Nature enthusiasts can now explore a newly completed boardwalk and trail connection at the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary.

The city is holding a ribbon-cutting celebration at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 15 to show off the new wetland walking amenities, which are located between East Lake Park and Lexington Avenue.

The wetland sanctuary is a 500-acre site that city leaders consider a key part of Blaine’s open space management plan.

A new parking lot adjacent to the sanctuary also has been completed, but overflow parking for the grand opening event will be available at the Lexington Athletic Complex, 4286 121st Av. NE., with shuttle service provided.

Hannah Covington

Anoka

Search underway for perfect Christmas tree

Anoka is looking for the ideal Christmas tree for its annual tree lighting ceremony in December.

The pine tree should be at least 30 feet tall and located in the city, according to the Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce. It would be removed free of charge.

After the holiday, the tree will be recycled and the mulch used in the tree nursery at Forest Hill Cemetery, according to the city.

Residents who have a tree they’re interested in donating should contact Pete Turok at the Chamber of Commerce, 763-421-7130.

Hannah Covington

St. Anthony

Affordable housing to be topic of program

City leaders and residents will be able to learn more about affordable housing in a work session planned for 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 3301 Silver Lake Road NE.

Ehlers and Associates, the city’s financial municipal adviser, will give a presentation and then field questions on the topic, City Manager Mark Casey said.

The recent closure of Lowry Grove, St. Anthony’s only mobile home park, has called attention to affordable housing in the city and the kind of development that will take its place.

The topic has come up repeatedly during City Council meetings, where residents have raised concerns about the lack of housing options for their displaced neighbors.

“Affordable housing is of a strong interest on the city’s part and the residents also,” Casey said.

Hannah Covington

Washington County

County gets grant for anti-drug policing

Washington County will receive $117,500 to help fight drug trafficking through 2018, owing to a grant from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said Sheriff Dan Starry.

The grant program is designed to provide resources to federal, state, local and tribal agencies to address drug trafficking.

It helps to identify and disrupt or dismantle drug trafficking and money laundering organizations, reduce drug-related crime and violence and identify and respond to emerging drug trends.

Money used to fund a criminal analyst position include overtime, training, travel and operation expenses.

Kevin Giles

Crystal

Volunteers sought for multicultural group

A new Multicultural Advisory Committee in Crystal is looking for citizen volunteers.

The group will meet monthly with the Crystal Police Department to discuss how better to serve the people who live, work in or visit the city.

The committee is part of Hennepin County’s Joint Community Police Partnership program, a joint effort of the county and local law enforcement agencies. The partnership aims to improve community-police relations and was originally launched with new immigrant residents in mind.

Crystal joins a growing number of cities that are involved in the partnership.

Those interested in applying can do so online. For more information, call Camryn Krause Ferris at 763-531-1043.

Hannah Covington

ARDEN HILLS

City to offer recycling of fabrics, housewares

Starting in early October, Arden Hills will add fabrics and housewares to the list of items that residents can put on the curb for recycling.

The City Council recently approved a four-year contract with a firm called Simple Recycling to take the items. The service, for which residents won’t be charged, will be provided weekly on the same day that general recycling is collected, said Matthew Bachler, a senior planner for the city.

Under the terms of the contract, the city will receive a cent for each pound. Items that can be recycled include clothing, shoes, bedding, linens, kitchen items and tools.

DAVID PETERSON

ROBBINSDALE

Tourney raises money for African ball teams

A Robbinsdale tournament will be held this week to support baseball players in the West African country of Benin.

The 13th annual Wood Bat Little League Baseball Tournament, which started Aug. 3 and ends Sunday, will raise money to support the African teams and build a baseball field for them.

Robbinsdale coaches Gary Tonsager and Wally Langfellow started a nonprofit, Baseball in Benin, in 2010 to raise money and baseball equipment to get the game started in the small country.

More than 400 boys and one girl, ages 7 to 16, now play baseball in Benin, but their field is matted dirt and studded with potholes.

Last year, the tournament flew a team of a dozen 10- to 12-year-olds and their coaches to Minnesota to compete in the tournament and sample local attractions, including a Twins game.

This year’s tournament in Robbinsdale, in which more than 400 Little League players from across the Twin Cities are competing, will use proceeds to build a new field in Benin and bring another team to Minnesota in 2018.

To donate or find out more details, go to baseballinbenin.org/.

KELLY SMITH