Free rides to Holidazzle Parade

Metro Transit is offering free rides on buses and light rail trains to the Target Holidazzle Parade in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday.

The free-ride offer is not available on Northstar trains, but Northstar will provide an extra special-event train for service to the parade on Saturday and again Dec. 22. Regular weekend fares will apply.

The special-event train will leave Big Lake Station at 3:06 p.m. on those Saturdays, and after stops at Elk River, Ramsey, Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley will arrive in downtown Minneapolis at 3:55 p.m. Northstar customers can connect with Hiawatha light rail for service to and from Nicollet Mall Station.

Extra return Northstar service will leave downtown at 8 p.m.

Visit dazzle for more information.


High school to host 'Homeless for a Night'

Students at Andover High School will sleep outside for a night to raise awareness about homeless issues.

The "Homeless for a Night" event starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, when students arrive at the school, and ends at 6:45 the next morning. Students will also fast for the night, beginning at 5 p.m.

Participants must bring a minimum donation of $10 cash or 10 full-size hygiene items (or a combination of both). They may bring two sleeping bags, a tarp or flattened cardboard box, duct tape, a small pillow, an improvised insulating layer, multiple layers of clothing and water. Large pillows, iPods, cellphones, watches and electronic devices are not allowed in order to gain a deeper understanding of how a homeless person struggles daily.

During the 2011-12 school year, the Anoka-Hennepin School District had 581 students experiencing homelessness; so far during this school year, there are 300 homeless students. For more information about the "Homeless for a Night" event, contact Anna Wilken, a student learning advocate at Andover High, at 763-506-8495.


Volunteers needed for advisory boards

The Hennepin County Board is seeking community applicants to serve on seven citizen advisory boards.

Boards with vacancies are the Adult Mental Health Advisory Council, Community Action Partnership for Suburban Hennepin, County Extension Committee, Human Resources Board, Library Board, Three Rivers Park District Board and Workforce Investment Board.

Deadline to apply is Dec. 31, and interviews will be conducted in January. More information is available at boards.


City seeks input on farmers market

Maple Grove is seeking residents' input on the city's farmers market in an online customer survey that will be open until Dec. 21.

Responses will help the city plan ways to enhance the market and attract new customers in 2013. Go to to fill out the survey.

The indoor market's last day this year is 3-6 p.m. Dec. 20 inside the Maple Grove Community Center. For more information, go to


Open house for public works, police building

The City of St. Francis will hold an open house at the city's new public works/police facility from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday.

The new building is located at 4058 St. Francis Blvd. in St. Francis.


Community funding help is available

Social service providers and nonprofit groups serving Brooklyn Park that are interested in applying for 2013 Community Development Block Grant funds should attend a pre-application meeting at 9 a.m. next Tuesday at City Hall.

The money is part of a federal Housing and Urban Development program that can be used for a variety of activities benefiting low- to moderate-income households in Brooklyn Park. Last year, Brooklyn Park's City Council approved more than $60,000 in grants to area groups.

The pre-application meeting will be held at City Hall, 5200 85th Av. N. For more information, go to or call Marjorie Mangine at 763-493-8054.

Staff reports


Annual holiday train fundraiser is Thursday

The Holiday Train run by the Canadian Pacific Railroad will once again be stopping in Loretto at 4:15 p.m. Thursday. Tracey Brown and the Claytones will perform.

Activities begin at 3 p.m. on W. Railway Street. A visit from Santa, rides on a kiddie train and hay wagon, and free hot chocolate and cookies will be available.

Parking will be provided at the Loretto Softball Fields and at the Saints Peter and Paul Church parking lot, with a shuttle service to W. Railway Street.

Last year the Holiday Train took in more than $21,000 and 2,400 pounds of food during the stop. This year's donations will be shared with food shelves in Maple Plain, Delano, Hanover and Rockford.