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Prior Lake to celebrate Fourth of July with a bang

The Prior Lake Association’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display returns to the community next month to light up the night sky with a bang.

This year marks the 55th year out of the PLA’s 75 year history that the organization has sponsored the patriotic celebration which launched in 1966.

Adam Proehl, PLA president, said in honor of PLA’s 75th anniversary, this year’s Independence Day event will be the biggest and best display ever.

“Thankfully we were able to do it last year but we ended up getting a late start on it because we weren’t sure if we would be able to or not. Most of the people that viewed the fireworks last year viewed them on their boats and we asked everyone to social distance,” said Proehl. “It was obviously a very different holiday but this year we were hoping to bring it back bigger than ever, I think we’re going to do it and people are going to be very happy.”

The fireworks display will be held on Sunday, July 4 and will blast off from Watzl’s Beach at Lakefront Park at 10:15 p.m. The 15 minute delay is put in place in an effort to lessen public safety concerns due to other events occurring at the same time in the surrounding area.

Proehl said the event wouldn’t be possible without the financial support of local businesses, organizations and PLA members who donate annually to the firework’s BOOM Fund.

“This year’s budget was $25,000 in fireworks. We raise a lot of funds through our members and through general sponsors in the community so we’re able to put on a good show,” said Proehl. “Last year’s show was about $20,000. This is going to be a significantly bigger show than we had last year so we’re really looking forward to that.”

Proehl added that the fireworks display is always a spectacle to behold as the lake is covered in a sea of boats.

“There’s hundreds and hundreds of boats on Prior Lake. The lake is covered in boats all evening and there’s people that live near or on the shore line,” he said. “There’s people that watch from other good vantage points within the city up on the hill in Lakefront Park and there’s people that strategically park their cars and go to the various spots where you can have good visibility. Then there’s a lot of people who are able to watch them from their homes.”

The event is open and free to the public. The PLA is still accepting donations up until the night of the show. To donate to the BOOM fund visit www.priorlakeassociation.org/take-action For more information visit www.priorlakeassociation.org or the PLA’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PriorLakeAssociation.

Annual Boat Parade

The PLA is not only sponsoring the community’s fireworks display, it is also bringing back its highly anticipated annual Fourth of July Boat Parade.

The popular and competitive event will be held Sunday, July 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. on Upper Prior Lake near Charlie’s on Prior, 3950 Green Heights Trail SW.

Proehl said the boat parade is one of the most fun times on the lake.

“People decorate their boats with everything, certainly patriotic themes. This year we have a prize for best school spirit for having Laker pride, “ said Proehl. “People come up with all sorts of crazy ideas. Last year we had one boat that did a ‘Tiger King’ theme and another boat did a shark. Some high school kids built a graduation stage on a pontoon and they wore their graduation gowns since they didn’t get to have a graduation last year.”

The boat parade is free to enter if you’re a PLA member. Entrants must register at Knotty Oar Marina prior to the event in order to be eligible. Entrants will be assigned a number which is to be displayed prominently on their watercraft for judging. The number can be constructed out of anything but it must be visible to the judges. Entrants are also requested to circle the judge’s pontoon marked by the PLA banner, in a counter clockwise loop. A Scott County Sheriff’s Office boat will lead entrants on completion of judging and will lead the parade north under the County 21 bridge to Lower Prior Lake.

No water balloon throwing will be allowed to protect waterfowl.

This year’s prizes will include $500 for the grand prize winner, $250 for second place, $100 for third place, $250 for the most patriotic and $250 for the best Laker pride themed boat.

For more information visit www.priorlakeassociation.org or the PLA’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PriorLakeAssociation.

Mystic Lake

Casino HotelMystic Lake Casino Hotel is back celebrating the Fourth of July with a spectacular fireworks display after last year’s show was canceled, like many other events, due to COVID-19. The fireworks are scheduled to pop off after rock legend John Fogerty performs at the Mystic Amphitheater Sunday on July 4 — at about 10 p.m.

Tickets for Fogerty’s show start at $39 and the concert begins at 8 p.m. Concert goers are asked to arrive 60 minutes before show time to allow ample time for security screening and seating. For more information on how to purchase tickets visit mysticlake.com/shows-and-events/john-fogerty.

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PLSAS school board to decide whether to pursue tech levy referendum in the fall

The Prior Lake Savage Area School Board will decide next month whether or not to pursue a technology levy referendum in November.

The discussion was brought back to the table at the board’s regular June 14 meeting, months after the board put the referendum on hold at the beginning of the year.

At that time, the general consensus was that more time was needed to gather stakeholder input on the topic before it could be voted on.

Marcus Milazzo, director of technology, and Julie Cink, executive director of business services, presented a technology levy recommendation to school board members last Monday to review funding, research and survey feedback from stakeholders.

Milazzo said the district conducted the surveys and focus groups for faculty, students and parents on what students and staff needed in technology to excel and succeed.

“We’ve listened to our stakeholders. We’ve conducted student and staff surveys in the fall and student focus groups in the spring,” said Milazzo. “We surveyed students and staff again and we’ve received administration feedback.”

The proposal

The proposed capital project levy authorization (if voter approved on the Nov. 2, 2021 ballot) would raise approximately $3.5 million in the first year it would to be levied, for taxes payable in 2022, and would be authorized for 10 years. The estimated total cost of the projects to be funded over that time period is approximately $35 million. The tax impact would be $17 per month based on the district’s $400,000 average home value.

Funds would support student and staff devices, safety and security, classroom learning, network infrastructure and operational software as well as technology support.

PLSAS is one of the only neighboring and comparable districts without a technology levy. A technology levy would allow all K-12 students to maintain a district-issued device that better serves their learning needs in the classroom and at home and would allow all staff to have a district-issued device that meets their needs in their classroom or department. Having a separate technology levy would also ease up funds in the General Fund budget by at least $1.5 million.

If the proposed technology levy passes in November, all students and staff would have equitable access to instructional technology and teachers would have access to instructional software and hardware including a digital curriculum. The district would also be able facilitate a four-year device replacement cycle. If it fails, the district will need to reduce student’s district-issued devices from grades K-12 to 9-12 beginning 2022-23 and there would not be adequate funding to replace aging security equipment plus other drawbacks.

“The ability to have an updated device in the hands of a student that can meet their needs currently where they’re at and as they grow and move through our district — but to also have that that device be updated in a four year cycle in a 10 year tech levy — those students will have three refreshes in devices which I think is really huge and really important,” said Milazzo. “If it fails, things are going to be different on how we deliver instructional technology in this district.”

The board will take action on whether or not to adopt the resolution at their next meeting on July 12.