Snow, ice slow traffic in the city

EAGAN, MN – Roads remained treacherous throughout the city Friday, Feb. 8, following a snowstorm that dumped about six inches of white powder on the city and subzero temperatures that coated city streets with ice.
   Even on main roads such as Pilot Knob and Cliff, traffic crawled during the Friday morning commute as drivers unintentionally skidded past stop signs and wove across lanes coated with ice. Pedestrians and joggers were left with little choice other than taking their chances walking along the roadsides as sidewalks next to major roadways remained covered with a half-foot of snow.
   Throughout the city, drivers skidded into other cars and off the roadway due to ice-covered roads. Between Feb. 8 and the morning of Feb. 11, there were 23 motor vehicle crashes in the city, according to the Eagan Police Department. Eight injuries, none fatal, were reported in those crashes.
   District 196 schools had already been closed on Thursday and Friday for parent conferences, eliminating the need to cancel school. Students had already lost four days last week because of extremely cold temperatures. 
An Eagan city snow plow makes its way up a city street Feb. 7 as a snowstorm dumped six inches of white powder on the city. Roads remained treacherous as they were slick with ice in subzero temperatures. 

What's Khat?

EAGAN, MN, Feb. 9, 2019 -- Eagan police show off their stash of khat, a leaf-based stimulant. More than 500 pounds of the freeze-dried leaves were seized recently, according to police, based on a tip by a "concerned citizen."

Skeleton Crew

EAGAN, MN, Feb. 5, 2019 -- Half of Eagan's city council were absent from the council's Feb. 5 meeting, forcing the board to postpone approval and solicit bids for several street improvement projects, which require a minimum of four votes for passage. Attending the meeting were Mayor Mike Maguire (center), flanked by the two council members re-elected last November, Paul Bakken (left) and Gary Hansen (right). City council members Cyndee Fields and Meg Tilley missed the meeting. Tilley was removed from the council last year because of absenteeism. She was later reinstated. 

Happy Anniversary!

Hard to believe we ever lived without it, but Eagan's first Chick-Fil-A arrived one year ago Feb. 8. The Yankee Doodle Road restaurant is letting the day pass quietly, with no party or celebration apparent.

Minneapolis woman charged with mall theft

Defense seeks dismissal of murder charge

   Defense attorneys for an Eagan man accused of murdering his girlfriend and leaving her to freeze in a pond have asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing there isn't enough evidence to accuse him of murder.
   Uriah Schulz, 40, of 2044 Marble Lane, Eagan, was charged last September with unintentional second-degree murder for allegedly killing Elizabeth Perrault, 42, while committing a felony, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint.  Perrault had been missing for about three months, from November 2017 to February 2018, before she was found frozen in a pond under the I-35W bridge in Burnsville, according to police.
   The complaint doesn’t specify exactly what felony Schulz was committing or attempting to commit at the time of the killing, excluding only criminal sexual or a drive-by shooting.
   The defense claims the county’s criminal complaint against Uriah Schulz is flawed because it doesn’t meet the requirements of the state’s felony murder rule. The felony murder rule allows prosecution of a killing committed during the commission of a felony without having to prove intent, or mens rea, to kill the victim.
   “The State’s theory that Schulz should be responsible for the victim’s death under a felony murder theory because he allegedly used her EBT card is without justification and not supported by the law,” Schulz’s defense lawyer Adam Galili wrote, in a motion to dismiss the case. “The state’s theory that Schulz committed an assault on Perrault which caused her death is unsupported by the evidence and contradicted by the State’s own citation in its complaint. It does not justify the legal loophole the prosecution is seeking in avoiding issues of mens rea.”
Ebony Wright
EAGAN, MN, Feb. 4, 2019 --A Minneapolis woman is facing criminal charges for allegedly shoplifting from the Eagan outlet mall.
   Ebony Wright, 38, of 4510 4th Ave. S., Minneapolis, was charged with felony possession of burglary or theft tools and gross misdemeanor theft by swindle, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint. Police allege Wright, accompanied by an unnamed accomplice, used a bag wrapped with foil and duct tape to steal more than $640 worth of items from a store at the Eagan outlet mall and prevent setting off security sensors.

City to hire more firefighters, approve overtime and new contracts

EAGAN, MN – The Eagan City Council, at its Tuesday, Feb. 5 meeting, is slated to approve the hiring of seven new full-time firefighters.
   Six of the seven new firefighters, all male, were approved as part of the transition of the department from a volunteer firefighting department to paid staff. The transition of the fire department, as well as extra police officers hired to meet the demands on that department resulting from commercial development, resulted in a city tax hike.
   The seventh firefighter is a replacement for Tyler Hague, a full-time firefighter who resigned in January. Two volunteer firefighters also resigned
   With the new staff comes a new union contract, also included for approval on the city council’s agenda. Details of the union contracts for firefighters and fire captains, such as the amount of pay and benefits, were not disclosed.
   The fire department is also requesting the city council’s approval to authorize overtime pay for department staff to conduct fire inspections of new construction in the city. The overtime will require a budget increase for the department.  
   The hirings are included on the city council’s consent agenda, a list of items approved by the council summarily without discussion.
   The city council is also slated to approve the hiring of a full-time fitness coordinator and three part-time guest service representatives for the Eagan Community Center.   
Planning Commission member resigns

EAGAN, MN –Advisory Planning Commission member Angela Torres, an advocate for affordable housing, has resigned.
    Torres’ departure from the commission was announced by the commission’s chair at a recent meeting.

Car chase leads to felony charge

Dog days of winter

   An Eagan man was charged with a felony after he allegedly led police on an early morning car chase after they tried to pull over his SUV on the suspicion he was driving while impaired, according to court records.
   Jesse Gardner, 36, of 3155 Coachman Road, Eagan, was charged with felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and misdemeanor fourth-degree driving while impaire, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint. The charges stem from a Jan. 24 call to police alleging an impaired driver was leaving an unnamed Eagan restaurant shortly after
1 a,m.
   Police allege Gardner drove his SUV at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour on Robert Trail through Inver Grove Heights and did not stop for a police vehicle until it eventually reached the intersection of Robert Trail and Interstate 494.
EAGAN, MN -- Dogs returned to business at the Thresher Fields off-leash dog park Friday, Feb. 1, after temperatures soared above zero following the week's deep freeze. Temperatures are expected to catapult into the 30s this weekend.

APC rejects Quarry Road self-storage

EAGAN, MN – The Advisory Planning Commission (APC) unanimously rejected an Indianapolis company’s proposal to build a two-story self-storage facility on Quarry Road, reasoning that the project would not fit in with the city’s scheme for the Central Park Commons area.
   “It’s not a good fit for the vision that was originally put together,” APC Chair Jane Vanderpoel said. The vote rejecting the project followed a public hearing during which several people who bought homes at a nearby senior housing co-op under construction spoke out against the project.
   Supporters of the project detailed difficulty over the past two years in finding a buyer for the 1522 Quarry Road property, formerly a field but now surrounded by a hotel, grocery store, bank, and fast food restaurant. The proposed site is the last undeveloped lot in the Quarry Road development. Originally, it would have abutted Yankee Doodle Road, but a 2017 change to plans for the site changed the orientation of the lots, according to a city report.
    The Eagan City Council was scheduled to review the self-storage plan at its Feb. 5 meeting, but the item was pulled from the council's agenda at the developer's request.

Party City

Few would accuse Eagan of being a dry town, but, now apparently even the city's website is serving up cocktails. Among the schedule of city meetings and recreational events on the city's website is an offer to try some hard liquor. Transportation not provided.