Discussion focuses on costs of aging

The Minnesota Department of Human Services will engage Lakeville residents in a costs-of-aging discussion next week.

The "Own Your Future" discussion, a federal and state initiative that encourages Minnesotans to map out plans for their futures, will be held on Tuesday, April 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the Lakeville Heritage Center.

The free event sponsored by the Lakeville Senior Resource Coalition will answer questions about long-term care and retirement costs. Help in preparing individualized plans also will be provided.

Metropolitan Council Member Wendy Wulff and a long-term care insurance specialist also will answer questions.

Lakeville residents can register at the door or before the event at www.lakevillearea or by calling 952-232-2150.


Hospital Auxiliary offers thousands of books

Readers can browse through thousands of used books during the Northfield Hospital Auxiliary's 53rd Great Northfield Book Raid April 22-26 at the Northfield Ice Arena. For those who show up on the last day, an entire bag of books is just $5.

Those who want to donate books for the sale, which supports projects at Northfield Hospital & Clinics and other community health initiatives, can drop them off at the ice arena starting Sunday, April 6. This year, funds raised from the book fair will go toward an expanded cancer care center at the hospital.

Sale hours are 5-9 p.m. April 22, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. April 23-25, and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. April 26. On Friday, all books are 50 percent off. Saturday morning is the bag sale ($5 per bag) from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Starting at 1 p.m., any remaining books are free.

Donation hours are 1-4 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through next Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 12, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 14-18 and 9 a.m.-noon April 19.

The book sale has raised more than $750,000 in its history, the auxiliary says.


Police, fire employees of the year honored

The city honored its police and fire employees of the year at an event held by the Rosemount post of the American Legion this month.

Investigator John Winters was selected as Police Officer of the Year. Says a police department news release on the honor: "Investigator Winters' experience and training served him and the department very well in 2013 as he displayed the leadership of a veteran officer when the police department experienced many challenges and changes. He was responsible for managing a number of high priority cases, coordinating with various agencies from the local to state level, and assisted with the transition of personnel in the investigations unit."

Lt. Chad Ganfield was chosen as Firefighter of the Year. He joined the department in 2003 and was promoted to Lieutenant in April 2013.


Wednesday farmers market needs vendors

The Richfield Farmers Market is signing up vendors for its Wednesday market at 6400 Lyndale Ave S.

The market runs each Wednesday from 2 to 7 p.m. from June 4 to Sept. 10. The market needs produce from local growers and farmers; specialty food products like jams, honey, meat and cheese; food trucks and food vendors to sell food to eat on site and arts and crafts vendors. All vendors must be located within 200 miles of Richfield.

Application forms, information about fees and other information is at All application materials must be turned in by 5 p.m. on April 11.

For more information, e-mail farmersmarket@city or call 612-861-9362.


City's ash borer fight is going high-tech

In the latest effort to slow the emerald ash borer, Cottage Grove is testing a software program that assesses the value of city-owned ash trees to help officials determine whether to save them or cut them down.

The i-Tree software, which was developed by the U.S. Forest Service, allows parks officials to determine the value of the city's trees to underscore the importance of funding a program to deal with ash trees and the emerald ash borer, said City Forester Steve Bowe. ► He added that this way the City Council "could determine whether they would continue to fund the program." ◄

The council recently cut nearly 40 percent of the program's $162,000 annual budget, Bowe said, but has hinted it would restore funding in the near future.

"In order to do that, I needed to give some validity to why our forest is important," he said. "That was my main drive: to make sure that the management program enlisted four years ago was carried forward."

Bowe says he has spent the past few months plugging tree data into the software, which "spits out a slew of information" on a tree's value — based on such factors as its size, condition and location. After crunching the numbers, Bowe determined that "our forest gives the city $1.8 million annually in benefit."

Armed with this information, he said, the Parks Department will be able to make better decisions about which trees to cut down and best practices in fighting the ash borer, a beetle that attacks trees and lawns.