Sun Current http://current.mnsun.com Local News for Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina and Richfield Minnesota Sat, 25 Oct 2014 20:31:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Eagles blank Shakopee 53-0 in playoffs http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/eagles-blank-shakopee-53-0-in-playoffs/ http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/eagles-blank-shakopee-53-0-in-playoffs/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 20:31:24 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=139007 Eden Prairie remains king of the hill in state high school football. And the No. 1-ranked and undefeated Eagles will try to stay on course for a possible fourth consecutive state championship bid this week.

Eden Prairie junior J.D. Spielman is a dual threat offensively as a running back and kick/punt returner. And he also excels as a defensive back for the undefeated and No. 1-ranked Eagles. Spielman returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown during Eden Prairie’s 53-0 Class 6A, Section 6 football playoff victory over Shakopee Oct. 24 at Aerie Stadium. (Photo by Mark Trockman-trockstock.com)

Eden Prairie junior J.D. Spielman is a dual threat offensively as a running back and kick/punt returner. And he also excels as a defensive back for the undefeated and No. 1-ranked Eagles. Spielman returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown during Eden Prairie’s 53-0 Class 6A, Section 6 football playoff victory over Shakopee Oct. 24 at Aerie Stadium. (Photo by Mark Trockman-trockstock.com)

Eden Prairie extended its two-season winning streak to 26 with a dominating 53-0 triumph over Shakopee in a Class 6A, Section 6 first-round playoff game Oct. 24 at Aerie Stadium.

Eden Prairie has to win four more playoff games to claim its 10th state football championship. The Eagles will host Burnsville in a 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, in a section crossover game at Aerie Stadium. Winner of that contest qualifies for the State Class 6A quarterfinals. Burnsville outlasted Eastview for a 46-43 triumph in playoff action last week.

“We need to come out fast and build a quick lead against Burnsville like we did in our win over Shakopee,” said Eden Prairie coach Mike Grant.

“We took control of the game early and were able to keep our regulars healthy while giving many other guys playing time in the second half.”

Eden Prairie senior running back Will Rains scored twice against Shakopee and increased his season TD total to 25. He has rushed for 889 yards.

Shakopee fumbled the opening kickoff against Eden Prairie and it took only a couple of plays before Rains scored on a 1-yard run. Then Eagle linebacker Bill Koop returned an interception for a 37-yard score and Rains followed with a 5-yard touchdown run as Eden Prairie entered the second quarter with a commanding 19-0 advantage.

Eden Prairie’s lead kept mounting in the second quarter, J.D. Spielman sprinted 85 yards for a touchdown on a kickoff return. Rains added a 1-yard scoring run.

Coach Grant was able to rest many of his starters for most of the second half. Rains did score on a 1-yard run in the third quarter as the Eagles padded their advantage to 40-0.

Reserves Tanner Conrad and Nolan Sullivan contributed touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Conrad scored on a 29-yard run and Sullivan returned a fumble 25 yards for the final Eden Prairie TD.

Eden Prairie’s coaching staff used 14 different ballcarriers in the victory. Rains was the leading Eagle rusher with 45 yards on 14 carries. Omar Belal chipped in with 41 yards on eight rushes.

Quarterback Grantham Gillard completed two of four passes for 33 yards. Receiver Thayson Clay caught three passes for 36 yards. Brandon Gould, Anotonio Montero and Kyle Connelly shared kicking duties against Shakopee.

“Our defense played very well against Shakopee’s single wing offense,” said Grant. “Defensive back Blake Cashman had another strong game and Carter Coughlin came up with big plays at the linebacking position.”

Eden Prairie won the Lake Conference title during the regular season with a 4-0 record. The Eagles have won 17 Lake championships since 1992.

Contact Greg Kleven at greg.kleven@ecm-inc.com

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NDSU visits schools in Richfield http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/ndsu-visits-schools-in-richfield/ http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/ndsu-visits-schools-in-richfield/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 19:52:42 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=138675 A representative from North Dakota State University will be available at Richfield High School and the Academy of Holy Angels Friday, Oct. 31.

Holy Angels, located at 6600 Nicollet Ave., hosts the representative at 1 p.m. RHS, located at 7001 Harriet Ave., hosts the representative at 2 p.m.

The representative will help students learn how to earn a degree from NDSU, which is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, a press release notes.

Students will learn about NDSU’s academic programs, how students can get involved through nearly 300 student organizations and how the NDSU experience can help prepare them for career and life.

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Banks prove an obstacle to collecting property assessments http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/banks-prove-an-obstacle-to-collecting-property-assessments/ http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/banks-prove-an-obstacle-to-collecting-property-assessments/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 19:12:19 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=138661 Sometimes the city must step in to maintain residential yards that need some work. Getting the property owners to pay for that work can be another matter.

The Richfield City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 14, approved assessments for the abatement of weeds and public health hazards from yards, in addition to the removal of diseased trees.

The city is assessing property owners for a total of $44,300 in tree removal costs incurred in 2013, $4,380 in weed elimination costs, and about $5,600 in removing “public health or safety hazards.”

City staff are pointing to the banks that own some of those homes as they express their frustration in collecting the fees. In one instance, a resident on the 6600 block of Vincent Avenue purchased a home that had been owned by Wells Fargo. A diseased tree was removed before the purchase, but the new homeowner still got stuck with the $3,500 bill for the service, City Manager Steve Devich explained.

That cost, which is the bank’s responsibility, was overlooked in the purchase process, according to Public Works Director Mike Eastling.

“The title company should have checked it but they didn’t,” Eastling said.

The bank has been unresponsive, according to Devich.

“Wells Fargo is not stepping up and doing anything about it,” he said.

The fee for the Vincent Avenue home was removed from the assessment roll so that city staff could further address the circumstances.

A similar phenomenon is occurring with assessments for the removal of weeds and public health or safety hazards, too, Councilmember Pat Elliott noted.

The banks “hide behind a ton of paper” as they pass the cost off to the next homeowners, Elliott said.

Some of the banks “are terrible to work with,” Devich said. “That’s the best I can say.”

Weeds taking over neglected yards have recently become a higher-profile problem, according to Mayor Debbie Goettel.

“We’re moving backwards on that, and we’re working on that,” Goettel said.

To aid in that effort, the city’s process for addressing problem properties has been shortened, Devich said.

“We’re not just going to let that kind of stuff fester and make neighborhoods look bad,” he declared.

In all, 36 properties were assessed for the elimination of weeds or hazards to public safety and health. Eighteen properties were assessed for tree removal.

Once diseased trees are identified, residents have the option to remove the tree themselves, hire their own contractor, hire the city’s contractor, or have the cost of the tree removal assessed against their property taxes.

Contact Andrew Wig at andrew.wig@ecm-inc.com or follow him on Twitter @RISunCurrent.

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Letter: Referendum represents value of education http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/letter-referendum-represents-value-of-education/ http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/letter-referendum-represents-value-of-education/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 18:37:37 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=138921 To the editor:

As a junior at Eden Prairie High School, this referendum has the power to influence my education immensely, which means I do not take this topic lightly. I have experienced many incredible things during my journey as a student in Eden Prairie Schools because of the unique opportunities available to me. But with a blink of an eye, this referendum has the possibility to change everything.

Academically, I am enrolled in AP level courses so I can learn at a higher level and challenge my intellectual capabilities. I am also greatly involved in choir, which is a part of my day that I cherish. Block schedule has allowed me to take tremendous classes, which provides an advantage while applying for college. Therefore, the failure of this referendum is capable of severely damaging these aspects of my education, and changing almost all of my typical day.

In order for the future of this community to thrive, the repercussions a failed referendum will have on current and future students must be understood. My siblings in elementary school will not be presented with equal opportunity as I in academics and extracurricular activities.

This referendum represents the value of education in this community, and we must vote yes twice on Nov. 4.

Anna Moen

Eden Prairie

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Kennedy scores 41 points but suffers loss http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/kennedy-scores-41-points-but-suffers-loss/ http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/kennedy-scores-41-points-but-suffers-loss/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 18:36:43 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=139003 Not many football teams on any level score 41 points and come away with a loss. However, Kennedy experienced that frustration during the Class 5A, Section 3 quarterfinal game against St. Louis Park.

Kennedy wide receiver Nate Eckerson heads to the end zone after catching a pass from quarterback Matthew Fine during the Eagles’ 74-41 Class 5A, Section 3 football playoff loss to host St. Louis Park Oct. 21. Eckerson finished with two touchdown receptions. Kennedy concluded its season with a 2-7 record. (Photo by Mark Trockman-trockstock.com)

Kennedy wide receiver Nate Eckerson heads to the end zone after catching a pass from quarterback Matthew Fine during the Eagles’ 74-41 Class 5A, Section 3 football playoff loss to host St. Louis Park Oct. 21. Eckerson finished with two touchdown receptions. Kennedy concluded its season with a 2-7 record. (Photo by Mark Trockman-trockstock.com)

Kennedy lost 74-41 to the Orioles in an offensive smorgasbord as the two teams combined for 115 points. Kennedy ended its season with a 2-7 record while SLP advanced to the section semifinals with a 5-4 mark.

Kennedy had no defensive answers to stopping the St. Louis Park’s offense that featured junior running back Trenton Stafford. The Oriole standout scored seven touchdowns against the Eagles. He rushed for 282 yards and four touchdowns and added three scoring receptions.

“Our offensive unit played well throughout the season and did a great job against St. Louis Park,” said Kennedy coach Jon Anderson. “However, we didn’t play defense at the level needed to beat win that playoff game.”

Kennedy entered the section quarterfinals after overpowering the Orioles 59-31 six days earlier in the final regular-season game. But the Orioles got the best of Kennedy this time around.

“It is always difficult to beat the same team twice during a season, especially during a short six-day period,” said Anderson. “But we gave up too many big plays during the last game with St. Louis Park.

“Stafford had a great game for Park. But I also thought our running back Max Simmons was outstanding as well as he rushed for 205 yards and two touchdowns.”

Kennedy trailed 20-7 after one quarter. The Eagles’ Depriece Isenberg returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. Anders Gelecinskyj kicked the extra point.

The scoring pace quickened in the second quarter as St. Louis Park led 40-27 at the halftime intermission. Kennedy quarterback Matthew Fine connected with Nate Eckerson on a 9-yard scoring pass. Simmons broke loose for a 35-yard touchdown run and Isenberg came through with a 36-yard scoring run.

Both teams scored twice in the third quarter as St. Louis Park held a 54-41 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Eckerson caught a 27-yard scoring pass from Fine. Simmons provided a 24-yard TD run.

However, St. Louis Park clinched the playoff win by scoring three times in the fourth quarter on three runs.

“Our guys kept battling throughout the season,” said coach Anderson. “We had the most regular-season wins for a Kennedy football team in the last four seasons.

“Our younger players got valuable varsity experience this season as we continue to build the program. We have eight defensive starters back next season along with four players who started offensively.”

 

Contact Greg Kleven at greg.kleven@ecm-inc.com

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Letter: Vote Loon on Nov. 4 http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/letter-vote-loon-on-nov-4/ http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/letter-vote-loon-on-nov-4/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:35:33 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=138919 To the editor:

We write in strong support of Jenifer Loon and hope everyone will join us in voting to re-elect her as our state representative. Having known Jenifer for nearly 15 years as a neighbor and friend, and closely followed her work in elected office, we know she is the best choice for our community.

Jenifer has a great depth of knowledge about all aspects of our community that is important for someone seeking to represent over 39,000 people. From her extensive involvement in Eden Prairie schools, to her work with all types of small businesses in various industries, to her community volunteer work and service in her faith community, Jenifer has a well-informed perspective of our diverse citizenry.  Jenifer appreciates the struggles of hard working families and taxpayers and believes government’s role is to remove barriers to opportunity so that all who work hard can succeed. From advocating for world-class excellence in the education of our children, to growth in good paying jobs in our economy, to smart investments in infrastructure, Jenifer works to achieve our collective priorities.

On a personal level, Jenifer is one of the nicest people you will meet. Whether she is delivering a delicious home-cooked meal to a family in need, or helping a constituent experiencing a problem with an agency or current state policy, Jenifer always takes the time to make a difference. She cares deeply for others, treating everyone with kindness and respect. She values all opinions – even if she doesn’t agree – and never makes others to feel like their views don’t matter. While all candidates talk at election time about working courteously with others and not practicing partisan “warfare,” we are fortunate to have an elected official who has publically put those beliefs in action. Rep. Jenifer Loon has served Eden Prairie and Minnesota well and she deserves our support for reelection. Please join us in voting for Jenifer Loon for State Representative on Nov. 4.

Pat and Cathy Buse

Eden Prairie

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Letter: Empty nesters for EP Schools http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/letter-empty-nesters-for-ep-schools/ http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/letter-empty-nesters-for-ep-schools/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:55:55 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=138967 To the editor:

Our children are no longer in Eden Prairie Schools. They have moved on to college. As empty-nesters, we will eagerly vote YES and YES for both school funding questions on the ballot.

Since the last referendum passed in 2004, the district has been frugal, cutting $17.7 million as well as living with that levy, rather than asking voters for more money like surrounding districts did. Our children were well served by amazing teachers and wonderful programs. Eden Prairie Schools effectively prepared our two children and thousands more for college, jobs and the real world. Now we owe our support to the great people who had an impact on our children and to “pay it forward” to children who will be served in the future.

The current levy expires next year, so renewal (first question) is critical or there will be another $10 million in cuts. The second funding question will provide new monies to keep school programs strong, viable and timely. We need our children to grow with this ever-changing world.

Together, both referendum questions will cost the average EP household $13/month. We urge everyone to vote YES and YES on Nov. 4, even if you don’t have children in the district; it is good for our entire community long into the future.

John and Jennifer Urbanski

Eden Prairie

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Letter: Nelson for Eden Prairie City Council http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/letter-nelson-for-eden-prairie-city-council/ http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/letter-nelson-for-eden-prairie-city-council/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 14:31:53 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=138917 To the editor:

As an Eden Prairie graduate, I saw a time when Eden Prairie “went down the wrong path.” Kathy Nelson got elected to the city council and restored our current level of city services. She wants to continue our sensible tax structure and has the financial background and skills in planning to do the job we need. World news illustrates the importance of funding community safety initiatives to ensure we think ahead, not just react. As a recent grad and young person, I would love to afford to live where I grew up. Kathy is working to make this happen. She supports a housing mix that benefits all generations and mass transit, making it possible for business to develop in Eden Prairie, and for residents to seek good jobs further away.

While on the council, Kathy has supported many of the things that I was a beneficiary of while growing up, such as the well-maintained parks, trails, playgrounds, strong schools and green space throughout Eden Prairie. Currently a graduate student, I aspire to one day have a family of my own. I would like to ensure that my family is able to enjoy many of the same things that I enjoyed while growing up in Eden Prairie.

What my generation does not need is another candidate serving big business and the 1 percent, taxing us disproportionately, yet telling us that we need “austerity.” The flyer mailed to my home by Andrew Moller, who is running against Kathy Nelson, proclaims that he is a “financial expert,” but no financial expert would support the concept of cutting your way to prosperity; it simply does not work economically. Kathy is a proponent of business innovation and true job creation through prudent spending in our community. I will be voting for Kathy Nelson on Election Day. She will not pull up the ladder, or support proposals that cut living wage opportunity for young people, nor will she lower the standard of living or services for Eden Prairie residents. Kathy is the moderate we can trust.

Morgan Borine

Eden Prairie

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Letter: Vote for EP Schools http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/letter-vote-for-ep-schools/ http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/letter-vote-for-ep-schools/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 23:52:16 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=138987 To the editor:

We want to thank the families that ten years ago, approved school referendums to invest in the future. We want to thank the families before them that also voted to approve referendums. Many of those families are now our neighbors and friends.

Eden Prairie is a valued and well respected community today because of those investments that were made many years ago. Eden Prairie again needs those same families to vote ‘YES’ twice more. Please choose to continue investing in your community. Your children or your neighbors’ children may be in college, starting new jobs or even families of their own now. The time they spent in strongly supported Eden Prairie schools gave them a great foundation and start in their lives.

Great things are happening here. They should continue to be supported by all of us.

Jared and Holly Chester

Eden Prairie

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Merzbacher cruises to state repeat http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/merzbacher-cruises-to-state-repeat/ http://current.mnsun.com/2014/10/merzbacher-cruises-to-state-repeat/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:54:04 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=138995 Caitlyn Merzbacher burst onto the Minnesota prep tennis scene by winning the state Class AA singles title as a junior last season.

Caitlyn Merzbacher rips a baseline forehand winner during the state singles championship match Oct. 24 at the University of Minnesota. (Sun Current staff photo by John Sherman)

Caitlyn Merzbacher rips a baseline forehand winner during the state singles championship match Oct. 24 at the University of Minnesota. (Sun Current staff photo by John Sherman)

She proved herself again Oct. 24 by repeating as champion at Baseline Tennis Center.

Merzbacher won all four of her state tournament matches decisively. She accomplished the repeat with a powerful forehand and an equally dynamic backhand. Her mental game was sharp and she hit many shots that landed just inside the lines.

For Merzbacher, the singles title was icing on the cake. Her goal all along was to help the Hornets win their 18th-consecuitve team title, which they earned on Oct. 22. That left Merzbacher free to pursue an individual championship.

In the finals, she faced a mirror image of herself, Chanhassen junior Hayley Haakenstad.

“Hayley plays pretty much the same style I do,” said Merzbacher. “The only difference is she comes to the net more.”

Merzbacher said her approach doesn’t change significantly from match to match.

“Every match, I try to dictate the points,” she said.

That strategy worked perfectly against Haakenstad. Merzbacher bolted to a 5-0 lead before taking the first set 6-1. Haakenstad rallied nicely by winning the first two games in the second set, but after that it was all Merzbacher, as she took the set 6-2.

Earlier in the day, Merzbacher faced a tough opponent in Minnetonka ninth-grader Bella Lambert.

Lambert is quick on her feet and returns virtually every shot, so Merzbacher relied on her power game to get the job done, 6-2, 6-0.

During the first day of the singles tournament Oct. 23, Merzbacher rolled past Jessica Marmorstein of Rochester Mayo, 6-0, 6-1. The quarterfinals didn’t go as smoothly for the Edina tri-captain, who lost the first set to St. Cloud Tech’s Taylor Tarrolly 7-6 (5). It was an unusual position for Merzbacher, but her recovery was fast and undaunted. She won the last two sets, 6-0, 6-1.

“Winning the championship wasn’t any easier this year than it was last year,” said Merzbacher. “It’s great to end my senior year like this.”

Looking to the future, Merzbacher will play NCAA Division I tennis. Odds are she will attend the University of Minnesota, where her dad, Chuck, is the women’s head coach.

Chuck is a big name in Gopher tennis lore and holds the all-time record for men’s singles victories with 137.

“We’ve talked about it,” said Merzbacher.

Maybe, now that she’s a two-time state champ, her dad will step up his recruiting effort.

Contact John Sherman at john.sherman@ecm-inc.com

 
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