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What's New in Falcon Heights: Items for June, 2004

Good Old Summer Time!

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Dutch Elm Disease Hits City Hard

Falcon Heights has been hit hard by a regional outbreak of Dutch Elm Disease that is shaping up to be the worst since the 1970s. The whole Metro area is facing the Dutch Elm crisis. City Forester Anita Twaroski has already identified 30 trees on private property that are infected and at least 8 on public right of way. Residents with infected trees are being notified by letter. The State Fair and UM campus and golf course have also been affected.

Residents are responsible for removal of trees on their own property. State law requires the removal of an infected tree within 20 days. The expense can be significant, depending on the size and location of the tree. With the tree damage from the May storms and the expected incidents of Oak Wilt, the Dutch Elm outbreak will push the City's tree removal expense well over budget for this year, according to City Administrator Worthington, and require additional funding next year, as this outbreak is expected to continue at least into 2005.

Residents with infected trees are urged to get bids as soon as possible because all the tree services are very busy. Be sure to hire a reputable licensed contractor! Here is the list of tree service companies licensed to do work in the City of Falcon Heights. In order to do business here, a tree service business must be licensed by the City.

More information on Falcon Heights' urban forest

City Bids Farewell to Public Works Director

Parks and Public Works Director William Maertz is leaving the Falcon Heights Staff on June 30 to become the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Elk River. Maertz has been with the City for 13 years, and he will be much missed. His legacy includes founding of Friends of the Parks and some significant improvements to Falcon Heights parks, especially the restoration and expansion of Curtiss Field, under way this summer. We wish Bill all the best in Elk River!

The Falcon Heights Parks and Public Works position opening was announced June 15. Applications from qualified individuals are being accepted through 4:30 today.


City Hall Phones Down

Update: Noon

Repairs have been completed! The City Hall telephones are back to normal. The problem proved to be a failed bearing in the power supply of the central processing unit. According to repair personnel, it is unlikely a fire would have started, but the system would have failed in any case.

The Fire Department was called last night just before 5:00 p.m. when Staff reported strong ozone fumes throughout City Hall. An electrical fire was suspected. The problem proved to be severe overheating of the central processing unit of the telephone system. Staff shut the system down, the fumes dissipated, and the building was clear for the Planning Commission meeting at 7:00 p.m. However, City Hall had no voice phones overnight. The fax line was not affected.

A temporary phone is in place this morning while repairs are in progress. We can make and receive calls (one at a time) at the front desk but not transfer them to extensions or take voice messages. If you call City Hall you may get a busy signal while our remaining phone is in use, or you may get a recording saying the number is not in service. Please wait a few minutes and try again. Thank you for your patience!

Solid Waste Commission Requests Extension

This evening the Solid Waste Commission will submit an interim report to the City Council on the progress to date of their study of the organized collection option for trash collection, and notify the Council that more time will be needed to complete the study. The final report will be made public when it is submitted to the Council, no earlier than July 28.

On March 24 the Council passed a resolution of intent to organize collection under Minnesota Statute 115A.94, but made it clear that the final decision on whether to go for an RFP would not be made until the Commission had completed an extensive study of the issue and all the options. Under the statute, the 90 day planning period that follows passage of the resolution is a minimum time frame. It is this planning period that the Solid Waste Commission seeks to extend. When the Council declares this phase to be over, the process will move on to the second 90-day phase of discussion with haulers.

Since March 24 the Commission has met a total of 6 times, including twice with hauler representatives and once with the public. In addition, Commissioners have visited the Resource Recovery Facility in Newport and the Elk River landfill, logged comments from residents, done field research on hauler usage in the City, and collected a large volume of written information. They continue to focus on the goals published in January aimed at finding the best, most economical, most environmentally beneficial solution for all the residents of Falcon Heights.

More Information

City Impound Lot? No! Fire department training!

Drivers passing City Hall on Larpenteur this morning may have noticed three junk cars, including one mangled wreck, in the south parking lot of City Hall. The cars are there for Fire Department training. Last night's session on the "jaws of life" accomplished the "carving up" of the wreck. Firefighters also had an opportunity to practice using the department's infrared viewer to detect the overheating in the phone system earlier in the evening. The Department recently welcomed four new firefighters.

More information on the Falcon Heights Volunteer Fire Department.

June Flyer at Your Door

Single family residential neighborhoods received the monthly City flyer yesterday. Flyers are distributed at no cost to the City by Sentence to Serve, an organization that coordinates projects for people who are sentenced to community service. Now they are also available to everyone on the web!

This month's flyer is full of tips on mosquitoes, parking, house numbers, mowing your boulevard, a notification about County Assessors, and important information about calling 911.

We are also asking residents for their email addresses so the City can create a list for emergency notifications, crime alerts, etc. This information will not be given to or shared with anyone and will only be used for official City business. If you would like to be included in this list, please giving your name and address.

Model Apartment Opens at SE Corner

A model apartment is now open for viewing at the Senior Building, at the corner of Larpenteur and Arona.

Monday-Friday, 4 to 7 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.

The model is on the Arona Street side. There is no on-site parking, but street parking is available on California and some limited parking on Arona. Please walk up the east side of Arona and use the traffic light to cross.

For information about the senior apartments, please contact Matt Swanson, 612-337-2658.


Developer Announces Tenants

George Sherman of Sherman Associates, developer of Falcon Heights Town Square, announced earlier this week that all but one of the commercial spaces have been leased in the new building now under construction at the southeast corner of Snelling and Larpenteur. The businesses will face Larpenteur on the ground floor of the mixed-use building, which will also house 119 rental apartments.

Confirmed lessees are Pizza Hut, Au Bon Pain (a coffee/sandwich franchise owned by Sky Ventures), Williams Optical, and a children's dentist. Negotiations continue on the remaining space.

According to a representative of the builder, the senior apartment building will have one unit ready to show as a model sometime this month. Watch this website for additional information.


Power Outage at Water Tower Lowers Pressure

Update at 4:15 p.m.: Although Staff have not received direct confirmation, we suspect repairs are complete as water pressure is normal at City Hall. Thanks for your patience.

St. Paul Water Utility, which serves Falcon Heights, announced this morning that the power is out again at the water tower on Cleveland and that water pressure will be very limited once the tank empties, which is expected around 10:00 a.m.

Areas affected include University Grove, Falcon Woods and City Hall. The effects may be more widespread because the State Fair Tower has been drained for painting and maintenance.

Repairs are in progress. The City has offered the loan of its emergency generator, but the tower cannot be run on a generator. We do not have any information about when the repair will be complete. Last time this happened, the day after the Mother's Day storm, water pressure was restored in mid-afternoon.


Recycling on Saturday This Week!

Our published calendar is not correct! This week's recycling will be on Saturday, June 5, not Friday, June 4, on account of the Memorial Day holiday on Monday. We regret the error and apologize for any inconvenience it may cause.
Herbs for sale on Day 1 of the farmer's market in Falcon Heights

Farmer's Market Opens Today!

Despite the rain, customers came early for the garden plants and early vegetables offered by two brave vendors in the north parking lot of TCCU. Many more vendors will be on site as the season warms up, including Falcon Heights' own Hermes Floral.

New streamlining of the parking lot and traffic pattern should make it easier to get in and out this season. Read our Farmer's Market page for all the details.

Show Your Neighbor Some Understanding

We appreciate residents letting the Staff know when there is a potential violation of the City Code. However, please do be a little patient with neighbors who have let their grass get long over the past week. With all the rain we have had and with people going out of town for Memorial Day weekend, there are lawns that have unavoidably gone unmowed. Please give your neighbor a few dry days to get the job done before you call City Hall. City Staff will resume inspections after this coming weekend.

Need some help with yard chores? With fixing up your home? Here are some good, low cost resources.

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