A series of public meetings this fall around the region of Minnesota and Wisconsin defined by the St. Croix River and its tributaries will offer a chance to give ideas about how a National Heritage Area might work in their communities.

The meetings are an outgrowth of workshops held earlier this year, and attendees also will discuss potential strategies -- such as economic development, historic preservation, environmental conservation, and education, arts and culture -- to promote and conserve the resources that define the region.

The meetings will be:

•Noon-3 p.m. Tuesday, Wild Mountain and Taylors Falls Recreation, Taylors Falls, Minn.

•9 a.m.-noon Nov. 3, YMCA Camp St. Croix, Weyerhaeuser Lodge, Hudson, Wis.

•4-7 p.m. Nov. 8, School District of Shell Lake, Shell Lake, Wis.

•4-7 p.m. Nov. 15, Grand Casino Hinckley Convention Center, Hinckley, Minn.

The meetings will be one of the last opportunities for participation in the Heritage Initiative. The next and final meeting will be the Heritage Summit in spring 2013, when the decision will be made about whether to pursue National Heritage Area designation for the St. Croix River region.

Interested individuals and organizations are asked to RSVP at www.stcroixheritage.org/regional-gatherings. Anyone with questions or comments can contact Jill Shannon at 715-386-9490 or jshannon@scvfoundation.org.


City Council opposes ID amendment plan

The Cottage Grove City Council earlier this month voted 4-1 to adopt a resolution opposing the proposed constitutional amendment requiring voter identification.

The resolution stems from possible budget implications to city taxpayers. The council discussion focused on the possible unfunded mandates associated with enforcing this type of amendment if voters approve it in the Nov. 6 election.

According to the League of Women Voters, 10 other cities and two counties in Minnesota have adopted similar resolutions. Among them are Minneapolis, St. Paul, Edina, Golden Valley, St. Louis Park, Crystal, Northfield, Duluth and Ramsey County.


Sole Mio Ristorante offers a bit of Italy

Sole Mio Ristorante, featuring authentic Italian cuisine, steaks, chops and an extensive wine list, has opened in Valley Creek Mall, 1750 Weir Drive.

Angelo Montes, who grew up in Biella near Milan, Italy, and came to the United States 13 years ago, opened the restaurant after an extensive remodeling of the former Mia Familia. Montes is on the board of the American Cuisine Federation and in 2010 earned its prestigious CHEFFY Award. He was executive chef at the Chianti Grill for 10 years.

Opening his own restaurant is a dream come true, he said. "Our specialty is making sure people have a great time."

To learn more about the restaurant, go to www.solemiomn.com.


Munneke reappointed as county assessor

Bruce Munneke will continue to serve as the Washington County assessor after his reappointment by the County Board. His next term will run through 2016.

The assessor is appointed every four years by the board, and appointments must be approved by the state commissioner of revenue.

Munneke is a senior accredited Minnesota assessor. He was hired in 2001, overseeing the valuation of county tax parcels in compliance with state law.


Two surgeons join Lakeview Health

Lakeview Health recently welcomed two new general surgeons to its staff.

Dr. Eric Saterbak earned his medical degree at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He completed his surgical residency at Hennepin County Medical Center. He covers all aspects of general surgery, including advanced laparoscopic surgery, endoscopy and treatment of varicose veins.

Dr. Amy Fox also earned her medical degree at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She completed her surgical residency at Washington University/Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, followed by an endocrine surgery fellowship at the University of Michigan. Her clinical interests include the surgical management of endocrine disorders of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands. She also covers all aspects of general surgery.