David Paradeau has been granted a 35-day extension to find a home for his dinner train locomotive, but the City Council said at last week's meeting that he first must submit a contract that City Adminstrator Larry Hansen finds acceptable. 

Paradeau, owner of the long-running Minnesota Zephyr, had parked one of the two locomotives on city land last summer when he was unable to move it out of Stillwater. The city recently ordered him to move it because it was parked in a flood zone.

The popular Zephyr operated for 23 years from a depot in downtown Stillwater until Paradeau ended its run on New Year's Eve in 2008. The 5.9-mile route the train followed is now being reconstructed into a new Browns Creek State Trail.

Paradeau moved six other Zephyr cars to tracks in Bayport in the summer.


Nature center director wins manager award

Jim Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Carpenter-St. Croix Valley Nature Center in south Washington County, has received the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Master Interpretive Manager Award for 2012.

The award is presented to an NAI member who has demonstrated a mastery of interpretive techniques, site and staff management and an ability to pass these skills on to others.

Carpenter serves more than 100 schools and 10,000 students annually, along with offering interpretive public programs and six seasonal special events each year.

Fitzpatrick led a recent capital campaign that raised $10 million, leading to a major visitor center expansion and renovation and a long-term legacy fund.


Lakes Area Television wins award

A community television station that serves Columbus, Forest Lake and Scandia has been recognized by the Minnesota Association of Community Telecommunications Administrators for providing quality educational programming.

Dylan Strub, former production specialist at Lakes Area Community Television, the public access station in Forest Lake, won a first-place award in the Educational Staff Producer category. His "Every 15 Minutes, Mock Car Crash" program was filmed in cooperation with the Forest Lake Area High School to support the school's anti-drinking and driving campaign.

The program was shown to high school students and aired on LATV's education channel, Ranger 20. With the help of businesses, it was given as a DVD to families, youth groups, first responders, driver's education staff and others to support personal safety and the don't drink and drive campaign.


City's help for military brings national award

Homeward Deployed has recognized the City of Hugo's Yellow Ribbon Network as the nation's leading mid-sized city in support of deployed military members and their families.

Gretchen Martens, founder and CEO of Homeward Deployed in Washington, D.C., will present the award at a public ceremony at the Hugo City Hall on Friday. Social hour will begin at 4 p.m. and the presentation ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Rick Nash will attend, as well as Brig. Gen. Neal Loidolt.

For reservations, notify City Clerk Michele Lindau at 651-762-6315.

Mayor Fran Miron ends long city service

Departing Mayor Fran Miron will be recognized during a public reception after his last Hugo City Council meeting held Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.

Miron was elected in November to the Washington County Board to represent District 1, which includes Hugo, Forest Lake and Scandia. Miron defeated Dennis Hegberg, the county's longest-serving commissioner. Miron, a member of the City Council for 20 years, will be honored in the Oneka Room at Hugo City Hall, 14669 Fitzgerald Av. N., after the meeting.


Learn the back story behind animal tracks

A program exploring what animal tracks reveal will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 at Afton State Park, 6959 Peller Av. S.

Naturalists study animal tracks to "read" the story of the animals' past activities. Participants can learn how to read these stories and identify the "authors," then create their own story on paper big enough to use as wrapping paper for gifts.

Registration is required. Call 651-231-6968.


Cities renew contract with Sheriff's Office

Mahtomedi, Dellwood and Willernie have renewed contracts with the Washington County Sheriff's Office for three years.

Law enforcement will be provided around the clock by five deputies through Dec. 31, 2015, according to terms the County Board approved last month. The contract automatically will renew for one year after the initial expiration.

The cities will pay costs and expenses estimated at $535,200 for 2013.

The Sheriff's Office patrols townships in the county and also several other cities, such as Lake Elmo and Hugo, that contract for services.

Holiday sing-a-long at Historic Courthouse

Visit the Washington County Historic Courthouse in Stillwater on Dec. 16 for a free family holiday sing-along and a visit from Santa Claus. 

Local entertainer Karen Hillman will accompany on the guitar at 2 p.m. Songbooks will be provided.

Santa Claus will arrive at 2:45 p.m. to visit with children. The Washington County Historic Courthouse is at 101 W. Pine St. in Stillwater. More information is available at 651-275-7075 or visit www.co.washington.mn.us/hc.