Newport, which recently abolished its police force, will pay nearly $600,000 to Washington County for law enforcement services this year, according to an agreement approved recently by the County Board.

As part of the arrangement, the city’s five police officers were added to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office roster on Jan. 12 and will patrol Newport under the supervision of Sgt. Larry Osterman, Sheriff Bill Hutton said.

Council Member Dan Lund said the city of about 3,550 people had been paying far more for policing per resident than the adjoining cities of Woodbury and Cottage Grove.

The County Board also approved an agreement with the Law Enforcement Labor Services (LELS) Local 214, which represents the county’s deputies. The new deputies now are included in the bargaining unit.

KEVIN GILES

Stillwater

Valley Outreach to take on new clients

Over the next nine months, Stillwater nonprofit Valley Outreach will take over management of the Ascend Program for low-income families from the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Stillwater.

Ascend currently serves 38 St. Croix Valley families and has grown beyond the church’s capacity to run it, said the Rev. Buff Grace.

“Under the direction of Valley Outreach many more clients could be served,” he said. “We have maintained this program well. Now it is time to serve it better.”

Since 2013, Ascend has provided intensive case management to clients, assisting first with basic needs and then addressing long-term transportation, housing, education and employment needs. Valley Outreach offers a food shelf, clothing closet, emergency financial assistance and resource advising to low-income families. Last year, the agency served more than 1,300 households.

Kevin Giles

LAUDERDALE

Open house held on two highway projects

State officials this week are inviting residents in the northeast metro area to learn more about two highway projects, including a closure of parts of Hwy. 280 and a proposed MnPass lane on a stretch of Interstate 35W. The session is on Tuesday, January 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Lauderdale City Hall, 1891 Walnut St.

The Hwy. 280 resurfacing project, to begin early this summer, will cover the lanes and shoulders between Como Avenue and I-35W and will reconstruct ramps. Parts of Hwy. 280 will be closed for up to six weeks. More information is available at www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/hwy280/.

Information will also be offered on a possible MnPass project on I-35W from Hwy. 36 to Lexington Avenue in Blaine. For more information, visit www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/i35wroseville/.

DAVID PETERSON

PLYMOUTH

Keller wins award for literacy work

Maria Keller, a 15-year-old Plymouth resident, was named one of five national winners of a $10,000 college scholarship in the Montage Memory Makers contest.

As founder of Read Indeed, a nonprofit literacy organization, Keller has spent the past six years promoting literacy. Through her work, Read Indeed has collected and given away more than 1.7 million books to underprivileged children and teens.

Keller, a sophomore at Orono High School, has won several other national honors for her work with Read Indeed. She started the group at age 8 with the goal of distributing a million books by the time she was 18. She passed that milestone three years ago.

JOHN REINAN

Washington County

Comments sought on plan for libraries

Washington County officials are asking residents to comment on a draft of a new strategic plan for the countywide library system.

Officials are asking respondents to pay special attention to the proposed goals and strategies on pages 11 to 15 of the draft, which can be found online at tinyurl.com/ha8eg3y/.

Comments should be directed to june.mathiowetz@co.washington.mn.us or to June Mathiowetz, Office of Administration, P.O. Box 6, Stillwater, MN 55082.

All comments will go to county commissioners, library staffers and county administrators. Responses should be sent by Feb. 1.

DAVID PETERSON