2 Independence dignitaries recognized


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A Step to It Challenge winner and an elected city official both got recognition for their accomplishments at the Tuesday, June 12, Independence City Council meeting.

At the meeting, the City Council also took up other business. Here are some meeting highlights.


Recognition for two local dignitaries was the City Council’s first order of business. The dignitaries are Jordan Spencer and Linda Betts.

Jordan, an Independence resident, removed the baseball hat that she had been wearing backwards on her head. Then she claimed a bicycle and bicycle helmet, her prizes for taking second place in the Step To It Challenge. She logged 669,618 steps during the four-week long competition amongst cities in Hennepin County.

Besides being a Step to It winner, Jordan also is a piano student of Betts and the daughter of Independence City Councilor Brad Spencer.

Mayor Marvin Johnson asked Jordan what it took to win. She said she participated in softball practice for two hours three times a week. Then she added that she had entered Step to It for two years running.

Johnson bragged that Independence did well in the Step to It Challenge, which ended May 20. Independence won second place in the Most Active City-Highest Average Steps Per Participant category with an average of 334,038 steps per participant.

Betts, the other dignitary, was sitting in her usual seat as a City Councilor. She had no clue that her recognition was coming. City Administrator Toni Hirsch deliberately left that item off of the agenda to make the surprise possible.

Betts received a certificate of appreciation from the Minnesota Women in City Government (MWCG) recognizing her as "an outstanding elected official of the city of Independence." The certificate expressed appreciation for dedicated service to her constituents and to her community.

After the meeting, Betts said she has served on the Independence City Council for 10 years. Prior to that she served on the city Park Board for six years.


Roger Schmitz, of Center Pointe Energy, presented to the City Council a check for $750. He said the money was a Center Pointe Energy Community Partnership Grant intended to help Independence pay for safety projects and equipment.

The city will use the money to purchase reflective safety vests.


The City Council held the city’s annual public hearing on its Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program.

Water resources consultant Becky Wozney, of Hakanson-Anderson, warned that the Environmental Protection Agency and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are developing two new total maximum daily load plans (TMDLs) for cleaning up polluted waters in the state. One of them involves the south Mississippi River and is being called the Lake Pepin TMDL. The watershed that drains into the south Mississippi covers two-thirds of Minnesota. The second new TMDL involves the upper Minnehaha watershed.

TMDL plans are tools used by the EPA and PCA to enforce the federal Clean Water Act. Local governments are told to reduce the amount of inputs of certain pollutants that enter impaired waters. Many cities are funding local participation in several TMDLs at once.

Wozney said the PCA might allow cities to use the same pollution prevention project to get credit in more than one TMDL plan. This would be good financial news for some cities.


The City Council also:

APPROVED the appointment of Jerry Wise to the Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed Management Commission.

AUTHORIZED beginning of construction of the extension of sanitary sewers to Vinland National Center, located on the north side of Lake Independence.

ADOPTED a local water management plan that has been approved by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed Commission and the Metropolitan Council.