Look elected board chair
Matt Look was elected chair of the Anoka County Board on Tuesday.
Jeff Reinert was elected vice chair. Look takes over the chair role from Scott Schulte.
"Thank you for the great honor to chair the board for year 2023," Look said after the vote. "I want to extend my gratitude to commissioner Schulte ... for your work and service to county and constituents."
Look, of Anoka, was also named chair of the Finance and Capital Improvement and Management committeesand vice chair of the Transportation Committee. He was also elected chair of the Anoka County Regional Railroad Authority.
Look, who has served on the board for the 12 years, has been the subject of controversy. In 2021, two women accused him of harassment and called for him to resign. Look denounced the accusations and no charges were filed. Last fall, Look was accused of making online threats against a candidate running against him, but a police investigation turned up no criminal violations and closed the case.
In another vote, the board approved a resolution to hold a separate meeting immediately following each county board meeting to hear public comment. Starting Jan. 24, each speaker will be limited to two minutes to ask questions, present concerns or make statements.
The public comment period will not be televised or streamed online.
Former Rosemount mayor joins county board
Former Rosemount Mayor William Droste was sworn in as the newest member of the Dakota County Board on Tuesday.
Droste was elected in November and will represent District 4, which includes parts of Inver Grove Heights, Eagan, Lakeville and Rosemount as well as Empire Township.
Commissioners Joe Atkins, Laurie Halverson, Mary Liz Holberg and Mike Slavik, all re-elected in November, were also sworn in Tuesday.
Commissioner Liz Workman was elected board chair, and Atkins was elected vice chair.
City joins Just Deeds Coalition
Shoreview has joined the Just Deeds Coalition, which helps property owners discharge racially discriminatory covenants from their deeds at no cost.
Discriminatory covenants were used historically to limit who could purchase houses.
In 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that courts were prohibited from enforcing them. Minnesota prohibited new covenants in 1953, but existing ones were still legal until 1962. In 2019, the Legislature passed a law allowing property owners to discharge these covenants from their titles.
"By joining the Coalition, the city will be able to help residents research their deeds and discharge discriminatory covenants," a city press release said. "The city will also review deeds for its own property and discharge discriminatory covenants."
A night with the stars
Astronomy enthusiasts can view star clusters, galaxies and other celestial bodies at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve, 1515 Keats Av. N., from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 27 through Washington County's Winter Constellations program.
The program starts at the Nordic Center with a presentation on the winter night sky and how to view some of the most popular constellations, including the Big Bear, Orion the Hunter, Gemini and Taurus. Star maps, constellation charts, apps and a guide on buying a telescope will be available. Participants will then head outside to use large telescopes set up for viewing deep into space.
The program costs $5 per person and is free for kids 6 and younger. A park permit is required. Register at co.washington.mn.us/parks.