To promote community discussion and give people the chance to learn about and comment on current events, the Dakota County Library this fall is offering a series of free forums at the Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Av. in Apple Valley.

Each nonpartisan forum is led by an expert who will set the stage for the discussion. The lineup:

• Dealing with Mexico's borders with the United States and with Central America, Tuesday, with John Harrigan, retired professor of political science at Hamline University.

The library's description of the event: "Mexico's border with Central America, as well as the border it shares with the U.S., has been a pathway for people, goods, crime and contraband in both directions. How can Mexico address these trans-border challenges? What is the future of Mexico's relations with its northern and southern neighbors? How will Mexico's foreign relations affect its domestic politics?''

• Exit from Afghanistan and Iran, Oct. 16, with Robert Flaten, vice president of the United Nations Association of Minnesota.

• Promoting democracy, Oct. 30, with Thomas O'Toole, professor emeritus at St. Cloud University.

• Indonesia, Nov. 13; no forum leader has been announced.


Teen essay contest underway at library

Teenagers are invited to demonstrate their writing skills to win prizes by viewing a contest picture and writing a short story -- 1,000 words or less -- about what's going on in the picture.

Dakota County Library's annual Teen Short Story Contest runs Oct. 1-31 and is open to teens ages 12 to 18 who live or attend school in Dakota County.

The photo can be found in the library's Fall Teen Program Guide or online at, under short story.

Contest rules and an entry form are available online or at any library branch. Entries can be submitted to any Dakota County Library by Wednesday, Oct. 31. All entries will be published online on the library's teen web page.

The library will select six winners who will receive a subscription to Teen Ink magazine and a Barnes & Noble gift card, courtesy of the Dakota County Library Foundation.


Volunteers sought for history event

Dakota City Heritage Village is seeking volunteers for its annual Harvest Moon Festival on Oct. 19-20 at the Dakota County Fair Grounds in Farmington.

The annual event, which coincides with the fall school break, draws hundreds of children, parents and grandparents. It provides hands-on activities to acquaint children with chores and leisure activities of the early 1900s. It runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. both days.

Volunteers are needed to help staff the event. Some positions involve wearing a period-appropriate costume. To volunteer, call Dakota City at 651-460-8050. For more information about the event, visit


City close to filling administrator job

West St. Paul decided last week to offer the job of city manager to Craig Clark, pending the outcome of a background check.

Clark, 42, has been the city administrator of Worthington, Minn., for about four years.

No negotiations or salary discussions have taken place.

Former city manager John Remkus left the job about a year ago. It has been filled in the interim by acting city manager Sherrie Le.

To save money, council members dispensed with a search firm and advertised the job themselves, receiving about 50 applications, said Council Member David Wright.

After interviews with finalists, Clark was chosen in part for his expertise on economic development.