Schools plan end of 4-day weekend

One of the major travel weekends for many families with children in school, the four-day mid-October holiday known as MEA weekend, will be coming to an end, according to ISD 196 documents.
   The school district has eliminated the four-day weekend of the Minnesota Educator Academy, a union-sponsored professional development conference, from the 2020-21 school calendar. The district has scheduled school for the October Thursday and Friday typically reserved for the conference, indicating the district is not confident the union conference will continue. “The administration conferred with [the Dakota County teachers’ union] DCUE representatives and agreed the district should schedule school on these days due to uncertainty about the future of the MEA conference.”
   The MEA, meanwhile, includes the date of Oct. 15 for the 2020 conference. The conference sponsor, however, notes on its website that the conference has been cut back to one day, a Thursday, and will be restricted to dues-paying members. The U.S. Supreme Court decided last June that public employees could not be compelled to pay union dues.
   “Education Minnesota would love to be able to continue to provide this free service to the public,” said Education Minnesota President Denise Specht, on the MEA website. “Unfortunately, anti-union forces are trying to financially destabilize labor unions through court cases and legislation.”

No charges brought against truck driver

   EAGAN, MN -- A young mother critically injured when a truck allegedly ran a red light at Cliff and Pilot Knob roads Aug. 13 remains hospitalized with severe injuries resulting from the crash.
   Alayna Tanaka, 33, of Eagan, was seriously injured at about 11:30 a.m. Aug. 13 in a two-car crash at the intersection of Cliff and Pilot Knob roads. An online fundraising site has been established to help the Tanaka's young family meet the enormous expenses of caring for a victim of a traumatic brain injury. There has been an outpouring of support from the community with more than $30,000 raised in just four days. Contributions can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/alayna-tanaka.
  The driver of the truck that struck Tanaka's SUV was identified as Todd Steven Franklin, 50, of Randolph. Franklin was treated for unspecified injuries after the crash and released from the hospital a short time later. The truck he was driving overturned and spilled a large amount of sand into the roadway.
   Although police have alleged Franklin ran a red light and caused the crash, investigators have still not filed any criminal charges against the truck driver. Eagan Police have declined further comment about the matter, on the grounds it is an active investigation. A delay in bringing criminal charges could indicate investigators are seeking the results of toxicology tests taken when Franklin was brought to the hospital after the crash. Such delays are also caused by a need for forensic analysis of a cell phone.  
Alayna Tanaka, the Eagan mother of two young children  who was critically injured when, according to police, her SUV was struck by a truck that ran a red light Aug. 13.

City Council postpones senior housing vote

EAGAN, MN – The Eagan City Council this week postponed a vote on a proposal to build 173 units of senior housing near Yankee Doodle Road to allow for development of public park space on the lot.
   The city council expressed concern that the Discovery Road property, as developed by Skyline Graphics, did not include enough public space on one of the busiest pedestrian areas in the city. The council tabled the matter until Oct. 16. The council originally discussed postponing the matter until November, but moved up the date after developers expressed concern about such a delay’s impact on the proposed sale of the real estate.
   Building the proposed senior housing development would require a series of votes from the city council, including a change in zoning from business park to high-density residential. City councilors said at their meeting Monday night they would like to see something like a “pocket park,” a small park with benches and, possibly, public art, in the spot.

Eagan taxpayers get new 20-year mortgage

   The Eagan City Council approved the sale of about $22.3 million in bonds this week to finance extensive renovations at city hall and police headquarters and to buy new firefighting equipment.
   The sale of bonds, at about 3.5 percent interest, will extend the city’s debt for another 20 years. About $1 million of the funding will pay for new firefighting equipment, including two new ladder trucks. The rest will pay for the expansion of city offices, police headquarters, and the public works facility.