New fire chief isn't new to the city

Tom Schmitz, Edina's new fire chief, is rejoining the department after a brief stint with the Eden Prairie Fire Department.

Schmitz, a 25-year firefighter, has been an assistant chief in Eden Prairie since 2011. Before that, he worked in Edina for 18 years, rising from firefighter/paramedic to battalion chief, where he oversaw training and safety programs and supervised paid on-call firefighters.

He also helped form the department's Special Operations Team and oversaw construction and operations of the South Metro Public Safety Training Facility.

Schmitz will start his new job on Feb. 17.

City introduces online utility billing

Edina has launched a new website where residents can pay their utility bills and access their accounts online, clicking a button to pay their bills.

The site allows residents to pay their quarterly water, storm drain and recycling bills quickly and securely. Residents can make a one-time payment or register to receive e-bills, which eliminate paper bills altogether.

Users also can compare their usage to a typical user and view past water usage. City officials hope to have 20 percent of accounts enrolled by the end of 2015.

For more information, go to http://edinamn.gov/index.php? section=utilities-billing or contact Dona Fowler or Lori Lohmann at 952-826-0373.

West metro

Nominations open for Caring Youth Award

Nominations will be accepted until Feb. 3 for the 2014 Caring Youth Award hosted by the cities of Minnetonka, Hopkins and Golden Valley, as well as the Hopkins and Minnetonka school districts and Glen Lake Optimists.

Young volunteers in seventh through 12th grades may be nominated by the organization they're serving. Nominees must either live in one of the three cities, attend school (grades 7 to 12) in Hopkins or Minnetonka and/or volunteer in Minnetonka, Hopkins, or Golden Valley. Nominations are due by 4:30 p.m. Feb. 3. For full nomination guidelines and forms, go to www.eminnetonka.com or call 952-939-8207.


Concert to explore music about home

The Mostly Madrigals choral ensemble, directed by Stephen Houtz, will present a concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at St. George's Episcopal Church, 5224 Minnetonka Blvd.

The program, entitled "A Place Called Home," will explore the idea of home and will include music by William Billings, Phillippe Verdalot, Kurt Bestor and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Also included will be premiere performances of two pieces by Minnesota composers Mark Bauer and Stephen Houtz.

The concert is free and open to the public, though a freewill offering will be collected. For more information, call 952-926-1646.

Jewish humor fest coming to Sabes

The fifth annual Minneapolis Jewish Humor Festival will be held from Jan. 18 to Feb. 1 at the Sabes Community Center. The two-week festival will feature one-person shows, stand-up comedy, workshops, film and special events that celebrate the Jewish contribution to the world of humor. Performers will include Wendy Hammers, Cathy Ladman, Jonathan Geffner, Rabbi Sim Glaser, Laura Thorne and Jessica Kirson.

All but one event will take place at the Sabes Jewish Community Center, 4330 S. Cedar Lake Rd. Tickets range from $8 to $18. For tickets and more information, go to www.sabesjcc.org or call 952-381-3499.

The lowdown on rulemaking

The League of Women Voters West Metro Alliance is sponsoring a program on administrative law called "The Invisibility of Rulemaking" on Jan. 25 in the third-floor council chambers at St. Louis Park City Hall. Judge Eric Lipman, an administrative law judge with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings, will speak.

The Legislature passes bills, but for some new laws, an additional step called "rulemaking" takes place at the department level of government or administrative law. The program will explore that process.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. with a coffee social followed by the speaker and discussion from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. For more information, contact Kim Kang at kimdakang@gmail.com or Lynn Gitelis at lynngi2@gmail.com.


The Bookcase to host Hegg, Helget

The Bookcase in Wayzata, located at 824 E. Lake Street, will host several author visits this month.

Tom Hegg, author of "Baby Talk," will speak at 2 p.m. Jan. 26, and Nicole Helget, author of "Stillwater," will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 10. For more information on upcoming events at the Wayzata bookstore, go to bookcaseofwayzata.com.

Holy Name of Jesus church turning 150

A Wayzata church is celebrating its 150th anniversary on Jan. 19.

Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Community will hold the celebration during its 10:30 a.m. mass on Jan. 19 with Abbott John Klassen of St. John's Abbey presiding. It will be followed by a historical exhibit and reception with light appetizers. The event is free and open to the public at the church, 155 County Road 24.

Other special events are planned throughout 2014 such as a historical cemetery tour, fall festival, golf tournament, parish mission and historical displays. For more information, go to www.hnoj.org/150-years-com munity.


Our Savior Lutheran holds blood drive Feb. 8

Our Savior Lutheran Church and School in Excelsior will host a communitywide blood drive on Feb. 8.

It will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 23290 Hwy. 7 at the church's community center. Preregistration is not required, but can be made at www.redcrossblood.org. For more information, call 952-474-5181.


Fire Department hosts family festival day

The Minnetonka Fire Department will host "Family Fire Day" on Saturday, Jan. 18.

The free event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Minnetonka Fire Station 1, 14550 Minnetonka Blvd. (next to City Hall). The event will include a fire station tour, a 20-foot inflatable slide and visits with Sparky the Fire Dog and a firefighter in full gear. For more information, call 952-939-8331.

Feb. 9 fest to feature fun for children

The city of Minnetonka will hold Kids' Fest, a free family event, from noon to 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the Minnetonka Community Center and Ice Arena and the Williston Fitness Center. The event will include dog-sled rides, bingo with prizes, magic shows, face painting, ice sculpture demonstrations, s'mores by the fire, crafts, entertainment, open swimming, open batting cages, open skating and more. For a complete schedule, go to www.eminnetonka.com.