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2020 PandemicThe Ebenezer Ridges staff during the pandemic.
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2020 PandemicTechnology provides ways for Ebenezer Ridges residents to maintain contact with family and friends.
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2020 PandemicOriginan Pancake House - open for outdoor seating during the pandemic, June 2020.
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2020 PandemicSt. John the Baptist school in Savage designs logo masks during the pandemic.
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2020 Pandemic Fire MusterCan you have a Fire Muster during a pandemic? The Fire Muster may have an answer announced a few days after this teaser photo.

Fire Muster organizers offer a substitute for canceled festival

News story: Dakota County Tribune September 11, 2020 by John Gessner

Fire trucks and fireworks are staples of Burnsville Fire Muster, the annual post-Labor Day community celebration.

So are bands, beer, a parade, carnival rides, kids activities and food.

Because of the pandemic, those will have to wait for another day. But Fire Muster organizers have managed to salvage a one-day version of the event aptly named Fire Trucks and Fireworks.

A reverse drive-by fire truck parade and water cannon display will be held

Saturday, Sept. 12, from 5-10 p.m. in Civic Center Park, the traditional Fire Muster grounds.

The day will be capped by a 9:30 p.m. fireworks show from the top of Buck Hill, with visibility for miles around and limited on-site parking at the ski slope.

“I joked that this is kind of our 39th and a half year celebration. It would have been our 40th,” said City Council Member Vince Workman, the council’s liaison to the Fire Muster board. “We were going to go big this year and throw a huge party.”

Instead, the board took its cue from the Minnesota State Fair and canceled the event, typically held from Wednesday through Saturday the week of Labor Day.

“When we were told it just isn’t feasible to hold a Fire Muster this year, my heart stopped,” said a statement from Tami Allen, Fire Muster board chair and a longtime volunteer. “This year was to be a really big celebration for us. We had really big things planned. When the State Fair canceled, I knew we were next.”

Summertime community celebrations in Lakeville, Eagan and Apple Valley were also canceled.

But City Council Member and Fire Muster volunteer Dan Kealey noticed that Lakeville still managed to stage a socially distanced Fourth of July fireworks show.

Working with Fire Muster board members and Buck Hill owner Dave Solner, Kealey led the charge for a fireworks show, consulting with the state attorney general’s office on health protocols for holding such an event during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Fire Engine Club of Minnesota — whose members provide the vintage vehicles and apparatus seen in the Fire Muster parade and displayed on the festival grounds — asked the city’s permission to do a drive-through display and water demonstration.

“At a time when COVID has canceled so many events, we found a way to bring fireworks and a fire truck display to the city of Burnsville,” Kealey said.

Look for a proper 40th anniversary celebration in 2021, Allen said.

Truck parade

Vehicles can enter Civic Center Parkway from 134th Street and meander past the display of trucks and firefighters demonstrating a water cannon used to put out building fires.

Viewers are asked to stay in their vehicles at all times and exit onto Nicollet Avenue.

Fireworks

The gates at Buck Hill will open at 8:30 p.m., an hour before the show. Parking is limited to the first 500 cars.

Other recommended sites for viewing from your vehicle are the south side of Burnsville Center, Crystal Lake and the streets surrounding Buck Hill.

Viewers congregating in parking areas are asked to stay in their vehicles.

Allen thanked Buck Hill for hosting the show. The Fire Muster board lacked the people and funds that would have been needed to block off areas to hold the show at Civic Center Park, she said.

Information

Event information is at www.burnsvillefiremuster.org/fire-trucks-and-fireworks.

Heart of the City Race

The Heart of the City Race, which is run annually in Burnsville the first Saturday after Labor Day and shares promotional and other ties with the Fire Musters, is virtual this year.

Kealey, a leader of the event, said participants were asked to register and complete a 5K, 10K or 15K route of their choice by Monday, Sept. 13.

The Heart of the City Race is a nonprofit event to support the Kids Feeding Kids program of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.
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2020 PandemicSafe return to school - District 191 - September 2020.
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14251 Newton AvenueProperty for sale:

14251 Newton, Burnsville, not yet developed. There is one lot remaining: 3.48 acres. Zoned office & industrial park: manufacturing, office, warehouse, research lab, technology and more.
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The Maven apartmentsWork continues on the Maven, Burnsville newest rental property on what was once the original site of the AAA on Travelers Trail.

According to their website: Maven is the residence of choice for ambitious trendsetters with discerning taste. Located in Burnsville's Heart of the City, wine bars, shopping, fine dining, and the Ames Center are all a five-minute walk away. Maven's spacious, open-concept apartments feature refined finishings and modern amenity packages. Transcend the status quo, push ahead of the curve, and always make the bold choice—that's just how we do things at Maven.
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2020 PandemicTemperature station at St. John the Baptist School, Savage with funding from the Burnsville Lions Club.
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2020 Pandemic - footballAfter believing they wouldn’t play until spring, Oct. 9 becomes the target date September 25, 2020 Burnsville Sun/Thisweek News

The fate of high school football has been all over the map the last several weeks – and so too have the emotions of players, coaches, parents and fans.

Minnesota teams prepared throughout the summer for a season they expected would begin in early September. But on Aug. 4, the Minnesota State High School League, following a trend of states delaying fall sports seasons, moved football back to a March 2021 start because of concerns related to COVID-19. The MSHSL allowed teams 12 fall practices in September and early October, but not long after those workouts began last week there were rumblings that changes were in the works.

Those changes became reality Monday when the MSHSL returned football and volleyball seasons back to fall, with the first football games taking place the second weekend in October. Several factors played into it. The fall sports that were allowed to start on time – soccer, cross country and girls swimming and diving – experienced relatively few problems under procedures designed to reduce the possibility of outbreaks. The MSHSL also was facing public pressure, including a grassroots effort organized by football parents in central Minnesota, and at least one court filing.

South Suburban Conference football players went from believing they would play in the fall, to being resigned to a spring season, to needing to prepare for games that were less than three weeks away.

“You try to keep a level head, and adjust,” Burnsville head coach Vince Varpness said Tuesday as his players trained at Dick Hanson Field. “Football’s a game of adjusting on the fly anyway, so I think it’s good for the kids from the standpoint of being able to adjust to the unexpected. That’s one of the things we teach them about life. Things are going to happen that you can’t control, and you have to adapt your goals. In this case, we have to reignite our goals and refocus.”

Many Blaze players already had come to terms with the possibility of football moving to spring. “I didn’t really have confidence about a fall season. I thought they had already made up their minds,” senior running back Myiion Hodges said.

Once word got out last week that the high school league set a special meeting to reconsider fall football, Burnsville coaches started issuing equipment, just in case. This week’s workouts remain part of the three-week training period the high school league put in place in anticipation of spring football. This week’s sessions are voluntary, with official practice starting Monday, Sept. 28.

But it’s not like flicking a switch. Players – and some coaches – lined up jobs for the fall, assuming there would be no football.

“I think a lot more people are going to start coming out to practice in the next week or so,” said Blaze senior linebacker Adam Chudecke. “A lot of us got jobs, including me. But I’m happy to be here and ready to do the best I can.”

Family routines have been upended multiple times over the last few months, Varpness said. And there was no guarantee of keeping all the seniors for a spring season. Some played another sport in the spring; others expected to be busy with the transition from soon-to-be high school graduate to whatever was next.

“We have a young man - I went to his house last night because he had written football off,” Varpness said. “He had said, ‘I’m a senior, I’ve got other plans for the spring, so I’m not going to play football.’ We got him to come back out again. He said, ‘I want to play if it’s going to be in the fall.’

“Some of those seniors start to check out a little bit if the season’s going to be in the spring. You have to try to reel them back in.”

About 40 players attended Tuesday’s Burnsville workout. That’s a core group that was there during the summer, on the field and in the weightroom. The coaches will continue to work on recruiting Burnsville students who are good athletes and can supply depth.

“These guys who are here now, we can count on. We know that. But we will need more numbers,” Varpness said. “So we’re reaching out to those other kids, trying to get them back because we’ll need to count on them. That’s just the challenge of working with teenagers.”

With preparation time reduced, Varpness expects the Blaze will have a thinner playbook. The emphasis will be on doing fewer things but doing them well. Blaze senior Nathan Le said players also need to take more responsibility for individual skill development.

“Conditioning and execution of your craft are going to be important,” Le said. “Skill positions should work on their jump. Wide receivers should work on their stances and getting off the ball. (Defensive backs) should work on their footwork and coverages. Linebackers, filling holes and callouts. The basic necessities, even more so than the major plays we’re running.”

Football initially had been classified as a “high-risk” activity for COVID-19 transmission. With the sport coming back on several levels (the Big Ten Conference reinstated football beginning Oct. 24 after previously delaying the season until spring), compensations have been made. For high schools, there will be no preseason scrimmages, and Varpness said that’s a loss that will be felt.

“It’s tough not having a scrimmage,” he said. “In practice, it’s hard to go live and there are limitations on what we can do. Kids always think, ‘I’m ready to go.’ Then you get in that first scrimmage, it’s a live environment and you’re pumped up and in full pads, and you find out you need a little more conditioning.”

But, the Blaze players said, it’s better than not having fall football. With a season in the near future, optimism reigns. “I believe we can go 6-0,” Hodges said. “Our seniors have a lot of talent and our line should be better than last year.”

As of Wednesday, a six-game regular-season schedule was still being pieced together, but tentative opening-week games Oct. 9 include Burnsville at Lakeville South, Rosemount at Lakeville North, Eagan at Farmington and Hopkins at Apple Valley.

The fate of high school football has been all over the map the last several weeks – and so too have the emotions of players, coaches, parents and fans.Minnesota teams prepared throughout the summer for a season they expected would begin in early September. But on Aug. 4, the Minnesota State High School League, following a trend of states delaying fall sports seasons, moved football back to a March 2021 start because of concerns related to COVID-19. The MSHSL allowed teams 12 fall practices in September and early October, but not long after those workouts began last week there were rumblings that changes were in the works.Those changes became reality Monday when the MSHSL returned football and volleyball seasons back to fall, with the first football games taking place the second weekend in October. Several factors played into it. The fall sports that were allowed to start on time – soccer, cross country and girls swimming and diving – experienced relatively few problems under procedures designed to reduce the possibility of outbreaks. The MSHSL also was facing public pressure, including a grassroots effort organized by football parents in central Minnesota, and at least one court filing.South Suburban Conference football players went from believing they would play in the fall, to being resigned to a spring season, to needing to prepare for games that were less than three weeks away.“You try to keep a level head, and adjust,” Burnsville head coach Vince Varpness said Tuesday as his players trained at Dick Hanson Field. “Football’s a game of adjusting on the fly anyway, so I think it’s good for the kids from the standpoint of being able to adjust to the unexpected. That’s one of the things we teach them about life. Things are going to happen that you can’t control, and you have to adapt your goals. In this case, we have to reignite our goals and refocus.”Many Blaze players already had come to terms with the possibility of football moving to spring. “I didn’t really have confidence about a fall season. I thought they had already made up their minds,” senior running back Myiion Hodges said. Once word got out last week that the high school league set a special meeting to reconsider fall football, Burnsville coaches started issuing equipment, just in case. This week’s workouts remain part of the three-week training period the high school league put in place in anticipation of spring football. This week’s sessions are voluntary, with official practice starting Monday, Sept. 28.But it’s not like flicking a switch. Players – and some coaches – lined up jobs for the fall, assuming there would be no football. “I think a lot more people are going to start coming out to practice in the next week or so,” said Blaze senior linebacker Adam Chudecke. “A lot of us got jobs, including me. But I’m happy to be here and ready to do the best I can.”Family routines have been upended multiple times over the last few months, Varpness said. And there was no guarantee of keeping all the seniors for a spring season. Some played another sport in the spring; others expected to be busy with the transition from soon-to-be high school graduate to whatever was next.“We have a young man - I went to his house last night because he had written football off,” Varpness said. “He had said, ‘I’m a senior, I’ve got other plans for the spring, so I’m not going to play football.’ We got him to come back out again. He said, ‘I want to play if it’s going to be in the fall.’“Some of those seniors start to check out a little bit if the season’s going to be in the spring. You have to try to reel them back in.”About 40 players attended Tuesday’s Burnsville workout. That’s a core group that was there during the summer, on the field and in the weightroom. The coaches will continue to work on recruiting Burnsville students who are good athletes and can supply depth.“These guys who are here now, we can count on. We know that. But we will need more numbers,” Varpness said. “So we’re reaching out to those other kids, trying to get them back because we’ll need to count on them. That’s just the challenge of working with teenagers.”With preparation time reduced, Varpness expects the Blaze will have a thinner playbook. The emphasis will be on doing fewer things but doing them well. Blaze senior Nathan Le said players also need to take more responsibility for individual skill development.“Conditioning and execution of your craft are going to be important,” Le said. “Skill positions should work on their jump. Wide receivers should work on their stances and getting off the ball. (Defensive backs) should work on their footwork and coverages. Linebackers, filling holes and callouts. The basic necessities, even more so than the major plays we’re running.”Football initially had been classified as a “high-risk” activity for COVID-19 transmission. With the sport coming back on several levels (the Big Ten Conference reinstated football beginning Oct. 24 after previously delaying the season until spring), compensations have been made. For high schools, there will be no preseason scrimmages, and Varpness said that’s a loss that will be felt.“It’s tough not having a scrimmage,” he said. “In practice, it’s hard to go live and there are limitations on what we can do. Kids always think, ‘I’m ready to go.’ Then you get in that first scrimmage, it’s a live environment and you’re pumped up and in full pads, and you find out you need a little more conditioning.”But, the Blaze players said, it’s better than not having fall football. With a season in the near future, optimism reigns. “I believe we can go 6-0,” Hodges said. “Our seniors have a lot of talent and our line should be better than last year.”As of Wednesday, a six-game regular-season schedule was still being pieced together, but tentative opening-week games Oct. 9 include Burnsville at Lakeville South, Rosemount at Lakeville North, Eagan at Farmington and Hopkins at Apple Valley.
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2020 PandemicStudents return to school with pandemic rules - September 2020. Photo compliments of School District 191. 2
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2020 PandemicFrom the Dakota County Government website November 2020.

FREE COVID-19 testing today and tomorrow in Burnsville! Testing is open to everyone, regardless of whether or not you're experiencing symptoms. Sign up for an appointment now.
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St. John the Baptist during pandemicDuring the pandemic, churches were eventually allowed to open with limtied capacity and mask requirements, including the priests and ministers.
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360 Communities360 Communities sponsors a free Farmers Market during the pandemic of 2020.

360 Communities held a FREE Farmers Market every Monday until September 28th, from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Burnsville Family Resource Center! Located at 501 East Highway 13, Suite 112 in Burnsville. Just drive around back to find the market.

Check out the incredible fresh produce available! And don't forget the awesome volunteers and staff! We are so pleased to provide healthy choices for our families during a time of great uncertainty.
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360 CommunitiesFree farmers market during pandemic of 2020 sponsored by 360 Communities.

360 Communities held a FREE Farmers Market every Monday until September 28th, from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Burnsville Family Resource Center! Located at 501 East Highway 13, Suite 112 in Burnsville. Just drive around back to find the market.

Check out the incredible fresh produce available! And don't forget the awesome volunteers and staff! We are so pleased to provide healthy choices for our families during a time of great uncertainty.
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360 Communities360 Communities sponsors a free Farmers Market during the pandemic of 2020.

360 Communities held a FREE Farmers Market every Monday until September 28th, from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Burnsville Family Resource Center! Located at 501 East Highway 13, Suite 112 in Burnsville. Just drive around back to find the market.

Check out the incredible fresh produce available! And don't forget the awesome volunteers and staff! We are so pleased to provide healthy choices for our families during a time of great uncertainty.

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2020 PandemicMay, 2020 Garden Centers can be open with restrictions on the number of customers and masks recommended.
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River Hills United Methodist Pumpkin Patch 2020Aisles of pumpkins, six feet distance, River Hills United Church's annual fundraiser during pandemic 2020.
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2020 PandemicThe Ames Center's intermission during the 2020 Pandemic.
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2020 PandemicThe Ames Center's intermission during the 2020 pandemic.
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2020 PandemicThe Ames Center front door during Pandemic.
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2020 PandemicBurnsville Bulletin Spring 2020 ad for the Ames Center during intermission due to the pandemic.
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2020 PandemicAntiques Minnesota, Highway 13's message during the pandemic May 1, 2020.
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2020 PandemicDenny's and other businesses close because of Pandemic, but continue operation with a drive-up option.
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2020 PandemicOne of the School District 191 elementary school classrooms re-opened during the pandemic, September 2020.
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2020 PandemicWelcoming students back in School District 191 during the pandemic, September 2020.
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2020 PandemicThe Cafe Bar at Jensen's is also closed during the pandemic.
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2020 PandemicBuca di Peppo 14300 Burnhaven Drive, reopens during the pandemic.
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2020 PandemicMasks are required, Buck Hill, on and off the snow 2020.
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2020 Pandemic - Burnsville CenterViews of the Burnsville Center, August, 2020. Stores re-open with mask requirements and other restrictions.
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