State warns of ice dangers for kids

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is warning parents to keep an eye on kids near ponds and lakes.

The ice they are seeing may just be a thin coating.

Last winter season, from November to April, six people died after falling through ice.

An inch or two of ice is not safe, and children should not go out on the ice without adult supervision, even when conditions improve.

The state recommends anyone heading out on the ice should carry a set of ice picks, check with a local bait shop or resort to ask about ice conditions, and measure the ice.

Officials recommend:

• 4 inches for walking

• 5 inches for a snowmobile or ATV

• 8-12 inches for a car

• 12-15 inches for a medium-sized truck.

For more information, visit

Rinks to open just before Christmas

At least a pair of communities now expect their outdoor skating rinks to open in time for the Christmas holidays.

Shakopee and Prior Lake both report that they expect their skating to begin Dec. 21, weather permitting. Shakopee's parks agency offers supervised skating through Feb. 16.

Warming houses

• Green Meadows Park, 3100 Thrush St.

• Scenic Heights Park, 1195 Ruby Lane

• Lions Park, 1103 Adams St.

• Riverside Fields Park, 7800 Crossings Blvd.

• Westminster Park, 801 Valley View Drive E.

Outdoor skating (no warming house)

• Hiawatha Park, 625 7th Av. E.

• Holmes Park, 628 4th Av. W.

Rinks will close if the temperature is 10 below zero or colder, or if the windchill is 15 below or colder. There are no skate rentals at outdoor rinks.

For more information, including hours, go to skating.cfm.

In Prior Lake, the Lakefront Park warming house will open for the season Dec. 21 if the weather allows.

Hours are Monday-Friday from 4-9:30 p.m., Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 8. On Christmas Eve, it will be open from noon to 4 p.m.; it will be closed on Christmas Day; on New Year's Eve, it will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on New Year's Day, from noon to 9:30 p.m.; and on other school holidays, it will be open from 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

In Prior Lake, the warming house will be closed if the actual air temperature is 5 below or colder, or the windchill is 25 below or colder. The weather cancellation hot line is 952-447-9825.


'Skate with Santa' at arena on Dec. 15

Santa will turn up at the Shakopee Ice Arena for the annual Skate with Santa on Dec. 15. The event runs from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Regular open skating fees apply. Limited skate rental is available.


City's WinterFest is Thursday night

Downtown Savage is the scene on Thursday evening of the city's annual WinterFest event.

The fun begins at 5 p.m. and lasts until 8 p.m. along 123rd Street between Natchez and Princeton avenues.

Mayor Janet Williams will help light the community tree at 6:15 p.m. Then a WinterDazzle Parade will make its way down 123rd Street.

Around 6 p.m., local choirs will sing at the Savage Depot while awaiting the arrival of Santa.

Roast marshmallows over an open fire, enjoy live music and performances, and check out local shops.

There also are activities and crafts for children, a business expo and a photo shoot with Santa.

Prior Lake

'Dress for the mess' at City Hall next week

What's being billed as "Elves in City Hall, A Tot & Me Activity" will take place in Prior Lake on Dec. 12.

The lunchroom of City Hall, specifically, will be the scene of a 10 to 11 a.m. snack-making and decorating exercise for the holidays.

Everyone will go home with a box of treats, but officials warn parents to "dress for the mess."

Preregistration is required; call the Recreation Department at 952-447-9820. Cost is $7 for residents, $12 for nonresidents.

Staff reports