Run Stillwater, Inc. has finalized plans for three running races in 2014 with opportunities for everyone from kids to elite runners to experience the St. Croix Valley.

The roster of races begins May 24 with the Stillwater Half Marathon and 5K and continues July 12 with the Lift Bridge Road Race 10-mile, 5K and kids races based in Bayport’s Lakeside Park. The season concludes in the fall with the Stillwater Log Run 10-mile, 5K and kids races on Sept. 27. All races are sanctioned and certified by the USA Track and Field Association.

“We’re really pleased to be bringing a half marathon back to Stillwater this spring,” said Brian Mastel, race director for Run Stillwater. “May 24 is a great timing for anyone planning to run distance races in the summer, including Grandma’s Marathon in June.” For race details and registration information, go to

The half marathon route takes advantage of the Gateway Trail, with a course that runs west and north of town and finishes in Pioneer Park. Runners will be bused to their respective start lines from downtown Stillwater.

Mastel said providing volunteer opportunities for area organizations in return for donations to their organization has been a part of Run Stillwater since its first race in 2012.

“We encourage groups of any size to contact us if they’re interested in helping out with things like water stations and the finish line. The time commitment is short — generally just a few hours in the morning — and it’s fun,” he said. “We’re happy to support nonprofit organizations that want to be a part of any of our races.”

If interested, e-mail Run Stillwater, Inc. at

Library to host poetry workshop

The Stillwater Public Library will host Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen for a poetry workshop for writers at all levels of experience who would like the chance to consider the more technical aspects of poetry.

The event, “Poetry and Form,” will be held Wednesday, May 21, from 5-7 p.m. at the library. Registration is free, but required in advance. For more information about this and other programs at the library, call 651-275-4338, ext. 111, or visit

Lake Elmo

Elks Lodge grant to fund book purchases

The Stillwater Elks Lodge 179 has awarded a $1,500 grant for the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” early literacy project of the Lake Elmo Public Library. Funds will be used for books, reading incentives, and promotional materials.

The library’s new “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” aims to be a literacy motivator. The library supplies the books that parents, grandparents, siblings, caregivers, and library staff and volunteers read to children.

St. Croix Valley

Area wineries offering weekend barrel tasting

Five wineries that are part of the Three Rivers Wine Trail, including two in Stillwater, will mark the beginning of another growing season with a winemaker’s barrel tasting weekend from noon-5 p.m. on Saturday, May 24, and Sunday, May 25.

Each winery will offer a chance to sample from the cask.

Participating wineries include: WineHaven Winery & Vineyard, 9757 292nd St., Chisago City; Northern Vineyards Winery, 223 Main St. N., Stillwater; Saint Croix Vineyards, 6428 Manning Av. N., Stillwater; Falconer Vineyards, 3572 Old Tyler Road, Red Wing; and Cannon River Winery, 421 Mill St. W., Cannon Falls.

For more information, go to

Denmark township

Bees all the buzz at park presentation

“Bee Friendly, Bee Nice,” a program on the value of honeybees, will be held from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, May 25, at Afton State Park, 6959 Peller Avenue S. Hastings.

Native bees are important pollinators of many fruits and wildflowers. Learn about native bee diversity and how to attract them to your garden or farm by providing nesting habitat. Build your own bee nest habitat during a workshop put on by University of Minnesota native bee experts Elaine Evans and Joel Gardner.

For information, call 651-436-5391 or e-mail

Marine on St. Croix

Seeing stars will be goal of park program

Amateur astronomer Kenny Bahmer will offer a tour of the night sky during his “Starlight Starbright!” program at 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 24, at William O’Brien State Park, 16821 O’Brien Trail N. Marine on St. Croix.

Participants will start indoors with a program on the evening skies and then head outside to view some of these evening delights through a telescope. If it is cloudy, there indoor program will still be held. Meet at the Visitor Center.

For information, call 651-433-0500.

Cottage Grove

City top vote-getter for bike park grant

With more than 12,000 votes in an online poll, Cottage Grove topped three other communities to earn a $33,000 grant from Bell Helmets to help pay for its new bike park at 7050 Meadow Grass Av. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for June 26.

Four central region bike park projects were involved in the two-week online competition, with voting running from April 21 to May 4. Cottage Grove won with 12,322 votes.

The bike park project is volunteer-built and funded and is a joint effort with Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC). The grant will be used for a bike-skills area. For more information on the project, go to:

Jim Anderson, Kevin Giles