Pilot Knob Road Drivers Make Way for Pheasants

    Midday traffic on Pilot Knob Road near the Eagan Municipal Center came to a standstill at about 1:10 p.m. on Thursday, June 28, when a baby pheasant darted out in the roadway.
    An alert driver stopped quickly after the young bird darted into the southbound lane of the busy road. A large pheasant, presumed to be the chick's mother, quickly ran out after the bird, trying to herd it back to the west side of Pilot Knob. Once the mother ran into the road, a flock of seven more young birds followed.
    After the green sedan in the southbound lane closest to the center of the roadway stopped, vehicles in the second southbound lane and a vehicle approaching in the northbound lane also halted. A large garbage truck approaching in the second northbound lane also stopped, creating a corridor for the family of pheasants to cross.
  With the entire brood now in the road, the mother hen apparently decided to lead them to the east side of the road, rather than herding them all back to the west.
    Traffic backed up slightly, but drivers waited patiently, without honking horns, as the pheasants crossed one of the major thoroughfares through the city.
  The mother hen and her brood of chicks made it safely to the other side of the road. After the last chick had jumped onto the sidewalk, traffic resumed.

Riding the rails--and ramps

Construction continues at Eagan's new skate park--boards, not ice--near the Lexington-Diffley athletic fields.

Feds charge man for Eagan bank robbery

   A St. Paul man arrested shortly after the June 6 robbery of an Eagan credit union has been charged with bank robbery in federal court and ordered to be held in a federal prison without bail.
Damien James McDonald, 39, of 2204 7th St. W. #2, St. Paul, has been charged with the federal offense of armed bank robbery, according to a federal complaint. McDonald is accused of robbing the Associated Healthcare Credit Union on Yankee Doodle Road on June 6.
   McDonald was originally charged in Dakota County with first-degree aggravated robbery. Transferring the case to federal court means McDonald, if convicted, could face enhanced penalties under federal sentencing guidelines.
    U.S. Magistrate Judge Jon T. Huseby found Thursday the government had established, by clear and convincing evidence, that no condition or combination of conditions would assure the safety of the community if McDonald were released or that releasing McDonald would create a risk he would not return to court.
    Part of the reason for the court's decision was McDonald's criminal history, which includes two convictions for armed bank robbery, one conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and a conviction for misdemanor domestic assault.
    McDonald was caught by police near his home shortly after the robbery in part because an FBI agent viewing bank surveillance video recognized him from his involvement in previous crimes, according to court records.

Marijuana allegedly found in Eagan hotel raid

    A 19-year-old Rosemount man is facing felony charges after police found more than 10 kilograms of drugs during a raid of an Eagan hotel room.
    Jazz Mayfield, 19, of 2081 138th St. W., Rosemount, has been summonsed to appear in Dakota County district court Aug. 6 on felony charges of second-degree sale of 10 or more kilograms of marijuana or THC (tetrahydrocannabinois)  and third-degree possession of more than 10 kilograms of marijuana, according to court records.
   The charges stem from an April 26 search of an Eagan hotel room by the Dakota County Drug Task Force. County drug agents obtained a search warrant for the room at an unnamed hotel. Police allege they could smell "the overwhelming odor of marijuana" outside the hotel room door. Mayfield was the only person inside the room at the time, according to investigators.
    Drug Task Force agents searched the room and found four freezer bags containing a green leafy substance, "hundreds" of THC oil pens, more than 20 bottles of THC liquid, vacuum sealers and scales, a medical marijuana card and certificate from California, and receipts documenting travel from California to Minnesota, according to court records.
    Police allege the weight of the marijuana and THC liquid found in the hotel room is more than 10 kilograms: 8.4 kilograms of THC oil and liquid, and about 1.8 kilograms of marijuana in leaf form.

City examines housing price intervention

    The Eagan City Council met with its Advisory Planning Commission for a joint session to discuss affordable housing.
    The three-hour work session included discussion of a variety of programs, tax incentives, and zoning options aimed at providing lower-priced options in the city, where some of the newest housing includes single-family homes priced at more than $700,000.
    The joint session was the first for the planning commission's new chair, Jane Vanderpoel, who once described Eagan as "a little too white and a little too upper-class." One of the planning commission's newest members, Angela Torres, has raised the issue of affordable housing during the commission's meetings.
    City council members noted a number of issues surrounding the provision of subsidized housing: increased demand on city services without a corresponding increase in revenue, interference with the private marketplace, and concerns raised by community members.
    Council member Paul Bakken urged transparency if the city chooses to subsidize housing. "If we decide as a city it is worth it to take money from taxpayers and put it into subsidized hoursing, we should be doing it directly," Bakken said, rather than using indirect methods such as tax incentives.
    Council member Meg Tilley saw potential for conflicting public opinion on the issue. "Do we really want to take this money and do subsidized housing?" she asked. "I like Eagan the way it is. The more wealthy it is, the better."
Woman facing public assistance theft charge
    A Burnsville woman is facing a felony charge for wrongfully obtaining public assistance.
    Jamie Combs, 27, of 1513 E. Burnsville Pkwy. #318, Burnsville, has been charge with theft, wrongfully obtaining public assistance, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint. Investigators allege Combs wrongfully received nearly $7,500 in child care cash assistance after she failed to report income from a second job between February 2017 and January 2018.
    Combs has been summonsed to appear in Dakota County court on Aug. 13.

U.S. Attorney MacDonald takes the oath

Leigh Monson reviews Incredibles 2

   Former Dakota County judge Erica MacDonald has been sworn in as United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota.
    “It is truly an honor to return to this office and serve as United States Attorney,” said MacDonald, who served as an assistant U.S. Attorney earlier in her career, from 2000 to 2009. “I am looking forward to leading a team of dedicated professionals and working alongside our law enforcement partners in the pursuit of justice on behalf of all Minnesotans.”
    MacDonald will oversee a staff of 99 employees, including 52 attorneys and 47 support personnel. The office is responsible for prosecuting federal crimes in the district, including crimes related to terrorism, firearms, narcotics, child exploitation, human trafficking, financial fraud, healthcare fraud, and public corruption.

Training camp tickets

   The commoners will have their shot at Minnesota Vikings training camp tickets beginning, and probably ending, Monday, June 25. The team will only be releasing about 5,000 tickets for each day, about  third the number of admissions during last year's training camp. Only a fraction of those are expected to be available to non-season-ticket holders.
   Viking' seasons ticket holders were given first crack at training camp tickets. Only about 1,000 are expected to be available for non-season-ticket holders. The only way to get them is through the Minnesota Vikings phone app, a program that requires users to share data, and shed privacy. More than 100,000 users have downloaded the app, according to its promoter.