Anoka County News Summer 05qxp

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					                                                                                                                                                     Summer 2005

Anoka County

Sizzling summer fun at Bunker Beach
                                                          This summer’s hot weather is making Anoka County’s                 Waves are generated every five seconds for 15 minutes,
                                                          Bunker Beach Water Park a popular                                  followed by a 10-minute rest period. For a break from
                                                          destination to beat the heat and enjoy outdoor water               water play, youngsters can visit the new sand play area
                                                                                                  fun. Along                 that includes play equipment and sand tables with run -
                                                                                                  with                       ning water, ideal for building the perfect sand castle.
                                                                                                  Minnesota’s                There are also two sand volleyball courts, a picnic
                                                                                                  only wave                  pavilion, and shade shelters.
                                                                                                  pool, Bunker
                                                                                                  Beach features             “Bunker Beach is a great summertime destination for
                                                                                                  a zero depth               families,” said Anoka County Commissioner Dick Lang,
                                                                                                  entry “adven-              who chairs the county’s Parks & Recreation Committee.
                                                                                                  ture pool” with            “With the opening of the new waterslides, adventure
                                                                                                  a maximum                  pool, and sand play area last year, Bunker Beach now
                                                                                                  depth of two               offers even more options, especially for younger
                                                                                                  feet. Kids love            children who may find the wave pool a bit much.”
                                                                                                  the large play
                                                                                                  structure in               Bunker Beach is a perfect place to hold summer
                                                                                                  the pool that              birthday parties or other special events. Birthday party
                                                                                                  allows them to             packages that include admission, food, tube rental, and
                                                                                                  spray water                supervised games are available. To make a reservation,
                                                                                                  using assorted             call 763-767-2895.
                                                                                                  valves, levers,
                                                                                                  and handles.               Admission to Bunker Beach is: adult/youth - $9 per
                                                                                                                             day; guests under 48 inches tall or senior citizens (age
                                                          Older children and adults enjoy two 200 foot                       62 and over) - $6 per day. After 4 p.m.: adult/youth -
                                                          waterslides, new last year, that wind, twist, and turn,            $6 per day; guests under 48 inches tall or senior citi -
                                                          finally ending in a refreshing plunge pool.                        zens - $4 per day. Bunker Beach is located within
                                                                                                                             Bunker Hills Regional Park in Coon Rapids. Vehicles
                                                          The wave pool’s air-generated waves are made with                  require a permit to enter the park: $5 per day or $25
                                                          eight pattern variations that reach as high as three feet.         for a 12-month permit. For more information, visit

Northstar commuter rail funds included in state bonding bill
                                                          Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed into law the $886 million                 “Securing state funding this year was critical to the
                                                          bonding bill, which includes $37.5 million for                     future of Northstar commuter rail,” said Anoka County
                                                                               Northstar commuter rail, at a                 Commissioner Dan Erhart. “It is the first step toward
                                                                               special ceremony April 11 at the              providing commuters a much-needed transit option by
                                                                               site of the future Riverdale Coon             2008.”
                                                                               Rapids commuter rail station.
                                                                                                                             At a time when Twin Cities residents rank congestion
                                                                                       The 2005 bonding bill marks the       as the “single most important problem” facing the
                                                                                       first time the state has provided     region, according to a Metropolitan Council survey,
                                                                                       significant funding for the           many believe commuter rail is long overdue.
                                                                                       project. The $37.5 million in state
                                                                                       funding this year, which matches      The Twin Cities area recently was rated the fifth worst
                                                                                       $44 million in local funding, was     among 26 metro areas of similar size for the rate at
                                                                                       necessary to secure authorization     which congestion has worsened since 1982, according
                                                                                       from the federal government for       to a national study by the Texas Transportation
                                                                                       Northstar to move into final          Institute. Twin Cities residents wasted 43 hours
                                                                                       design.                               annually in rush hour traffic at an added “congestion”
                                                                                                                             cost of $722 per commuter.
  Gov. Pawlenty signs the 2005 bonding bill, joined by several legislators including
  (from left) Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, Rep. Jim Abeler, Rep. Kathy
  Tingelstad, Rep. Alice Hausman, and Rep. Melissa Hortman.

                                                                                 Anoka County                                                                          PRSRT STD
                                                                                 2100 Third Ave.                                                                      US POSTAGE
                                                                                 Anoka, MN 55303-2265                                                                     Paid
                                                                                                                                                                     Permit No. 100
                                                                                                                                                                        Mpls. MN
News Briefs
   • All travelers from the U.S. to and                programs offered by the Anoka Technical                             and treatable, according to Anoka County
from South and Central America, the                    College’s Secondary Technical Education                             Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah, co-chair
Caribbean, and Bermuda will soon be                    Program (STEP) for high school juniors                              of the campaign. For more information,
required to have a passport or other                   and seniors, and Customized Training                                call 763-422-7007.
accepted document that establishes their               Program providing specific training to
identity and nationality. All Anoka                    adult students in conjunction with area                                  • The Metropolitan Radio Board and
County License Centers process                         businesses for jobs available in the                                the Metropolitan 911 Board have merged
passport applications and passport                     community. Fields of training include                               to form the Metropolitan Emergency
photos. License centers are open                                                         emergency                         Services Board, a move that will save
weekdays from 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.                                                         medical response,                 money and increase efficiency. The board
and Sat. from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. The                                                        building trades,                  plans, constructs, sets policy for, and
license centers are conveniently                                                         fire and rescue,                  oversees operation of the seven-county
located throughout the county in                                                         glass technician,                 800 MHz public safety radio system as
Blaine, Coon Rapids, Ramsey, Ham                                                         pet grooming,                     well as the metropolitan regional 911
Lake, and Columbia Heights. Visit                                                        and healthcare.                   system. Anoka County Board Chair or                                                            The STEP building                 Margaret Langfeld serves as chair of the
call 763-323-5777 for more                                                               was built with                    new board.
information.                                                                             assistance and
                                                                                                                               • The seventh annual Anoka County
                                      From left: Anoka County Commissioners Dan Erhart, support from the
   • Low interest loans for first     Dennis Berg, and Rhonda Sivarajah and Mike Hilber, Anoka County                      Senior Expo was held recently at Lord of
time homebuyers in Anoka County STEP Instructor, Machine Shop.                           Board.                            Life Lutheran Church in Ramsey. This free
are now available through the Minnesota                                                                                    event for senior citizens and their families
Housing Finance Agency (MHFA). First                     • Residents may drop off yard and                                 offered information and resource booths
time homebuyers who meet income                        tree waste at Anoka County’s                                                               for seniors, along
guidelines may use the loan to purchase a              two compost sites, operated                                                                with stroke
new or existing home valued up to                      by NRG Processing Solutions.                                                               screenings, blood
$275,625 anywhere in the county. For                   There is no charge for residents                                                           pressure checks,
more information, call the Anoka County                to dispose of yard waste, but                                                              bone density scans,
Community Development Office at 763-                   there is a variable fee for tree                                                           mini massages, food,
323-5764 or visit                                      waste disposal. Residents also                                                             and entertainment.                              may pick up free finished                                                                  The expo travels to a
                                                       compost on a first-come,                                                                   different part of the
  • Kids of all ages participate in the                first-served basis. The Bunker                                                             county every year.
Anoka County Library’s summer                          Hills Compost Site is located at Seniors received free blood pressure checks at the recent
reading program, “What’s Buzzin’ At Your                                                           Senior Expo held in Ramsey.                     • Mediation
                                                       13285 Hanson Blvd. in Coon
Library?” Children can earn a free pass to             Rapids. The Rice Creek Chain of Lakes                               Services for Anoka County provides a
Bunker Beach by reading five books dur-                Compost Site is located at 7701 Main                                voluntary, confidential method for
ing the summer. All kids                               Street in Lino Lakes. Call Anoka County                             resolving disputes such as disagreements
who complete and return                                Integrated Waste Management at                                      between neighbors, landlords and tenants,
a reading record to the                                763-323-5730 for more information.                                  businesses and consumers, and employers
library by August 31                                                                                                       and employees. In 2004, Mediation
receive a certificate and a                             • Mental health is as important as                                 Services -- which receives funding from
chance for a special prize                             physical health. That’s the message of                              Anoka County -- conducted 146
drawing. Check the library’s Web site at               Anoka County’s Mental Wellness                                      mediations with 435 participants; referred for a full schedule                Campaign, aimed at increasing public                                nearly 3,000 cases for additional legal
of programs and events.                                awareness of mental health and fighting                             services; and trained 544 adults and youth
                                                       the stigma associated with mental illness.                          in mediation and conflict resolution. For
   • Anoka County commissioners                        Mental health problems are real, common                             information, call 763-422-8878.
received an update on educational

Sheriff’s Office awards ceremony honors officers, citizens
                       by Anoka County Sheriff Bruce Andersohn
                   A great delight for me                        gathered enough evidence to permit charg-         not breathing. Responding to a medical
                   as Sheriff is the annual                      ing the suspect with the murders.                 situation call, Sergeant Michael Longbehn
                   awards ceremony                                                                                 and Deputies Wayne Hunt and Travis
                   which provides public                         Deputy Bruce Hatton has worked in the             Bolles arrived to discover the newborn was
                   recognition for deputies                      Sheriff’s Crime Lab for 23 years. For his         not breathing and had no pulse. They
                   who have performed                            accomplishments throughout the years,             immediately began resuscitation and the
                   with distinction. This                        Deputy Hatton was awarded an Office               infant soon had a heartbeat and was
                   year six Sheriff’s Office                     Commendation. Deputy Hatton has                   breathing.
                   deputies were                                 developed a crime scene training program
recognized for their actions.                                    for new deputies and is a highly regarded         I am proud of these deputies and their
                                                                 crime scene diagrammer. Deputy Hatton             efforts as Anoka County law enforcement
Detectives Bryon Fuerst and Kurt                                 has drafted several hundred diagrams for          officers. If you should meet one of them,
Klosterman were awarded Letters of                               the County Attorney’s Office for use in           please take a minute to say thanks for a
Recognition for their efforts in the arrest                      courtroom prosecution. His personnel file         job well done.
of a murder suspect. In September 2004,                          includes 46 letters of recognition or
two random murders by an unknown                                 commendations.                                    In addition to the officers, two citizens --
suspect occurred in the city of Ramsey.                                                                            Scott Adamsi, Ham Lake, and Daniel
Detectives Fuerst and Klosterman                                 Three patrol deputies were awarded Office         Sivula, East Bethel -- each were awarded a
interviewed numerous witnesses and the                           Commendations for their efforts in saving         Citizen Award of Merit for their efforts in
suspect. Their investigative efforts                             a newborn infant born prematurely and             apprehending a burglary suspect.

2                                                                                                             Summer 2005
                      Drug crime prosecutions increase                                                                                Become a
                      by Anoka County Attorney Robert “Bob” Johnson

                    Drug cases continue to
                    account for a growing
                                                                      felony crimes has risen significantly in the
                                                                      last 20 years. In 1984, 465 people were                       foster
                    percentage of serious
                    crimes prosecuted in
                                                                      charged with a felony. By last year, that
                                                                      number had more than tripled to 1,611                          parent
                    Anoka County. Last                                felony charges. The higher number of
year 1,611 people were charged with a                                 felonies can be explained by a number of
felony. Of these cases, 495 involved drugs.                           factors beyond the increase in drug use.
                                                                      Certainly population growth is part of the
Drug crime prosecutions have risen as a                               reason. New felony crimes like fleeing
percentage of the total crimes charged                                police in a motor vehicle, DUI, and identi-
from eight percent in 1984, to 15 percent                             ty theft add to public safety, but increase
in 1994, to 31 percent to 2004. The                                   the number of people charged. Police are
growth in drug crimes is largely due to an                            better now at catching criminals than they
increase in the use of methamphetamine                                were 20 years ago. It is rare for there to be
(meth). In 1994, of 150 drug cases prose-                             unsolved major crimes in Anoka County.
cuted, meth was involved in 43, with mar-
ijuana and cocaine making up the balance.                             The increase in felony charges does not
In 2004, of 495 drug cases prosecuted,                                mean the level of public safety has
meth was the drug in 345 cases with                                   decreased. As I work with prosecutors
cocaine second highest with 55 cases.                                 across the country, I continue to be
                                                                      impressed with how safe we are living
The number of people charged with all                                 here. We are indebted to law enforcement
                                                                      for keeping our communities safe.
                                                                                                                                          A foster parent is:
Communities, businesses honored for recycling                                                                                        • A caring adult over age 21
                                                                                                                                    • Dedicated to helping children
Anoka County municipalities recycled                              Shamrock Recycling & Transfer, Inc.; and                                • Single or married
more than 140,404 tons of residential                             Blaine High School for their efforts to
waste in 2004.                                                    reduce waste and recycle.                                          • An Anoka County resident
                                                                                                                                       • A renter or homeowner
Of the county’s 21 municipalities, 12 met                           “Anoka County is a better place today
or exceeded their 2004 recycling goals:                             because residents are doing a better job of                 To become a licensed foster parent,
Andover, Blaine, Burns, Centerville, Circle                         recycling and properly disposing of items                          call 763-422-7144.
Pines, Columbia Heights, Coon                                                                             that could harm
Rapids, Fridley, Ham Lake, Lex-                                                                                         
                                                                                                          our environ-
ington, Lino Lakes, and Ramsey.                                                                           ment,” said

The Anoka County Solid Waste
                                                                                                          Anoka County
                                                                                                          Commissioner        Home repair funds
Abatement Advisory Task Force
recently hosted an awards cere-
                                                                                                          Jim Kordiak,
                                                                                                          chair of the
                                                                                                                              for eligible homeowners
mony to acknowledge their                                                                                 county’s Waste       Eligible homeowners may qualify for
achievement. The task force,                                                                              Management and      interest-free loans to make home repairs to
which includes representatives                                                                            Energy Commit-      meet building codes, or to conform to health
from each municipality in the                                                                              tee. “Without      and safety standards. Improvements may
county, advises the Anoka                  A partnership of Blaine High School and Connexus Energy was our recycling          include modifications to improve accessibility,
                                           recognized for recycling success. From left: Anoka County                          eliminate lead exposure, or repair windows,
County board on issues related             Commissioners Rhonda Sivarajah and Margaret Langfeld; Larry
                                                                                                           and processing
to recycling and solid waste               Peterson, Connexus Energy; Amber Petersen, Teacher, and Jaclyn efforts, more
                                                                                                                              plumbing, wiring, or the roof.
management.                                Davidson, Student, Blaine High School; Raquel Berg, Connexus than 316,000
                                           Energy; Norm Hande, Blaine High School Principal; and           tons of material   Qualifying homes must be a single-family, one
                                           Commissioner Dick Lang.                                                            unit dwelling and must be a minimum of 15
The task force also specially rec-                                                                         would have
                                                                                                                              years old. Family income and home value
ognized Connexus Energy; BTW,              Inc.;                    ended up in landfills last year.”                         limits apply. The countywide program is
                                                                                                                              administered by the Anoka County Community
New signs aim to reduce school zone speeding                                                                                  Action Program. Call 763-783-4721 for
                                                                                                                              information. Another program for the city of
The Anoka County Highway Department has                               their speed, creating greater awareness of the
                                                                                                                              Coon Rapids only is administered by the
received a $208,333 state grant from the Local                        need to slow down in school zones.” Statistics
                                                                                                                              Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation. For
Road Improvement Program to provide “active”                          indicate that a one mile per hour reduction in          information on the Coon Rapids program, call
school zone speed limit signs and warning                             speed can reduce accident severity by five              651-486-7401.
systems in school zones. The traffic control                          percent.
device consist of a school zone speed limit
sign, a flasher system, and a feedback sign that                      “The Driver Feedback Signs in school zones                        Anoka County News
indicates a driver’s actual speed. This project                       appear to be the next step in improving safety                         Produced by
will provide enhanced school zone speed limit                         to our students, parents, and staff,” said Chuck            Anoka County Public Information
traffic devices for up to 18 schools in four school                   Holden, Director of Operations for the Anoka-               2100 3rd Ave., Anoka, MN 55303
districts in the county including Anoka-Hennepin,                     Hennepin School District. “In our highly                             Julie Shortridge,
Centennial, Forest Lake, and St. Francis.                             congested school zones, this new signage is a                 Public Information Manager
                                                                      very welcome improvement. It has proven to be
The traditional, passive school zone speed limit                      a benefit in raising awareness of the motoring
                                                                      public in other locations.”                                        Ruth Bedor, Editor
signs are ineffective in achieving compliance
with school zone speed limits, according to                                                                                             Email comments to:
Anoka County Commissioner Dennis Berg, who                            Signs are expected to be in place by the time        
chairs the county’s Public Works Committee.                           classes resume in the fall. For additional infor -             Anoka County News online:
“Many times drivers are unaware of how fast                           mation, call the Anoka County Highway             
they actually are going,” Berg said. “The                             Department at 763-862-4200 or visit
feedback sign immediately lets drivers know                 

Summer 2005                                                                                                                                    3
NFL Commissioner Tagliabue praises Anoka County’s “can do” attitude
                                  National Football League Commissioner Paul                “(Making) a public-private partnership work
                                  Tagliabue was the guest speaker at a 350-seat            requires vision, planning, respect for partners, and
                                  North Metro Chamber of Commerce luncheon,                an element of trust for people to look at a complex
                                  hosted by the National Sports Center's new               set of ideas and jump 10 or 15 years ahead and say
                                       Schwann’s Conference Center in April.               if we invest our resources here, we will get the kind
                                                                                           of return we’re looking for.”
                                         In his speech, Tagliabue made some clear
                                         statements about the significance of the           “...We have the soundest economic structure in any
                                         Anoka County/Blaine proposal:                     sports league, probably in the world...What comes in
                                                                                           from national sources here to the Vikings is far and
                                          “Your plan here and your vision is one of the    away much more significant in economic terms than
                                         most comprehensive and thoughtful plans that      what a baseball, basketball or hockey team brings in
                                         I’ve seen in all of the many states and           to any community.”
                                         communities where we’ve been in an effort to
                                         develop new stadiums.”                            “To come here today and to see first-hand the
                                                                                           leadership, the plan and the can-do attitude is very
                                         “We can guarantee that our product will be of     refreshing and very reassuring.”
                                         great interest and the team will be of economic
                                         value to the public. The team will be an          “For our teams to be successful and for our teams to
                                         economic asset to the community. It will bring    accomplish what they want to accomplish in the
                                         resources into the community.”                    community, the business community and labor
                                                                                           unions and other non-profit organizations need to be
                                                                                           a part of the partnership.”

Repairs scheduled for Coon Rapids Dam
An underwater inspection of the Coon                 Recreation Committee. “The boat launch
Rapids Dam last winter revealed the                  will close and some fishing tournaments
presence of a large void under the apron of          and other special events may be                                           Give a
the dam on the Anoka County side of the              cancelled,” he said. “In addition, the dam                        CHOMONIX GOLF C OURSE
river. The damage was caused by erosion              walkway may close periodically while                                 Gift Certificate!
of the riverbed, according to the Three              repairs are being made.”
                                                                                                                       • 18-hole championship course
Rivers Park District, which operates the
dam. Repair work is expected to take a               Anoka County attempted to organize a                              • Located minutes from
minimum of three months, though adverse              consortium of government agencies to                                downtown Mpls./St. Paul
weather conditions could extend the com-             build a cofferdam that would have allowed                         • Majestic tree-lined fairways
pletion date into next year.                         the reservoir to be kept at its normal high-
                                                                                                                       • Gift certificates available
                                                     er summer level. However, the county was                            in any amount
In a typical year, the Park District raises          unable to secure commitments to share the
the gates of the dam to create a recreation-         $400,000 estimated cost of the cofferdam.                         • Call Chomonix Clubhouse
                                                                                                                         at 651-482-8484
al pool that extends six miles upstream
from the dam. However, this year the Park            “Unfortunately, it appears we have run out               
District will keep the recreational pool at          of options,” Lang said. “Hopefully the
the lower winter levels in order to com-             weather will cooperate so repairs can be
plete the repair work.                               completed this year.”

Without the recreational pool, boating,              The cost to repair the dam is expected to
fishing and other recreational uses of the           top $500,000. The Three Rivers Park
river will be severely restricted, according         District is responsible for the maintenance
to Anoka County Commissioner Dick                    and management of the dam.
Lang, who chairs the county’s Parks &

                                                                                    Anoka County Board of Commissioners
                                                                                              St. Francis                       Bethel
                                                                                            Burns Town-                                         Township
                                                                                            ship                                East Bethel
                                                                                                   1               Grove
              Dennis D. Berg        Dick Lang            Margaret Langfeld                                                           Ham          6
                District 1          District 2                Chair                          Ramsey                   Andover        Lake
                                                            District 3                                                                          Columbus

                                                                                              Anoka                                    3              Centerville
                                                                                                                         5             Blaine
                                                                                                         Rapids                                 Lino Lakes
                                                                                                                                      Spring   Circle Pines
                                                                                                                  Fridley             Lake Lexington
                                                                                                                                 4    Park

                          Scott LeDoux         Rhonda Sivarajah       Dan Erhart                                  Hilltop
     Jim Kordiak
       District 4           District 5            District 6           District 7                      Columbia Heights

             Anoka County Board of Commissioners - 763-323-5700

4                                                                                                               Summer 2005