When the Jordan Police Department posted a job opening a decade ago, about 100 people would apply for the position, Police Chief Brett Empey said. The last opening yielded two applicants—and one didn’t even show up for the interview. The other candidate wasn’t recommended for hire.
It’s a reality that law enforcement agencies are facing across the state and country. It’s why the City Council approved a $5,000 sign-on bonus for the city’s latest open position.
Under the incentive, officers would be paid $2,000 after successfully completing full-time officer training and would then be paid $3,000 after completing their probationary period, which is usually about a year.
SIMILAR INCENTIVESIn February, the Scott County Board of Commissioners approved a one-year incentive program that awards up to $2,000 for deputies, correctional officers in the jail or 911 dispatchers who work for two years in the county.
After being hired, a person receives $500, then an additional $500 after working for one year. After two years, they are given $1,000. There is also a referral program in which an employee can refer someone to apply and get a job within those three positions and get the same incentives.
The program is retroactive to Sept. 1, 2021, Scott County Sheriff Luke Hennen said. Since the program has gone into effect, the department has hired 35 people, out of which 10 have left for various reasons.
“We’re finding good people who want to step up and do public service,” Hennen said.
Hennen said that, specifically, the city is having a difficult time finding correctional officers and 911 dispatchers. “Those areas are really hard to hire right now,” he said.
While Hennen said he feels the incentive program has been paying off, it is undetermined whether the funding will continue after a year. “I haven’t heard a thumbs up or thumbs down, but I’m hoping the County Board continues it based on the data we’re seeing,” he said.
NOT ALL FACING
SAME PROBLEMWhile many municipalities are struggling with hiring, which has led to incentive bonuses, Savage City Manager Brad Larson said his city’s department hasn’t had to offer sign-on bonuses, nor does he expect that they would have to in the future.
Larson explained that the department is still getting dozens of people applying for the job openings they have. However, Larson said that police leadership has reminded him that, at one point, they were getting hundreds of applicants.
“They see that drop,” he said.
It was pointed out by Larson that compensation studies don’t include Jordan. “They can’t afford the prices we pay,” he said.
The fall season is finally here, which means multi-colored autumn leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters—and, of course, family trips to the apple orchard.
While pumpkin patches are the craze down south, apple orchards are where it's at up north, and for good reason. Minnesota is known for growing some of the juiciest apples there are.
According to the University of Minnesota, the university’s fruit breeding program is one of the oldest continuous programs in North America. In the early 1900s, parent trees were collected from the wild as well as from Midwest and New England growers. Early researchers produced thousands of fruit seedlings from those parent trees.
The University of Minnesota is one of only three academic apple breeding programs; Cornell University in New York State and Washington State University are the other two. Nearly 30 apple varieties have been released from the university and introductions such as the Honeycrisp have had a major impact on apple production throughout the world, not just in Minnesota, according to the university.
There are hundreds of apple orchards across the state, some also offering fall fun activities such as hay rides, corn mazes, live music and face painting.
Here are some of the best apple orchards to visit in the Twin Cities Metro:
From apple- and pumpkin-picking, to a giant corn maze, wagon rides, farm animals, an epic apple cannon and a beautiful sunflower patch, plus much more, there is something for all ages at Ferguson's Minnesota Harvest in Jordan.
The Ferguson family took over ownership in 2022 with a simple goal — to carry on a decades-long tradition of opening the farm to the community.
According to the Fergusons, there is no admission to the country store, bakery, cidery or pizza kitchen. Each admission to the Apple Blossom Park and pick-your-own area comes with a free season pass so visitors can come as many times as they want all fall.
This orchard located in Belle Plaine offers homemade pies, crisps, breads and cookies baked fresh in its ovens each day. It also features apple flips, caramel apples, fresh apple cider, jellies, sugar-free jams, apple butter, fresh honey or sweet maple syrup.
The apple picking season begins late August and runs through October, as long as the apples last.
There's tons of fun activities for kids, too, including a giant tube slide, a ship playground, jumping pillow, corn pit and barrel train, plus much more.
If you're interested taking a country drive, you can head out west and visit Apple Jack Orchards in Delano. At Apple Jack Orchards, visitors can pick apples, pet farm animals, enjoy a rope course and spider web and have lunch at The Snackery, which offers hot and cold cider and caramel apples.
•Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
•Date: Open daily
•Place: Apple Jack Orchards, 4875 37th St. SE Delano
Located in Minnetrista, Minnetonka Orchards offers picturesque backdrops and its famous apple donuts. This popular orchard is also dog friendly, so you're pooch can also enjoy a day at the orchard with the whole family.
The Deardorff Orchard's historic 1888 farm sits on 120 acres with over 4,000 apple trees growing many Minnesota varieties, including Honeycrisp, Haralson, Zestar and more. You can pick your own apples, take complimentary tractor rides through the orchards (with purchase) and enjoy fresh cider. This orchard and vineyard is nestled near Lake Waconia, Carver Park Reserve and Parley Lake.
•Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
•Date: Friday, Saturday and Sundays
•Place: Deardorff Orchards, 8282 Parley Lake Rd in Waconia