Hastings man faces counterfeiting charge

       A Hastings man convicted of a felony last year after he tried to cash a counterfeit check at a local bank has apparently moved on to counterfeiting cash, according to police.
     Steven Kuhns, 49, of 24 27th St., Hastings, was charged with three felony counts of counterfeiting currency, one felony count of receiving stolen property over $5,000, and a misdemeanor charge of obstructing legal process following his arrest shortly before 6:30 a.m. in an RV parked in Hastings on Sept. 11, according to court records.
     Hastings police went looking for Kuhns after a call from Red Wing police that he was wanted on some outstanding criminal warrants. A person in Red Wing had told police where Kuhns was staying. While police were talking to that man, they learned that the cash he had used at the store he had just left was counterfeit, according to court records.

     Hastings police found Kuhns in an RV (recreational vehicle) and, after Kuhns allegedly refused to come out for two hours, eventually arrested him on the warrants. During a search incident to his arrest, police found a $10 bill alleged to be counterfeit. Police also discovered a Cadillac parked next to the RV they believed was stolen and eventually discovered that the RV Kuhns had been in had been reported stolen from Iowa in 2016.
     Police obtained a warrant to search the recreational vehicle and discovered the following, according to court records: financial cards, real estate tax documents and an expired driver’s license; a printer/scanner/copier containing three sheets of counterfeit currency; and more than 100 items of counterfeit currency, including $1,290 in two-sided notes, $700 in one-sided notes; and nearly $6,000 in full and half-sheet notes.
     Police also reported finding hundreds of check blanks and refills, copies of what appeared to be counterfeit checks from an auction house, 61 Wal-Mart gift cards, eight cell phones, three CPU towers, a laptop computer, a thumb drive, four combination printer/scanner/copiers and a glass bubble pipe.
     Kuhns was convicted in 2016 of a felony charge of offering a forged check. In that case, a Hastings bank alerted police that Kuhns, using an ID from Wisconsin, had tried to cash a $2,725.63 check from a recycling company. The bank refused to cash it because employees suspected it was fake, in part because the color was off and it did not contain the usual security emblems.
     The bank contacted police again when Kuhns tried to cash another check bearing the same company name for $2,846.27. In that case, police said, Kuhns admitted to printing the checks on his computer because he had lost his job. He was sentenced to 16 days in jail following his conviction on that charge, according to court records.        
Steven Kuhns

Council reviews plans to build $15.7 million city hall addition

Price tag on two used city fire stations $450,000

  The city is planning to receive $450,000 from the sale of two fire stations recently put out to bid, according to a city financial document.
     Although the city has not yet publicly discussed proposals for the two city fire stations replaced by new buildings, a financial document included in a package discussing an addition to city hall put the price tag at $450,000. The cost of the new fire station, Fire Station 1, was $5.4 million.
     The city recently sold its old Fire Administration Building on Pilot Knob Road for use as an arts center at a net of $468,294, according to the document.
     In June, the city posted requests for proposals for two of Eagan’s fire stations. The fire station previously known as Fire Station #1--the city’s oldest fire station, on Rahn Road--and Fire Station #5 on Galaxie Road, with a deadline of July 31.
     The original Fire Station #1, at 3940 Rahn Road, built in 1963 is the city’s first fire station. The station is located in a fairly commercial area not far from Cedar Grove Parkway and the outlet mall. It contains asbestos with an estimated removal cost of $8,000.
     Fire Station #5, at 4701 Galaxie Ave., was built less than 30 years ago, in 1988. The station is near a residential area and surrounded by trees. There was concern about removing those trees if the site is redeveloped.
     Both properties are currently zoned as public facilities. The city expected to rezone them to limited business.
   The Eagan City Council Tuesday night reviewed plans to build a $15.7 million addition to the city’s municipal complex, including the city hall and police station. Much of the project would be inaccessible to the public.
   During a presentation with project designers at a special city council meeting, the city reviewed plans that would include larger offices, more windows and bathrooms, and redesigned work space for the city’s employees. Much of the multi-million project would not be open to the public, according to the discussion, because of plans to try to improve security and lock away city facilities from public access.
   The plans include secure fencing for police department vehicles currently parked in an open lot and $1 million for new furnishings. City councilmember Cyndee Fields expressed concerns about the aesthetics of the taxpayer-funded project saying, “I don’t want to see a chain-link fence.”
   Members of the council also joked about luxury amenities for the police department’s K-9 dogs.
   City officials are planning to solicit bids for the project in 2018. Much of the financing is expected to come from bonds, extending the city’s debt past the payoff of the city’s bonds to finance its community center.
Eagan man files federal civil lawsuit

   An Eagan man has filed a federal civil lawsuit against his apartment complex, the city of Eagan, the YMCA, the U.S. Army and many other defendants, including a series of research universities, alleging that he was implanted with nanotechnology without his consent.
     Vara Birapaka, 3575 Lexington Ave., Eagan, has requested a jury trial in the pro se lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in St. Paul.

Police swarm local gas station

     As a state police helicopter hovered overhead, police swarmed the Holiday convenience store at Cliff and Thomas Lake Center roads at about 1 p.m. Friday afternoon. A witness reported two people were removed from a red minivan, searched, and arrested, but Eagan police claim only one woman was arrested on unspecified warrants.
     Eagan police provided little information about the episode, other than a tweet on Twitter with a time stamp of 12:39 p.m. reading: “Officers and state patrol helicopter assisted in stopping veh Cliff/Thomas Lake at 1 pm. Female arrested for outstanding warrants.”
     A search of Dakota County jail records showed no arrests by the Eagan Police at that time nor any inmates in custody who were arrested then.
     Witnesses reported an immense show of force by police in several vehicles with a helicopter hovering overhead as several cars were at the gas pumps and parked in the convenience store parking lot.

Eagan City Council approves street assessments

      In one of the shortest city council meetings in recent history, the Eagan city council approved assessments for five neighborhood street projects, passing along nearly a quarter million dollars in costs to nearly 300 homes.
      Apparently, no one cared about the new tax bill. There were no objections to the assessments at the public hearings held during the city council’s meetings. In addition, city officials said, no one attended the neighborhood meetings about the projects. Nor did anyone call or send so much as an email asking about the projects when the city sent out notices.
      The five projects are all on the east side of the city. They include the neighborhoods of Gardenwood Ponds, Lexington Pointe, Pinetree Forest, South Hills, and Waterview. The assessments to residents ranged from about $450 to more than $1,600.
      In other business at its September 19 meeting, the city council accepted the resignation of a volunteer firefighter who recently settled a lawsuit against the city. Firefighter Lisa Karel filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the city stemming from an allergy to materials used in the department’s equipment, according to court records. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed.
      The firefighter’s resignation comes at a time when the department is facing staff shortages and has requested more money from the city to change its hiring and scheduling practices.
      The firefighter’s resignation was included on the city council’s consent agenda, a series of items approved by the council as a batch without discussion.
      Other items approved as part of the consent agenda included the rezoning of two decommissioned fire stations expected to be sold by the city for $450,000 following a request for proposals for the two buildings.
      The council also approved a contract for an undisclosed amount to book entertainment for the 2018 food truck festival. The city did not provide a copy of the contract for public view.
      Other items approved on the consent agenda included an extension of a taproom license to allow a local brewer to serve alcohol outside.
      The council also approved a $5 per hour increase for snow removal to $80 per hour per truck in a renewal of its agreement for snow removal services with Building/Lawn Maintenance of St. Paul.
      The council also approved, without question, two checkbook registers that included detailed expenses for this summer’s cancelled Movie in the Park, as well as temporary staff, training and conferences for the city’s police and fire departments. Included in the expenses for three fire department administrators, including Chief Scott, to attend a conference were three hotel bills from Le Meridien for $963.48 each. Also included in the expenses were steakhouse dinners; American Airlines flights, convenience and bag fees; and cab fares.