'Adopt-a-Family' aims to spread holiday cheer

There is still time to participate in Anoka County's Adopt-A-Family and Giving Tree programs, which aim to help people in need during the holiday season. Public health nurses and social workers identify people most in need and work with them to create a wish list of items.

If you'd like to participate in Adopt-A-Family, call 763-422-7089 or e-mail and indicate what size family you'd like to help.

To help with the Giving Tree program, for individuals not connected to a family, call 763-422-7248 or e-mail The county will e-mail you the wish list and ask you to return gifts by Friday, Dec. 13.

Civil War Christmas gets a look on Thursday

Costumed interpreter Vickie Wendel will discuss holiday traditions of the 1860s during a program titled "Civil War Christmas" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Anoka County History Center, 2135 3rd Av. N., Anoka. The Anoka County Historical Society presentation is free. For further information, call 763-421-0600 or go to

Columbia Heights

'Christmas Vacation' a library fundraiser

The Columbia Heights Public Library is hosting a fundraiser on Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Historic Heights Theater, 3951 Central Av. NE, with a showing of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." The theater's organist will play at 1 p.m. and the movie will follow at 1:30.

Proceeds will go to the Library Foundation's Capital Campaign toward building a new library.

Tickets, $10 each, are available in advance from: Northeast Bank, Columbia Heights City Hall and Public Safety Building, Johnson's Bacon & Egg Café on 40th Ave., and from Cliff Shedlov (612-251-9557) and Marlaine Szurek (763-788-4506). Tickets are also available at the door.

City creates public arts commission

Columbia Heights is accepting applications for the city's newly created Public Arts Commission.

The commission will consist of five to seven members and will serve as an advisory board to the City Council.

The mayor will appoint commission members. The majority of commission members must be residents of Columbia Heights in any given year. Interested candidates should contact the city clerk at 763-706-3611 to fill out an application.

Coon Rapids

Residents can enter holiday lights contest

Residents have until Dec. 11 to enter the Coon Rapids Arts Commission Holiday Lighting Contest.

Lighting displays may be entered in four categories. Members of the Arts Commission will judge entrants between Dec. 14-16.

Winners in each category will receive a $50 cash prize. The Arts Commission may also award a $100 grand prize to an eligible entry. Go to


History society marks 'Christmas in the '50s'

"Christmas in the 1950s," an exhibit featuring hundreds of items from that era, is on display at the Fridley History Center, 611 Mississippi St. NE., Fridley. The History Center is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays. The exhibit will continue through Saturday, Dec. 14, and Tuesday, Dec. 17. Admission is free.


Learn ways to prevent teenage drug abuse

An informational session on preventing teen drug abuse will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 7401 County Road 101 in Maple Grove. The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and Partnership for Change will provide informational speakers, and the Scheig family of Maple Grove, which recently lost its son to a drug overdose, will share its story.


Holiday singalong at music school

The Camden Music School will hold its annual holiday singalong, craft and bake sale at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the school's Camden location: Luther Memorial Church, 3751 Sheridan Av. N. in Minneapolis.

Proceeds from the craft and bake sale will go to the CMS Scholarship Fund.

Registration for spring term classes starts on Wednesday, Dec. 4. The term runs from Feb. 3 through June 7.

Classes are available for people of all ages, abilities and experience levels. The school offers vocal and instrumental lessons, early childhood music classes (newborn to age 8), choir, music theory and more.

The school has two locations: the one in the Camden neighborhood (3751 Sheridan Av. N.) and one in northeast Minneapolis (Grace Center for Community Life, 1500 6th St. NE). For further information, call 612-618-0219 or go to

New Hope

City opts for mix of homes, townhouses

The New Hope City Council has chosen Centra Homes as the preferred developer for the former Winnetka Learning Center site.

Two developers, Centra Homes and Pulte Homes, had presented redevelopment proposals to the City Council.

On Nov. 25, the council chose Centra, whose concept plan includes 34 single-family homes with an average sale price of $315,000, and 27 detached townhouses, with an average sale price of $250,000.

Centra also included two ponds to handle groundwater runoff from the site and a central green in the townhouse area.

The city of New Hope finalized the purchase of the nearly 17-acre Learning Center site at 7940 55th Avenue N on Nov. 6. Centra Homes has offered to purchase the property from the city for $1 million. The City Council directed the city attorney to prepare a purchase agreement for the property.


Prostate cancer group will meet Dec. 4

A prostate cancer support group will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at North Memorial Medical Center, 3300 Oakdale Av. N., ­Robbinsdale.

Members will review topics covered during the past year and discuss ideas for future sessions. Wives and friends are welcome. There is no charge. For more, call 612-388-3588.

Staff reports