A medical emergency helicopter from North Memorial Hospital lands at Lebanon Hills regional bike park after a bicyclist was seriously injured on a trail at the park Monday evening, Aug. 6. Eagan police, fire, and Health East ambulances were at the scene. Police blocked off Johnny Cake Ridge road between Covington Lane and Sherwood Way when the helicopter arrived and departed.

Another pro sporting event heads to Eagan

   Suddenly, Eagan has become an epicenter of professional sports.
   With the first Vikings training camp in full swing on one side of town, a second professional sporting event will be coming to the other side of Eagan this week as Cedarvale Lanes hosts a nationally televised Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) title event, the PWBA BowlerX.com Twin Cities Open.
   Bowlers from around the world will be heading to Eagan to compete for the $10,000 grand prize. The Twin Cities Open is one of a series of title events hosted by the PWBA throughout the month of August.
   Cedarvale Lanes has been spending lots of time and money getting ready for the event. The business has invested about $400,000 renovating its lanes, which have long been a fixture in the city. All 32 lanes are now equipped with the latest in bowling lane technology, Cedarvale’s president and owner Brent Prentice said.
   The event starts Thursday, Aug. 9 with pre-tournament qualifying rounds. Admission for Friday’s and Saturday’s competitions, featuring elite competitors, is $10 and can be purchased at the door of Cedarvale Lanes. Tickets for the Aug. 11 CBS Sports Network live telecast are offered at www.wpba.com.
   A free fan appreciation event will be held at the Lanes before the live telecast from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
   But, if you’re not one to sit by the sidelines, local bowlers can see how they stack up at the pre-tournament qualifiers for a reduced entry fee of $100, according to PWBA Director of Operations Tennelle Milligan. The system creates the potential for a Cinderella story of local athletes competing against elite competitors.
   Milligan said the top eight qualifiers, determined by eight games, can compete in the field of 32 for the $10,000 grand prize at the event. The eight qualifiers receive $1,200. There are currently about 46 bowlers registered for the pre-tournament qualifications. 

Man killed in Eagan single-car crash

   A 59-year-old Apple Valley man was killed in a single-car crash at Highways 77 and 13 in Eagan shortly after noon on Aug. 2, according to state police.
   Thomas Niederer, 59, of Apple Valley, was killed when the 2010 GMC Canyon Pickup he was driving ran off the road, struck a guardrail, and rolled down an embankment, according to state police. Niederer was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle.
   The driver’s 26-year-old son was the only passenger in the vehicle. The son, Robert Niederer, was taken to Regions Hospital by ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries, according to police. He was wearing a seat belt.

Man charged with assault on child at water park

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   An 8-year-old is recovering from broken legs and other injuries after allegedly being thrown from the top of a water slide at Apple Valley’s family aquatic center by a man who allegedly told police he was tired of waiting in line.
   Apple Valley police were called to the water park shortly after 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, for a medical call. When police arrived, they saw a child lying on the concrete sidewalk below the water slide. Police then discovered the child had allegedly been picked up and thrown over the railing above the platform at the top of the water slide. The platform is more than 28 feet above the ground.
   Police interviewed the 19-year-old suspect, Roman Adams, at the water park. According to police, Adams admitted “that he threw the child from the platform.” During a later interview with an Apple Valley police detective, Adams allegedly told police “the line was taking too long so he ‘pushed’ the child over the railing and saw him fall.
   Apple Valley police requested a nationwide arrest warrant for Adams, 11967 87th Place N., Maple Grove, and filed a criminal complaint in Dakota County court charging Adams with third-degree assault, a felony. Adams was arrested at his father’s home and released on $50,000 bail.
   Water parks such as Eagan’s Cascade Bay typically have staff members at the tops of platforms controlling the lines and ensuring there is no crowding or pushing at the top of the platforms. It is unclear whether similar staff was monitoring the platforms at Apple Valley’s water park at the time the child was injured. Park staff was observed atop the platform on Aug. 2, after the park had reopened following the crime.
   The city of Apple Valley released only a cryptic notice on its Twitter account immediately following the event: “Due to unforeseen circumstances the Apple Valley Family Aquatic Center is closing for today. We regret the inconvenience. Please join us another day for fun in the sun.”
   The city of Apple Valley released another statement Thursday saying “The City of Apple Valley is deeply concerned by this criminal incident this past week in which a child was injured. In 20 years of operation, with an average of around 70,000 patrons per year, the facility has not experienced any prior incident of this nature.”
   The city’s media release also said “The City is providing counseling services for staff members affected by this traumatic experience. We encourage others who were negatively impacted by this incident to seek assistance.”

School staff won't have to scrape by on $118,000

    Reasoning that a salary of more than $118,000 was too low, the District 196 school board has quietly approved extra pay of more than $18,000 for its coordinator of finance.
   The extra pay, classified as a stipend rather than a bonus, was approved without discussion as part of a laundry list of routine expenses covered under the board’s consent agenda, a summary vote of typically routine administrative matters passed without discussion by the board.
   The stipend approved by the board does not specify any performance benchmarks or conditions to be met for payment.
   The stipend is the latest in a series of pay raises and bonuses awarded to school district administrators and staff despite a multi-million dollar budget deficit in the school district. At its most recent meeting, the board also approved a pay raise for food service workers. The board’s newest member Craig Angrimson abstained from voting on the union pay raise because his wife will receive a raise under the new contract.
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Benzene detected in groundwater

   Benzene, a cancer-causing chemical in gasoline, and other contaminants have been found in the groundwater near the site of a January 8 gasoline spill at a Lifetime Fitness construction site on Thomas Center Drive, according to the report of the state’s investigation of the spill.
   The 584-page report details pollution resulting from the spill beyond what was reported to the public at the time of the initial clean-up. Clean-up crews hauled 797.3 tons of contaminated soil from the Thomas Center Drive site during the first days after the spill. However, documents included as part of the state’s investigative report show concern for residential wells and the city’s drinking water as a result of the spill.
   Although no municipal drinking water wells were located within the critical 500-feet distance from the spill, the report identifies two city wells within a half mile of the spill but concluded drinking water was “not likely” to be affected.
   “Two municipal wells, Eagan 13 (0.49-mile to the east-southeast) and Eagan 19 (0.45-mile north-northeast), were identified within ½ mile of the release,” the report states. “These wells are 492 feet deep and 482 feet deep, respectively, and are completed in the Prairie du Chien-Jordan bedrock aquifer.  The wells are reported to be cased to at least 382 feet deep.  Based on the distance from these wells to the release, and the depth of the well completion in a different water bearing unit, impact to these wells from the Site is not likely.”  
   But the report noted benzene and other chemicals had been found in monitoring wells. “A dissolved phase groundwater sample was collected from MW-01 on January 26, 2018,” the report said. “The results indicated positive detections of benzene (329 ug/l), toluene (851 ug/l), ethylbenzene (115 ug/l), and xylenes (512 ug/l), all exceeding the respective Health Risk Limits (HRLs) of 2 ug/l, 200 ug/l, 50 ug/l, and 300 ug/l.”
   “A groundwater sample was collected from boring SB-05, approximately 60 feet to the south/southwest of MW-01 on January 26,” the report continued. “Benzene was detected at a concentration of 42.7 ug/l, and was the only VOC to exceed the HRL.  Toluene (42.7 ug/l), ethylbenzene (2.05 ug/l) xylenes (4.23 ug/l), and GRO (202 ug/l) were also detected.”
   The documents also revealed the clean-up effort and monitoring of pollution levels continued for weeks after the spill. There was little public discussion of the 21,000-gallon spill, which city officials initially called a “leak.”
   The primary concern of first responders at the time of the spill was the danger of an explosion, which, as the city’s fire chief phrased it, “miraculously” did not occur. But the spill presented an environmental hazard, according to the report, which includes a map of the spill site amid drinking water management areas.
   About 40 homes are located within the 500-foot radius of the spill. As part of the investigation, the state questioned whether any of those homes used a well, which could be a danger if groundwater were contaminated, to provide water. The city informed investigators the homes were instead serviced by the city’s water supply, according to the report.
   The spill occurred after workers boring soil samples during the construction of an addition to the Lifetime Fitness center pierced the 12-inch gasoline pipeline. The club has offered no apology for the episode and charged members for the time the facility was closed because of the spill.
The state's report on the Jan. 8 Eagan gas spill includes illustrations of the 500-foot radius, including a number of homes, and graphs of pollution levels. The full report can be found at https://www.pca.state.mn.us/sites/default/files/c-er9-10.pdf.

Football coach shortage looms

    Like the cobbler’s children who had no shoes, Eagan—home to the new Vikings’ headquarters—is facing a shortage of youth football coaches.
   The Eagan Athletic Association, the organization that runs youth sports activities in the city, reports a shortage of youth football coaches. In an email sent to parents, the organization noted a particular drought at the fifth- and sixth-grade levels, with only three coaches for 60 children who want to play flag football.