Category Archives: Week in Review

City Meeting Recap – August 2015 (First Half)

This recap covers the Council Meeting on August 18, the EDA meeting on August 18, the West Metro Fire work session on August 12, and the two budget work sessions on August 6 and 13. August is when the budget process starts, and we have had two of the three budget work sessions so far.

Regular Work Session Highlights

  • Traffic - A citizen presented his concerns regarding traffic on Nevada Ave between 56th and 58th Ave.
  • Settlement – The council discussed a settlement regarding the assessments for phase 13 street reconstruction with two businesses.  This was approved at the council meeting later that evening.
  • Security Training – Chief Revering performed security training for the council.  If you listen to the work session we didn’t record that part.
  • West Broadway / 48th Ave Crossing – I covered this topic in detail during my last update.  We were looking at options for a crossing that needs to be reconstructed if the light rail goes through.  I’m happy to report that we have a solution that seems to meet the approval of the neighborhood (including a retired traffic engineer that lives nearby), the city staff, and the county.  The county has backed off their position on accelerating the turnback of West Broadway and we have that in writing.
  • Utilities – Another topic I discussed in detail (probably too much detail) in my last update- the council reviewed two proposed versions of a new (new) ordinance about undergrounding of utilities.  Still leaning toward voting against this one.

Council Meeting Highlights

  • Awards and Appearances – We had the presentation of several awards and a few appearances at the beginning of the meeting.  That’s what the pictures above are from.  Apologies to all for me being a terrible photographer.  Awards were presented to 1) Crystal PD from New Hope PD for Crystal’s assistance during the council chamber shooting earlier this year 2) Officer Tim Tourville for being the DWI All Star for the third year in a row 3) Sergeant Brandon Dorr and Officer Julie Severson for their award from the Northstar Council for excellence in the Police Explorers Post.  The Post advisors won an award, but the Post also won Post of the year. Very impressive! 4) The Parks Department won an award for the fall Program Brochure.  5) We had an appearance from the Ride for Freedom Club who presented a check to Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, and 6) Mayor Adams presented a Commendation for Susan Carstens.
  • Point Of Sale Inspections – The council voted 5-1 to approve the second reading of an ordinance repealing the requirement that the city inspect your house before you can sell it.  We heard from several members of the community at the meeting.  One was opposed and the remainder of those who spoke were supportive of the change, including two long term residents of Crystal who are also Realtors, one who has been selling real estate since 1977.  I always appreciate hearing thoughts from Crystal residents on items that are before the council.  The council received quite a bit of feedback on this change, most in support of the change and a few concerns about safety and maintaining the quality of our housing stock, which are certainly valid concerns.  However I continue to believe we have enough tools in the toolkit to manage these concerns without this ordinance.
  • Miscellaneous – We approved the installation of Yield Signs at 48th and Maryland and a fuel contract with West Metro Fire (see below).

EDA Meeting – Only one item on the agenda, the approval of the authorization of a sale for one EDA owned lot at 45th and Yates.

West Metro Fire

There was a joint work session that included both the New Hope and Crystal Councils and then a special meeting and work session after that. (All on August 12).

  • Check In – The first work session with both councils was our annual check in where we get an update on West Metro and both councils have the opportunity to ask questions and check in with each other.
  • Grievance Procedure – At the meeting the board discussed updating the grievance procedure.  The board recently received a complaint from a fire fighter and I believe it exposed flaws in the existing procedures.  The HR departments of Crystal and New Hope will be reviewing past complaints and the existing procedure to recommend updates.  We’ll be discussing at a future meeting.  It’s critical that all West Metro Employees feel there is a process in place that is fair, and that the process is followed properly.
  • Fuel – The West Metro Board approved a fuel contract with Crystal.  West Metro currently buys their fuel from Robbinsdale Schools but will be getting it from the new Crystal Public Works Facility once that opens.
  • Long Range Planning – The board held its first work session dealing with long range planning.  This was an overview of the history of the district with some information about changes over time.  There will be several more work sessions where we dig into specific aspects of the District and discuss where we should be going in the future.

Budget Work Sessions – As I mentioned above, the budget process starts in August.  We have had two work sessions so far, the first to discuss the operating budget and the second to discuss the capital plan.  There is another work session tonight.

The preliminary levy will be set at the September 1 meeting, which means we’ll set the levy amount that we can’t go higher than.  The number can be decreased later this year.

I will have more thoughts on the budget process as we go along.  Right now my focus is absorbing the numbers, listening to the city staff, and asking lots of questions.

In the Community

  • Night To Unite was August 2. I got to 7 or 8 (I lost count) parties across Ward 2.  Many thanks to Officer K for carting me around.  It was great to see so many people out and involved in the community.  My favorite part of going around to the various parties is observing the different traditions each neighborhood has.
  • I made it to the Crystal Lions Corn Feed on August 8, but I only ate 2 pieces of corn, which is pretty weak.
  • I distributed about 200 copies of my first newsletter in the Lee Park neighborhood.  I still hope to get to a few more neighborhoods before the snow comes.

In the Community – Upcoming Events

  • The city is conducting a resident survey as part of the State Performance Measurement Program.  It’s short and anonymous. Take it here.
  • Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is hosting a “glow golf” tournament on September 3. I’m thinking about doing this because maybe playing in the dark will improve my golf game.
  • The city is hosting a Traffic Symposium/Open House Thursday September 10 at the community center from 5:30 – 7:30 PM.  Come learn about traffic control and transportation in Crystal, share your concerns about traffic, and share your thoughts about potential changes to the overnight parking ordinance.
  • The ribbon cutting for the new public works facility is September 16 from 5-7 pm (5001 W Broadway).  The actual ribbon cutting with the big scissors and tape is at 6.
  • Battle of the Badges Blood Drive August 26.

The next council meeting is September 1. There is a budget work session tonight.

You can watch the video of the council meeting here and find the agendas and meeting notes here.  Audio recording of work sessions can be found here. Check the city calendar for updated meeting dates, locations and times.


City Meeting Recap – June 2015 (Second Half)

This recap covers the June 16 council meeting, work sessions and EDA meeting, the June 17 West Metro Board Meeting and the June 30 City Code Task Force Meeting.

Work Session Highlights

  • Gaulke Pond Study – The City Engineer presented a plan to study what to do with the land that the current public works facility sits on after the new facility opens, including potentially increasing the size of Gaulke Pond.  We ultimately decided to put this on hold until we had more time to discuss it.
  • West Metro Fire Update – Chief Larson gave the council her quarterly update on the West Metro Fire district and went over the preliminary 2016 budget.
  • Point of Sale Inspections – The council discussed the current process of requiring a city inspection before selling a home in Crystal.  We gave staff direction to come up with a plan to end this process, which we will ultimately vote on at a future council meeting.  I am personally opposed to the government inserting itself in a transaction between two private individuals.  Brooklyn Park recently ended this practice, and earlier this year Eden Prairie rejected a proposal to begin performing these city inspections after opposition from citizens.
  • Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council (NWHHSC) Update – I am Crystal’s board member on NWHHSC, which is a joint powers agreement between several cities in Hennepin County.  NWHHSC has been through some major changes over the past few years and is not a financially viable organization.  It does not make sense for Crystal taxpayers to continue to fund this organization.  The council will be voting on withdrawing from NWHHSC at the next meeting.  Several other member cities will be withdrawing later this year as well.
  • Records Retention Policy – Staff presented a proposal to update our records retention policy and begin using the State General Records Retention Schedule instead of having our own unique policy.  This is a common sense change.


Council Meeting Highlights

  • Swearing in – The mayor swore in new Police Officer Caleb Selin.  Congratulations Officer Selin!
  • Financial Report – The city’s auditor presented the 2014 financial report.  We received an unmodified opinion, which in the unique language of financial audits, is a good thing.  You can see the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (all 139 pages of it) here.  The CAFR includes a summary of the audit.
  • Street Construction Bonds – We formally awarded the sale of the bonds for the Phase 14 Street Reconstruction project.
  • Ordinances – We held the second reading of a change in our ordinance related to utilities.  I covered that here.  We held the first reading of a change to our liquor laws to account for changes made in state law this year- allowing on-sale liquor sales at 8 AM on Sunday (the Bloody Mary Law) and allowing Sunday sales of Growlers.
  • Re-striping 81 – We formally authorized the re-striping of 81 that I wrote about here.


EDA Meeting

The EDA approved the sale of 2 EDA owned lots for new home sales, the optioning of a third lot for a new home sale, and authorized the acquisition of a vacant lot from the county for a huge discount.


West Metro Board Meeting Highlights

I am Crystal’s Council Representative on the West Metro Fire Board.

  • Officers – Because this was our annual meeting we needed to elect officers.  All current officers were re-elected.
  • 2014 Audit – West Metro also had an audit, and also received an unmodified opinion (a good thing).
  • 2016 Budget – The board approved the 2016 budget, which had a 3.44% ($67,000) increase over 2015.  Next stop is approval by the New Hope and Crystal City Councils.


City Code Task Force Kick-off Meeting

The City Code task force held their kick-off meeting on June 30 and I, again, could not be more impressed with the group of citizens that has assembled to give our City Code a much-needed overhaul.

The group decided to take the first 3 sections of the code and have everyone review them and come back with suggestions for the next meeting.  After that the group will tweak the process based on what they learn.

The group also had some great feedback on how the code is structured and improvements that could be made in that regard.

Stay tuned for more from this group.  It may not be a glamorous job, but I am grateful that we have a great group willing to do it.

In the Community

  • Crystal Airport Open House – June 20 and 21 – I attended the Crystal Airport Open House, both on Saturday for the kickoff party and on Sunday for the main event.  We had perfect weather, and attendance was great on Sunday.  Thanks to the Crystal Lions for all their work putting this on, and to council member Julie Deshler for all her work coordinating the event.  The picture above is of a WW2 B-25 Bomber.
  • Music in the Park – The Lions are sponsoring the return of Music in the Park this year, and the first concert was the Joey Johnson Band at Becker Park.  The next concert is 6:30 pm on Monday July 13 at Becker Park, featuring DJ Neill Turner.

In The Community:  Upcoming Events

  • Night to Unite – August 4. Download your application to host a party here.
  • Crystal Frolics is July 23-26.  New this year- Sunday is Frolics Family Day.  Get all the Frolics details here.


City Meeting Recap – June 2015 (First Half)

This recap covers the June 2 work sessions and Council Meeting, and the June 8 Planning Commission Meeting.

Work Session Highlights

  • Phase 15 Street Reconstruction – We discussed the Phase 15 street reconstruction project for the first of many times.  Crystal is currently in Phase 14 of a 16 phase project to reconstruct all of the streets in the city.  Phase 14 is in progress now, and 15 is scheduled for next year.  This was just a kick off of next year’s project including the preliminary project area.  The project will be located roughly around Twin Oaks Park in the North part of the city.
  • Electrical Permit Fees – We discussed making some adjustments to the process for electrical permit fees.  The fees have not been adjusted since 2010, and will raise by about 6% overall.  In addition, the permit process was simplified and the number of total permits required by residents was reduced.  New fees will go into effect on July 1 if approved at the next council meeting.
  • Security Measures for City Hall, the Community Center and the Council Chambers – Earlier this year, in response to the shooting at New Hope City Hall, the Police Chief reviewed the safety and security measures in place at city facilities.  Chief Revering came back to the council with the proposal of a few additional security measures including additional security cameras.
  • Liquor Law Changes – The council discussed changes necessary to our Liquor Laws to allow taprooms and to allow on-sale liquor at 8AM on Sundays (the Bloody Mary law).  These changes were recently approved by the legislature, but Crystal needs to change our laws to allow the activity in our city.  Proposed ordinance changes will be made at an upcoming council meeting.
  • Re-striping 81 – When Highway 81 was reconstructed it was made large enough to accommodate six lanes (three in each direction).  A previous iteration of the city council made Hennepin County agree to make the road only 4 lanes wide, and not expand to use all of the space until at least 2017, unless the current council overrode that decision.  To say it differently, the road was built for 6 lanes, but the Crystal city council only wanted to use 4 of them.  We instructed our staff to request that Hennepin County re-stripe the road to make use of all 6 lanes.  Re-striping could be in place this fall.

Council Meeting Highlights

  • Crystal Frolics – The consent agenda included many items for Crystal Frolics, including the fireworks permit, a permit to close off a small part of Bass Lake Road during the fireworks, and the liquor licenses for the event.
  • Code Review Task Force – The Council appointed 14 members to the Code Review Task Force.  The Task Force will be going through our thousands of pages of city code looking for items that can be removed, combined, or simplified.  The Task Force meets for the first time at the end of June.
  • Utilities Ordinance – We approved the first reading of a minor change to our utilities ordinance that would allow Century Link and Comcast to improve their services on existing poles without being required to bury the lines, provided that the project met a few conditions, including that the lines were all in back yards.  This change was requested by the utilities, and is currently in the process of being approved in neighboring suburbs.  New lines and lines in front yard would still need to be undergrounded if they were expanded.  We also required as part of the permit process that utilities communicate with homeowners if they are doing work in the right of way adjacent to their yards.

In The Community: Event Highlights

  • CBA Business Expo – I attended the Crystal Business Association’s first annual business expo at the Community Center on June 6.
  • Basset Creek Park Cleanup – The Crystal Fund for Community Progress sponsored a clean up of Bassett Creek Park on May 30.  Councilmember Olga Parsons and I took the area around the pond.  Overall the park was in really good shape, but we still found some trash in the long grass around the pond. (Picture above)
  • RiverTree School Shakespeare FestivalRiverTree School is a private school located in Ward 2 of Crystal, at 38th Ave and Vera Cruz.  The school put on a Shakespeare Festival on the last day of school, June 5.  It was a great time!  Councilmember Elizabeth Dahl has a daughter who attends the school.  I’ll make you click to see her in a slightly more formal getup than she usually wears at the council meetings.

In The Community:  Upcoming Events

  • 2015 Crystal Airport Open House – Father’s Day Weekend.  Great fun for the whole family.  Bring Dad!
  • Night to Unite – August 4. Download your application to host a party here.
  • Shred It At The Heathers – Shred your confidential documents for free with donations of food to the food shelf, Saturday June 20 at The Heathers.  Details here.

The next council meeting is June 16.

You can watch the video of the council meeting here and find the agendas and meeting notes here.  Audio recording of work sessions can be found here. Check the city calendar for updated meeting dates, locations and times.

City Meeting Recap – May 2015 (Second Half)

As usual, I’m continuing to play with the format of these updates.  I’m thinking now that I’ll try to do one twice per month, each one covering one Council Meeting, whatever work sessions and other meetings have not been covered yet, and any special events that I attended.  That’s the plan until next month, anyway. :)

This recap will cover the Work Sessions on May 14, 19, 20 and 28, the council meeting on May 19, the Arbor Day celebration on May 13, and the city bus tour on May 21.

Arbor Day

The city held its annual Arbor Day celebration on May 13 at Forest Park, which is right next to Forest School.  During the summer, the Parks Commission holds their meetings outside at various parks and invites neighbors to join them.  These community meetings are a great opportunity to hear from residents in an informal setting.  The night started with a cleanup of the park by volunteers, then Mayor Adams and I grilled up some hot dogs, we planted a tree in the park, and then the parks commission held their community meeting.

Bus Tour

Every other year or so the city holds a bus tour where the council, our legislators, some guests from New Hope, and members of our commissions are invited to attend.  The bus goes around the city and staff highlights current projects that are going on in the area, like street reconstructions, sewage pump replacements and playground equipment upgrades.  It’s safe to say the new playground equipment at Bassett Creek was a bigger hit with the crowd than the new sewage pump at pump station 2, but the latter is still quite important.  The bus tour is a great opportunity to go and see the projects we have been discussing, and it was a valuable experience.

Work Session Highlights

  • Funds and Fund Sources – As part of the preliminary budget discussions the council received an overview of the various funds in the city, what the balance of each fund is, and how the fund is replenished.
  • Traffic Symposium – We discussed plans for the Traffic Symposium we want to hold this fall.  During campaign season, I heard quite a few concerns about traffic- stop signs wanted, speeding through neighborhoods, etc. and so did the other two new council members.  So as part of our Citizens Connection Initiative we proposed an effort to address traffic concerns in the city in a holistic way rather than a piecemeal way.   More to come on this event as we get closer to the fall.
  • Street Parking – Another hot topic from campaign season.  I pledged to several residents that if I was elected I would bring up the topic of on-street overnight parking.  Many residents, especially in the Lee Park neighborhood expressed a desire to repeal the ban on overnight street parking.  We discussed this topic and came up with 3 potential approaches and will be seeking input on the 3 plans in the next few weeks.  The item will likely be on a council meeting agenda coming up so we can gather feedback before making a decision.
  • Commissions – We discussed commissions again, and outlined a proposal for some changes.  We’re working on creating a document that details the changes, and will be putting that out for feedback soon.
  • Blue Line Planning – A few weeks ago the Blue Line team presented to us at a work session, and the council raised several concerns about the proposed station design and placement, along with the impact on traffic.  The team addressed us again on May 14  with some updates.  I remain concerned about the traffic impact from the Blue Line, and think that running the train at street level is unacceptable.  In addition I don’t feel it is possible to accurately predict traffic patterns 25 years in the future, nor do I think the computer models that are used to “prove” how slick traffic will be are realistic.  What I do know is that in the short to medium term this project, if built, would have a massive negative effect on our city by bringing increased noise, dust, and delays from construction.  I remain unconvinced that the long term benefit would be worth the pain, and of course the massive cost to taxpayers.  That being said, if the project gets built anyway, we need to make sure it’s done right and that corners aren’t cut in an effort to artificially make the total cost look better.
  • Code Review Task Force – The council recently solicited applications for a Code Review Task Force that would look at our city code and suggest ordinances to repeal, replace, or simplify.  We had initially thought the task force would be about 10 people, but we received 14 applications and everyone was so good that we decided to increase the size to accommodate everyone.  I was extremely impressed with the group of applicants we got, and I am excited to see what they do once the task force gets up and running later this year.

Council Meeting Highlights

  • Housekeeping – The majority of agenda items were what I’d call “housekeeping” items- renewing our contract with the Hennepin County Assessor’s office, approving the next steps in the alley and street reconstruction projects, and some miscellaneous budgeted items for the public works facility.
  • Water Fee Increase – The big item on the agenda was the approval of an increase to the water rates to pay for the replacement of the broken water main.  As I covered before, the water main failed much sooner than expected, and needed to be replaced.  This is the pipe that caused sinkholes in Robbinsdale twice over the last few years.  In order to pay for the replacement we needed to come up with Crystal’s share of the cost.  It was originally estimated to be $1.6 million, but the bid came in at $1.2 million.  That led to a discussion of whether we should approve a lower rate increase (like 70 cents per 1000 gallons) or keep with the $1 per 1,000 gallons we had planned.  The rate increase will generate additional revenue to cover the cost of the repair, but it will take several years to generate the whole $1.2 million.  In the meantime we have to cover the cost of the whole repair up front using other city funds.  That’s OK- we do have the liquidity to make that work, but ultimately the whole $1.2 million will have to be generated.  It was my preference that we kept with the $1 per 1,000 gallon increase so that the repayment window was as short as possible.  The 70 cent plan would have lowered the average water bill by about $1 per month, but lengthened the repayment window.  I believe that the rate we put into effect was the most responsible decision for the city’s financial health, and puts us in a good position in the future without an undue burden on our residents.  One feature of the rate increase plan was that we would freeze the rates at their new amount for a period of two years- giving everyone a break from future increases for a while.  The new rate structure passed on a 6-1 vote, with Mayor Adams dissenting.

The next council meeting is June 2.

You can watch the video of the council meeting here and find the agendas and meeting notes here.  Audio recording of work sessions can be found here. Check the city calendar for updated meeting dates, locations and times.

Week In Review – May 2015, Week 2

The Crystal City Council had two work sessions, a Council Meeting, an EDA meeting, and a bus tour sponsored by the Parks Commission during May 2015 week 2 (week beginning May 3).

Work Session Highlights

  • Charter Commission – The council met with three candidates for an open position on the city’s Charter Commission.  The Charter Commission reviews potential changes to the city’s charter, which can kind of be thought of as the Constitution for the city. There were three applicants- two former council members, and a third who is currently a member of the Parks Commission.  This commission is unique, in that the council doesn’t select the members, but instead the selection is done by a judge.  The council still likes to meet with the applicants to learn a bit more about them and thank them for applying.  We were informed earlier this week that the judge had selected Nancy LaRoche (the aforementioned Parks Commissioner) as the new Charter Commissioner, so congratulations to Nancy.
  • Boulevards/Right-Of-Way – One of the most confusing things that I deal with, and something that I get a lot of questions on, is the right-of-way.  Since she did such a good job of recapping this discussion, I’ll excerpt from my colleague Olga Parsons’ recap:

    Per the request of several council members, we received a primer on the differences of public right-of-way, boulevards, easement, and private property.  This issue has surfaced several times since I have taken office, primarily as a question about trees located in the boulevard- who is responsible to take care of trees located in your front yard, but not exactly on your private property?  Why do some residents find new trees planted in their yard without their consent?  This issue is also at play with the planned Three Rivers Park District bike project.  Many people, myself included, are unsure exactly where their private property line is drawn.  The city and county are able to use a part of your front yard for their purpose, and this arrangement can be unwelcome and distressing to many residents.  Boulevards and Public Right of Way are city property, and are reserved for city and public use. Boulevard is generally the area between your property line and the curb, and Right of Way is the entire street (and sidewalk area).  Residents do not pay taxes on the this piece of land, but are responsible for the Boulevard’s upkeep (mowing the grass, shoveling, etc).

    This topic can be quite confusing, so if you have any questions, let me know.

  • Boulevard Trees - We also briefly discussed trees that are located in the boulevard- so technically on city property, but for all intents and purposes in your front yard.  This has been a hot topic of conversation, as Olga mentioned above.  Our city staff, led by our new City Engineer, is working on a proposal to clarify the polices related to boulevard trees, so more to come on that.
  • Water Main Repair Financing - I covered this about a month ago, but Crystal has to come up with an unplanned $1.5 million to repair the water main that runs under Robbinsdale.  This is the pipe that has broken twice in two years and created sinkholes in our neighboring city.  Several options were proposed, but the option that seemed to be preferred was a rate increase of $1 per 1000 gallons of water used to go into effect immediately, and then freezing water rates for 2 years.  We’ll be covering the upfront cost by moving some money from the sewer fund to the water fund, and then gradually paying back the funds over the next few years.  We looked at about 15 different proposals, and this one was the only one that didn’t put undue strain on the water fund.  I also like the certainty of knowing that rates will stay steady for the next few years.  We’ll be voting on the final plan to make it official at the next meeting.
  • Commissions - The council is continuing our ongoing conversations about city commissions.  The conversation will continue in about 2 weeks.  I would like to stress that no decisions have been made on anything, and that I am seeking feedback from anyone with an opinion on the topic.

Council Meeting Highlights

  • Pledge of Allegiance – I was contacted by Brian Lindahl, a Boy Scout who lives in Ward 2 and is working on a merit badge that requires him to discuss a current issue with an elected official.  We discussed the proposed rail connection prior to the meeting, and I invited him to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance, which he skillfully did.
  • Police Awards – Police Chief Stephanie Revering presented two awards- one to Officer Tim Tourville who received the MADD award for efforts to decrease drunk driving, and one to Officer Mason Barland who won the Meritorious Service Award from the MN Chiefs of Police Association.  Congratulations to both!
  • Alley Construction Project – We held the public hearing for this year’s alley reconstruction project, which is part of a long term project to reconstruct all of the alleys in the city.  We heard from a few citizens during the public hearing.  This project will come up for two more votes before it is complete.
  • Three Rivers Trail – I’ll send you over to my colleague Elizabeth Dahl’s website for a recap of this, since and she did a great of summarizing what happened.  Almost all of the trail will go through Ward 1, which Elizabeth represents.

EDA Meeting Highlights

  • Only one item on the agenda- acceptance of an proposal by Novak-Flek to option a vacant lot for redevelopment.  Novak-Flek has developed several lots in Crystal, and are entering into an option agreement (basically reserving the lot) to develop later.

Parks Tour

On Wednesday, May 6 I joined the Parks Commission (and my wife, who currently chairs the commission) on a bus tour of eight of our city parks.  The commission is working on a long range plan for our parks, and this tour was an opportunity for them to visit the parks together and share some of their vision with members of the council.  The commission has a lot of work to do to ensure that our parks continue to meet the needs of our residents well into the future.  I am excited to see the long range plan they come up with.


The next council meeting is May 19, and the next work session is Tomorrow (May 14).

You can watch the video of the council meeting here and find the agendas and meeting notes here.  Audio recording of work sessions can be found here. Check the city calendar for updated meeting dates, locations and times.