The Volunteer Program at the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway is seeking volunteers to fill a variety of roles during the upcoming summer season. The riverway, a national park, has headquarters in St. Croix Falls, Wis.:
Arcola Mills Visitor Center
The center needs volunteers to help visitors step back in time at this 1840s lumber site south of Marine on St. Croix. Volunteers will greet visitors, provide information and perform other duties. Various weekday and weekend shifts are available. The center will be open from May through October in partnership with the Arcola Mills Historic Foundation.
St. Croix River Visitor Center
Help people connect with the Riverway at the park's year-round visitor center in St. Croix Falls. Primary duties including staffing the visitor center desk, answering visitor questions in person and by phone, and distributing maps and brochures. Various weekday and weekend shifts are available.
The St. Croix River Association, River Alliance of Wisconsin and National Park Service will be training citizens to assist in early detection of invasive species, when it is still possible to isolate or eradicate the infestation.
Algae Alert Network
Contribute to citizen science and public safety by helping monitor the St. Croix River for algae blooms and collecting water samples. Volunteers are needed on a regular and on-call basis between July and September to cover the river from Wild River State Park to Stillwater. In partnership with the St. Croix River Association.
Fairy Falls and St. Croix Boom Site
Volunteers are needed to help perform site monitoring at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Boom Site Historical Wayside and the Riverway's Fairy Falls area. Primary duties include visiting the sites on a regular basis, picking up litter and monitoring site conditions. Both sites are north of Stillwater. This effort is done in partnership with Friends of the St. Croix Boom Site.
For information about volunteer opportunities, contact Jonathan Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-491-6839.
Salvation Army to pick up donations
To help residents dispose of unwanted household items such as used furniture, clothing and sports equipment, the Salvation Army will have a truck available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 27 at Afton City Hall.
Large, bulky items can be scheduled for a pickup by calling 612-332-6961.
St. Croix Valley
New website measures indicators
A new cooperative website called State of the Valley provides socioeconomic indicators for Washington and Chisago counties in Minnesota and Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties in western Wisconsin.
This collaborative effort provides data on community engagement, demographics, economics, education, food security, health, housing and poverty indicators. "This information is important to local funders. We use it to better understand the needs and gaps in the community," said Brad Kruse, program director for the Hugh J. Andersen Foundation.
The Survey Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls gathered and analyzed data for the State of the Valley project and will update the data annually. The website is available at www.stateofthevalley.org.
'Girlfriend Getaway' April 26-28
The Stillwater Visitors Bureau has announced a new event, "Stillwater Girlfriend Getaway Weekend," on April 26-28.
The weekend of activities, classes, dancing and prize drawings kicks off Friday with a wine and cheese reception at the Water Street Inn, 101 Water St., from 5-7 p.m. During this reception, participants will receive their free Stillwater Passport outlining all activities taking place over the weekend.
Forty-three Main Street area shops, restaurants and lodging are participating. Most of the activities, classes and demonstrations are free. For more information, visit Facebook.com/DiscoverStillwater or DiscoverStillwater.com/events.
Lift Bridge starts seasonal schedule
The Stillwater Lift Bridge's 2013 seasonal lift schedule will go into effect at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, April 24. Bridge tenders operate the lift on half-hour, one-hour and on-request intervals, depending on times of day, to allow boats to pass underneath. The lift will be operated until October.
In addition, motorists might experience delays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, as bridge tenders participate in training and testing of the lift span. Most ice in vicinity of the Lift Bridge, built in 1931, has now melted.
Rehabilitation of the Lift Bridge, spanning the St. Croix River between Stillwater and Houlton, Wis., took place late in 2012. For further information on lift schedules, see www.startribune.com/a997.
Controlled burns planned in parks
The Washington County Parks Division will conduct prescribed prairie burns in Lake Elmo Park Reserve and Pine Point Regional Park when weather allows.
The controlled burns will take about one to four hours to accomplish and will occur on a weekday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Trained firefighters will monitor fires and make sure they're completely extinguished, the county said.
Prairies are durable and complex grassland communities that provide food and cover for wildlife, protect against soil erosion and add character to the park landscape, the county said. Fire controls the invasion of undesirable plants by stimulating plants that are adapted to fire, while killing off woody and weedy plants that would take over the prairie. For additional information, contact the Washington County Parks Division at 651-430-4328.
Residents invited to plant trees at park
Cottage Grove is celebrating Arbor Day by inviting residents to help city employees plant trees and remove buckthorn starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, at Pinetree Valley Park, 8431 Indian Blvd.
Stop at the Pinetree Valley Park building to receive instructions and tools, if needed. There also will be a coloring contest, birdhouses to build and one free pine seedling per child. No registration is required.
If work is completed at Pinetree Valley Park before 11 a.m., you may be asked to volunteer at North Ideal and Nina's Park.
Cottage Grove residents this year also can remove buckthorn from their own property, place it at the end of their driveway and have it picked up at no charge on Monday, April 29.
Call 651-458-2808 by Friday, April 26, to schedule a buckthorn pickup. The Arbor Day event happens rain or shine.
Businesses to strut stuff at showcase
"Connecting Businesses with Community," the 10th annual Spring Business Showcase sponsored by the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, will run from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena, 8020 80th St. S. in Cottage Grove.
The showcase offers an opportunity to learn about a business, service or organization in Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Newport and other local communities. The event is free and open to the public.
The event is hosted by the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce and showcases products and services of local businesses and organizations in banking and finance, computers and wireless services, cuisine, health and wellness, home and office products, home improvement, local organizations, personal care, pet care, professional services, promotional products, real estate, recreation and more.
Activities include the 3M Visiting Wizards, Minnesota National Guard Rock Climbing Wall and face-painting.
Spring cleaning set to begin this week
Woodbury's Public Works Department expects to begin spring maintenance activities in residential neighborhoods starting on Monday.
Weather permitting, street sweeping will begin on Monday. Residents are asked to sweep or shovel excess gravel and sand from their boulevards into the street gutter before the street is cleaned, so sweepers can remove any sand buildup from winter plowing.
Once the sweeping is completed, flushing of fire hydrants will begin. Though flushing may occasionally discolor the water for a few minutes, it is safe to drink, the city said. Residents should check for signs of discoloration before using the water to wash clothes.
For more information call the city Public Works Department at 651-714-3720.
Kevin Giles, Jim Anderson