400 ash trees slated for removal
Crews are removing 400 ash trees at Ramsey County Parks and Recreation sites, including parks and golf courses, with the goal of preventing the spread of the invasive emerald ash borer.
The county is partnering with the nonprofit Tree Trust to plant 400 new trees of varying species, at no cost to the county. Trees will be removed at Battle Creek Regional Park, Beaver Lake County Park and Turtle Lake County Park.
The restoration project is part of the county's ash tree management plan, which includes a systemwide inventory and proposes to proactively remove or replace priority ash trees.
State grant helps pay for internet access
A state grant of nearly $80,000 will help Scandia chip away at a goal of connecting every home in the rural Washington County community with reliable, high-speed internet service.
The Border-to-Border Broadband Development grant from the Department of Employment and Economic Development was one of 39 awarded statewide this year in a total round of funding worth $20.6 million, according to the office of Gov. Tim Walz.
The grant will help cover a portion of the expected cost of $434,144 for Midcontinent Communications to connect 78 homes and one business. Scandia created an Internet Action Committee in 2019 with the goal of connecting all homes by 2024 for the lowest possible cost, in part by leveraging state and federal grants.
Library system adds lockers, pickup hours
Things just got more convenient for those who use Anoka County libraries.
The library system recently added lockers at the Northtown, Johnsville, St. Francis and Mississippi branches to give patrons a contactless way to pick up books and other materials.
Starting this week, patrons will have access to the lockers from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, including holidays, allowing them to pick up requested items even when the four libraries are closed.
Anoka County also has lockers at its "On the Go" location at the YMCA community center in Andover, but they are available only when the facility is open.
"Removing barriers to access and shifting services to meet the needs of the community is at the heart of what we do," said Erin Straszewski, the library system's community engagement manager.
Special election scheduled for Feb. 9
The city of Ramsey will hold a special election Tuesday to fill a City Council seat vacated when a council member resigned over the summer.
Council Member Nadine Heinrich resigned July 14 with more than a year remaining in her four-year term, triggering a special election.
Heinrich represented Ramsey's First Ward. Vying for the open seat are Jane Covart, a small-business owner who has served on the Ramsey Environmental Policy Board since 2015, and Ryan Heineman, a Ramsey native and member of the U.S. Army Reserves.
Voters may cast absentee ballots by mail or in person at City Hall or the Anoka County Government Center.