start all over again. Travis and I watched this for over three hours often laughing at the odd behavior.

We only saw two hens amongst all the birds, and neither of them seemed at all interested in what all the males were doing, so it was what you might call unproductive behavior.

It made me wonder about our society and how much of it was unproductive behavior, but that’s another story.

Around 7:30, a bald eagle made his appearance and they all flew off and we did not see them again. Travis said, “Well, we might as well go,” and so we did. On the way back, we saw all the beauty around the wildlife refuge that we could not see at 4 a.m. in the dark.

It was a wonderful outing.

There are more photos and a video of a male grouse doing his dance at this flickr link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ronsthoughts/sets/72157652361873982.

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Anoka-Hennepin, Dunwoody partner on industrial sewing program http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/28/anoka-hennepin-dunwoody-partner-on-industrial-sewing-program/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/28/anoka-hennepin-dunwoody-partner-on-industrial-sewing-program/#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 13:02:24 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161777 A new collaboration between the Anoka-Hennepin School District and Dunwoody College of Technology is helping some special needs students learn employable skills that are particularly in demand in Minnesota.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District and Dunwoody College of Technology have partnered to help special needs students learn in demand industrial sewing skills. Submitted photo

The Anoka-Hennepin School District and Dunwoody College of Technology have partnered to help special needs students learn in demand industrial sewing skills.
Submitted photo

Turns out, there is a major shortage of skilled industrial sewers in the state. For every five open positions in the field, there is only one qualified worker in Minnesota, said Anoka-Hennepin special education teacher Laura Boche.

Boche works at Bridges, a special-education transition program in the district for students ages 18 to 21 that focuses on life and job skills to help students be as independent as possible.

She had already started teaching a recreational sewing class at the request of parents who wanted their children to learn basic sewing and knitting. But after reading a New York Times article last year that highlighted the renewed demand for American-made goods in the textile and apparel industries and the need for more skilled workers, she said a light bulb went off.

“It was an open field. When I read that, I thought, what can I do for our students? I have some students who are very good at sewing, how could they be involved in this? I could see them being able to do part of an assembly line or be part of a factory process,” she said.

The article also mentioned that an industry group called the Makers Coalition, which formed to help address the shortage, had partnered with Dunwoody on an industrial sewing program to create qualified workers in Minnesota.

Boche contacted Dunwoody, which agreed to collaborate on a pilot program to train students from Bridges and Pathways, the district’s other special-education transition program, in these sought-after skills.

“They were willing to modify their current course to something more assembly-line based,” she said. “So rather than start-to-finish training, we are learning different parts of the process: how to run machines, how to quality-check your work. Our students will be able to walk out of here and complete a part on an assembly line for sure.”

Leah Collins, project manager of continuing education at Dunwoody, said she was very excited for the opportunity to collaborate with the Anoka-Hennepin School District, especially after visiting with the Bridges Transition Program last November.

“After observing the intro to industrial sewing and vocational seminars, I could tell how passionate the students were,” she said. “A number of the students already had some basic sewing experience, and they seemed genuinely excited for an opportunity to attend a modified industrial sewing program at Dunwoody.”

The program began March 23 and ended June 4, with students attending class at Dunwoody every day for two hours. Projects included working with a variety of fabrics, from cotton to leather, to create finished items such as wallets, shorts and teddy bears. Students also learned how to create different seams and stitches, how to run machines, how to thread and change a needle, and how to employ other skills, such as how to make a ruffle and how to connect two different shaped pieces of fabric.

Boche said the students’ reaction has been very positive, and she has seen their confidence increase throughout the program.

“It’s been so fun to see how much pride they take in their work when they accomplish something. They are interested and engaged every day,” she said. “And every single family that we shared this opportunity with was really, really excited about it.”

April Ashleson, an instructor in Dunwoody’s sewing specialist program who worked with the students, said she thinks the program is a great idea.

“I think it has been really successful because half the students weren’t able to sew beforehand and now they can make a finished product,” she said. “I think everybody could potentially get a job doing some step in the process. And it’s been really nice to get to know everybody and see them grow.”

After a successful trial run, the plan is to continue the program at Dunwoody next year.

Boche said the next step is to make connections with businesses in the sewing industry – such as dance costume companies – and hopefully get the students hired. She also plans to start a prerequisite sewing course at Bridges or Pathways next year for students interested in the Dunwoody program, which would cover the basics so their time at Dunwoody can be used for more advanced training.

Collins said she is looking forward to continued collaborations between Dunwoody and the Anoka-Hennepin School District in the future.

“I was very impressed with the student’s accomplishments over the course of this program. I witnessed them becoming empowered by the opportunity to gain industry-recognized sewing skills, and I was excited to be a part of their first experience with higher education,” she said. “The students are leaving this program with not only strong sewing skills, but also a new found confidence in their abilities and futures.”

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Stemwedel confirmed as new city manager for Coon Rapids http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/28/stemwedel-confirmed-as-new-city-manager-for-coon-rapids/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/28/stemwedel-confirmed-as-new-city-manager-for-coon-rapids/#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 13:00:39 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161775 It’s now official.

Matt Stemwedel, Coon Rapids assistant city manager

Matt Stemwedel, Coon Rapids city manager.

The Coon Rapids City Council June 16 unanimously approved an employment contract with Matt Stemwedel to be the new city manager.

Since the council by consensus at a special meeting May 28 chose Stemwedel to succeed the retiring Steve Gatlin – his last day was May 29 – as city manager, Stemwedel has been interim city manager while an employment contract was drawn up and reviewed.

Stemwedel, who had been Coon Rapids’ assistant city manager since January 2012, is a Twin Cities native.

Born in St. Paul Park, he graduated from Park High School in Cottage Grove and earned an bachelor of science degree in public administration and political science from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse before spending two years at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota to get his master’s degree in public policy.

He was a community development intern for the city of Cottage Grove from May to August 2005, then administrative intern for the city of Hugo from May 2006 to February 2007 before being named assistant to the city manager in Woodbury, where he spent five years until he came to Coon Rapids.

The city received 39 applications for the city manager job during a search process that began in January after Gatlin announced his retirement and David Unmacht of the consulting firm Springsted Inc. was hired to lead the search process.

In April, Unmacht provided a subcommittee of the council – comprising Mayor Jerry Koch and Council Members Steve Wells and Jennifer Geisler – with a list of 15 candidates, which the council members narrowed to eight for the first round of interviews May 5 and 6, conducted by the subcommittee of Koch, Wells and Council Member Wade Demmer, who replaced Geisler.

Four candidates were selected for the final round of interviews May 28, involving both the full seven-member council and a separate panel of city staff department heads.

Stemwedel was offered the job, pending successful negotiations of an employment agreement, drafted by Unmacht, which was recommended for by the council subcommittee and City Attorney David Brodie and accepted by Stemwedel, according to City Clerk Joan Lenzmeier.

“Welcome aboard,” Koch said to Stemwedel. “You sailed through unanimously.”

Under the terms of the employment agreement, which went into effect June 17, Stemwedel will be paid an annual salary of $133,057.

In addition, the city will contribute $2,500 annually to the city-sponsored deferred compensation program for Stemwedel and pay him $400 per month in automobile allowance, while Stemwedel is eligible for a $5,000 moving allowance to cover actual moving expenses up to that amount as well as a one-time payment of $5,000 for moving to Coon Rapids within two years from the June 17 date of the agreement.

Council Member Brad Johnson said he would vote for the employment agreement, but he preferred that the compensation be listed as one amount, not split up into separate salary, deferred compensation, car allowance and moving expenses items.

According to the employment agreement, Stemwedel serves at the will of the council with an initial performance review after the first six months and annually after that. At its discretion, the council will consider a pay raise for Stemwedel after the six-month review takes place.

In the event the council fires Stemwedel, he will be paid a lump sum cash amount equal to six months’ aggregate salary unless the termination is because of “malfeasance in office, gross misconduct, conviction for a felony or conviction for an illegal act involving personal gain,” the employment agreement states.

If Stemwedel voluntarily resigns the city manager job, he must give the city 30 days’ advance notice and he will not receive any termination pay, it states.

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Shoreview man sentenced after having sex with underage girls http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/shoreview-man-sentenced-after-having-sex-with-underage-girls/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/shoreview-man-sentenced-after-having-sex-with-underage-girls/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 19:54:01 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161706 A Shoreview man will spend nearly six years in prison after having sex with two underage girls.

Randy Robert Finch, 26, was convicted of two third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges and engaging in electronic communication relating to or describing sexual conduct with a child.

He had a second electronic communication charge dropped, as well as a prostitution charge.

A teenage girl told a detective from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office that she had sex with Finch in 2013. She was 14 at the time.

The girl agreed to have sex with Finch for 15 minutes in exchange for 10 grams of synthetic marijuana, she told the detective, according to the criminal complaint.

They had sex in Finch’s pick-up truck in the parking lot of the Home Depot located on Pheasant Ridge Drive in Blaine.

Finch continued to have sex with her even when she asked him to stop after 15 minutes, the girl told the detective.

Finch allegedly put his hand on her throat, which restricted her breathing, the complaint states.

In another case, Finch met an 15-year-old girl from Andover on DateHookup.com.

The girl told him her age, but he still agreed to meet with her, a second criminal complaint states.

She allegedly snuck out of her house around 11 p.m. June 30, 2014, and Finch picked her up.

The two drove to a garage where they had sex on a mattress on the garage floor, the girl told the detective, according to the complaint.

He dropped her off down the street from her house around 1:30 a.m., and her parents were waiting for her. They confronted her and called the police after seeing sexually explicit text messages on her cell phone, the complaint states.

Additionally, authorities found sexually explicit emails, allegedly from Finch, in her inbox, the complaint states.

Finch was sentenced in Anoka County District Court June 16 to 80 months in prison with credit for 266 days served.

olivia.alveshere@ecm-inc.com

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Column: A letter from Thaddeus Giddings to the Anoka County Historical Society http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/column-a-letter-from-thaddeus-giddings-to-the-anoka-county-historical-society/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/column-a-letter-from-thaddeus-giddings-to-the-anoka-county-historical-society/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 17:00:34 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161610 Thaddeus P. Giddings was one of the five children of Dr. Aurora Giddings, Anoka’s first doctor. A much renowned music educator, his teaching methods were used in 70 percent of the schools throughout the U.S. In his later years, Giddings took up residence in the family home on Main and Ferry Streets in Anoka when he wasn’t traveling around the country. While not politically correct for this time and age, Giddings’s letter, written before his death in 1954, reflects the humor of the man and of his times. His first story is about the Igloo, a stone structure that can be seen from the Rum River Bridge, and his last point reminds us of the importance of recording our history as we live it.

“…As you are probably meeting in the Igloo you should remember that you are on historic ground as Father Hennepin walked over it in real life at least once, and in the pageants did it twice, almost counting the time he fell in the water.

This is true even if Mary Caswell does contend that the real Indian Trail goes over the top of her bluff and past her house…

A further fact in history: Let me remind you of the possible further historicalness of the land you are now on. It was once nearly the head of navigation on Rum River as the following true story will show:

Years ago it was rumored that a steamboat was building to ply daily between Minneapolis and the eddy at the foot of our garden. Our family, at least, watched hopefully for its advent. One day, just at noon, our numerous family were sitting down to dinner. There sounded a whistle. Mother said, “There comes the new steamer!” We all glued our faces to the south widows to see it come round the bend. Just then Father came from his office, which was in the front room, and asked what we were looking at. We all shouted that we had heard the new steamboat whistle. He replied, “Fiddle-sticks, I just pulled a tooth for Mrs. Rogers.”

…I am glad to be a member of the Historical Society. Any society of this sort can do a fine thing, and each community should preserve its archives and make them as interesting and as vivid as possible. A certain gentleman of our town has done a good job in that direction. A year or so ago he was on the bridge and a stranger met him and pointing at the little tower in the north end of this garden politely asked, “What is that dam thing down there?”

“Don’t you know?” prominent citizen replied. “That is an old Indian fort. They used to shoot Indians from it when they came up the river. One day they shot the river half full of dead Indians.” Later when interrogated as to the why of this yarn, he said, “If we are going to have legends, someone has to start them.” Which yarn gives pause to one as he scans history.

Then again one must beware how he gives credence to the tale of the aging. They have told these yarns so often that they have come to believe them themselves. Selah. However, go to it. Let’s all get together to build a fine history of the past, not forgetting to put down whatever history is in the making at the present time. Then later our descendants will not have to depend on the sifting of old wives’ fables, not forgetting the fables of the opposite sect (sic) for their history.

Greetings from the absent member. T.P. Giddings

June Anderson is a member and volunteer of the Anoka county Historical Society. Join her and her fellow docents for history and mystery on a Ghosts of Anoka Walking Tour.

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New Methodist internship program involves area students, churches http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/new-methodist-internship-program-involves-area-students-churches/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/new-methodist-internship-program-involves-area-students-churches/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 16:41:46 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161695 A new internship program launched by the United Methodist Church in Minnesota placed eight undergraduates in churches across the state to learn about the variety of opportunities available to them through vocational ministry.

Intern Melissa Thompson entertains kids during Vacation Bible School at the United Methodist Church of Anoka. Thompson, a student at Hamline University, will intern at Anoka UMC through early August.

Intern Melissa Thompson entertains kids during Vacation Bible School at the United Methodist Church of Anoka. Thompson, a student at Hamline University, will intern at Anoka UMC through early August. Photo by Olivia Alveshere

Two of the eight interns are from Coon Rapids and grew up attending Coon Rapids United Methodist Church.

John Barclay III was assigned to an internship at Brunswick United Methodist Church in Crystal, and Lee Miller is exploring ministry at Uptown Church in Minneapolis.

Another intern, Melissa Thompson, of South Carolina, will spend her summer working locally at the United Methodist Church of Anoka.

The first week of June, interns went through orientation where they met clergy, stopped by a number of churches, visited seminaries and got to know one another.

“We’re all very different people with the same kind of goal, which is to fulfill God’s calling in our life,” Barclay said.

Not all of the interns are Methodist – two of the eight are Lutheran and Thompson is Baptist.

“It’s a little strange being in a different atmosphere, but I also kind of like it,” Thompson said of her first few weeks at UMCA. “I’m meeting new people and learning more about a different type of congregation.”

Over the course of eight weeks, the internship program – formally the Exploring Leadership Internship Project, or ELI Project – aims to expose young people to opportunities within the church.

“If we can give any young adult a chance to really explore God’s call to them, that’s what we need to do,” said Bill Eaves, Thompson’s clergy mentor and the lead pastor at UMCA.

Reaching out to young people is a priority of the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

“The average age of a United Methodist is 61,” said Cindy Gregorson, conference director of ministries, in a press release. “If we are going to reach our children and their children with the good news of Jesus Christ, we need leaders in their 20s and 30s who are passionate about the gospel and the power of Christian community.”

Barclay is ready to become such a leader, he said.

He felt a call to ministry his senior year of high school, but he let baseball supersede that call, he said.

After graduating from high school in 2014, Barclay opted to attend Rochester Community and Technical College to play ball.

He missed the latter part of the school year after injuring his hip in March.

His injury was a wake-up call and jolted him into a different decision-making process – one with God at the center, he said.

Barclay intends to transfer to Bethel University this fall to major in biblical and theological studies.

“It’s time to put God first in my life,” he said. Baseball will still be there.

This summer, Barclay is hoping to discern what areas of ministry are the best fit for him.

“It’s not about whether I want to go into ministry; it’s about where in ministry,” he said.

He is excited to preach for the first time and is busy working on a sermon that he will deliver to the congregation in Crystal in late July, near the end of his placement.

Miller, a senior at Hamline University, is double majoring in religion and nonprofit management.

Like Barclay, Miller knows he wants to go into ministry. He hopes to attend Duke University in North Carolina next year to get his Master of Divinity degree.

His dad, a district superintendent for the Methodist Church, and a Hamline chaplain suggested Miller apply for this internship to learn more about what a career in ministry looks like.

Uptown Church is quite different from Miller’s home church in that it is relatively new. The church opened its doors for its first communal worship service Oct. 5, 2014.

Around 50 gather to worship on an average Sunday evening, according to Miller.

So far, the internship has been “really enlightening,” he said.

“I’m hoping to take away a greater understanding of how to build a church from nothing,” Miller said.

He has been working long hours, primarily doing outreach work.

“I’m getting out and really talking to the community” about what it is they want and need from a church, he said.

Thompson is a classmate of Miller’s, also a senior at Hamline University where she is double majoring in music performance and religion.

She is staying with a UMCA parishioner this summer as she works at the church.

Interested in theater, Thompson has dreams of starting a nonprofit theater company that puts on religious productions.

But after touring Luther Seminary during orientation, Thompson started giving seminary some serious thought.

“I never thought about it before our orientation week,” she said. “I’ve kind of gotten attached to the idea.”

Eaves is having Thompson take on a variety of tasks, including visiting people in hospitals and care centers, leading small group discussion, reaching out to church neighbors and more.

“She’s going to be involved in just about everything,” he said.

Last week, Thompson helped run the church’s Vacation Bible School program.

She will continue to work with youth of all ages this summer.

“I think I’m going to really thrive in that aspect of working with ministry,” Thompson said. “I feel more comfortable around the teenagers.”

Following her passions for music and theater, she has plans to incorporate short skits into worship and introduce some of her original music to the congregation.

Only two weeks in, Eaves said he would definitely consider taking on interns in future summers.

“My own enthusiasm (for the ELI Project) comes from the fact that I had great mentors when I was a young adult,” he said.

The Minnesota Conference intends for the ELI Project to be an annual one, voting to increase the 2016 conference budget to keep the project going next year and beyond.

The first year was funded by a $60,000 grant from the global United Methodist Church’s Young Clergy Initiative.

Each intern receives a $3,000 stipend this summer, two-thirds of which comes from the conference and one-third of which comes from his or her host church.

For more information about the ELI Project, visit www.eliprojectmn.com.

olivia.alveshere@ecm-inc.com

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Concept courses accelerate learning in SLP schools http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/concept-courses-accelerate-learning-in-slp-schools/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/concept-courses-accelerate-learning-in-slp-schools/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 15:30:49 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161680 A pilot concepts course for Spring Lake Park High School freshmen saw students master math.

Instead of enrolling in quadratic algebra as most freshmen do, 106 struggling learners were placed in quadratic algebra concepts at the start of the 2014-2015 school year, according to Principal Jane Stevenson.

The course targets for both classes are exactly the same, but the concepts version meets for two consecutive periods each day so that students get a double dose of the material.

Three teachers teamed up to design the concepts course last summer: Desiree Anderson, who has taught at the high school for six years, and new teachers Tiffany Fearing and Julie Hasling.

With a baby on the way, Anderson was a little hesitant to take on this project, but she was excited, too, she said.

“I think I have always had a heart for the kids who struggle,” Anderson said. “It fit my passion in teaching.”

Fearing and Hasling accepted positions at Spring Lake Park High School knowing that they would be engaged in this work.

The three put their heads together over the summer, diving into their students’ backgrounds – assessment data, but also insights as to how they feel about themselves and their learning.

Each teaching two sections of quadratic algebra concepts, the three teachers continued to work as a team throughout the school year with time set aside daily to gather in a professional learning community.

A big piece of the course design was mindset.

Students came in doubting their ability to do math.

“That’s the biggest change that I saw throughout the year,” Fearing said.

Stevenson agreed: “If you walk through the class and talk to the students, what you will find out is that they’re talking about the fact that they get math now,” she said at the tail end of the school year.

With more time to play with, “every day we could work with every single student,” Anderson said.

Plus, students had time to work on homework in class with teachers available for help.

“They did most of their math in our presence,” Anderson said.

After a year of concentrated study, 75 percent of the students are ready to tackle regular geometry, the teachers estimate.

“The goal is for them to jump back into regular classes,” Anderson said.

Several students did so mid-year, making the leap to traditional quadratic algebra; one even advanced to geometry.

“We’re still looking at expanding geometry concepts for this coming year knowing that there are still going to be some students that need support,” Stevenson said.

“Geometry is a different beast,” Anderson said. “Geometry’s the toughest math class in the building.”

The school intends to offer concepts courses in both algebra and geometry, as well as ninth-grade language arts in 2015-2016.

Anderson, Fearing and Hasling will follow some of their students, each teaching a section of geometry concepts.

Fearing and Hasling will each maintain a section of quadratic algebra concepts, too.

Currently, the plan is to have a total of eight math concept courses at the high school, though that could be adjusted as students’ schedules are finalized this fall, Anderson said.

“I’m glad to see that the math concepts course was successful, and I’m glad to see also that you’re expanding on it,” Board Chairperson John Stroebel said.

Though administration and the School Board are happy to see concepts courses expanding today, the hope is that down the road there will be less of a need for concepts courses as kids see interventions earlier on with new efforts at the elementary and middle school levels.

“We’re always going to have some (kids who need concepts courses) because we have a mobile population of kids moving in and out,” Superintendent Jeff Ronneberg said.
olivia.alveshere@ecm-inc.com

 
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Agreements, support get green lights for Walker expansion http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/agreements-support-get-green-lights-for-walker-expansion/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/agreements-support-get-green-lights-for-walker-expansion/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 15:23:08 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161671 A development agreement, assistance from Anoka’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority and support for the city of Anoka to act as a conduit for bond financing have all been approved to move forward an expansion for Walker Methodist.

Walker Plaza Gardens will provide a variety of living options  for seniors within its 73-unit building.                     Photo courtesy of Walker Methodist

Walker Plaza Gardens will provide a variety of living options for seniors within its 73-unit building. Photo courtesy of Walker Methodist

Walker Plaza Gardens, an extension of Walker Plaza, is planned for Monroe Street between First and Second avenues on the site of the old Riverway Clinic and Goodrich Pharmacy.

The facility will include 26 memory care units, 42 assisted-living units and five care suites. A skyway will connect the new building to Walker Plaza.

The HRA currently owns the property, which it plans to sell to Walker Methodist for $206,283 next month. It bought the land with an eye on redevelopment in 2012 when HealthPartners put plans in motion to build a new RiverWay Clinic just off Highway 10, near Green Haven Golf Course. Goodrich Pharmacy also relocated to the new clinic building.

“It was kind of our hope from the beginning that Walker would have an interest in the property – we thought they would be a logical buyer,” said Carl Youngquist, the HRA’s chairperson.

The benefits go beyond a new senior housing facility, he said. This was part of a larger, long term deal that saw the relocation of Castle Field to a new spot near Anoka High School and the chance for RiverWay Clinic to double in size.

Both the RiverWay move and the Walker expansion will create new jobs.

The HRA invested $595,000 in the purchase of those two properties.

Before the council’s stamp of approval on the development agreement, Anoka’s HRA board  members agreed to use $250,000 in tax increment financing revenues from the Rivers Pointe TIF District to support the new Walker project.

According to the HRA’s Housing Manager Darin Berger, changes to Minnesota’s building code that went into effect June 1 escalated project costs for Walker.

So the HRA agreed to use revenues from the Rivers Point district, which has a balance of $1.2 million, to help pay for TIF-qualifying projects.

This largely includes site work on the property.

“You never get into a project of this magnitude without assuming there would be bump or two along the way,” Youngquist said.

While he said the HRA “wasn’t thrilled” about using an additional $250,000 of its TIF money, it was needed to move the project forward.

The money will be repaid in four years by tax increment generated by the Walker expansion.

The Walker expansion will provide increased tax base to the city, completion of 75 new jobs and provide a higher level of care for seniors in our community,” Berger said.

The development agreement – one of the last municipal hurdles for the project to clear – was unanimously approved by the City Council. Mayor Phil Rice was absent from the meeting.

“I can’t think of a better investment,” said Council Member Jeff Weaver of the HRA’s TIF support. “It’s going to be a wonderful addition in Anoka.”

Conduit financing

The City Council also unanimously approved Walker’s request for tax exempt revenue financing for up to $15.5 million.

According to a report by Finance Director Lori Yager, the bonds will be paid from the revenue of the development and the city will not have any financial risk.

The city will also receive an administrative fee of up to $151,000.

Anoka also approved similar conduit financing for the second phase of the Volunteers of America expansion last year.

“The bonds do not have any impact on your credit rating when the city goes out to issue general obligation bonds for city projects,” Julie Eddington of the bond counsel firm Kennedy and Graven, told the City Council during a public hearing June 15. “Non-profits have to find a city to go through, so you are a conduit issuer with no liability in respect to the bonds.”

This conduit financing affords non-profits a lower interest rate on the money borrowed for projects.

mandy.froemming@ecm-inc.com

 
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Revenue bonds approved for senior housing project http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/revenue-bonds-approved-for-senior-housing-project/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/revenue-bonds-approved-for-senior-housing-project/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 14:21:40 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161669 Housing revenue bonds not to exceed $26 million were approved by the Coon Rapids City Council June 2 for a senior housing project in the city.

By unanimous vote following a public hearing at which no one spoke, the council authorized the issuance, sale and delivery of multifamily housing bonds for Dominium Development and Acquisition’s 166-unit senior apartment complex adjacent to the Coon Rapids Ice Center.

But the city is merely acting as a conduit for the bond sale, according to Sharon Legg, city finance director.

“There is no obligation on the part of the city” to pay off the bonds, Legg said.

Through city participation, the bonds are tax exempt and carry a lower interest rate than taxable bonds, she said.

The bonds will provide construction financing for the project and will be paid down after the project has stabilized and permanent financing is obtained, Legg told the council.

In addition, the developer will also seek tax credits, which will be sold to investors over time, she said.

Site plans for the four-story senior housing development on 4.5 acres of city-owned land east of the ice center was approved by the council April 7 and so was direct city financial assistance by the Coon Rapids Housing and Redevelopment and Economic Development authorities.

The city is selling the land to Dominium for $1.1 million, but the council has established a new tax increment financing district to generate $1.55 million, which will allow Dominium to receive incremental property taxes on a pay-as-you-go basis for some 25 years, while the HRA has approved a $300,000 interfund deferred loan for the project at an interest rate of 1 percent due three months after the maturity of the developer’s first mortgage.

According to Matt Brown, city economic development coordinator, closing on the sale of the city property will take place this summer with construction on the project scheduled to start in the fall.

Under the terms of the development agreement approved by the council April 7, construction must be completed by Dec. 31, 2016, Brown said.

The project is targeted at people age 55 and older and all of the units, both one- and two-bedroom, in the building would be affordable to households at or below 60 percent of area median income, which reflects the income level of many senior households in the city, he said.

Dominium was founded in 1972 and currently owns and manages 21,000 units in 17 states. These include two apartment complexes in Coon Rapids – Tralee Terrace and Mississippi View – which Dominium purchased some years ago and used housing revenue bonds issued by the city to renovate and rehabilitate the buildings.

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SLP city staff pleads for new windows http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/slp-city-staff-pleads-for-new-windows/ http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/06/27/slp-city-staff-pleads-for-new-windows/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 13:19:41 +0000 http://abcnewspapers.com/?p=161667 When Spring Lake Park city staff members open windows, they have a difficult time closing them again.

“Sometimes we have to go outside and push them in as someone’s cranking them,” City Administrator Dan Buchholtz said.

The windows are 38 years old, and it’s time to replace them, the City Council agreed June 15.

No funds were set aside to replace the windows this year, but building permit revenue and plan check fees are ahead of projections.

January through May, the city collected $23,702 in plan check fees; staff expected the city would collect $10,000 in 2015.

The city anticipated it would accrue $50,000 in building permit revenue by the end of 2015, and it had already seen $44,521 by the end of May.

So the council voted to amend the budget June 1, upping projections to $30,000 in plan check fees and $60,000 in building permit revenue. The council set aside $30,000 in the government building capital outlay budget for new windows.

Building official Barry Brainard obtained four quotes from three companies.

To replace all of the windows in City Hall, including the Police Department wing, where windows have not been replaced in 21 years, costs ranged from $21,526 to $31,133.

Staff recommended council award the project to the low bidder, Capital Siding, Windows and Construction.

The company will install Thermo-Tech windows by the end of August.

Brainard inquired how much additional cost it would be to add a window in the police investigator’s office, where there currently is none. Three quotes ranged from $1,782 to $6,140. Staff recommended holding off.

Council Member Jeanne Mason questioned that recommendation.

“You’ve got to have a window,” she said.

Buchholtz said adding a window would be reconsidered if and when future renovations to City Hall are made, but for now, “we just want to replace what we have; we just wanted to be conservative.”
olivia.alveshere@ecm-inc.com

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