Local musician Peter Mayer will perform a benefit concert for Valley Outreach's Emergency Fund at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 22 at Christ Lutheran Church in Marine on St. Croix.

"We are extremely excited to have this caliber of performing artist helping to support our work," said Kris Huntley, the fund's co-director. Last year the fund distributed nearly $90,000 to residents to assist them with expenses related to housing, utilities and other essential needs.

Mayer travels across the United States performing on acoustic guitar. According to Acoustic Magazine, his "world is bright and hopeful and the transcendent nature of his lyrics explore the mysteries of life. His songs are crafted like Shaker furniture, with no place for superfluous embellishments or throwaway lines ... This is music for the soul."

Tickets cost $20 and are on sale through www. valleyoutreachmn.org under "events" or by calling the church at 651-433-3222.


LBJ's signing pen donated to park service

A pen used by President Lyndon Johnson to sign the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act into law has been donated to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and is now on display at the St. Croix River Visitor Center.

The president had presented the pen to Sen. Walter Mondale, D-Minn., one of the principal authors of the new law, after the signing ceremony on Oct. 2, 1968. Mondale gave the pen to Chris Stein, superintendent of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, earlier this month.

The St. Croix and its tributary, the Namekagon, were among the first eight rivers in the nation protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. They were also the only rivers among those eight designated as a national park, now known as the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

"Literally with the stroke of this pen, the United States embraced a policy of river protection, placing value on clean, free flowing water. We are deeply honored to become its caretakers," Stein said.

The pen is on display at the visitor center at 401 N. Hamilton St. in St. Croix Falls, Wis. The visitor center is open daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with free admission.


'Day in Bethlehem' scheduled for Sunday

A free indoor event which gives visitors a chance to see what Bethlehem was like at the time of Christ's birth will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi.

The interactive event, "A Day in Bethlehem," allows participants to meet the "census-taker" upon arrival and be given a passport and coins to pay taxes. More than 15 interactive shops will feature pottery, candy, jewelry, metals, scribes, baked goods, carpentry, weaving, deli, and a herb and spice market.

Visitors can watch Hebrew dancing in the town square as they walk through the village with townspeople dressed in the simple clothes that would have been common in Bethlehem.


Girl, 11, donates gifts to kids in hospital

Christmas came early for pediatric patients at Lakeview Hospital's Women's Center recently. Eleven-year-old Natalie Gordon of Dellwood asked her birthday party guests to bring gifts to donate to children who are patients at Lakeview Hospital.

Aimee Grant, a registered nurse, received the delivery and thanked the Gordon family for their kindness. Kelly Gordon, Natalie's mother, is "proud of her daughter's generosity and thoughtfulness. She is practicing the true meaning of Christmas."


Residential survey planned for spring

Washington County will survey its residents in the spring to gather information regarding county services. Washington, Dakota, Olmsted and St. Louis counties will administer the survey together. It will be done by National Research Center, Inc.

The survey is expected to cost about $25,000.


Finance Department earns national award

Woodbury's Finance Department received the Government Finance Officers Association's (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Finance Reporting for the fiscal year ending last Dec. 31.

The certificate is the highest recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and it represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management, according to City Administrator Clint Gridley. This is the 16th time that the Finance Department has received this award. Eleven percent of Minnesota cities received the award.

Crazy 8 clothing store now open

Crazy 8, the newest addition to the Gymboree Corp.'s family of brands, has opened a store at Woodbury Lakes.

Crazy 8 offers fashionable clothing for girls and boys sizes 0 to 14. The first Crazy 8 store opened in August 2007, and Gymboree operates more than 220 Crazy 8 stores in the United States.

Woodbury Lakes is at 9020 Hudson Road in Woodbury.

Open houses set at Ready, Set, Grow

Ready, Set, Grow Preschool, a ministry of King of Kings Lutheran in Woodbury, will accept registrations for the 2013-14 school year beginning Jan. 10. The preschool offers classes for 3-, 4- and 5-year-old children.

Families are invited to visit during open house from 5-6:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Jan. 10 or 17. For details, visit www. kingofkingswoodbury.org or call Andrea Villanueva, preschool director, at 651-738-9346. King of Kings is at 1583 Radio Drive in Woodbury.