Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) is warning consumers and business owners to be on alert for phone calls or even visits from people at their doorstep trying to collect money fraudulently by claiming utility bills are overdue and must be paid immediately. Fraudsters usually claim that unless payment is made, service will be halted immediately. This scheme, called the 'utility scam,' has hit our area in the past and though it's attempted year-round, it tends to heat up in the summertime.
BBB reminds consumers and business owners not to be pressured into making payments on the spot and to contact their utility companies directly if the status of their account is called into question or if they suspect the possibility of fraud.
According to information provided by local utility companies, scammers are trying new tactics in an effort to defraud the public and business community:
"This is a particularly bold scam and both locally and nationally it's been successful," said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. "It's important to know who you're dealing with and to always verify whatever information you're given."
To avoid falling victim to this scheme, BBB advises the following:
The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.
Individuals interested in serving on the Savage City Council may file an affidavit of candidacy for the 2015 Municipal Election starting July 28. The City election will be held on Tuesday, November 3.
Three positions will appear on the ballot, including those of the mayor and two council members. All have four-year terms. To be eligible, those seeking office must be:
The filing period will close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11.
Catch a fly ball on the field and a player can save the game. Catch a drunk driver on the road and an officer can save a life. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety recognized 39 law enforcement officers and prosecutors as DWI Enforcer All-Stars during the Minnesota Twins pre-game activities at Target Field July 9. The Savage Police Department's Officer Robert Calvin was among them.
The All-Stars represent 31 agencies and, in 2014, they made 2,281 DWI arrests across Minnesota, helping prevent fatalities and life-changing injuries. Calvin – one of the newest officers in the SPD – had 21 DWI arrests in 2014. This is the eighth Minnesota All-Star team selected for outstanding service in enforcement and prosecution of drunk driving.
"While alcohol is the top factor in Minnesota traffic fatalities, most motorists don't drive impaired," said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. "More drivers in Minnesota are committed to finding a sober ride, and for those who don't, we're grateful to the All-Stars and all of law enforcement for protecting our safety."
DWI Arrests and Deaths on the Decline
Through education, enhanced enforcement and awareness, an increasing number of motorists are choosing to drive sober. According to preliminary numbers, DWI arrests declined in Minnesota for the eighth straight year, with a 40 percent drop in 2014 compared with 2006.
The overall trend also shows fewer people are losing their lives because of drunk driving. In 2014, 88 people died from drunk driving-related crashes, a 21 percent decline compared with 2010 when 112 people were killed.
A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands of dollars in costs and possible jail time. Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges or face at least one year without a driver's license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.
Commit to a Sober Ride
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety program. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes – education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical and trauma response.
Recent OTS Activity and Statistics
Pollinators are an essential link in the reproduction of flowering plants and crops. They distribute pollen to different parts of the same plant as well as from one plant to another. Approximately 30 percent of the human diet relies on the pollination process.
Types of pollinators include:
Foods that need bees and other pollinators:
Pollinator populations are declining at alarming rates due to pesticides, parasites, climate change, and a lack of supporting habitats.
How can you help?
A recent sample of mosquitoes collected by the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MMCD) in Ramsey County has tested positive for the virus.
No human cases of the virus have been reported in Minnesota this summer. Recent rainfall will result in an increase in the mosquito species responsible for spreading the virus within the bird population. Warm summer temperatures could accelerate this trend.
"West Nile virus is usually detected in mosquito samples around this time of year, and it will continue to circulate among mosquitoes and birds," said Kirk Johnson, MMCD vector ecologist. "Even though the health risk is still low, we should all use common sense measures to avoid mosquito bites."
MMCD tracks citizens' reports of dead birds throughout the metro area. Tracking these reports gives MMCD another tool in the effort to reduce risk of West Nile virus in the metro area. Report a dead bird.
To reduce your risk for West Nile virus:
The Scott County Fair will be held in Jordan from July 22-26. It will kick off with a concert featuring Johnny Holm Band on Wednesday and will go through Sunday, with a wide variety of events in-between.
Thursday will be "Kids Day", with plenty of activities to keep youth entertained. Senior Day will follow on Friday, featuring free parking for seniors and veterans until 4 p.m. Attendees also will encounter live music and a chance to learn about some interesting history. Saturday and Sunday will be filled with shows, demonstrations and contests. Plenty of fair foods will be available as well.
Outdoor water may be used before noon and after 5 p.m., on an alternating day schedule. Odd-numbered addresses may water on odd-numbered dates, with even-numbered addresses permitted on even-numbered dates. Violators may be fined.
Recreational fire permit applications may be completed online. Those wishing to have a recreational fire are advised to complete the online form and print a copy before pressing the "submit" button. The copy will be needed for verification should the Savage Police or Fire departments receive a complaint about your fire. Those who do not have access to the internet may request a permit by calling 952-882-2660 or visiting Savage City Hall at 6000 McColl Drive, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
City code prohibits weeds that have gone or are about to go to seed, and the growth of turf grass to a height greater than 10 inches. Property owners who receive notice of a violation are given 7 days to eradicate the weeds and/or cut the grass. If an owner fails to comply, the City will take action to bring the property into compliance and all costs incurred will be assessed and affixed to the property's taxes. To report a tall grass or weed issue, please contact Public Works at 952-224-3400 or submit an online code violation report.
Music in the Park | Enjoy free live music on the ELC patio Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8 p.m. The Music In the Park lineup for July includes The Splatter Sisters on July 8, The Eeelpout Stringers on July 15, Stomp N' Dixie on July 22 and Island Steel Drum Band on July 29. Grab your friends, family and lawn chair and enjoy Minnesota summer evenings!
Tennis lessons for ages four and up | Learn the basics of tennis in a fun, recreation-based setting. Participants will learn racket handling, sportsmanship, forehand and backhand swings. Each participant will work to strengthen their basic skills while increasing their skill level and knowledge of the game. Lessons are held at Canterbury Park. Please bring a racket and a water bottle each week.
Summer programs still available | Are the kids getting bored? No worries – Savage Parks and Recreation has plenty of opportunities to keep them active and having fun. Playground camps, Fabulous Friday theme days, tennis lessons and skateboard lessons are just some of the programs to choose from!
Senior Club | The Savage Senior Club meets Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m. in the annex of the Savage Library. Meetings are open to the public and free to attend.
Work will begin this month on a project aimed to make walking in downtown Savage go more smoothly. Brick pavers installed as part of the Hamilton Improvement Project on 123rd Street will be removed and replaced.
Dating back to 2000, the bricks are deteriorating and are beyond their useful life. The City Council is opting to replace them with concrete, which is expected to last longer than pavers. The pavers started presenting issues as early as one year after installation. Some have been replaced under warranty.
The area affected is along 123rd Street, from Natchez to Princeton Avenues. Removal of the pavers is scheduled to begin between July 6-13, with a completion date of August 7. The cost of the project is $81,000.