What do you want in a community center?

Residents are invited to a series of focus groups that will discuss the possibility of a community center in Ramsey. While a community center has not been approved by the city, officials want to gather information about what residents would like to see in a center if one were built. The first focus groups will be today from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Alexander Ramsey room of the Ramsey Municipal Center, 7550 NW. Sunwood Drive, and 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday. The meetings will continue until the end of August.

Members might then create a task force to advise the City Council if it continues to consider a community center. City officials said they are talking with private developers who might make good partners for the project. If you cannot attend the meetings, you can submit comments to Tim Gladhill at 763-576-4308 or tgladhill@ci.ramsey.mn.us.


Survey finds young people want activities

A year after the start of the Youth Opportunities Coalition, the organization has completed a survey of local youth and planned several community events. In a report presented to the City Council last week, members of the coalition gave details of the youth survey that was conducted between March and May.

About 1,000 young people were interviewed about their involvement in community programs and what they want out of Brooklyn Park. Of those surveyed, 75.1 percent said they are not participating in a youth program. When asked why, 43.1 percent said they "don't know what's available." The activities they said they were most likely to participate in were playing organized sports, attending live music performances and dances, watching sports, and hanging out at a coffee shop or cafe run by and for youth.

A similar survey is planned for youth in Brooklyn Center and with local businesses. In the past year, other groups have developed, with help from Hennepin County and Brooklyn Center, as offshoots of the Youth Opportunities Coalition, including the Community Youth Action Crew and a teen advisory board to the city's parks and recreation staff.


Cities' odd-smelling water is safe to drink

Tap water in Crystal, Golden Valley and New Hope has had an odd taste and smell in the past few weeks, but state officials said the water is safe to drink. Summer weather can sometimes cause changes in odor or taste of surface water.

The Minnesota Department of Health conducted tests on the water, which the cities purchase from Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Water Works changed its water treatment process after discovering the problem, but about 30 million gallons had already been delivered to Crystal, Golden Valley and New Hope. The water could be replaced as soon as this week.


Meetings to address safety on Hwy. 65

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will host two public meetings in Blaine next week to share information and field questions about the closure of several median crossovers along Hwy. 65. The intersections, at 97th, 101st and 113th avenues, have not been regulated with signal systems, and have been the site of many traffic accidents. The first meeting, from 1 to 3 p.m. July 23, will address business concerns; the second, from 5 to 7 p.m., is meant to address residents' concerns.

Both meetings will be at Blaine City Hall, 10801 NE. Town Square Drive. People who need disability-related accommodations should call MnDOT's Kent Barnard at 651-234-7504. For more information about the Hwy. 65 corridor project, visit www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/th65/.


Safety camp coming up

The cities of Spring Lake Park, Mounds View and New Brighton are accepting applications for their annual safety camp, Aug. 13-14 at Lakeside Lions Park in Spring Lake Park. Children in grades 3 and 4 can learn self-defense, bike safety, swimming safety, first aid and more at the full-day camp.

Registration is $25, which includes lunch, snacks, a bike helmet, T-shirt and awards barbecue. Registration ends Aug. 1, but the program may fill up sooner. For information or to register, call 763-792-7201.

LORA PABST AND Maria Elena Baca.