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No net flaws Wahl on the water Tennis team finishes 16-0 Ski champ is still winning Page 9 Page 15 PRIOR LAKE SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2011 $1 AMERICAN CR 21 extension: Smooth ride, but is it dangerous? BY SHANNON FIECKE Crossing the new non-signalized intersection near her home in Shakopee’s Southbridge area “freaks out” Lanae Paaverud. A couple of days after she posted her concerns on Facebook, her fears were realized by another driver. A Savage woman’s vehicle was T-boned while attempting to cross the new four-lane County Road 21 at Southbridge Parkway. The woman’s side air bags deployed, but neither she nor her child was seriously injured. “It’s nerve-racking,” said Paaverud, who lives on Oxford Road and crosses the county road regularly to get to Savage. “Part of it’s because [21] is so wide and there is no speed limit. If there are four lanes going 55 miles per hour and two lanes of turning traffic, that’s really difficult to get across.” Safety at the 21 and Southbridge Parkway intersection is just one of the complaints residents have lodged since County Road 21 opened to traffic three weeks ago. DANGER? Savage resident Lisa Alland was attempting to cross County Road 21 from southbound Southbridge Parkway on “We don’t just open the road up and walk away. We are watching it all the time. We know it takes tweaking to get it as close to perfect as we can.” Mitch Rasmussen County Engineer Sept. 21 when she was hit by a work van driven by a Prior Lake man. Alland said she would like to comment but has been advised by an attorney to not speak about the incident. Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate said he hasn’t reviewed the accident report yet but has had extra patrols monitoring the speed in the area since the road opened. County Road 21 to page 14 ® Issues raised by drivers Safety of motorists attempting to cross County Road 21 at Southbridge Parkway/Pike Lake Road Longer backups near Highway 169 Proximity of road to Red Oak Elementary School in Shakopee No speed limit set yet for the new road Welcome back, Lakers Next week is Prior Lake High School’s annual homecoming celebration. The week is full of events for current, former and future Lakers. Check out this list of homecoming festivities: Coronation, 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2 Royalty bus tour, followed by middle-school pepfests, 12:56 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 for Hidden Oaks Middle School students and 1:41 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 for Twin Oaks Middle School students. Both pepfests will be held in the gold gym at Twin Oaks, 15860 Fish Point Road, Prior Lake Powder Puff game, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 Laker Capers pepfest, 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 Football game against Eagan, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 Hula Hoop World Record attempt, immediately following football game, Friday, Oct. 7 Dance, 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8 Unless otherwise noted, these events will take place at Prior Lake High School, 7575 150th St., Savage. PHOTO BY TOM SCHARDIN At left – Senior Matt Arends and the Lakers will play Eagan at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 at PLHS. School Board approves 2.3-percent levy decrease BY MERYN FLUKER The Prior Lake -Savage A rea School Board has approved the maximum tax levy amount of $25.36 million for 2012, but it still represents a 2.3-percent drop from last year’s $25.95 million levy, a year in which the board did not levy the maximum amount. “I made that recommendation because the overall levy was declining, so I thought it was important that the district receive the amount that was calculated on the levy certification,” said Julie Cink, director of business affairs. “Since our levy is not increasing, it’s decreasing, I felt that we could levy the max knowing that it was declining and it will further decline based on that refunding.” The refunding Cink referenced is a move the board approved at its Sept. 12 meeting to refund two building bonds and take advantage of current low interest rates. Those savings – which could be as high as $926,000, according to Gary Olsen of Ehlers and Associates, the fi nancial advisory company working with the district – likely will come back to residents in the form of reductions on the school district portion of their property taxes. Bids for the refinancing are scheduled to come in on Oct. 3 with the board approving them at its Oct. 10 regular meeting. Until then, the amount of additional savings to the taxpayers is not yet known. Cink, who took over for Margo Nash in November 2010, speculated that the School Board opted not to levy the maximum amount last year in order to not raise that portion of residents’ tax bills. Other reasons for the almost $ 600,000 levy decrease include a 5.6-percent decrease in adjusted net tax capacity, a 3.9-percent decrease in referendum market value as well as a reduction in debt service due to bond refi nancing last year. “Anytime we go over that bond payment, we see a reduction in our levy,” Cink said. “We are refunding that excess back to our taxpayers.” This marks the second year that JOIN THE CHAT HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE PRIOR LAKESAVAGE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT’S LEVY PLAN? WEIGH IN AT District 719 has been able to levy for its $11 million Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) liability, and the board gave a green light to levying the maximum allowed by the state – though last year, the board refrained. The district will levy $732,935 for OPEB, almost $48,000 more than the district levied for OPEB last year. “By being able to levy for this, the district can be able to fund that liability because we have a responsibility to pay that,” Cink said. “We’re working towards it. Every year, were trying to put more money towards that.” Levy to page 7 ® PHOTO BY MERYN FLUKER Grant and Isabella Rubietta attend MTS Minnesota Connections Academy, an online school based in St. Paul. Grant, 9, just started seventh grade. Isabella, 7, is in fourth grade. ‘Accelerated’ siblings excel with online education BY MERYN FLUKER Anyone meeting Grant and Isabella Rubietta would be forgiven for seeing them as typical kids at first glance. The Prior Lake siblings are enthusiastic and energetic. Grant, 9, is planning to go as a train conductor for Halloween this year; Isabella, 7, will wear wings to go as Tinker Bell. But Grant and Isabella are INSIDE OPINION/4 OBITUARIES/6 SPORTS/9-11 AMERICAN SLICE/15 CALENDAR/19 CLASSIFIEDS/22-25 TO REACH US SUBSCRIBE: (952) 345-6682 EDITOR: (952) 345-6378 OR E-MAIL EDITOR@PLAMERICAN.COM. anything but average when it comes to academic aptitude. The brother and sister are leaps ahead of their similarly aged peers in school. Bella is currently in fourth grade – while most 7-year-olds are in second grade – and will start fifth grade at the beginning of the 2012 calendar year. Grant is studying pre-algebra and the Incas as part of his seventhgrade coursework. Rubiettas to page 3 ® VOL. 52 ISSUE 1 © SOUTHWEST NEWSPAPERS


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