Red Sparrow 
 flies off course

Everybody's playing pickleball--Eagan's finest joined in for a pickleball demonstration at the Community Connections event at the Eagan Community Center on Saturday, March 3. Pickleball, a paddle sport that can be played at lower speeds than racquet sports such as tennis, has been gaining popularity throughout the country. Because of popular demand, the city plans to add pickleball courts to some parks.

Dakota County United Hawks Community Night

   Want to show your support for adapted athletics? A community night to support District 196’s champion adapted athletics team, Dakota County United Hawks will be held at Rosemount High School at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7.
Leigh Monson reviews
Black Panther

Work underway for natural gas pipeline

Teen faces felony stolen gun charge

    A Burnsville teenager is facing two criminal charges after Eagan police found weapons and drugs in his car during a traffic stop.
   Aaron Bahner, 19, of 1220 Cristal Lake Road E., Burnsville, was charged with receiving a stolen firearm, a felony, and possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle, according to a criminal complaint. Bahner was arrested by Eagan police at about 1:45 p.m. on March 1.
   Eagan police stopped the car Bahner was driving after he failed to signal before making a right turn, according to a criminal complaint. While talking to Bahner, police smelled marijuana, according to court records. Police then searched the car and found, next to a wallet that read “I love weed,” a small bag containing 9.38 grams of a green leafy substance that field tested positive for marijuana.  
   Police found a handgun that had been reported stolen from Lakeville on Jan. 2 under the driver’s seat, according to court records. Police also reported finding several handguns in the trunk of the car, a large knife, a Samurai sword, brass knuckles, and a digital scale.
  Bahner was being held in Dakota County jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail with conditions.
   Less than two months after a gasoline pipeline spill in the Thomas Lake Road area, a new pipeline project is underway to carry natural gas through a pipeline that will cut across the same densely populated area en route to a Burnsville power plant.
   Trees have been cut down throughout the Thomas Lake area in preparation for the installation of a new 20-inch gas pipeline this summer. The pipeline will start near Lebanon Hills Regional Park and run northwest to Northern Natural Gas Company’s Cedar Station, which is located near the southwest corner of highways 77 and 13, according to the city. The route revealed by the city of Eagan will travel through undeveloped park areas with wetlands and lakes as well as densely populated areas.
  The pipeline is part of a project to convert Xcel Energy’s Black Dog Power Plant in Burnsville from coal to natural gas. The announcement of the pipeline installation comes just weeks after a Jan. 8 spill of about 21,000 gallons of gasoline in the Thomas Lake neighborhood.
    That spill resulted from a construction error. Workers boring soil for a construction project at the Lifetime Fitness health club on Thomas Center Drive struck the gasoline pipeline with a metal auger. Fire Chief Mike Scott told city councilors it was “unbelievable” the gasoline did not explode.
   The natural gas pipeline is nearly twice the diameter of the gasoline pipeline breached on Jan. 8.

Eagan four-year graduation rates beat averages

  Eagan’s public high schools are graduating students at stratospheric rates, according to data from the state department of education, higher than the average graduation rates for most high schools in the school district, state, and most of the nation.
  The four-year graduation rate at Eagan High School in 2017, the percentage of students who graduate within four years of entering ninth grade, was 94.9%, or 430 students, according to the Minnesota Department of Education. The department reported 3.5%, or 16 students, continuing beyond four years, and 1.1%, or five students, dropped out of school.
  Eagan High School’s graduation rate declined from a 95.1% rate in 2016, or 470 students.
  Eastview High School graduated 465 students in 2017. Eastview’s four-year graduation rate was 94.1%. Thirteen students, or 2.6% continued beyond four years and nine students, 1.8%, dropped out.
  Eastview’s graduation rate declined from 95.7% in 2016.
  Eagan and Eastview’s 2017 graduation rates were higher than the school district as a whole. District 196’s graduation rate was 89.9%. Apple Valley’s was 88.2 %. The national average is 83%, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
  “We are pleased with our overall graduation rate, but know there is work to do to improve graduation rates among different groups of students at all of our high schools,” District 196 spokesman Tony Taschner said.

Eagan schools cancelled March 5

   Schools in districts 196 and 197 were cancelled Monday, March 5, due to the threat of a winter storm, expected to drop heavy snow about the time of school dismissal.
  After nearly a week of Springlike weather, winter returned this week with temperatures dropping from the 40s to 30s, cold winds, and snow in the forecast.
   Schools throughout the region announced cancellations throughout the evening Sunday, March 4. District 196 did not announce its cancellation until Monday morning, leaving some families scrambling to make arrangements for care of their children for the day.
   Most after-school and evening events at the schools were also cancelled.

Power companies seek to amp up power lines in Lebanon Hills

Faribault man facing forged check charge
   A Faribault man is facing a felony charge in connection with a forged check.
   Tay Beckjorden, 21, of 1329 Second Ave. NW, Faribault, was charged with offering a forged check, according to a criminal complaint. Eagan police were called to a bank shortly before 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 12 and discovered a man trying to cash an $800 check from McDonald’s. Bank employees alleged the amount, date, and payee of the check had been altered.
   The Eagan City Council is considering zoning changes that would allow higher voltage power lines to run through Lebanon Hills Regional Park and the expansion of a power substation in the area.
   Great River Energy and Dakota Electric are working on expanding power lines on the south side of Cliff Road running through Lebanon Hills Regional Park, increasing capacity from 69 kilovolts to 115 kilovolts. At a public hearing on the issue Tuesday night, a resident of the area questioned the impact of the increased voltage on the health of people living in the area.
   The city council provided no answers to his questions. Mayor Mike Maguire suggested he submit written comments during the 10-day comment period. The council took no action Tuesday night after the public hearing and a presentation by Great River Energy.
   City Council member Paul Bakken is a member of the board of Dakota Electric, a sponsor of the project. Bakken said he was advised he did not have a conflict of interest. Council member Meg Tilley was absent from Tuesday’s city council meeting, the second consecutive meeting she has missed.

City Council paves way for Pilot Knob Road fight club

   You might not hear it from Brad Pitt or Edward Norton, but, in Eagan, the first rule of Fight Club is to seek an amendment to the Planned Development Amendment (PDA) to expand the parking area to increase the economic viability of the project to ensure corporate approval.
   The Eagan City Council Tuesday unanimously approved a request to expand the parking area at what was formerly an automotive service facility at 3565 Pilot Knob Road, paving the way, literally, for use of the site as a boxing club. The amendment reduces the amount of green space at the site below the required 30 percent.
  The change had been approved by the city’s Advisory Planning Commission after a public hearing Feb. 27. The applicant, Title Boxing Club, told the commission the change was necessary to add nine more parking spots required for corporate approval of the project.
  Planning Commission member Angela Torres questioned what public benefit would result from the Planned Development Amendment, as required under the PDA rules.
  A representative of the club told the commission the project would benefit public health. “We’ll help people sweat out their problems,” he said.