ANOKA COUNTY

Polar Plunge is coming on Saturday

Anoka County's fourth annual Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for Special Olympics Minnesota, will be held Saturday, Feb. 28, at Crooked Lake in Coon Rapids.

Participants jump into the lake through a hole in the ice dug by the Anoka County Sheriff's Office Dive Team. They raise money by collecting pledges for the event. Each participant must raise a minimum of $75.

Last year, more than 700 people took the plunge and raised more than $156,000.

The plunge will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at the lake, 13180 Crooked Lake Blvd. NW. Check-in will be available at the plunge site on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For further information or to register, go to http://www.plungemn.org/events/anoka-county/ or call 763-754-4527.

'The Taste' will aid Cars for Neighbors

Cars for Neighbors, an Anoka County nonprofit, will hold its annual fundraiser, "The Taste," on Thursday, Feb. 26, at the National Sports Center in Blaine. It will run from 4:30 to 8 p.m. and feature food from more than 30 restaurants, as well as entertainment by Crooner, Gary LaRue and "The Chef."

Cars for Neighbors aims to help people become economically self-sufficient by providing donated cars and car repair to families to help them get to work and do other day-to-day activities. It has given away more than 900 vehicles.

Tickets for the Taste are $35 in advance and $45 at the door. For more information, call 763-717-7755 or go to carsforneighbors.org.

The Sports Center is at 1740 105th Av., Blaine.

Blaine

Home & garden show is set for Saturday

The 17th Annual North Metro Community Home and Garden Show will take place Saturday, Feb. 28, at the National Sports Center in Blaine. The show, which is free, will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the NSC's Sport Expo Center, 1740 105th Av. NE. It's sponsored by the cities of Blaine, Fridley and Mounds View.

A variety of exhibitors will be on hand, and seminars and other activities are scheduled. Staff members from the sponsor cities also will be present to answer questions about housing, development and city planning.

Columbia Heights

March 11 will be bluegrass night

Wednesday, March 11, will be the time and Murzyn Hall will be the place for "Bluegrass Comes to Columbia Heights." The evening will be headlined by the Roe Family Singers, a self-described "good-time, old-time hillbilly band from the Mississippi-headwaters community of Kirkwood Hills, MN."

Joe and Sherri Macko and Vanessa Bray also will perform. In addition to the music, there will be an amateur clog dancing contest.

Admission is free, with a goodwill offering requested.

Fridley

Workshop at Unity aims to prevent falls

Stepping On, a falls-prevention program, will be offered this spring at Unity Hospital in Fridley. The seven-week program will begin on Monday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to noon and continue at the same time each Monday through May 18.

The workshop is for independent, older adults who have a history of falls, are at risk of falls, or have a fear of falls. It will help participants identify why they fall, as well as ways to prevent falls, such as strength and balance exercises, home safety check suggestions, and a medication review. Participants will also be introduced to a display of falls prevention products.

The cost of the series is $10. For more information, or to register, call 763-236-3646.

The program will also be offered on Mondays from June 15 to July 27 and from Sept. 14 through Oct. 26. Those workshops will also be from 10 a.m. to noon at Unity.

Ramsey

A new requirement

Starting in March, Ramsey will require massage therapists and businesses to be licensed.

The City Council had explored such a move since last year, after reports of illegal activity at some massage facilities in the area in recent years.

The council approved an ordinance last month that would charge upfront fees and annual fees.

Minnesota is one of only five states in the country without a state agency overseeing this industry, according to the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals organization.

Robbinsdale Schools

Chess tournament has special guest

When the Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School wraps up its annual chess tournament on Saturday, trophy winners will get their awards from one of the best players in the world: Grand Master Wesley So. On top of that, they'll get a chance to play So the following week.

– and trophies will go to the top five players in each. So will return to the school the following week to play the trophy winners in simultaneous games while blindfolded.

It's almost time to fill 'Empty Bowls'

Empty Bowls, a fundraising event to combat hunger, will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, at Sandburg Learning Center, 2400 Sandburg Lane, Golden Valley.

Ceramic bowls, handmade by individuals, schools and other organizations, will be available at the event. A freewill donation will buy one of the bowls and a serving of bread and soup. Proceeds aid PRISM and NEAR, two area food shelves. Last year, Empty Bowls raised $13,900.

KAREN ZAMORA, JIM KERN