The St. Croix River Association will host a rail tour through the St. Croix Valley’s fall colors on Oct. 8 to raise money for river protection and restoration. The two-hour event will take place on the St. Croix Valley Railway, traveling from Osceola, Wis., to Marine on St. Croix in Washington County. The event will offer box dinners and children’s activities with a National Park Service ranger. River Friends Ride the Rails will cost $35 for adults and $20 for youth ages 3-12. Other ticket options are available for anyone who doesn’t want to buy dinner. Boarding begins at 5 p.m. at 114 Depot Road, Osceola. Register by Oct.1 at

Kevin Giles

Washington County

Money requested for Red Rock, Gold Line

Washington County will request $135,000 from the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) for work on the Red Rock Corridor, the transit line from downtown St. Paul to Hastings along the Hwy. 61 corridor, for station planning and ridership modeling. The county also asked for $1.35 million for the Gateway Corridor/Gold Line for environmental work, public engagement and station planning.

The county is a member of CTIB, as are Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin and Ramsey counties. Since April 2008, the counties have used a quarter-cent sales tax and a $20 motor vehicle sales tax, permitted by the Legislature, to award annual capital and operating grants for transit.

Washington County also will request grants of $600,000 from CTIB in 2015 for the Gold Line’s project development, and $5.4 million in 2016 for project development.

Kevin Giles

Anoka county

At Home to be anchor tenant

The city of Blaine has found a new anchor tenant for the Village of Blaine shopping district.

At Home, a big-box furniture and home décor chain, will open a Minnesota store in the north suburb. They’ll take over the now empty Wal-Mart site on Pheasant Ridge Road.

Wal-Mart moved its operations to a new larger building on Ball Road on Wednesday. When the move was announced, some residents feared that a shuttered big box would hurt the shopping district.

Built around 2001 on Blaine’s east side, the privately-owned Village is a hybrid design — part strip mall and part downtown design with a faux Main Street lined with shops. The district includes a Home Depot, Michaels and Cub Foods.

An architect for At Home said they will renovate the former Wal-Mart building this year. They plan to open the 105,000-square-foot store in the summer of 2016. The remaining 41,000-square-feet will be rented to another tenant.

“This will be a regional draw store,” said Bryan Schafer, Blaine’s community development director.

At Home, based in Plano, Texas, operates 81 stores in 21 states. The Blaine store is part of an aggressive rebranding and expansion.

Earlier this year, Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby also opened a store at Northtown Mall in Blaine. They also specialize in home and seasonal décor and arts and crafts.


Ramsey County

Retiring Arden Hills officials to be honored

Folks in Arden Hills are invited to say “goodbye” on Monday to two key city officials who are retiring Oct. 2.

The careers of Administrator Patrick Klaers and Public Works Director/City Engineer Terry Maurer will be acknowledged as part of the Sept. 28 City Council meeting.

The meeting is at 7 p.m., and refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m.

David Peterson

Shoreview looks for way to cut water use

Shoreview is seeking hundreds of volunteers for a “Know Your Flow” program aimed at helping reduce water use.

Through a grant, people in 400 single-family homes will get a free wireless meter reporting on water use much more often than the customary quarterly bills.

The idea is that infrequent billing tells residents little about when or why water was used, and that knowing that information could cut use.

Participants get biweekly meter readings available through a website, a mailing or e-mail, and tips to help increase conservation efforts.

To participate, or learn more, contact Neva Widner, natural resource specialist, at 651-490-4665.

David Peterson