Mary Ellen Vetter, a 94-year-old resident of Brooklyn Center, was included in AARP Minnesota and Pollen Midwest's 50 over 50 list for 2020 in honor of her volunteer work.

Vetter, who will turn 95 on Dec. 23, said the recognition was "totally unexpected."

"Communitywise, I've been active," she said. "For people who have lived here a long time, it's just the Brooklyns — there's no dividing line."

Fifty years ago, Vetter began volunteering with the Brooklyn Center conservation commission and helped spearhead the bluebird recovery program with the Minneapolis Audubon Society. She now serves on the Walter J. Breckenridge chapter of the Izaak Walton League and committees of the Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center in Sandstone, Minn.


Ramsey County

Panelists are sought for streetcar project

Ramsey County is forming two public advisory committees to help guide the development of the Riverview Modern Streetcar Project.

The streetcar project is a 12-mile planned transportation route connecting downtown St. Paul to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America.

The line is planned to run along portions of W. 7th Street.

Applications for the Community Advisory Committee and the Station Area Planning Task Force will be accepted through Dec. 15. These committees will serve for three years.

Applications may be submitted online at

Shannon Prather


Lake Park gets native grasses, wildflowers

Native prairie grasses and wildflowers will fill more than 2 acres of Burnsville's Lake Park, the first step in a city parks plan that aims to convert turf grass into more environmentally friendly landscaping.

In late November, Burnsville joined the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District and Xcel Energy to seed 2.3 acres of Lake Park, near Hwy. 13 and River Hills Drive, according to a release from the city.

Native plants increase pollinator habitat and reduce fertilizer runoff and greenhouse gas emissions from mowing equipment, the release said. The plantings also provide a new amenity for park visitors, who will be able to explore the habitat via a mowed trail.


Dakota County

County waives liquor license fees in 2021

The Dakota County Board has voted to waive annual liquor license fees in 2021 for bars, restaurants, golf courses and event venues as a way to help local businesses stay afloat during the pandemic, a county news release said.

The County Board was ready to approve liquor license applications last week from eight establishments when County Commissioner Mike Slavik proposed waiving the license fees, which cost $4,105.

The change applies only to establishments in townships, since the county is in charge of issuing those licenses.

Cities issue liquor licenses to businesses within their boundaries, though commissioners said several Dakota County cities may decide to waive fees, too.

Erin Adler