At first, the list of course offerings could fit on a single-page flier. Now it requires a catalog totaling more than 40 pages — a figure that has special meaning this year for the Forest Lake School District's community education department.

That's because the department, which began operating in 1973, is celebrating 40 years of service.

The department, which offers classes for all ages, from infants to retirees, will mark the anniversary with an appreciation event Tuesday, Nov. 12.

The celebration coincides with National Community Education Day, a school district news release said.

"The mission of 'meeting community needs' is taken very seriously," Julie Ohman, the district's community education director, was quoted as saying. "We are constantly working to improve upon and expand the programs to stay current with the needs of the Forest Lake area."

Her goal, she said, is to get all district residents involved with some aspect of community education.

Program offerings typically include adult basic education and early childhood classes, as well as driver's education, a community education staple.

This fall, the youth athletics program reported having twice as many football teams than it did a year ago.

About 700 children are participating in a school-age care program that has been tweaked through the years to stay current, the district said. For example, the program recently added technology and science activities to support and enhance learning that takes place during the school day.

Tuesday's appreciation event will begin at 7 p.m. in the media center at Forest Lake Area High School. The department plans to honor past and present volunteers, staff members and participants. The event is open to the public.

To learn more about community education, including the registration fees for the school age care program, go to the department's Web page or call 651-982-8110.

Forest Lake

Student's campaign aims to halt peers' use of 'R-word'

Rachel Huset, a senior at Forest Lake Area High School, has started a "Spread the Word to End the Word" campaign to educate students about the negative impacts of using the R-word — for "retarded."

She learned of the campaign while attending the Summer Games of Special Olympics Minnesota, an event held in Stillwater.

"I decided it would be really beneficial for my school to get involved," Huset said in a school district news release.

Huset, who organized a kickoff rally last week, hopes that the campaign will help persuade students, staff members and the community to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the district said.

Cottage Grove

District mechanics post perfect bus safety score

The mechanics who help to put buses on the road for the South Washington County School District have earned perfect marks from State Patrol school bus inspectors for a second consecutive year.

Not one of the district's 133 buses or eight vans had a defect in inspections ending on Oct. 28, according to a school district news release.

"A perfect score is an accomplishment for any year, but to do it two years in a row is impressive," Ron Meyer, the district's transportation director, was quoted as saying. "Andy [Smith] and his crew did a great job once again."

The district team includes head mechanic Smith and mechanics Cory Ebsen, Dennis Johnson, Jerry Niehaus, Dan Schultz and Caleb Smith.

Anthony Lonetree