St. Croix Prep fete

St. Croix Preparatory Academy will host a public celebration from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday on the grounds of the charter school's future home. The rain date is Sept. 7.

The new school, expected to open in September 2009, will be located on 58 acres along Stagecoach Trail North and will include science labs, ball fields and playgrounds. It also will have space for a high school band and other music programs. Currently, the K-12 school operates out of rented buildings in Stillwater.

State school officials and local civic and business leaders are expected to attend the community celebration. Parking at the site is limited, and shuttle buses will be running throughout the afternoon from the Lower School building, 14781 59th St. N. in Oak Park Heights.

St. Croix Prep was founded in 2004 and serves 700 students. Its focus is on providing a rigorous, classical liberal arts curriculum with special emphasis on character and leadership.

For event information, go to or call 651-379-6160.



County budget review

The Washington County Board of Commissioners will hold an open house at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday on the proposed 2009 county budget and preliminary tax levy.

The open house will be in the board room at the Washington County Government Center, 14949 62nd Street N.

The proposed $169.8 million budget includes a 4.9 percent increase in property taxes. The county board will adopt a final budget in December.


Party for the arts

The Art of a Champion will be featured at a gala opening Saturday at Gallery 310. Proceeds from the event, which will be co-hosted by ArtReach Alliance, will go toward visual arts programs in the Stillwater area. The exhibit will feature portraits of Muhammad Ali by nationally known artist Patrick Johnson. Tickets to the gala are $25 and will include hors d'oeuvres, wine and music. The exhibit will run through Oct. 8.


Music in the park

The seventh annual Bluegrass Festival at Lake Elmo Park Reserve will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

The free festival, hosted by Washington County's Parks division, features performances by four regional bluegrass bands: Sans Souci Quartet, Sawtooth Bluegrass Band, Charlie Parr with the Black Twig Pickers and Nuvo Buffalo.

The Lake Elmo Park Reserve is located about a mile north of Interstate 94, on County Road 19. A $5 parking permit is required.

For more information, go to or call 651-430-8370.



Getting ready for fall

Fall maintenance projects, including hydrant flushing, are scheduled to begin in city neighborhoods this month. Street sweeping is expected to begin Monday, weather permitting.

The city asks that vehicles and items such as portable basketball hoops be moved from the streets. Residents also are asked to sweep or shovel excess gravel and sand from their boulevards into the street gutter before the sweeping, which will last about five days between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Sand that is removed from city streets is screened and recycled for use during the winter season, the city said.



A call for library tutors

The St. Paul Public Library is looking for volunteers to help students in two programs.

Read With Me is a free program that matches volunteers with children in the first through third grades who could use a little extra help with reading. Volunteers are needed for one hour per week between 4 and 7 p.m. on weekdays, as well as on weekends.

For more information, call 651-266-7437 or e-mail molly

Library homework centers also need volunteers to help tutor students of all ages after school. The five branches looking for help are Dayton's Bluff, Rice Street, Riverview, Rondo and Sun Ray. Volunteers will need to commit to two hours per week for a minimum of four months.

For more information, call 651-266-7433 or e-mail beth



Candidates forum

Mayoral and City Council candidates from Cottage Grove and Newport will appear at a candidate forum breakfast Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 7 a.m. at Tinucci's, 396 21st St. in Newport.

Reservations will be accepted until noon Thursday by contacting the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 16, Cottage Grove, MN 55016, or by phone at 651-458-8334.



Recreational recycling

Empty plastic bottles and soda cans now have their own special places in Ramsey County recreation areas.

More than 300 recycling bins will be placed in county parks, beaches, ice arenas and locker rooms by the end of the year.

The outdoor containers are made by a Minnesota company that buys plastic bottles from Ramsey County recycling programs.