Austin

City Council takes steps toward $35M rec center

The city of Austin is moving forward with a new, $35 million recreation center run by the local YMCA.

The City Council this month approved purchase and lease agreements to build the rec center where the old Austin Municipal Plant now stands. Under a 30-year agreement, the YMCA would operate the facility, and the city would put $200,000 a year toward operating its public portions.

The YMCA board is expected to vote on the plans.

“The Y can survive without a rec center,” Mayor Tom Stiehm said, “but the rec center can’t survive without the Y. That’s something we’ve kept foremost in our thoughts throughout this process.”

In negotiating the deal, city officials pushed for more open hours and lower prices. A daily pass would cost $8.

Two council members voted against the plans, arguing for family passes and offering free admission to children under 2, according to video of the June 6 meeting.

“It’s important for the citizens to have an affordable rec center,” said Council Member Jeremy Carolan, who voted no.

Jenna Ross

St. Cloud

Free dental care visits for veterans set in three cities

Dentists from nearly 400 Aspen Dental practices across the country will provide a day of free dental care June 25 for thousands of veterans nationwide.

Aspen dentists and their associates will work in St. Cloud, Brooklyn Center and West St. Paul from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is part of Aspen’s Healthy Mouth Movement, a community-giving initiative launched in 2014 to deliver free dental care and oral health education to people in need.

Local veterans can call 1-844-AspenHMM to schedule an appointment in advance at a participating office. Appointments are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Of the more than 21 million veterans across the U.S., fewer than 10 million are enrolled for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health benefits, which for many, does not include dental care benefits.

Mark Brunswick

Duluth

Free lakeside concert series kicks off in July

This summer’s free concert series on the shores of Lake Superior kicks off July 6.

The newly announced lineup for Glensheen’s Concerts on the Pier series starts with a concert featuring Glitteratti, an acoustic folk rock group that includes members of Trampled by Turtles. The concert series runs every Wednesday night in July.

The rest of the July lineup includes avante garde indie rock group Red Mountain; indie alt country artist Haley Bonar; and folk country bluesman Charlie Parr.

Outside food is prohibited, but there will be a cash bar with local craft brews and wine at the venue, as well as a food truck.

Gates open at 6 p.m. and the music begins at 7. For more information, visit www.glensheen.org.

Jennifer Brooks