The U.S. Coast Guard will host a public information meeting in Stillwater this week to discuss possible schedule changes in the operation of the Lift Bridge over the St. Croix River. Proposed changes would enable longer "closed to navigation" periods during peak evening commuter hours and longer "open to navigation" periods during non-commuter hours, the Coast Guard said.
Under the proposal, the Lift Bridge schedule would change from 21 lifts daily Monday through Friday to 19 lifts per day. Lifts at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. would be eliminated, but a new lift would be added at 3 p.m. Also, the 5:30 p.m. lift would be moved to 6 p.m., and the 6:30 p.m. lift would be eliminated.
The meeting will be held Wednesday, April 16, from 6-8 p.m. at Stillwater City Hall, 216 N. Fourth St. Anyone unable to attend but wanting to comment can send a letter to: Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, 1222 Spruce St., Room 2.1 07F, St. Louis, Mo., 63103-2832, or send an e-mail to Eric.Wasbburn@uscg.mil.
Oak Park Heights
Night bridge work will cause some noise
Night construction work related to a new St. Croix bridge begins this week near Beach Road bridge, weather permitting. Construction will include crushing operations to recycle pavement. Crews do not anticipate hauling materials overnight, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said. Nearby residents and businesses may experience some visual and noise disruptions, the agency said. Typical overnight work hours will occur from Monday through Saturday, lasting for about three weeks.
Meanwhile, land preparation work, including clearing trees and shrubs, is being done near the Oakgreen Avenue/Greeley Street intersection and on Hwy. 95 north of Hwy. 36 and will continue for about three weeks, the agency said.
Library receives $600 for children's books
The R.H. Stafford Library recently received a $600 donation from the local chapter of the MOMS (Moms Offering Moms Support) Club, a national nonprofit aimed at stay-at-home mothers. The money will be used to add more than 200 new children's books to the library's circulation, group leaders said.
"At the library, kids naturally gravitate toward newer books with interesting covers," MOMS Club member Robin Solid said. "There are always new books coming out and I am glad our club is able to help provide some new titles to pique the kids' interest."
Officials said the money would help buy more of the ever-popular "I Can Read" series books.
For more information, contact library manager Chad Lubbers at 651-275-8557.
Walleye will be raised in county park ponds
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will have access to ponds in Washington County parks to use for raising walleyes, after the County Board gave its approval to the project April 8.
The agency requested access to Warikois pond in Big Marine Park Reserve and Louise Lake in Pine Point Park. The agency has been using these ponds for several years. Walleye were stocked later than normal because of the late ice-out in 2013, and production levels were so low that no harvest was attempted in either pond in 2013.
State grant will fund health care programs
Washington County has received a grant from the state for $653,121 to implement the Statewide Health Improvement Program.
The program will run through Oct. 31, 2015. Funding is provided through the state Health Care Access Fund and will be used countywide to address and prevent obesity, and tobacco use and exposure. The grant amount resulted from a funding formula of $1.87 per person in the county.
St. Croix Region
Registration open for summer paddles
More than 60 people have registered for this summer's St. Croix Paddle, the annual camping and touring trip down the St. Croix River. Registration is open until May 1, or until the paddle reaches 80 participants, according to the St. Croix River Association (SCRA).
Details are available at http://scrapaddle.org. The six-day journey covers 93 miles in canoes and kayaks.
The SCRA also has opened registration for the 2014 Ranger Led Paddle series. The paddles are four-hour day trips for as many as eight people. Each paddle has a different theme, led by a National Park Service ranger. Kayaks and related equipment, including a personal flotation device, are provided. Participants should have paddling experience and must be 18 or older. Cost is $35 per person. For more information or to register, go to http://scrapaddle.org/news/ranger-guided-paddles-for-2014.
Youth service award goes to Vickie Batroot
Vickie Batroot, a former Youth Service Bureau board member and recently retired site director at 3M Cottage Grove, has been awarded the Service to Youth award.
"While there's no doubt that Vickie is a star in her professional life, few people are aware of her passion and support for kids," said Mary E. Planten-Krell, the bureau's executive director.
Batroot played a key role in creating programs that solve pressing community needs, such as the Library Leaders program in Cottage Grove, Planten-Krell said.
County to buy land for trail right of way
Washington County will receive $520,000 in federal aid from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to buy right of way to extend the Hardwood Creek Regional Trail in Hugo.
The project includes right of way acquisition of BNSF railroad property from 145th Street to 140th Street in Hugo, and construction of this segment of trail.
Kevin Giles and Libor Jany