Author: Mark Weber

Mark joined the Eden Prairie News as a reporter in 1979, just five years after its start, and spent the next 34 years in various roles including editor and publisher, as well as general manager of the parent company, Southwest Newspapers. He also published Edible Twin Cities magazine. His encore career is serving the nonprofit Eden Prairie Community Foundation as executive director. Mark and his wife, Roma, have two grown sons and a daughter-in-law, and have lived in Eden Prairie since 1984.

It’s been a nice run for a racing sled dog named Wildfire and the Eden Prairie animal hospital that put him back in the game. Wildfire was part of a team of dogs that helped musher Sarah Keefer of Burnsville finish third in the 2023 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon from Jan. 29-31. Keefer was also the first woman to cross the finish line in Grand Portage, Minn., after completing the event of more than 300 miles. Meanwhile, news stories detailing how Wildfire has overcome great odds thanks to Mission Animal Hospital have given the local nonprofit a year of…

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Two job-search finalists have said “no” to serving as chief executive officer of SouthWest Transit, but the local agency is confident it will have a new leader about mid-2023 or shortly thereafter. That’s because the SouthWest Transit Commission, its governing body, has decided to cast a wider net for CEO candidates, going beyond the transit industry to public-sector leadership overall. The commission agreed Jan. 26 to get help from Baker Tilly US, a national firm with an office in St. Paul, for an amount not to exceed $26,500. It’s the second search firm the commission has used since former CEO…

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Police dispatchers in Eden Prairie might be the ultimate multi-taskers. “Our duties are to take the information, determine whether or not a ‘call for service’ needs to be created, dispatch the appropriate responder – could be police, fire – make sure we’re documenting what information is gathered, make sure we’re tracking where our responders are and that they’re safe,” says Lisa Vik, who supervises the one-dozen dispatchers who are part of the Eden Prairie Police Department, which has a 2023 budget of about $18.2 million. And – oh, yeah – police dispatchers must also carefully key all of that information…

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Cops, dispatchers, and other Police Department staff file into the Heritage Rooms in the basement of city hall, where Rashed Ferdous of the nonprofit Islamic Resource Group dives in on the basics of Islam in America – definitions, demographics, basic beliefs, and other information that will fill city employees’ heads with new information about cultures and religions that exist in Eden Prairie. At about the same time, city-owned ice skates in many sizes are deployed to the ice-rink warming house at Nesbitt Preserve Park. The skates are free to check out and use by nearby residents, including those from a…

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The appearance of majestic, white-tailed deer in our parks or back yards is a powerful sight. But suburban deer can also cause car crashes, destroy expensive landscaping, and spread disease. So, it’s probably no surprise that the City of Eden Prairie has been working to strike a balance between regal and wreckage, not just recently but for nearly 30 years, ever since a 1994 resident task force recommended active city management of the local deer herd. The deer study done in 1994 by gathering Eden Prairie residents, city staff, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials was in response…

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In an effort to make sure its streets are maintained well into the future, the City of Eden Prairie is proposing to increase the franchise fees collected from Xcel Energy and other electric and gas utilities – fees that get passed along to utility customers. The residential franchise fee tentatively approved Tuesday, Jan. 3, by the Eden Prairie City Council would increase from $4 per month to $6.50 per month. It would apply to Eden Prairie customers of Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy, and the small number of EP customers that Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative serves. The franchise fee for…

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The 50th anniversary of the Eden Prairie Police Department will be noted Tuesday, Jan. 3, by the city council. The department began on Jan. 1, 1973, when Paul Redpath, Eden Prairie’s mayor at the time, christened the first squad car in front of his home.  Eden Prairie was much smaller at the time – the 1970 U.S. Census put its population at about 7,000. The initial department had six police officers and one clerk. Today the department – which serves about 65,000 residents – has 72 sworn staff, 32 civilian staff, and 35 volunteers, according to a proclamation expected to…

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Two high-profile development projects in Eden Prairie have stalled, and their futures appear uncertain. One is the Burger King rebuild at Highway 5 and County Road 4; the other is a presumed Amazon Fresh grocery store near Flying Cloud Drive and Prairie Center Drive, near where Chick-fil-A is being constructed. Plans for a new Burger King fast-food restaurant to replace one that stood vacant for several years southeast of the Highway 5, County Road 4 intersection were approved by the city in August 2021. But the final step – approval of a developer agreement – has been delayed by the…

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Research into the history of the Minnesota River on Eden Prairie’s southern boundary has uncovered more knowledge about the Indigenous people who were our earlier residents. But, it’s also a reminder about how little is known and shared about this portion of EP’s past. Paul Thorp, a member of the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC), related to his colleagues this fall that, while reviewing 1854 government survey records to document the river and its precise path, he had uncovered additional information about Native American Minnie Otherday and her family. Minnie is said to have been born July 24, 1877, on…

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The Eden Prairie City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 6, approved a 2023 city budget that is 3.2% higher than this year’s and a 2023 city property tax levy increase that is up 4.5%. But, because of variables that include a steep rise in home values as a result of a red-hot housing market in 2021, the 2023 city tax on a median-value Eden Prairie home, $513,200, will actually go up 7%. For a city budget that is $57,395,407 and a property-tax levy of $42,432,263, that’s a 2023 city property tax of $1,524, up $100, for the $513,200 home. Of the…

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