Commuter buses will continue operating between Forest Lake and downtown St. Paul at no additional cost to riders.
The Rush Line Corridor Task Force has approved a second year of service, which began in October 2010 as a one-year pilot project to help relieve traffic congestion on Interstate 35E leading into St. Paul.
Buses offer express commuter bus service between Forest Lake and downtown St. Paul, stopping in Columbus and White Bear Lake along the route.
Last week, the Chisago County Board joined Ramsey, Anoka and Washington counties in formally approving the service extension.
Through May, ridership grew about 65 percent, said Josh Collins, a spokesman for Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority.
A second year of service is possible without additional funding because First Transit's bid for coach service fell below estimated costs, Collins said.
"Our riders have come to depend on this service and want to see additional transit options in this congested corridor," said Victoria Reinhardt, Ramsey County commissioner and chair of the Rush Line Corridor Task Force.
Park office will open on lumber-era landA Greek Revival mansion from Stillwater's lumber baron era will function as a visitor information center for the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway during October.
National Park Service rangers and volunteers will staff the Arcola Mills site in an experimental effort to draw people to the historic property along the St. Croix River.
The Mower/VanMeier House was built in 1847 at the start of the lumbering era, when Stillwater had several large sawmills. In addition to enjoying great river views at the height of fall color, visitors will be able to see a film about the Riverway and view exhibits about logging and the history of Arcola Mills.
Arcola Mills will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Friday and continuing through Oct. 30. Admission will be free.
"Arcola is the most important historic site within the boundary of the National Scenic Riverway," said park superintendent Chris Stein, whose Park Service headquarters are farther north at St. Croix Falls, Wis.
Arcola Mills is six miles north of Stillwater on Hwy. 95. For additional information, call 651-439-1653 or visit arcolamills.org.
Lakeview is awarded patient safety awardLakeview Hospital has won a Patient Safety Excellence Award from the Minnesota Hospital Association.
The hospital was recognized for its participation in the association's Safe Account campaign and for meeting 90 percent of its benchmarks.
The Safe Account is a statewide campaign focusing on counting and accounting for surgical items used in the operating room in an effort to prevent them from being unintentionally left behind in patients.
Lakeview was one of six hospitals to win the awards announced earlier this month. The others were Buffalo Hospital in Buffalo, Children's Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, and Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, Minn.
License information for day care providersWashington County Community Services is planning orientation sessions for residents who are interested in becoming licensed day-care providers.
The free sessions will cover information on the county's child-care program and requirements for obtaining a license. Attendance at a session is required to obtain a license.
The sessions will be offered from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday and from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 21 in room 436 of the Washington County Government Center, 14949 N. 62nd St. For information, call 651-430-6539.
Library hosts intro to Internet for seniorsSeniors who want to learn how to use the Internet can take a Senior Surf Day class from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Stillwater Public Library, 223 N. 4th St.
The session, offered in conjunction with the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging, will cover such topics as how to type in a web address and search for information, how to navigate between web pages, and how to determine if a website is safe. The class also will highlight websites of interest to seniors.
Senior Surf Day also will be offered on Nov. 3. Call 651-275-4338, ext. 111, to register.
Church celebrates rain garden completionFirst Presbyterian Church of Stillwater held a ribbon-cutting on Sept. 9 to celebrate its new rain garden.
The garden was paid for with donations and fundraisers, and was added to beautify the church's parking lot and add a natural and spiritual dimension to the church's Peace Garden and Prayer Labyrinth.
The gardens, at 6201 Osgood Av. N., are open to the public.
Fire department plans open houseResidents can tour the fire hall, meet firefighters and inspect firetrucks and equipment during the Hugo Fire Department's annual open house on Oct. 8.
Admission is free for the event, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The open house is being held as part of Fire Prevention Week.
In addition, the city is looking for firefighter applicants who must commit to 300 hours of training. Firefighters are paid an hourly wage when responding to calls. For more information, go to www.startribune.com/a684.
In a related matter, public works crews will begin flushing Hugo's 630 fire hydrants over a two-week period beginning Oct. 3.
Groundbreaking set for new city buildingA groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cottage Grove Public Safety/City Hall building will be held at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the intersection of 85th Street and County Road 19.
The building will replace facilities that the city has said are outdated.
The City Council set a $17 million project budget in July 2010.
Parking will be limited at the groundbreaking site, city officials said. Contact Ken Smith at the City of Cottage Grove at 651-458-2882 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
KEVIN GILES, TIM HARLOW