Forest Lake’s 5th Annual FLake Fest is now underway and runs through Feb. 23.

This year’s event centers on an Olympics theme, with ice sculptures at the Lakeside Park pavilion that include a huge pyramid and a lighted torch. The hunt for the medallion, hidden in a city park, has begun, with the prize being a FLake Fest Fun pack valued at more than $500.

Events on Sunday, Feb. 16, include the 1st Annual Jim Trudeau Ice Golf Classic ($35 a person, which includes nine holes of golf on Forest Lake, prizes, dinner and a drink ticket) to benefit the Lakes Area Youth Service Bureau; and the Forest Lake Relay for Life, a 5K race on Forest Lake starting at 5:30 p.m. with luminarias lighting the way.

Events during the week include a Bean Bag Tournament, American Legion Olympic Bingo and a Redneck Olympic party called RedNeck FLake 2014.

On Saturday, Feb. 22, events include Family Olympics on First Lake, with all participants receiving a free lunch at Vannellis by the Lake; the Forest Lake Rotary Getting Cold for a Cause at noon; and a boys’ basketball fundraiser dance at the American Legion from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Events wrap up Sunday, Feb. 23, with the Forest Lake Yellow Ribbon Breakfast at the American Legion.

For more information, go to


New shop offers artisan cheeses

The Wedge & Wheel, a new artisan cheese shop and cheese bar at 308 E. Chestnut St., is now open in downtown Stillwater.

Three years in the making, the shop was founded by Chris Kohtz — a cheese enthusiast and St. Croix Valley resident. Kohtz served five years on the board of the River Market Community Co-Op in Stillwater and has studied at the Cheese School of San Francisco.

Inspired to open a cheese shop by a trip to London, Kohtz hopes his love of cheese inspires others.

“Cheese is my passion,” he said. “I love learning about the tie to the land, where the cheese came from, the breeding and expert care of the animal, and the commitment of artisan cheese makers to their craft.”

Cheese will be paired with a rotating beverage selection including wine and beer selected to enhance the cheese flight experience.

Hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Learn more at


Activities planned for Presidents’ Day

Looking for something to do on Presidents’ Day, Monday, Feb. 17? The city of Woodbury’s Parks & Recreation Department has several offerings. Outdoor ice rinks and warming houses at Colby Lake, Evergreen West and Kargel will be open from noon to 9 p.m., and those at Shawnee and Ojibway parks will be open from 4-9 p.m.

Bielenberg Sports Center will offer open skating from 11 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. for $4. There will also be open skating for hockey and freestyle groups in the morning and afternoon for $5 per skater.

“Spy Science,” an activity for 5- to 11-year-olds to unlock the science behind secret messages and other espionage skills, will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon at Central Park’s Tamarack Room. Fee is $19. Register online at or call 651-714-3583.


Frozen bocce ball tournament date set

Brine’s Bar & Restaurant in downtown Stillwater will host the 22nd Annual Frozen Bocce Ball Tournament on Feb. 22.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

In the past, hundreds of people have attended the double-elimination tournament, which this year will be held in two parking lots on both sides of Water Street, from Chestnut Street to just behind the eatery at 219 S. Main St.

For more information, visit the restaurant’s website, or call Gerry Brine at 651-439-7556.

Natural light works focus of new exhibit

Several local artists will show off their work experimenting with natural light at a new one-day exhibit at ArtReach St. Croix titled Capturing Light.

Featured will be the handblown glass works of Bob Carsey, representational oils by Sharon Weiser and Barb Casey’s “idyllic landscapes,” organizers said.

The exhibit will open Feb. 23, with a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. at the gallery, 224 N. Fourth St. in Stillwater. Admission is free.

ArtReach St. Croix hosts rotating exhibits featuring the works of local and national artists working with a variety of mediums.

Call 651-439-1465 for more information about the event.


Local student in ISU’s ‘Amadeus’

Alexander Criswell, a sophomore at Iowa State University from Mahtomedi majoring in aerospace engineering, is playing the role of one of the Venticelli in ISU Theatre’s story of musical genius “Amadeus,” which opens Feb. 28.

“Amadeus,” a play about Wolfang Mozart by Peter Shaffer, explores the all-consuming envy of one of the composer’s rivals, Antonio Salieri. Salieri may have been a third-rate composer, but deeply loved first-rate music and was able to tell the difference between his own work and that of Mozart’s. This recognition did not lead to hero worship, but to a plan for Mozart’s destruction.

The 1984 film version won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

The Venticelli are rumor-mongers and gossips essential to the story’s telling.

marine on st. croix

Stories held by stars topic of program

“Winter Stories and Constellations!” will be presented from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, at William O’Brien State Park, 16821 O’Brien Trail N. Marine on St. Croix.

Professional storyteller Dwight Wilcox will share stories of the winter constellations and night sky, including Orion the hunter, Taurus the bull and the Shy Seven Sisters. Then participants will head outdoors to view these highlighted constellations.

More information: call 651-433-0500.

Jim Anderson, Libor Jany