Anoka-Ramsey Community College has been named one of 10 finalists for a prestigious national award that President Obama has called “the Oscars for great community colleges.”

Anoka-Ramsey is the only Minnesota school still vying for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The winning school gets $1 million. Anoka-Ramsey’s student focus, research opportunities, quality teachers and low-cost tuition helped them make the finals.

“We were incredibly impressed by the efforts of Anoka-Ramsey Community College faculty and staff to nourish a deep culture of support for students,” says Joshua Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program in Washington, D.C. in a written statement. “That, paired with an unusually strong undergraduate research program and a clear focus on teaching and learning, makes Anoka-Ramsey a uniquely supportive educational environment for Minnesota students.”

Shannon Prather


Voters to decide on community center

Blaine voters will decide if the city should borrow $29.4 million to build a community center and a separate senior center.

The City Council has approved adding the item to the Nov. 8 ballot. A citizens’ task force has studied the possibility of building a community center for years and recommended it go to a vote.

According to a 2015 survey commissioned by the task force, nearly six in 10 Blaine residents support the construction of a community center, and if one is built, more than nine in 10 people said they would use it.

City leaders have looked at the idea of building a community center for almost two decades, including a failed referendum in 1998. The city has grown since then, from a population of about 45,000 to more than 60,000 today.

Shannon Prather


‘Do Good Roseville’ offers volunteer fair

The first “really big event” of a new resident-led nonprofit promoting good deeds in Roseville is coming this weekend.

The Roseville Area Community Volunteer Fair seeks to connect residents to volunteer opportunities in the community and highlight the work of the nonprofit organizations that are working improve lives, said organizer Kathy Ramundt of Do Good Roseville (

The event is Saturday, Oct. 1, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 2561 N. Victoria, at County Rd C.

Attendees are asked to bring an old pair of shoes to recycle in aid of “Shoe Away Hunger,” a group that uses the proceeds to feed the needy.

David Peterson

Washington County

Jail employee recognized for programs

William Hoffman, senior program coordinator in the Washington County jail, has received the Jail Programmer of the Year award from the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association.

Hoffman has worked with inmates for religious and spiritual requests, restarted the jail’s General Education Development (GED) program, established a professional writing program for female offenders and promoted re-entry classes to help prepare inmates for their return to society.

He demonstrates the Sheriff’s Office philosophy that inmates should return to life in the community in better shape than when they were locked away, said Jail Commander Roger Heinen.

Hoffman received the award Sept. 15 at the 34th Annual Jail Administrators Conference.

Kevin Giles


Meeting held for Stagecoach Trail plans

Road improvements planned for a major thoroughfare through two cities and two townships in Washington County will be discussed at an Oct. 4 open house, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., at the Bayport Public Library, 582 Fourth St. N.

Proposed improvements to Stagecoach Trail will stretch from Interstate 94 north to 56th Street through West Lakeland Township, Baytown Township, and the cities of Oak Park Heights and Bayport.

A design study will examine new turn lanes, widened shoulders, driveway/access consolidation, and other safety improvements. Stagecoach Trail also is known as County Road 21.

Residents can learn about details such as the project background, construction schedule, and current data and traffic analysis. Anyone unable to attend the meeting can find information on the county website as well as a short survey at

Kevin Giles