Commissioner Erhart will lead rail authority

Anoka County Commissioner Dan Erhart, a strong proponent of rail travel in Minnesota for nearly two decades, has been named chairman of the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority.

Among the initiatives the rail authority is helping to develop are the Northstar commuter line, from Minneapolis to Big Lake, and the proposed Northern Lights Express, a passenger line that would run form Minneapolis to Duluth.

Earlier this month, Erhart also was named chairman of the county's Finance and Capital Improvements and Intergovernmental and Community Relations Committees.

In other appointments made on the County Board:

• Commissioner Dick Lang was named chairman of the Anoka County Parks and Recreation Committee. Lang also will chair the county's Wetlands Review and Fairgrounds Advisory Committees and serve as liaison to the Anoka County Historical Society.

• Commissioner Scott LeDoux was recently named chairman of the county's Public Safety and Airport Committees. LeDoux also will serve on the Regional Crime Laboratory, Finance and Capital Improvements, Parks and Recreation, Management, Intergovernmental and Community Relations and Public Works Committees.

• Commissioner Robyn West was named vice chairwoman of the Anoka County Airport Committee. She will also serve on the Human Services, Informational Services, Minnesota Extension and Sexual Assault Committees, and the Joint Law Enforcement Council and Community Corrections Advisory Board.


Five residents to join society's Hall of Fame

The Brooklyn Historical Society will honor five prominent residents as Hall of Fame members at its annual meeting Saturday.

Brooklyn Center will add Leone Howe and Earl Simons to its Hall of Fame, while Brooklyn Park is inducting Dennis Palm, Lloyd Collings and his wife, Barbara Lord-Collings. The Historical Society covers both cities.

Leone Howe, an artist, author, historian and preservationist, has spent thousands of hours volunteering for community and church groups.

Earl Simons has been active for 50 years in Brooklyn Center as a businessman and former council member and city clerk. His focus now is encouraging responsible citizens to seek public office and working with civic groups.

Brooklyn Park is honoring the Collingses' 35 years of work teaching and showcasing the arts through the Collings School of Fine Arts and their theater groups, the Collings Melodrama Theatre and Palmer Lake Children's Theatre. The couple volunteer for artistic, civic and church organizations.

Dennis Palm was a parks and recreation director for Brooklyn Park who developed many parks with the idea that every home should have a park within walking distance. He helped secure funds for the Eidem Historical Farm, was instrumental in getting bonding passed for the Community Activity Center, and formed the volunteer athletic associations that run today's youth sports programs.

The public is invited to the society's meeting, beginning at 10 a.m., at the Brooklyn Park City Hall Council Chambers, 5200 85th Av. N. Refreshments will be served.


Winter fun for kids

Three Rivers Park District has a wide range of wintertime events underway at its parks and facilities in the west metro. Coming up on Jan. 28 is Kits & Cubs: Snowshoes & Flakes for youngsters ages 4 and 5.

The program will be held from 10 a.m.-noon at Eastman Nature Center at the Elm Creek Park Reserve in Dayton. Drop off your kids for a snowshoe adventure in the woods creating snow sculptures and snow angels and catching snowflakes on the tongue. They'll warm up afterward with cocoa, a treat and a story. $7. Reservations required. Call 763-559-6700.

For more information on dozens of other events, go to


Century jazz festival

Century College will host its 20th annual jazz festival this weekend in the West Campus Theatre. Featured guest is jazz trumpeter Bob Summers, who will perform with the 17-piece Century Jazz Ensemble Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday 3 p.m.

Summers has performed with Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson and Count Basie.

Complimentary wine, cheese and dessert will precede the concerts. Tickets are $20 for the general public, $10 for students. For more information, call 651-779-3942.