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.