Standard & Poor's, one of the nation's top credit ratings agencies, has reaffirmed Anoka County's AAA bond rating, the highest rating available. The positive bond rating means Anoka County can secure lower interest rates when borrowing to fund major projects.
Standard & Poor's cited the county's "very strong financial position, backed by good financial management practices, moderate overall debt burden, strong income and wealth indicators, and participation in the deep and diverse Twin Cities economic base."
"I am very pleased that Anoka County has been able to maintain its strong financial position despite today's uncertain economic climate," said Board Chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah. "The AAA rating is recognition of the County Board's commitment to managing taxpayer dollars responsibly."
Standard & Poor's report said, "The stable outlook reflects our anticipation that the county will maintain its very good financial reserve position. Given the county's participation in the Twin Cities economic base, the county's own stable economic base, and strong management practices exhibited by county officials, we do not anticipate lowering the rating during the two-year outlook horizon."
The Elk River equestrian team was honored as Club of the Year by the Minnesota High School Equestrian Association at the end of the fall season.
The recognition honors club growth, attendance, volunteering and community representation. Three riders, Shannon Schlee, Kristina Packer and Shay Conklin, all from Zimmerman High School, placed in the top six in their respective categories. Packer placed third in English and Western pleasure riding. She and Conklin placed fifth overall in the gaming team competition. Schlee, who competed in three events -- dressage, cross country jumping course and stadium jumping course -- placed fifth overall. Conklin placed sixth in Western games.
The Anoka County Library has received a $117,389 grant through the Library Service and Technology Act (LSTA) grant for a project called "Anoka County Library On the Go."
Through the project, Anoka County Library and its community partners will expand access to both traditional and electronic library services for under-served residents. The grant will allow the library to place a variety of kiosk services throughout the county. The library's partners include the cities of Andover and Ramsey, Andover YMCA, Youth First and the Anoka-Hennepin School District.
"Literacy in both print and electronic formats will be vital for the future success of our children," said Library Board Vice President Cathy Montain. "This grant will introduce e-books and library services to kids who have not had access to them before."
A variety of library kiosk services will be provided at the City Center in Ramsey, the Andover Community Center and YMCA, Anoka-Hennepin School District's University Avenue Elementary School, and the Mississippi Branch Library. Services will include a discovery station for e-books, e-book readers for students, a tablet computer dispenser, a locker system to pick up and return reserved library materials, and a book vending machine.
For more information, call 763-785-3695 or visit your local library or the website at anokacountylibrary.org.
"A Century of Quilts" -- an exhibit examining historic quilts from the Hennepin History Museum's permanent collection -- will be on display from now through Jan. 30.
Among the quilts designed and created by Hennepin County residents from 1860-1960 are a wide variety of designs and fabrics, from appliques and log cabin designs to fabrics like silk, velvet, gingham and wool.
The Hennepin Gallery is free and open to the public from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Hennepin County Government Center, A Level, 300 S. 6th St., Minneapolis.
The MacPhail Center for Music String Quartet for 2012-13 has been selected. Named are Benjamin Brashear, 15, of Bloomington on violin; Harris Bernstein, 16, of Bloomington on violin; Mariel Kieval, 16, of Medina on cello, and Madeline Warner, 16, of Shoreview on viola.
The students are coached by the Parker Quartet, the 2011 Grammy Award winners for Best Chamber Music Performance and one of the 2010-11 McKnight Fellowship winners.