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Wayzata is a premier suburb located 11 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. With a population of 4,500 people, Wayzata is a tight-knit community which is known for its vibrant downtown and picturesque setting on Lake Minnetonka. A popular destination for visitors, Wayzata’s downtown is home to a number of specialty shops, boutiques, professional services, and restaurants.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Wayzata Resident Tells Harrowing Tale Of Manhunt Suspect In His Home, Family Dog Helps Police Arrest Suspect



Investigators were on a manhunt in Wayzata’s Holdridge neighborhood Tuesday morning.

Photo courtesy Bruce Biser

Photo courtesy Bruce Biser


According to the homeowner, Eric Olness, the suspect was wanted for a car theft. The suspect was taken into custody along the 1700 block of Crosby Road.

What happened before the arrest was something out of a movie.

It started around 9 a.m. when Minnetonka Police were involved in a short pursuit that ended in the suspect fleeing a reported stolen vehicle.  

Police agencies from several jurisdictions were involved in setting up a perimeter and searching for the suspect.  

Much of the activity took place in the Crosby Rd./Holdridge Rd. area near the Wayzata and Minnetonka border. 

Olness recapped the harrowing ordeal exclusively with Wayzata.com.

“I was on a conference call this morning,” said Olness.

“At around 9:15 a.m., the police came to my door to alert us that that there was a perp on the loose who had stolen and crashed a vehicle on Ringer Road and was on the loose and dangerous.”

“They asked us to stay inside and lock all doors.”

Olness boys

His sons were already in the loop.

“My boys had already heard the news via text and stated that the basement doors were locked.”

“We observed the police from several areas including the Sheriff’s Department comb the area and scour through my back yard with the K9 unit looking for the missing person.”

Little did they know that their canine, a 110-pound, 16-month-old Bernese mountain dog named Monty, would play a major role.

“While observing the action from our back window my boys and I hear the chime which goes off whenever an exterior door is opened or shut.”

“I went around the first floor checking the doors and determined that they were all locked.”

Meanwhile, investigators were combing the neighborhood.

“Law enforcement wasn’t leaving the area which told me that the person of interest was close so I went out the deck door to check the basement door from the outside to make sure it was locked.”

“It in fact was so I went back inside.”

“About 5-7 minutes passed with the authorities still not leaving my back yard and I got a weird feeling that I needed to check the basement from the inside and enter the furnace room where we do have an exterior door.”

Monty

“I went down with my dog Monty and my two teenage boys trailing behind.”

Moments later, Olness realized the suspect was inside.

“Reaching the end of the hallway I opened the door into the furnace room to observe the perpetrator standing inside the door to the outside and as soon as our eyes met, Monty charged through the opened door and chased the man who opened the door to the exterior and began to run.”

“He ran out and up a path on the side of our house and darted into the woods with Monty on his heels.”

“We yelled for the police that we had found the fugitive and they charged up the hill in back of the house.”

Investigators quickly closed in on the suspect.

“By the time they got up to where the assailant had run off into the woods we could hear him yelling for help.”

“We couldn’t see him as the woods was pretty thick but he was crying out for help and law enforcement entered the woods weapons drawn.”

Despite being a hero, Monty returned in a nonchalant fashion.

“I yelled for Monty to come out and he trotted out covered in burrs but otherwise no worse for the wear.  The police apprehended the culprit and called for an ambulance as he apparently had injured his ankle during his flight.”

“The rest is history, but Monty will be getting a big juicy steak for dinner this evening!”

Good dog, Monty.

Monday, September 07, 2020

Finish Line: Lake Street Construction Reaches End

Like a marathon runner eyeing the finish line with a couple of miles left, the completion of the bulk of construction on Lake Street is close at hand.

 

The city anticipates Lake Street will be open to both directions of traffic by Friday. That was supposed to be the start of James J. Hill Days until COVID-19 stopped the event in its tracks.

The construction project began March 30 - roughly 24 weeks ago.

Parts of the project got ahead of schedule early on, passing some milestones in quick fashion. 

According to Stahl Construction, the 600 block of Lake Street opened to some traffic more than two weeks ahead of the original schedule.

But due to several obstacles, parts of the project fell behind pace mid-way through.

“This project has had ups and downs, as they all do, but the expanded team has evolved its strategy with the changing environment,” said Stahl Construction President Jessie Houlihan.

Stahl and the city worked with the Met Council as light pole footings were installed over a sewer main that runs along Lake Street. Getting approval pushed the work back by weeks.

Precast benches and walls also set the project back. The city’s decision on which benches and walls to use was delayed and so was the product delivery and installation.

 

“We are all pleased that we’ve been able to minimize the impact of the challenges we encountered and chase down opportunities for improvement while trying to keep everyone informed,” said Stahl.

The construction project was a test on residents and business owner’s patience and resilience.

“I am very relieved,” said Wayzata resident Dan Goldman.  “The noise, the dust and the inability to walk along Lake Street was not fun.” 

“The City Council and staff really appreciates residents, businesses, and visitors who have put up with burden of Panoway construction this past year,” said City Manager Jeff Dahl. “We have very understanding and patient community members who have been through a lot over the past several years, not to mention all of the implications that COVID has had on the community. We hope that this new amenity will be worth the hassle---downtown will be safer, more walkable, connected, greener, with more outdoor gathering space for the community. We think it will be worth the wait.”

Throughout the disruption of the construction project, Lake Street businesses hung in there.

“I am so grateful for them (businesses),” said resident Katy Miketic. “With the double-hit of construction and the pandemic, it's been a rough season for Wayzata. Thanks to them and I hope that they bounce back!”  

The city made efforts to inform the community about each step of the project, but admits, communication could have been better.

“Because of the quantity of info and how quickly things were changing, signals got crossed a few times,” said Dahl. “There were some lessons learned but I think we are at a good place now. The businesses, Chamber, and the team at Stahl really helped us a lot with getting the word out.”

And the word is that Lake Street will be open for both lanes of traffic on Friday.

It has been a trying five months for residents and businesses.

Come Friday, the endurance runner will cross the finish line exhausted and relieved.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Commanding A Legacy: Buck Doran & The Wayzata Legion

 If you’ve stepped foot in the Wayzata American Legion, you probably know Buck Doran.


Wayzata American Legion Post 118 Commander Buck Doran

He’s the Commander of the Legion and has been for several years.

There was a bit of a buzz around Post 118 last week as Buck turned 75 years young.

The Legion is a tight-knit family and Buck is the patriarch.


Buck serving in the Navy

Buck enlisted in the Navy right after graduating from Wayzata High School in the early 60s.

He’s been a member of the Wayzata Legion for decades.

Buck was front and center last year as the Wayzata Legion celebrated 100 years in the community.

The Post originally held meetings above the city hall on the corner of Manitoba and Lake Street. The group began meeting at Hart’s Café in the 1940s. In 1948, the Post got its own building which still stands today. World War I vets had purchased a piece of land where Wayzata West Middle School is located. That land was traded for land along Wayzata Boulevard where the Legion stands today.

In a way, Buck is a bridge between the Legion’s past and its future. When he first got involved, World War II vets were the foundation.

Now he commands an organization that encourages more young people to join.

Fundraising is a big function of the Legion.

These campaigns allow the Post to make donations to local charities – toy drives, schools and hospitals all benefit from the Legion’s year-round fundraising efforts.

A charity that is near and dear to Buck’s heart is Hope Kids. Each June, the Legion teams up with the Lake Minnetonka Power Squadron and puts on a summer picnic on Big Island for kids with cancer or some other life-threatening medical condition.

The challenges of COVID-19 have put a stop to twice-a-week bingo at the Legion. Buck has called countless Saturday afternoon bingos. And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll hear him growl out “B-11” soon again.

Wayzata is filled with community members who give back and Buck is a prime example.

If you know a community member who goes above and beyond, email nate@wayzata.com.

Lake Street Construction Update: Bike Path Paving, Pouring Splash Pad, Restroom Work

Sept. 11 continues to be the target date Stahl Construction estimates that Wayzata's Lake Street will be completely open.

                         Looking west from the Lake Street Plaza Park, Courtesy City of Wayzata

This week along Lake Street you’ll see Stahl crews working on the following:

  • Continue installing precast benches
  • Prep soil around precast benches for concrete
  • Begin installing the metal panels on the restroom building
  • Pave remainder of the bike path
  • Remove job trailer
  • Begin installing IPE on precast benches
  • Continue landscaping and tree planting
  • Pour concrete for the splash pad
  • Remove and store salvaged items near RR crossings
  • Complete shade structure install
  • Install rock near restroom building

Beyond this week, Stahl projects the following items to be completed by the following dates:

  • Continue installing IPE on precast benches
  • Install finishes on restroom building
  • Pave base course from Barry to Manitoba
  • Pave wear course from Broadway to Barry
  • Painting road striping o Install bike racks
  • Assemble site furnishings
  • Open lake street completely 9/11/2020
  • Plaza area open to the public 9/11/2020 

9/14/2020-9/18/2020

Begin demolition at Barry and Ferndale RR crossings (contingent on receiving permit from BNSF next week)

9/21/2020-9/25/2020

Continue work at Barry and Ferndale RR crossings (contingent on receiving permit from BNSF next week)


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August 17, 2020

Lake Street Plaza Park Open To Public

The Lake Street Plaza Park, a part of the Lake Street construction project, has been opened to the public.

It is located adjacent to CōV Restaurant.

According to the city of Wayzata, work continues on landscaping and plant installation, sidewalk and concrete pavement construction, irrigation and lighting systems.

READ MORE

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August 8, 2020

Lake Street Plaza Bathroom Becomes Town Talker

 At the beginning of July, a bathroom facility began to take shape on what was previously the CōV Restaurant parking lot along Lake Street in downtown Wayzata.

It is a portion of a $9 million construction project.

A month later, it has become the town talker.

READ MORE

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August 2, 2020

Portion Of Lake Street Closed Monday - Wednesday 6a - 5p

According to Stahl Construction, the 600 block of Lake Street in Wayzata will be closed from 6 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.

The closure will allow the completion of planter bed landscaping.

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August 1, 2020

Panoway Plaza Work Behind Schedule

As Phase 1 of the Panoway Project moves forward, portions of the work have fallen behind schedule.

The work on the plaza outside of CōV restaurant is one section of that construction.

READ MORE

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June 21, 2020

$10M For Wayzata Lake Effect Doesn't Make Special Session Cut

As new asphalt paved the way along Lake Street as part of the Panoway (Lake Effect) Project Phase 1, a $10 million request for Phase 2 stalled at the state Capitol.

A week-long special session ended Saturday morning with many items still on the table.

One of these includes a bonding bill.

But even if legislators passed a bonding bill, both the House version, HF107, and the Senate version, SF4, did not include the $10 million the city of Wayzata had asked for.

This is the second time Wayzata's request did not make the cut.

READ MORE

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March 26, 2020 

Wayzata City Council Moving Forward With Panoway Lake Street Project, Construction Begins Monday

The Wayzata City Council decided to continue moving forward with the Panoway Lake Street construction project at a special emergency workshop meeting on Thursday, March 26.

Construction will begin Monday, March 30.

READ MORE


The History Of The Wayzata Depot

“The handsomest and best built structure of its kind on the Great Northern System”. That’s how James J. Hill described the newly-erected Wayzata train depot in 1906. The depot stands as a reminder of the city’s past, but also a symbol of peace between Hill and Wayzata – an olive branch offered following a tumultuous relationship.


Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

Hill was born in 1838 in Ontario, Canada. At the age of 18, he left his country settling in St. Paul. In 1866, he became an agent for the St. Paul Pacific Railroad Company. One year later, the railroad arrived in Wayzata. The tracks were laid by St. Paul Pacific. 


Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

1873 was a pivotal year for Hill. A financial panic gripped the country and crippled both St. Paul Pacific and Northern Pacific. Both went bankrupt and Hill saw an opportunity. He and two other investors would later purchase St. Paul Pacific.

In the beginning, Hill’s relationship with Wayzata was troubled. Wayzata was incorporated as a village in 1883 and one of the first actions it took was to demand that the tracks of Hill’s Great Northern Railroad (previously St. Paul Pacific) the town sought to move the tracks 300 feet back from the lake. Businesses were concerned with the smoke and sparks from the engines.

This did not sit well with Hill. In retaliation, he built a depot about a mile east of town. People had to trudge through a swamp to get there. But the grudge wouldn’t last forever. Hill had a change of heart and built a Tudor-style depot complete with platform canopies, steam heat, gas lights and indoor bathrooms.  Electricity would come a year later. In addition to all of the bells and whistles, the depot was much more convenient – that familiar spot near the corner of Lake Street and Barry Avenue. Hill was on hand to christen the train stop with an opening ceremony on August 5, 1906. Hill and Wayzata’s past disagreements were now water under the railroad bridge.

Since 1975, during the weekend following Labor Day, Wayzata has celebrated JJ Hill Days. It’s the “unofficial” end to summer fun along the shores of Lake Minnetonka. There is food, music, a street market and parade that includes a James J. Hill look-a-like. Watch closely, he’ll be the guy with the white beard wearing a suit riding in a convertible. And he’ll be smiling. It’s further proof that the city and the railroad man are still on good terms.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Lake Street Starbucks Temporarily Closed Due To COVID-19 Precaution

The Starbucks on Lake Street in downtown Wayzata is temporarily closed until Thursday, August 27.

Starbucks store, 740 E. Lake Street, Wayzata

A media relations employee with Starbucks corporate released the following statement:

“I’ve had a chance to connect with local leadership for the store in question and can confirm that there is not a positive case of COVID-19 with one of our partners (employees) here. After a partner indicated they were experiencing potential symptoms, that partner and all other partners who were determined to have been in close contact with them have been self-isolating as a precaution. As a result of limited staffing, the store is temporarily closed. It is set to reopen this Thursday, 8/27.”

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Wayzata Ferndale Residents Concerned About Diamond Lake Regional Trail Plan

The Three Rivers Park District is in the middle of a master planning process for future development of a new north-south regional trail through the western portion of Hennepin County.

Courtesy Three Rivers Park District

It’s called the Diamond Lake Regional Trail and it will stretch approximately 20 miles from Wayzata to Dayton.

The concept is a 10-foot-wide paved, multi-use trail that will connect natural areas, other regional trains in the Three Rivers system, local parks and trails.

Biking, hiking, dog walking, running and in-line skating will be allowed on the trail.

Right now, there are many potential trail route options and the Three Rivers Park District is seeking input.

Each segment of the trail will have its unique pros and cons. Ultimately, one preferred route will be determined from this collection of trail segments in the map, based on public and stakeholder input.

The park district has set up a way for residents to comment. Here is a link to the guest book where you can share your views.

Proposed Diamond Lake Regional Trail Map (red dashed lines indicate proposed routes, yellow circles indicate where a resident has posted a comment on the plan)

The trail would come into Wayzata from the north and west. 

One proposed route follows the Luce Line Trail to Ferndale Road and south. 

Another branches off from the Luce Line Trail onto Long Lake Road to Wayzata Boulevard to Ferndale Road.

Luce Line Trail at Ferndale Road

From the intersection of Wayzata Boulevard and Ferndale Road, there are two separate route alternatives.

Ferndale Road & Wayzata Boulevard

One continues east along Wayzata Boulevard and south on Barry Avenue to Lake Street.

Barry Avenue & Wayzata Boulevard

The other takes Ferndale Road south and meets the Dakota Regional Trail.

Ferndale Road & Shoreline Drive

It’s this last option of the last leg that has gained the most comments on the Three Rivers Park District guest book:

"Please do not bring the Diamond Lake Trail into Wayzata. I believe the trails should stay out in the nature and rural areas and not go through the residential areas. There has been a significant increase in traffic and population density on the west side of Wayzata. It would be a dangerous crossing over Wayzata Blvd and at the Ferndale/Lake Street or Barry/Lake intersections. Ferndale is already a very busy road and the traffic will only increase with the addition of more condominium buildings under development. The grade is significant and will result with bikers going into a high speed down the hill into a very busy intersection. There will be a significant impact to the residents along Ferndale to their landscapes and privacy, noise and pollution. In addition, the beauty of Ferndale will be ruined because you would have to cut down so many lovely trees along the road to accommodate the trail.”

-Wayzata Resident

“Please do not put the bike path along Ferndale. Ferndale is already a way too busy street and often feels ‘like an accident waiting to happen’ now. It is difficult to imagine you would consider removing the beautiful trees which would not only be a detriment aesthetically but very damaging to the property values at the Meyers Place and Ferndale Ridge communities. Their properties are already too close to the road both from a privacy and safety position. Barry Avenue would be a better choice.”

-Wayzata Resident

“Please take Ferndale Rd off the possible plans. The canopy of trees lining Ferndale are a beauty to our town and a landmark. The loss of this would be a loss to all of us who drive this beautiful road daily.The close proximity to the townhome and offices would have a big impact on privacy and values of these properties. Barry Ave could be a better choice. However, I question going through Wayzata and tearing up the town more.”

“Barry Avenue is the most logical option. Barry Ave. already has a wide street, sidewalk, and a bike right of way. A trail on either side of Ferndale is dealing with a road with no decent right of way. For the homes on the east side of Ferndale, a trail extension option would remove privacy from those homes, and the townhomes fronting Ferndale. The HOA would bear significant expense to replace boulder walls, privacy walls and hedges/trees. Existing privacy would become a major casualty for all east side homes and townhomes.”

-Wayzata Resident

“Making the connecting route on Broadway makes the most sense by far. It will bring more business to downtown Wayzata and to the Panoway Project and it is a straight connection to the Luce Line over the already existing I-394 bridge. Plus, there will be a public bathroom for the bikers on the Panoway project. This is long overdue to hook up The Dakota Trail and the Luce Line Trail. Both trails are great and this will make them even greater.”

-Wayzata Resident

Lake Street Construction Update: Landscaping, Splash Pad, Street Reopening

Stahl Construction estimates that Wayzata’s Lake Street will be completely open by Sept. 11.

                         Looking west from the Lake Street Plaza Park, Courtesy City of Wayzata

This week along Lake Street you’ll see Stahl crews working on the following:

  • Installing the precast seat walls
  • Landscaping and tree planting  
  • Restroom building interior
  • Metal panel layout and install for restroom building  
  • Install sod and rock near restroom building
  • Pouring the concrete for the splash pad  
  • Completing shade structure install

Beyond this week, Stahl projects the following items to be completed by the following dates:

  • Pave bike trail 8/31/2020
  • Pave base course from Barry to Manitoba 9/7/2020
  • Pave wear course from Broadway to Barry 9/8/2020
  • Stripe Lake street and bike trail 9/9/2020-9/10/2020
  • Open lake street completely 9/11/2020
  • Plaza area open to the public 9/11/2020 
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August 17, 2020

Lake Street Plaza Park Open To Public

The Lake Street Plaza Park, a part of the Lake Street construction project, has been opened to the public.

It is located adjacent to CōV Restaurant.

According to the city of Wayzata, work continues on landscaping and plant installation, sidewalk and concrete pavement construction, irrigation and lighting systems.

READ MORE

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August 8, 2020

Lake Street Plaza Bathroom Becomes Town Talker

 At the beginning of July, a bathroom facility began to take shape on what was previously the CōV Restaurant parking lot along Lake Street in downtown Wayzata.

It is a portion of a $9 million construction project.

A month later, it has become the town talker.

READ MORE

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August 2, 2020

Portion Of Lake Street Closed Monday - Wednesday 6a - 5p

According to Stahl Construction, the 600 block of Lake Street in Wayzata will be closed from 6 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.

The closure will allow the completion of planter bed landscaping.

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August 1, 2020

Panoway Plaza Work Behind Schedule

As Phase 1 of the Panoway Project moves forward, portions of the work have fallen behind schedule.

The work on the plaza outside of CōV restaurant is one section of that construction.

READ MORE

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June 21, 2020

$10M For Wayzata Lake Effect Doesn't Make Special Session Cut

As new asphalt paved the way along Lake Street as part of the Panoway (Lake Effect) Project Phase 1, a $10 million request for Phase 2 stalled at the state Capitol.

A week-long special session ended Saturday morning with many items still on the table.

One of these includes a bonding bill.

But even if legislators passed a bonding bill, both the House version, HF107, and the Senate version, SF4, did not include the $10 million the city of Wayzata had asked for.

This is the second time Wayzata's request did not make the cut.

READ MORE

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March 26, 2020 

Wayzata City Council Moving Forward With Panoway Lake Street Project, Construction Begins Monday

The Wayzata City Council decided to continue moving forward with the Panoway Lake Street construction project at a special emergency workshop meeting on Thursday, March 26.

Construction will begin Monday, March 30.

READ MORE



Census 2020: Wayzata, We Can Do Better

Census takers are out in full force going door to door asking folks to fill out their Census.

Minnesota leads the nation in overall response rate. So far, 73.3% of Minnesotans have responded to the Census. Meanwhile, Wayzata residents are just a tick below at 72.2%.

So what’s the big deal?

The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding every year, and provide data that will impact communities.

Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions. The results will show where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children.

The results of the 2020 Census will inform decisions about allocating hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding to communities across the country—for hospitals, fire departments, school lunch programs, and other critical programs and services.

The closer Wayzata’s response rate is to 100%, the better.

And if this isn’t enough reason to fill out your Census, consider that neighboring cities like Plymouth (84.7%), Minnetonka (83.5%) and Orono (79.5%) are better than Wayzata’s response rate.

Do you want Wayzata to be ranked behind those cities? We didn’t think so!

Go online and do your Census today - https://my2020census.gov/

Monday, August 17, 2020

Lake Street Plaza Park Open To Public

The Lake Street Plaza Park, a part of the Lake Street construction project, has been opened to the public.

Wayzata.com - August 16, 2020

It is located adjacent to CōV Restaurant.

Wayzata.com - August 16, 2020

According to the city of Wayzata, work continues on landscaping and plant installation, sidewalk and concrete pavement construction, irrigation and lighting systems.

Eastbound Lake Street will remain closed to allow the contractors access to the new Plaza Park area.

Meanwhile, Lake Street, between Ferndale Road and Barry Avenue is open to motorists in both directions and to pedestrians on the south side of Lake Street. 

According to Stahl Construction, this week crews will continue to work on the interior of the plaza bathroom, and begin installing precast seat walls.

Stahl projects that it will begin to pour the concrete for a splash pad that will be located across from Ben & Jerry’s next week.

Read previous Lake Street construction stories here.