November 12, 2011

Once There Were Castles - a Book of Minnesota's Torn-Down Historic Homes

For those of us that are interested, there's a new book that describes 90 Minnesota homes and estates that have been torn down over the years. The College of Visual Arts and the Star Tribune have more details.

Listen to the book's author, Larry Millett, interviewed on MPR.  Larry Millett also wrote the book, Lost Twin Cities.

D.R. Horton Homes Submits New Home Plans

D.R. Horton has submitted new home plans for the Master ARC's consideration.  The homes are proposed to be built in VG's Single Family Village.  Plans will be considered at the Master ARC's upcoming meetings.

Pratt Homes Gets Ready to Dig

Pratt Homes will be starting next week on it's newest home at the corner of Val Jean Blvd. and Victor Hugo Blvd.  The new home will be an attractive addition to the neighborhood.

More Beavers Removed

This morning while walking our dog, Cheryl met the man who's been removing beavers from our ponds. The trapper told her that five dams had been removed, and six beavers had removed so far.  He believes there is at least one beaver remaining, and he's continuing work to remove it.

Unless they're blocking streets, sidewalks, or trails the downed trees will likely be left in place to decompose naturally.

November 9, 2011

Board Seeks Input from Residents

The Master Board is forming a Long Term Planning Committee for Victor Gardens.  The Master Board would like direct and active input from interested homeowners about the future of our community.  Ideally this committee would plan for Victor Gardens' future, including goal setting, new building and beautification projects, holiday decorations, long term maintenance, etc.   The Board is also looking for more volunteers to serve on VG's Landscape Committee.  These groups should be comprised of residents from all our sub-associations. 

Residents interested in serving should contact VG's Community Manager Kari Miller. Email:  Phone: (763)-225-6424

Beaver Damage Update

In addition to the areas previously mentioned, Beavers have also been cutting trees around the ponds near VG's Neighborhood Activity Center/Pool and the City-owned trails near the South Village Condo Association and the Single Family Village Association.

Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources and the Rice Creek Watershed District have become involved and have removed 5 beaver dams and one 60lb. beaver so far.  Since a number of the trees were felled near the City of Hugo's trail the City will likely decide what to do with the downed trees.

A resident has also volunteered the name of a trapper who would remove the beavers at no charge.  (Thanks Joan!)

Kari Miller is working to coordinate the Association's response with the organizations responsible for the beavers.  I know a number of residents are concerned about beaver damage.  I'll likely have another update soon.

November 7, 2011

Vote Yes for Schools - Tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 8

I ask you to vote "Yes" Tuesday, Nov. 8 for the benefit of our schoolchildren.  Good schools are important for our children's success and the success our neigborhood.  This is an important issue for all of us, even if you don't have children attending school in the district.  Please vote Yes!

According to ISD 624,  
The Renewal Referendum with no tax increase scheduled for November 8

On July 11, our School Board unanimously passed a resolution to schedule a local operating levy renewal referendum (not a tax increase) for this November 8. This vote will be a renewal of the same question that was strongly supported by our community in the fall of 2007.

Approximately 15% of our revenue comes from this local operating levy. In a time when the state will borrow 40% of our state funding by shifting payments to the future, the stability provided by renewal of this local operating levy is critical to continuing on our current path of rapidly rising student achievement. Without this local tax levy, our students would face significant increases in class sizes, some school sites would close and consolidate with remaining schools, and program opportunities would be dramatically reduced.

6 facts to know about the local operating levy renewal:
  • The local operating levy approved by voters in 2007 is expiring after this year. 
  • The School Board unanimously passed a resolution to ask local voters to renew the existing operating levy this November 8.
  • A successful local operating levy renewal will not increase taxes.
  • We are not alone. More than 90% of Minnesota school districts have local operating levies.
  • A successful local operating levy renewal will help maintain current class sizes and programs.
  • Failure to renew the levy will result in a 15% reduction in revenue and cause higher class sizes, closure and consolidation of some school sites, and fewer program opportunities for students.
Promises kept.
Since the last levy referendum in 2007, the District followed through on its promises to the community:
  • Lowered elementary class sizes. 
  • Restructured middle school, offering world language choices for students in grades six, seven and eight.
  • Restructured high school, ending study halls and increasing time in core academic classes. 
  • WBLAHS offers 30 college-credit courses. 
 Community Leaders Endorse Renewal of Levy
" Community leaders have endorsed the White Bear Lake Area Schools Local Operating Levy Renewal, which will be on the Nov. 8 ballot. 

Resolutions have been passed by Hugo City Council, Vadnais Heights City Council, White Bear Lake City Council, White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce and Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation. Other community organizations are considering similar resolutions.
The resolutions recognize the successes of White Bear Lake Area Schools students, financial stewardship of our District, and the fact that the levy renewal scheduled for November 8 will not increase current taxes. Hugo mayor Fran Miron remarked during the Hugo City Council meeting, “The City of Hugo supports the levy renewal because we know that strong schools equal strong communities.” 

Vadnais Heights leaders had a similar discussion. “The Vadnais Heights City Council recognizes the importance of a good educational system,” said Gerry Urban, Vadnais Heights city administrator. “For this reason, the council unanimously passed a resolution in support of the White Bear Lake Area Schools local operating levy renewal.” 

The White Bear Lake City Council also voted unanimous support. 

In addition, several of the school district’s representatives in the Minnesota House and Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, have publicly supported the renewal levy. The Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation also endorsed the levy referendum.

The school district is asking voters to approve renewal of a property tax levy that brings in $14 million a year. Renewing the existing levy will help maintain current programs and class sizes with no increase in taxes. If approved, it would continue for six years."