Anoka County

Cars for Neighbors fundraiser on Feb. 26

Cars for Neighbors, an Anoka County nonprofit, will hold its annual fundraiser, "The Taste," on Thursday, Feb. 26, at the National Sports Center in Blaine. It will run from 4:30 to 8 p.m. and feature food from more than 30 restaurants, as well as entertainment by Crooner, Gary LaRue and "The Chef."

Cars for Neighbors aims to help people become economically self-sufficient. It does this by providing donated cars and car repair to families in need to help them get to work and do other day-to-day activities. At the Taste, the organization will give away its 918th vehicle.

Tickets for the event are $35 in advance and $45 at the door. For more information, call 763-717-7755 or go to

The Sports Center is at 1740 105th Av., Blaine.

County gets new human services chief

Cindy Cesare, former director for Anoka County's social services and behavioral health department, will succeed newly retired Don Ilse as the county's new Human Services Division manager. Cesare worked at her previous post for almost four years. Before then, she served in the county's child protection sector.

Class looks at upkeep of septic systems

An upcoming Anoka County Extension class will give homeowners a chance to learn how to keep their septic systems working properly — when to pump, how to protect systems from freezing, and more. The class will run from 7 to 9 p.m. March 10 at the Bunker Hills Activity Center, 550 Bunker Lake Blvd. NW, Andover.

The cost is $10 per family, and registration is due by Feb. 25. To register or get further information, call 763-755-1280 or go to

Radon-testing kits available from county

Anoka County has inexpensive residential kits available to test homes for radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. Long-term exposure to radon can lead to cancer. Radon is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.

Officials estimate that two in five Minnesota homes have radon levels posing a significant health risk.

The county offers radon test kits for $5. Go to or call 763-323-5722 for more information.

Brooklyn Center

Deadline nears for Brooklyn Center U

Brooklyn Center is offering an eight-week course called Brooklyn Center University that is designed to give residents and businesses a behind-the-scenes look at the city's government.

Classes will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays from March 4 through April 22. The class is limited to 20 people, and applications are due by 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14. There's a $25 tuition fee.

Each week a different topic and operation will be explored. Departments to be covered include: assessing/property assessments; business and development/planning; capital projects; city clerk and elections; City Council and city manager; communications; community activities recreation services; community standards; engineering; finance and budgeting; liquor stores; police and city attorney; public works; utilities.

For further information, including an application form, go to call (763) 569-3300.

Brooklyn Park

Saturday is Snow Day at Eidem Homestead

Eidem Homestead, a living history farm, will hold a Snow Day from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, offering people a chance to experience what winter fun was like a century ago.

There will be opportunities to use kick sleds, try snowshoeing (a limited number of snow shoes will be available), build snow forts, cross-country ski and more.

Admission is $5 (free for kids 5 and under). Eidem Homestead is at 4345 101st Av. N., Brooklyn Park. For further information, call 763-493-4604.


Citizens Academy starts next month

The Champlin Police Department will host the annual Citizens Academy on Thursdays from 7 to 9:30 p.m. from March 19 through April 30. The academy is free and open to all who live or work in Champlin. It's designed to show what police officers, firefighters and paramedics do.

Participants learn about crime trends in Champlin and get a tour of the Police Department from Chief Dave Kolb. They also tour the Hennepin County Dispatch Center in Plymouth and learn about DWI and drug enforcement. They use a Firearms Training Simulator, traffic radar, a Taser and see K-9 and use-of-force demonstrations up close. They tour the Fire Department and get a driver's-eye view from a snowplow.

Additionally, CPR lessons and AED (automatic electronic defibrillator) use is taught.

In addition to adults, people ages 15 through 17 may attend with a responsible adult.

Sign-up is on a first come- first served basis. For an application or more information, go to You can also get an application at the Police Department between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For further information, call or e-mail 0fficer Jeff Brown at 763-421-2971, ext. 212 or

north metro

Volleyball festival cuts a big swath

Volleyballs will be flying at sites across the Twin Cities and Rochester this weekend when the 25th Annual Presidents' Day Festival takes place. The festival will draw 680 junior girls' teams from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Canada.

North metro cities hosting matches include Andover, Blaine, Champlin, Coon Rapids, and Spring Lake Park. Play begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday and wraps up late Sunday. All contests are free and open to the public.

For more, go to

Mayors snowmobile ride draws closer

The annual Mayors Trail Ride — a snowmobile trek with the mayors of Andover, Anoka, Nowthen, Oak Grove, Ramsey and St. Francis — is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 21, weather and trail conditions permitting. The event is a fundraiser for the Andover Anoka Ramsey Youth First organization and other nonprofits decided by each mayor.

The day will begin at the Anoka County Fairgrounds Park, with registration at 10 a.m. (You can also preregister.)

At the end of the event, at 3 p.m., there will be a gathering at McDuff's Bar & Grill in Ramsey.

The cost is $10 per person if you preregister and $20 on the day of the event. For more information, including a registration form, go to or call 763-421-7130.

Robbinsdale schools

March 3 event aims to fill 'Empty Bowls'

Empty Bowls, an annual fundraising event to combat hunger, will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on March 3 at Sandburg Learning Center, 2400 Sandburg Lane, Golden Valley.

Handmade ceramic bowls are made by individuals, schools and other organizations. At the event, a freewill donation will buy one of the bowls and a serving of bread and soup. Proceeds aid PRISM and NEAR, two area food shelves. Last year, Empty Bowls raised $13,900.

Staff Reports