Forum will feature 7 school board hopefuls

The public is invited to a Columbia Heights school board candidate forum at 7 p.m. Monday at the District Center. It will feature candidates Hala Asamarai, Scott Bardell, Cahen Barret, Tenecia Kirk, Jennifer Laine, Naty Severson and Tim Utz. They are running in a special election to fill a vacancy created when board member Lori Meyer resigned because of a move out of the district. The primary is Dec. 1 and the special election will be Jan. 26.

Beena Raghavendran


Community food and toy drive coming up

Anoka County residents are invited to participate in a countywide holiday food and toy drive.

County license and passport centers will have bins for the donated goods. The food will go to local food shelves, the toys to the Toys for Tots program.

Toys are being accepted now through Dec. 18. The food drive is running through Nov. 24 at county license and passport centers in Ham Lake, Coon Rapids, Ramsey, Blaine and Columbia Heights.


County seeking senior volunteers

The Anoka County Retired, Senior and Volunteer Program (RSVP) is looking for volunteers age 55 or older to help local nonprofits or social services programs.

Stepping Stone Emergency Housing in Anoka needs instructors to lead fitness classes and donated meals, among other things. Family Promise is looking for people to bring a home-cooked meal or organize family game nights.

For more information, e-mail or call 763-422-7090.

Karen Zamora



New WIC offices offer help for moms, kids

Two new offices for new moms and kids opened last week in Ramsey County, one in St. Paul and the other in Maplewood.

The Ramsey County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program aims to improve services to pregnant and breast-feeding women, women who have recently given birth, infants and children through age 5.

The sites are near the intersection of Rice and Larpenteur in Maplewood, and Suburban Square, near the intersection of Interstate 94 and White Bear Avenue, in St. Paul.

Ramsey County WIC serves about 19,000 people a month from the five other sites.

WIC provides nutrition counseling, breast-feeding support, nutritious foods, and referrals to community programs.

More information is available at 651-266-1300, or at

Staff report



Guided bird hikes planned in parks

Guided bird hikes are planned in these Washington County parks in November and December:

• Big Marine Park Reserve from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Nov. 14, meet at the picnic shelter;

• Lake Elmo Park Reserve from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Dec. 12, meet in the Nordic Center Great Room.

Participants can learn how to identify birds that live in the St. Croix Valley and will contribute to citizen science data collection by completing bird count surveys with a guide.

Trail conditions will vary. Participants should bring binoculars. Hikes are free with a parks vehicle permit ($5/day or $25/annual). ADA accommodations can be made as needed. All minors must be accompanied by an adult. In case of light rain or snow, the program will continue as scheduled.

For further information, call 651-430-8370 or e-mail at

Kevin Giles



Help the city name four parks

Woodbury is looking for suggestions from the public this month in finding names for four parks. Suggestions are being taken through Nov. 25 for permanent names for four open areas, here given their informal names at City Hall:

• “Dale Road Open Space,” 110 acres off Dale Road, one-half mile east of Cottage Grove Drive.

• “Dale Woods,” 65 acres off Manning Avenue about a half mile south of Hudson Road.

• “Valley Creek Open Space,” 30 acres north of Valley Creek Road and west of Manning Avenue.

• “Stonemill Farms North Park,” about 100 acres located south of Valley Creek Road, east of Wildflower Lane, and north of Balsam Way.

Name ideas can be submitted online or dropped off at the Bielenberg Sports Center, at the indoor Central Park alongside the library, or at City Hall. To submit online, go to://

Participants must be at least 18 years old or have a signed parental consent. The full naming policy and other guidelines are on the city’s website,

Staff report