The Rush Line transit experiment, offering bus service between the Twin Cities and Forest Lake, will continue for another year.

Ridership on the bus line has grown more than 50 percent since it began, Ann Pung-Terwedo, transportation senior planner, told the Washington County Board last week. The Rush Line Corridor Commission would like to continue the demonstration project through October 2012 to grow it further.

The board voted 5-0 to join with Anoka, Chisago and Ramsey counties to continue funding.

Original bids by First Transit to provide the service came in at less than half what had been estimated, Pung-Terwedo said. So the money to extend the service will come from $61,000 in leftover funds that were first committed to the project from sales taxes collected for the Counties Transit Improvement Board. Fares and federal funds also defray costs.

The line makes four trips down Interstate 35E daily during morning and evening rush hours, with stops at White Bear and Columbus townships before reaching Union Depot in St. Paul.

Plans are in the works to add park-and-ride lots at Hugo and County Road E in White Bear Lake, she said.


County strikes a deal on used plow truck

When Clay County lost three snowplow trucks in a Highway Department shop fire last year, it was a financial blow for the rural northwestern Minnesota community. Washington County was able to help.

The County Board last week voted 5-0 to sell Clay County one of its old snowplow trucks that was ready to be traded in on a new one but still had some plowing life left. The 11-year-old truck with 100,413 miles on it was sold for a fair-market value price of just less than $41,000, with no warranty.

Such sales are allowed by state law, said Don Theisen, county public works director, and the deal is mutually beneficial to taxpayers in each county.

Judge honored for outstanding service

Washington County District Judge Ellen Maas has been named Trial Judge of the Year by the Minnesota chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Maas was honored for "outstanding service and dedication in elevating the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy for all."

ABOTA President Chris Messerly said that Maas was recognized in part for presiding over a highly publicized and controversial trial involving a crash at a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway crossing.

"It was a highly contentious case involving many lawyers and a lengthy trial. Judge Maas had been presented with many motions which would have required a fleet of law clerks to research and analyze to reach just decisions," Messerly said. "However, due to budget cuts, Judge Maas had no law clerk. She worked tirelessly on the motions and throughout the trial to hear all of the parties out and reach the proper decisions."

Maas was appointed to the bench in 1995 by Gov. Arne Carlson. She was elected in 1996 and re-elected in 2002 and 2008.


Courage Center seeks boat donations

The Courage Center in Golden Valley is looking for boat owners willing to donate their water-worthy vessels to help raise money for the nonprofit center.

The Bayport Marina will host a "flotation donation" event from 9 a.m.-noon Sept. 10 at its parking lot at 200 Fifth Av. in Bayport.

Cars for Courage, Courage Center's vehicle donation program, is running the event, and WCCO radio personalities will be on location promoting it. Cars for Courage also accepts cars, trucks, personal watercraft, ATVs, motorcycles and any other "motor" of value.

The Courage Center, at 3915 Golden Valley Road in Golden Valley, is a rehabilitation and resource center for people with disabilities, including brain or spinal cord injuries, stroke, chronic pain and autism.

For information, call 763-520-0540 or e-mail Or go to


Development chief quits after 3 months

After just three months on the job, the city's economic development director said she is leaving. Danette Parr submitted her letter of resignation to the Cottage Grove City Council earlier this month, and her last day was to have been Friday.

Parr stepped down so she could spend additional time with her family. She plans to work part time for the city of Prior Lake, where she had most recently worked prior to coming to Cottage Grove.

Parr "performed well beyond expectations" during her tenure with the city, City Administrator Ryan Schroeder said.

Parr had been an assistant planner for the city of Inver Grove Heights and worked as an economic development planner in St. Paul and Eden Prairie before her work in Prior Lake and Cottage Grove.



Vintage 'base-ball' game returns for a sixth year

The Denmark Township Historical Society is sponsoring a vintage "base-ball" ballgame at 1 p.m. on Sept. 11 at the old town hall on 90th and Oakgreen.

The Denmark Demons will face the Washington County Historical Society-sponsored team, the St. Croix Base Ball Club, for the sixth time.

Team members play by 1860s rules in what was called a "gentleman's game." They wear vintage clothing and play without gloves, which were not introduced until 1875. There must be no bunting, leading off base, betting or swearing. Strikes are called only on a clean swing and miss. Foul tips do not count.