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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Nonpartisan discussions March 14-April 25 at Galaxie Library

Dakota County Library will host Great Decisions, a series of nonpartisan discussions that provide education on important American policy issues. Presenters with expertise in policy issues around the world will set the stage for discussing diverse viewpoints.
 
Participants are encouraged to check out a copy of the Great Decisions 2017 briefing book prior to the events. A desk copy is available to read at the Galaxie Library. All discussions will be held at the Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley. For more information, please visit www.dakotacounty.us/library or call 651-450-2900.
 
Discussions are scheduled on the following dates:
 
Future of Europe
Amid a refugee crisis, lingering financial recession and the constant specter of terrorism, unity seems more imperative than ever but the Brexit vote underscores the complexities of integrating an extremely diverse continent. Explore what a post-Brexit Europe will look like, and how U.S. foreign policy can adapt.
Presenter Dr. Mary T. Curtin, a Minnesota native, joined the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota as Diplomat-in-Residence in 2013 after a 25-year career as a Department of State Foreign Service Officer.
 
Tue, March 14, 6:30–8 pm                                                                                                     
Galaxie Library                                                                                  
 
Conflict in the South China Sea
Discuss the competing territorial claims in the South China Sea and how nations are attempting to prevent tensions from boiling over through careful diplomacy. Presenter Richard Bohr, Professor of History and Director of Asian Studies at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, has devoted his professional career to promoting U.S.-Asia relations.
 
Tue, March 28, 6:30–8 pm
Galaxie Library
 
Trade and Politics
Examine the metrics used to gauge economic strength and the picture of U.S. economic stature they paint. Discuss how statistics around international trade could help develop appropriate policy solutions for the challenges at hand. Presenter Ambassador Ross Wilson served as American ambassador to Turkey in 2005-08 and to Azerbaijan in 2000-03. In 2010-2014, Ambassador Wilson served as director of the Atlantic Council's Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, where he led the Council's work on the former Soviet states, Turkey and regional energy and economic issues.
 
Tue, April 11, 6:30–8 pm
Galaxie Library
 
Saudi Arabia in Transition
The Saudi Arabian government is attempting to transform the country while also struggling to adjust to the drastic decline in oil revenue. Bipartisan criticism of Saudi Arabia is rising in Congress. Both countries need each other, but they are at a crossroads in bilateral relations. Presenter Molly Hayes served as the State Department's counterterrorism advisor for East Africa, desk officer for Kenya, Morocco, Western Sahara and Tunisia, and assistant to the Coordinator for Counterterrorism.
 
Tue, April 25, 6:30–8 pm     
Galaxie Library

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Join the turfgrass class

Dakota County is hosting a free workshop to teach property managers, groundskeepers, and other commercial and public turf managers sensible, cost-saving ways to maintain turfgrass. The workshop will be held from 8 a.m.­-2 p.m. on Friday, April 7, at the Dakota County Western Service Center. 
 
Attendees will learn practices to protect lakes and rivers while keeping turfgrass looking its best. They will also have the opportunity to attain MPCA Level 1 certification in turf care maintenance practices. Topics include fertilizer selection and application, pesticide application, equipment calibration, mowing techniques, environmental effects, soil testing, irrigation best practices and more. Lunch is provided.
 
The deadline to register for the workshop is March 30. To register or for more information, email environ@co.dakota.mn.usor call 952-891-7000.
 
Funding for the workshop is provided by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Fund, and matching funds from Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization and Dakota County. Course content was created through extensive collaboration with local experts.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Minnesota Trout Unlimited


The Vermillion Riverkeepers volunteers from the nonprofit conservation group Minnesota Trout Unlimited, who worked with the MNDNR on March 4 to remove almost two acres of invasive, non-native buckthorn brush from the South Branch of the Vermillion River State Aquatic Management Area, in Vermillion Township just west of Hwy. 52.  
 
To help raise money for its stream restoration work, and watershed education programs in local schools, Minnesota Trout Unlimited is sponsoring the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo March 17, 18, and 19 at Hamline University in St. Paul.  More than three dozen presentations on fly fishing are included in the ticket price, plus fly casting lessons on Hamline University's pool!  There is also a separate Saturday night Fly Fishing Film and Video Showcase event on March 18.  
 
For more information about the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo, visit www.greatwatersflyexpo.com.
 
Right now there are 7000 little trout swimming in 17  Minnesota classrooms, as part of Minnesota Trout Unlimited's watershed education program, which includes Lakeville South.  The students raised their fish from eggs in special coldwater aquariums.  The students study fish biology and water chemistry, and take field trips to learn about streams and how land use affects water quality.  Minnesota Trout Unlimited's education program is designed to help kids connect with watersheds through hands-on learning. The  program is supported by a grant from the State of Minnesota's Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, and is supported with the help of many local volunteers and community donations.
 
In May, students from Lakeville South and the other metro schools  will release their rainbow trout in the Vermillion River in Farmington, just as they did last year.
 
So from a sports story standpoint, that means when trout season opens on the Vermillion on April 15, you might catch a rainbow trout that was raised in a local classroom last year.  The Vermillion River is the only major metropolitan area stream in the country with a trophy-sized brown trout fishery. If you catch a brown trout there, you must release it—they are wild, naturally-reproducing fish.  However, you can keep rainbow trout, which are stocked, like the ones students released last year in Farmington.
 
Learn more about supporting the watershed education program, volunteering on stream restoration projects, and learning about fly fishing, by visiting www.mntu.org.