Police dog fetches suspect after high-speed chase

EAGAN, MN -- A Saint Paul woman is facing felony charges after leading Eagan police on an early morning car chase.
   Eagan police spotted a car with no license plates pulling into the parking lot of an unnamed business shortly after 1 a.m. Nov. 20, according to court records. Police tried to stop the car after it pulled away, but the car “continued driving at speeds in excess of the posted speed limit and failed to stop for red lights and stop signs at street intersections,” according to a criminal complaint. The car drove in the oncoming traffic lane, according to police, at times up a hill which prevented a view of oncoming traffic. Police stopped the car by using a “pursuit intervention technique,” according to court records. The suspect car went into a ditch and crashed into a fence, according to the complaint.
   The alleged driver, Shauna Annala, 28, of 2041 Parkside Dr., St. Paul, was charged with two felonies: fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance and fleeing a police officer.
   Police allege Annala crawled out of the driver’s side window of the car after it crashed into a fence and ran from police on foot. A police dog found the Annala hiding under a nearby pine tree. After Annala allegedly refused a police officer’s request to come out from under the tree, according to police “the police canine then pulled the defendant [Annala] out.”
   Police then allegedly found, near where the suspect was laying, a plastic bag containing .52 grams of a crystal substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the criminal complaint.

Thomson Reuters cuts hundreds of jobs

EAGAN, MN – Following the sale of one of its divisions and a dismal third-quarter earnings report, one of Eagan’s largest employers, Thomson Reuters, has been shedding jobs this month, with some employees notified they will no longer have a job at the start of the new year.
    Hundreds of workers, about 13 percent of the company's workforce, including managers are expected to be cut, according to sources familiar with the company. The Eagan facility, which was the site of Mayor Mike Maguire's most recent State of the City address, employed about 5,000 people, after several rounds of cost-cutting in recent years. In Eagan, cuts occurred in editorial, publishing, creative, legal technology, and management, according to sources familiar with the company. The company has not released specific information about the cuts.The company, which bought Minnesota’s West Publishing in 1996, is remaining tight-lipped about the cuts. Staff in some of the hundreds of jobs expected to cut have been training workers at Thomson Reuters offices in Manila and other cities overseas to do jobs currently performed in Eagan.
   The company did confirm, to a local newspaper in New York, that it was closing its Rochester, New York office, which employed about 500 workers. The company has released no statement about cuts to its Eagan office, which, along with and office near Dallas, is expected to remain one of two central operations sites in the country.
   Thomson Reuters’ stock price has risen about $10 per share since May, after the announcement of a deal to sell off a majority stake in one of its divisions to Blackstone Capital. The company recently reported a 44 percent decline in its operating profit compared to the third-quarter of 2017 and a 59 percent decline in earnings per share.
    The company, which once claimed 7,000 employees at the Eagan office, has cut workers in recent years and replaced some staff with temporary workers who don’t receive health insurance or paid sick time, vacation, or retirement benefits and workers from other countries on H1B visas.
    Some of the employees losing their jobs before the end of the year are long-time employees who worked for West Publishing for decades, accruing pensions and other benefits. Although some departments have been cut, Thomson Reuters has also been hiring recent college graduates at the Eagan location.

City council approves Vikings subdivision plan

EAGAN, MN – The Eagan City Council Tuesday approved a final subdivision plan for a proposed hotel at the Minnesota Vikings headquarters site.
   The subdivision adds a third section to a 35-acre parcel in northeast Eagan.
    The city explained the proposed action in a memo attached to subdivision plans:
    “Contrary to the original proposal, Outlot B, Viking Lakes was not included as part of the Viking Lakes 2nd Addition, so no replacement easements were included for the original Outlot B,” according to the memo. “The recording of the Viking Lakes 3rd Addition will address the needed drainage and utility easements, including those previously included in Outlot B. This Final Subdivision creates the lot for the recently approved Viking Lakes hotel.”
   The subdivision approval was included on the consent agenda for the city council’s Dec. 4 meeting. The consent agenda includes a list of items to be summarily approved by the city council without debate or discussion.
   The city council approved a permit that would allow the Vikings owners to begin construction of a 320-room hotel with large signs promoting the organization’s sponsors. A completion date for the project has not been disclosed.
   Construction of its own hotel, which is slated to include private floors of suites, allows the Vikings to control what has become a chronic problem for the National Football League (NFL)—hotel surveillance video of players assaulting women. The current closest hotel to the Vikings facility, Country Inn and Suites, was the site of an alleged assault and theft by Vikings player Cayleb Jones. Jones is currently awaiting trial on theft and domestic assault charges in connection with the Aug. 28 episode.

Man charged with assault at local hotel

EAGAN, MN – An Eagan man is facing a felony charge related to a domestic assault at a local hotel.
   Cameron Sammett, 26, of 1950 Rahncliff Court, Eagan, was charged with felony domestic assault after Eagan police responded to a 911 hang-up call from the Quality Inn on Nov. 23. Sammett was ordered to be held at the Dakota County jail in lieu of $75,000 bail, according to court records.
   Sammett was charged after a woman reported he had bitten her in the hand, broken two phones and thrown two chairs across the room, according to police.
Cameron Sammett

Public hearing on city's tax levy Tuesday

 EAGAN, MN – Eagan taxpayers will have their chance to comment on proposed city tax increases at a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday’s city council meeting.
   A public hearing on the city’s proposed 2019 tax levy is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Eagan Municipal Center. The city council can approve the proposed levy after the public hearing.
   Proposed 2019 property tax bills were mailed to Eagan homeowners in November. According to the city, six taxpayers contacted the city about the proposed bills. Three were concerned about the valuations of their homes—the home value on which tax bills are based—and referred to the Dakota County tax assessors office.
   The city is proposing a budget of $38.3 million for 2019.
    According to the proposed tax bill, the city of Eagan’s tax bill will cost 13.5 percent more in 2019. Much of the increase is the result of the need to hire more police and firefighters because of development in the city, particularly Viking Lakes in northeast Eagan, and massive renovations to city hall and police headquarters.
   The public hearing is one of several budget and tax-related issues on the city council’s agenda Tuesday. The city has included budgets for various city operations including the Cascade Bay water park, the civic arena, and a large increase to the convention and visitors bureau budget, which includes money spent to promote the Minnesota Vikings.
   The city council is also expected to approve a subdivision plan for the Vikings Lake hotel, apartment, and headquarters site in northeast Eagan. That, and the facility budget items are included on the city council’s consent agenda, a list of actions approved summarily without debate, discussion, or public comment.
The city's proposed budgets for the civic arena, public utilities fund, Cascade Bay, community center and Access Eagan
See the city's handout related to its proposed 2019 tax levy
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Eagan homeowners get double-digit tax hike

EAGAN, MN – Eagan’s working households took a double whammy this week. As one of the city’s largest employers, Thomson Reuters, sent termination notices to workers, Dakota County sent out notices of property tax hikes of more than 13 percent.
   The tax increase means that owners of houses on the low end of Eagan’s market, under $200,000, will pay hundreds of dollars more in property taxes next year. Most of the newest homes in Eagan are priced higher, around $700,000.  
   The city of Eagan’s tax bill will cost 13.5 percent more in 2019. Much of the increase is the result of the need to hire more police and firefighters because of development in the city, particularly Viking Lakes in northeast Eagan, and massive renovations to city hall and police headquarters.
   Another large portion of the increase comes from a 13.3 percent increase in school district 196’s levy. The school district has been spending on pay increases for teachers, staff, administrators and even the school board; construction of new schools and renovations at existing schools; and new furniture, equipment and appliances. The school district is one of five taxing agencies on the county property tax bill, all of which have hiked property taxes in 2019.
   Dakota County itself will be boosting taxes about 12.2 percent. The Metropolitan Council, the St. Paul-based taxing district that funds projects outside Eagan, is adding its share to the property tax increase with a 16.5 percent hike.