'Adopt-a-Family' aims to spread holiday cheer

Anoka County is asking people to donate gifts for its Adopt-A-Family and Giving Tree programs for people in need this holiday season.

Under the programs, public health nurses and social workers identify people most in need and work with them to create a wish list of items. Each individual's list has a limit of $50 in value.

If you'd like to participate in Adopt-A-Family, call 763-422-7089 or e-mail gayle.alexan and indicate what size family you'd like to help. To help with the Giving Tree program, for individuals not connected to a family, call 763-422-7248 or e-mail The county will e-mail you the wish list and ask you to return gifts by Friday, Dec. 13.

Program will look at a Civil War Christmas

Costumed interpreter Vickie Wendel will discuss holiday traditions of the 1860s during a "Civil War Christmas" program on Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Anoka County History Center.

The presentation, offered by the Anoka County Historical Society, is free and will begin at 7 p.m. at the center, located at 2135 3rd Av. N. in Anoka.

The evening will include music, treats from that era and more. For further information, call 763-421-0600 or go to

Columbia Heights

Coming Friday: Taste of Columbia Heights

Food from a variety of Columbia Heights restaurants will be featured at this year's "Taste of Columbia Heights" holiday kickoff, scheduled for 6-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at Murzyn Hall, 530 Mill St. The cost is $2 per sample.

In addition to food, there will be wine and beer tasting, music and a silent auction. Proceeds will go to the Columbia Heights Activity Fund, youth activities and the participating restaurants.

For further information, call Columbia Heights Recreation at 763-706-3733 or Mayor Gary Peterson at 763-706-3607 or 612-978-9858.

Church will offer free Thanksgiving dinner

St. Matthew Lutheran Church will host its 18th annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 28.

The dinner is open to any families or individuals in need of a welcome place to spend the holiday. The church is located at 4101 Washington St. NE. in Columbia Heights.

Reservations are not required but are appreciated. Call 763-788-9427. St. Matthew's website is


History society marks 'Christmas in the '50s'

An exhibit celebrating "Christmas in the 1950s" is on display at the Fridley History Center.

The exhibit, presented by the Fridley Historical Society, features hundreds of items, including a teenage girl's bedroom, a living room, kitchen, Christmas tree, train set and prom dress.

Last year, the Historical Society presented "Christmas in the 1970s" ("Fridley exhibit steps back to the Seventies", North Extra, Nov. 21, 2012).

The History Center is located at 611 Mississippi St. NE. in Fridley and is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays. Admission to the exhibit is free.


Church organizes hunger-relief outing

Junior and senior high school students are invited to take part in a meal-packing effort on Saturday, Nov. 30, that is being organized by Living Waters Lutheran Church in Lino Lakes.

The volunteers will leave the church in car pools at 10:45 a.m. that day for the Feed My Starving Children center in Coon Rapids. There they will help pack meals that the organization sends to combat hunger around the world. They'll return by 2 p.m.

Living Waters is located at 865 Birch St., Lino Lakes. Parents or students who would like to take part should call the church at 651-481-0220, Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., or send an e-mail to


Pediatric CPR class will be held Nov. 23

The city of New Hope will offer a Pediatric CPR/AED class on Saturday, Nov. 23, at which participants can learn skills needed to help infants and children up to age 12 suffering from breathing and cardiac emergencies.

The class, scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. at City Hall, will give people hands-on experience with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to operate an automated external defibrillator (AED). Everyone completing the course will receive an American Red Cross certificate valid for two years.

Participants must be at least 16 years old. The fee is $60 for New Hope residents and $67 for nonresidents. To register or get more information, call New Hope Parks and Recreation at 763-531-5151.

City closes deal on Winnetka Learning site

The city of New Hope has bought the Winnetka Learning Center and adjacent property from Robbinsdale Area Schools for $1.75 million.

The deal for the nearly 17-acre site at 7940 55th Av. N. was closed Nov. 6. The city plans to demolish the 55,600-square-foot building and work with a developer to build homes on the site.

The city and school district began talking about a deal in 2011 after a district committee identified the site as surplus district property.

The City Council approved a $1.75 million purchase price in June 2012, and the district moved community education programs that had been housed in the center to the Sandburg Learning Center in Golden Valley at the end of last year.

Staff reports