Fences, fauna and fume: The south’s legislative wish list

Prison fence: Instead of a fenced property, the women's prison at Shakopee has a hedge and a low fence. Dayton last week offered support for a $5 million fence as part of his bonding request. (photo by: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune)

Prison fence: Instead of a fenced property, the women’s prison at Shakopee has a hedge and a low fence. Dayton last week offered support for a $5 million fence as part of his bonding request. (photo by: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune)

In a year that could bring a large bonding bill, local interests are making their case to bring home a piece of the pie

Article by: Laurie blake and David Peterson, Star Tribune staff writers

An ambitious plan to remake the Minnesota Zoo, a fence for an open-campus prison and a technical college work space that “hasn’t been touched since 1970” are among the big-ticket priorities south of the river as the 2012 legislative session approaches.

Gov. Mark Dayton last week offered support for a $5 million fence for the women’s prison at Shakopee but took a giant whack out of a $53 million request to tackle the zoo’s new master plan, including $16 million for a new Asian Highlands area. Zoo officials were betraying no disappointment.

“We are pleased that Gov. Dayton’s proposed bonding bill includes $12 million to address critical infrastructure and facility improvements that will help transform the Minnesota Zoo’s main entry and building, including the completion of renovations to Discovery Bay,” the aquatics area that used to house dolphins, said spokeswoman Kelly Lessard.

Dakota County Technical College welcomed the governor’s support for a $7.6 million allotment for transportation and emerging technologies, saying it’s a part of the facility that has long languished.

Said Erin Marie Edlund, director of Institutional Advancement:

“These are all programs preparing students for high-paying, high-skill jobs, yet the space we’re talking about has not been touched since 1970 — to the point that really, ventilation became a problem and fumes were not escaping the building properly.”

Scott County isn’t asking for anything major for itself this year, said former legislator Claire Robling, now the county’s communications and legislative coordinator, but is backing proposals that could benefit it along with others.

A case in point, she said:

The county’s civic leaders are “supporting the request from the Metropolitan Council for $10.5 million in bonding for regional parks. Scott County has always been a beneficiary of these funds,” indeed a major one in recent months, “and it is disappointing the governor only included $5 million in his proposal. We will join other metro park entities to lobby for additional funds.”

The governor’s weigh-in, in fact, is hardly the last word on legislation, and it neither guarantees passage nor condemns anything to doom.

Dakota County seeks to tuck six building projects into the state’s bonding program for 2014 — none of which made the governor’s list.

Among them:

• $6 million to start the design and construction of a new stop for the bus rapid transit line, the Cedar Avenue Red Line, in Eagan;

• $1.4 million to start the design of transit improvements on S. Robert Street in St. Paul and West St. Paul, and

•  $787,500 to build a trailhead for the Big Rivers Regional Trail in Mendota Heights.

Facing a funding shortfall of nearly $600 million to meet county road needs between now and 2030, the county also is urging legislators to increase state funding for roads, provide more money for transit and consider new revenue sources based on transportation user fees.

Scott, meanwhile, is keenly interested in Carver County’s desire for help to build a key link from the new Hwy. 101 bridge that will be going up in Shakopee, across the Minnesota River.

Carver wants help connecting old Hwy. 212, now 61, with the new bridge, which will be built beginning this spring, Robling said.

“Carver County is going to go ahead with the project but they will have to pay for it upfront and may need to wait up to 10 years to get reimbursed from the state,” she said. “This creates an additional financial burden on the county, but it makes sense to do the project now, when the bridge is being constructed.

“The governor did put $30 million in his bill for local bridges and $10 million for local roads, and Scott County may benefit from these funds, but of course the demand for these dollars is very high.”

Both counties also have a variety of other items on their wish lists.

Dakota County has a list of 15 legislative initiatives this year, and is pursuing policy changes that give it more freedom to handle its own administration, finances and tax levy.

High on the list is the request that legislators “allow local governments to make their own tax levy decisions.’’

Tax levy limits imposed by the state leave little time for cities and counties to adjust their budgets and services, the county says in a position paper.

Although legislators did impose levy limits for 2013, the restriction was lifted for Dakota through special legislative consideration. Otherwise the limits would have foiled the county’s plan to pay down debt and use that money for operating costs, resulting in property taxes slightly below the previous year.

The county was singled out by Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans for holding property taxes down. But had the property tax levy limit imposed by legislators applied to the county, the flexibility and creativity Frans recognized would not have been possible, said Matt Smith, deputy administrator for the county.

The county’s position is that “local elected leaders of cities and counties are accountable to local voters and taxpayers.’’

Dakota is also asking legislators to give the county more control over what property is tied up by cities in tax increment financing districts. Specifically, the county would like legislation requiring Dakota County’s consent for all city tax increment districts.

In 2013 the county was required to distribute more than $3.6 million in county property taxes to tax increment districts. “This was revenue from the county’s tax levy which was paid by residents who did not benefit directly from the district. Thus Dakota County’s consent should be required before a TIF district is established in the county.’’

Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz pleaded with commissioners to take the tax increment issue off the county priority list. She said the county and city have always cooperated in the past and she objected to what amounts to a county veto of city redevelopment efforts. The county declined to remove it.

Tim Wynes Service as Interim President Extended at DCTC

Changes in leadership are paving the way for an exciting future


The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system (MnSCU) Chancellor Steven Rosenstone announced Dec. 6, 2013, that Tim Wynes’ appointment as interim president of Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) will be extended for an additional year.

In a letter to the DCTC community, Rosenstone stated, “To [enable momentum] to continue and to strengthen our hand in recruiting a new president, I have asked Tim Wynes to stay on as interim president through the 2014-15 academic year and he has graciously agreed to do so. I will begin a national search for the presidency of DCTC in the fall of 2014 with the hope of completing the search by April 2015 to allow ample time for a smooth transition in leadership.”

Wynes’ initial interim presidency at DCTC began July 1, 2013. He will now serve through the end of the 2014-15 academic year.

In addition to Wynes’ extension, the college has also experienced other shifts in senior leadership. In November, DCTC Vice President Kelly Murtaugh accepted a position as vice president of academic affairs at Saint Paul College and Mike Opp was appointed to fill her position in the interim. He has been with the college since 2003, most recently serving as dean of transportation and industry.

Assuming Opp’s duties in the DCTC’s Transportation and Industry division in the interim will be Chad Sheets. He was previously the Chrysler Training instructor at DCTC and currently serves as director of the Transportation Center of Excellence for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Work-Ready Degree for Health Care Field


Health Care Technician program starts fall semester 2013

Health care in the U.S. is a $1.668 trillion industry with with nearly 785,000 companies and about 16.8 million employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that health care and social assistance will generate 28 percent of all new jobs nationwide from 2010 to 2020, which translates into 5.7 million new jobs for health care professionals and technicians of every type. The demand is driven in part by seniors in the millions who are living longer but not necessarily healthier lives. The BLS also predicts that health care wages and salaries will increase 27 percent through 2014.

hct_seniorsMinnesota is one state reaping benefits from the upsurge in health care-related occupations. In a 2013 study, the Brookings Institution reported that 10.8 percent of all jobs in the Twin Cities metro area are in the health care field. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development found that health care was the only employment sector in the state that continued to expand during the recession.

In a July 2013 article in the Star Tribune, Martha Ross, a lead researcher on the Brookings study, had this to say: “There’s a long-term trend of job growth in the health care industry that you don’t see in other sectors of the economy. They’re now taking up a bigger share of the employment pie, and that’s happening in some cases because other parts of the pie are shrinking.”

Ross added that the Affordable Care Act and other reform efforts could boost the importance of support workers such as nursing assistants and home health aides. “I worry about that group of workers because they have limited career mobility and limited earnings,” Ross said. “The only way they get career mobility is to go back to school and get another certificate or degree.”

hct_male-nurseDakota County Technical College is working to meet the enormous demand for more health care workers by launching a new A.A.S. degree program: Health Care Technician. Debra MacDonald, associate dean of allied health at the college, created the new program to give students a fast,viable pathway into the world of health care, a pathway with plenty of room for advancement. The program offers general education courses that will transfer to a four-year college or university as well as professional/technical courses designed to instill the skills required to enter the health care workforce or advance a health care career.

“As a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree program, Health Care Technician will equip our students for careers, career changes and career advancement in the health care industry,” MacDonald said. “The program will also prepare students who wish to pursue a future bachelor’s degree in health care.”

Bachelor Degree Pathways

Health Care Technician A.A.S. (60 credits)

Metropolitan State University: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
As a graduate of the Health Care Technician program, you can continue coursework along a number of pathways that may include working toward your RN.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota: Bachelor of Science in Allied Healthcare Management
As a graduate of the Health Care Technician program, you can transfer seamlessly into this managerial program and complete your bachelor’s degree.

MacDonald pointed out that elective certifications are a key advantage built into the Health Care Technician program. Students will graduate with three certificates and have the opportunity to test for the Patient Care Technician/Assistant Certification (CPCT/A) administered by theNational Healthcareer Association. Certificates are offered in the following areas.

  • hct_ekgElectrocardiography (EDG) Technician
    • This concentration prepares you to preform diagnostic electrocardiograms at a hospital or other medical facility.
  • hct_phlebPhlebotomy
    • This concentration prepares you to be a specialist in obtaining blood samples at a clinic, hospital, laboratory or other medial facility.
  • hct_naNursing Assistant
    • This concentration prepares you to assist dependent clients, home care recipients, and patients with personal care needs.
  • hct_tmaTrained Medication Aide (TMA)
    • This concentration prepares you to dispense patient medications under the supervision of a registered nurse.
  • hct_emtEmergency Medical Technician (EMT)
    • This concentration prepares you to provide lifesaving emergency care in a variety of settings.
  • hct_pctCPCT/A (test preparation)
    • The Certified Patient Care Technician assists doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in providing direct patient care in a variety of health care environments.

Faculty Perspective

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves, B.S., NREMT-P • Allied Health Instructor

A certified paramedic and former civilian director of U.S. Army Combat Medic Training and Resuscitation Programs at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Jay Reeves brings a wealth of experience and expertise to DCTC Allied Health programs. Reeves teaches EKG, First Responder, and Emergency Care for Technical Trades courses. He is also a CPR/First Aid instructor in DCTC Customized Training. He sees the new Health Care Technician program as an ideal route for students to enter the health care field with a strong, industry-savvy foundation.

Reeves with SimMan patient simulator

Reeves with SimMan patient simulator

“Because health care is becoming increasingly technical, with more and more new tests and diagnostics being developed, trained technicians are in high demand,” Reeves said. “Our medical professionals—doctors, nurses and technologists—are kept busy analyzing and synthesizing all that data. Our program offers a range of critical certifications, which means our graduates have true, tangible skills to put on their resumes.”

Reeves noted that the program’s certifications provide career flexibility while paving the way for advancement. For example, graduates with the phlebotomy certification could consider pursuing careers in hematology; EKG certification could lead to work as a physiologist, perfusionist, CT scan technologist, medical technologist or even a cardiologist.

“The Health Care Technician A.A.S. degree is a rainbow of health care opportunities,” Reeves said.

Biomedical Equipment Technology Connection
Burdick 8300

Burdick 8300

Jay Reeves is collaborating with Travis Ahlquist, the college’s Biomedical Equipment Technologyinstructor, to give students in both programs real-world experience. Ten BMET students have volunteered to serve as live EKG subjects for Health Care Technician students, allowing the HCT students to fulfill a certification requirement.

“My students get hands-on experience working with an actual live human patient, applying electrodes under clinical conditions,” Reeves said. “The BMET students get to see how the EKG machine is actually used. The machine we just received is the Cardiac Science Burdick 8300 Electrocardiograph, which is one of the best on the market.”

Student Perspectives

Chris Ketchum

Chris Ketchum

Chris Ketchum • Age: 29 • Cottage Grove, Minn.

“I’m working now as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at a home health care center. My goal is to complete the Health Care Technician degree and then follow the bachelor degree pathway and become a registered nurse. This program has been extremely helpful.”

Outside interest: Capoeira, the Brazilian martial art that blends dance, acrobatics and music.

Kayla Frandrup

Kayla Frandrup

Kayla Frandrup • Age: 20 • Farmington, Minn.

“I am also majoring in Medical Administrative Specialist at DCTC. I’m planning on earning my phlebotomy and EKG certifications and will be graduating this summer. I plan to work in a hospital right away, but I’m looking at earning my bachelor’s degree in health care management.”

Outside interests: Student Ambassador and DCTC Campus Lions Club; Kayla also wishes to earn her private pilot’s license.

Jayme Gallagher

Jayme Gallagher

Jayme Gallagher • Age: 21 • Pine City, Minn.

“I like helping people and I like the idea that work in the health care field comes from the heart. I’m working full-time now, but earning this degree still fits into my schedule. I want to work in a hospital as an EKG technician for starters. My ultimate goal is to become a surgeon.”

Outside interest: Disc golf, aka Frisbee golf.

For more information about the Health Care Technician program at DCTC, contact:
Red Foreman | DOG: April 4, 1938 | Recovering from hip surgery

Red Foreman | DOG: April 4, 1938 | Recovering from hip surgery

Celebrations All Around

(left to right) Mark Hickman, ASEP Instructor; Tim Felch, Welding Instructor; Paul DeMuth, Director of Operations; Tim Wynes, J.D. ,DCTC Interim President; Representative Anna Wills (R-MN); Tim McCluskey, ASEP Instructor; Mike Opp, Interim Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs

(left to right) Mark Hickman, ASEP Instructor; Tim Felch, Welding Instructor; Paul DeMuth, Director of Operations; Tim Wynes, J.D. ,DCTC Interim President; Representative Anna Wills (R-MN); Tim McCluskey, ASEP Instructor; Mike Opp, Interim Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs

DCTC Celebrates the Holidays and Phase I Renovation

Dakota County Technical College opened its doors to faculty, staff, retirees, community members and many more for a holiday celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 5, 2013. Approximately 200 people attended the event, including local business leaders, legislators and members of the DCTC Foundation.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony for the Phase 1 Transportation & Emerging Technologies Remodel took place at 4 p.m. near the automotive technology shops and classrooms. The ceremony marked the opening of new, modern classroom spaces and program area shops that had not been renovated since the initial construction in 1973. The $7.23 million, 55,200 square foot renovation began in May 2013 and was open to students in the fall semester 2013.

Visitors had opportunities throughout the evening to tour the newly renovated areas, which included areas of the following programs: Welding Technology, GM ASEP, Automotive Technician and Auto Body Collision Technology.  For more Phase I information and photos, visit the Bonding Projects webpage.

An additional $7.59 million in state bonding funds has been requested to complete Phase II of the project, which will include 66,550 square feet and the following program areas: Heavy Duty Truck Technology, Heavy Construction Equipment Technology, Nanoscience Technology, Energy Technical Specialist, Civil Engineering Technology and DCTC’s central commons.

The holiday celebration continued in the West Atrium, showcasing beautiful, loud, loved and gaudy holiday sweaters. The annual holiday sweater runway show drew crowd applause, but the prize went to Michelle Keske, College Lab Assistant, who stood out from them all. Luke Dowell, Instructional Technology Center Tutor, also left a winner– not with a sweater, but his name was drawn for the door prize with a $50 Visa gift card.

Michelle Keske

Michelle Keske

Enjoy the 2013 Holiday Celebration gallery:

To learn more about both phases of the Transportation & Emerging Technologies Renovation Project at DCTC, contact:
  • Paul DeMuth
    Director of Operations
  • Mike Opp
    Dean of Transportation and Technical Careers
  • Erin Edlund
    Director of Institutional Advancement

Soccer Player Andiano Castillo Named All-American

Blue Knight makes 2013 NSCAA/Continental Tire Junior College Division I Men’s All-America Second Team

Jose Andiano Castillo

Jose Andiano Castillo, a freshman midfielder on the Blue Knights men’s soccer team at Dakota County Technical College, was named to the 2013 NSCAA/Continental Tire Junior College Division I Men’s All-America Second Team. A 2012 graduate of Bloomington Kennedy High School, Andiano Castillo led his team and the nation with 16 assists this past season.

Head Coach Cam Stoltz reported that Andiano Castillo is the second All-American in the history of the men’s soccer program at DCTC and the seventh produced by the college’s six athletics programs.

“Getting named to the All-America Second Team by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America is a very prestigious honor,” Stoltz said. “Jose is one of only four freshman in the top twenty-two players—and there are about 4,000 players at the NJCAA Division I level.”

Stoltz added that Andiano Castillo played all 20 games during the 2013 season for a team that went 16–3–1 and at one point was ranked ninth on the NJCAA DI Top 25 poll and the National Soccer Coaches DI Top 20 poll. Andiano Castillo started 17 games and was on the field 99 percent of the minutes played all season. The Knights lost 1–3 to Iowa Western Community College in NJCAA Region XI Championship.

“Jose is hands-down the hardest working player on our team,” Stoltz said. “He is a nonstop runner end to end. His tenacity and quickness make him a nuisance to opposing teams and dangerous on the attack. He is a superb transition player. Because he is so quick on the transition, Jose can take more risks as an attacker. Leading the nation in assists is an amazing accomplishment.”

Jose Andiano Castillo will back next season for the Blue Knights.

For more information about men’s NJCAA DI soccer at DCTC, visit GoBlueKnights.com, or contact: