Renovation work is scheduled to wrap up this week at the Coon Rapids Civic Center, which since last month has been getting a city-funded $242,000 face-lift.

The upgrades for the 20-year-old facility include new ceiling tiles, dividing walls and wallpaper, floors and carpet, as well as new audiovisual systems.

During the remodel, some activities typically held at the Civic Center have been moved to other locations across town, including the Coon Rapids Ice Center.

But they will resume at the Civic Center starting Dec. 10, said Kris Niebler, the center’s program specialist.

A list of temporary meeting places can be found online at ​ Bingo games and senior dining have been canceled to accommodate the construction work.

Since the Civic Center opened in 1996, it has hosted events ranging from weddings to graduation parties to Boy Scout meetings. It doubles as a senior center on weekdays.

“It’s a very busy place and experiences a lot of wear and tear,” Niebler said. “It was time to give it a fresh, new look.”

Hannah Covington


Novack named public works superintendent

Arden Hills officials have named Ken Novack public works superintendent.

Novack of Lindstrom has worked in several east metro cities, most recently Vadnais Heights. He was introduced last week to the City Council.

Novack’s résumé includes public works jobs for three years in Chisago City and nine years in Woodbury. He started as a custodian for the St. Paul Public Schools and then moved to the St. Paul city water utility.



Next ‘Conversations’ on nature photography

Conversations of the Valley, a public affairs luncheon series sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Foundation, will bring in a speaker next month who will discuss therapeutic nature photography.

Ben Thwaits leads a program for teens struggling with severe mental health challenges at Northwest Passage, a nonprofit mental health treatment organization in Webster, Wis.

In an effort to “redefine the potential of our most marginalized young people,” the students have been diving under the surface of the St. Croix River, cameras in hand, to capture its unseen beauty.

The $17 lunch and talk will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at the Lowell Inn Event Center, 102 N. 2nd St., Stillwater.

To register, send a check to the foundation at 516 2nd St., Suite 214, Hudson, WI 54016, or go online at


Washington County

Basic needs items requested for foster kids

Several agencies and organizations — EVOLVE Adoption & Family Services, Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, Ostrowski Insurance Agency and Minnesota Central School Bus — are joining forces to collect basic items for youth in foster care.

Until Dec. 12, bus drivers will collect items such as sheets, blankets, pajamas and sweatshirts to help youth in difficult transitions, including emergencies.

The campaign will culminate with a Foster Care Holiday Drive to be held during the Greater Stillwater Area Chamber of Commerce holiday mixer on Dec. 13 at the Lake Elmo Inn Event Center.

Donations also can be made through or by calling 651-439-2446.

Kevin Giles


Council seeking new member to appoint

The Newport City Council is searching for candidates to fill a council vacancy.

The council is accepting applications from residents interested in replacing Newport’s new mayor, Dan Lund, on the City Council.

The council will appoint someone to fill his unexpired council term from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018. Interviews will start in January.

Interested residents should submit a letter to the City Council expressing their reasons for wanting to serve and their qualifications for the position. Letters can be mailed or dropped off by Dec. 19 at City Hall, 596 7th Av.

An open house will be held Wednesday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at City Hall to recognize outgoing Mayor Tim Geraghty and Council Member Tom Ingemann.

Kevin Giles