Cottage Grove recently honored four citizens who helped save the life of a referee at a basketball game last fall.

The City Council this month gave a Citizen Life Saving Award to four people who stepped in on Oct. 23 when referee Thomas Lyle collapsed during a Park High School game. He did not have a pulse and was not breathing.

Karin Mae Herder, Ed Cassidy, Patrick Zittel and Steve Smalley jumped to his aid, performing CPR and using an automated external defibrillator, a portable electronic device.

“A lot of times, we talk about how people these days do not want to get involved, [but] all of you did get involved and the fact is, you saved somebody’s life,” Mayor Myron Bailey told the award recipients.

David Peterson

St. Croix Valley

‘Maltese Falcon’ to be this year’s Big Read

Copies of “The Maltese Falcon,” by Dashiell Hammett, will turn up in coffee shops, Little Free Libraries and other locations in the lower St. Croix Valley this month so folks can join in a “Big Read” and discuss Hammett’s classic detective novel.

The nonprofit group ArtReach St. Croix is asking valley residents to read the book and then leave it in a public place, return it to ArtReach or keep it. Libraries have the book along with book club kits. Some bookstores are offering discounted prices.

Programs will start in April and include a scheduled talk by Julie Rivett, Hammett’s granddaughter and a literary scholar. Book discussions will take place across the area, with dates and times posted on

ArtReach is one of 77 organizations nationwide given grants to host the program by the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest.

David Peterson

Columbia Heights

City considers creating communications job

Columbia Heights officials are weighing whether to create a new position to help manage the city’s website, social media pages and newsletter, among other communications tasks.

At a work session earlier this month, city staffers discussed forming a new communications specialist position, with preliminary plans to hire someone later this year.

The new hire would be responsible for keeping the city’s website and social media postings up to date, as well as acting as a media liaison, said Mayor Donna Schmitt. The city is moving forward with drafting a job description and determining a salary, which will be reviewed by the City Council.

The hope, Schmitt said, is to make the job a full-time position.

Hannah Covington


Mayor to deliver State of the City address at 1:30 p.m. Sunday

Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens on Sunday will deliver her annual State of the City address, part of Woodbury’s celebration of its 50th anniversary as a city.

Stephens will deliver the address at 1:30 p.m. at Woodbury Central Park, 8595 Central Park Place. The event will include birthday treats and performances by choirs from Woodbury High School and Crosswinds School of Arts and Science.

David Peterson