Burnsville’s Heart of the City will hold its 17th Winter Lighting Ceremony from 6 to 6:45 p.m. Wednesday at Nicollet Commons Park, 12600 Nicollet Av. S.

The display includes more than 200,000 mini-lights, 230 streetlight snowflakes and a 30-foot tree. Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit, and entertainment will be provided by the Burnsville High School Freestyle Singers and the Sioux Trail Elementary Choir.

Hot beverages, cookies, candy canes and hot sandwiches will be free. LED snowflake pins will be available for sale. T

he Winter Lighting Ceremony is sponsored by the Burnsville Community Foundation, which is partnering this year with Thrivent Financial as a Toys for Tots drop spot.


Black Friday events at Lebanon Hills

Families looking for things to do on Black Friday that don’t involve shopping can find lots of outdoor activities at Lebanon Hills Regional Park. And it’s all free.

There’s a “moose hide-and-seek” game for children age 6 and younger. The goal is to find as many moose as possible inside the visitor center and outside in the park. The game takes about 30 minutes and will be going from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Children of all ages and their families can do “moose geocaching.” Participants can bring their own GPS device or borrow one from the park to find hidden moose in the park. They can take a selfie with the moose and post it on Facebook with the hashtag #dakotacountyparks to be entered into a prize drawing.

Kids 12 and older can find moose by solving riddles that will be read aloud at the visitor center and posted on the Dakota County Parks Facebook page at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The game takes two to three hours. The winner will have their pick of prizes.

Prizes (all for four people) include seasonal cross-country ski passes; a rental cross-country ski package; a snowshoe rental package; admission to the New Year’s Eve party and admission to the Trails by Candlelight.

Reminder: Miesville Ravine Park Reserve closed for hunt

Miesville Ravine Park Reserve will be closed through Sunday, Nov. 29, for a controlled deer hunt to help Dakota County manage its deer population.

Holiday lights, cords can be recycled

Worn-out or unwanted holiday lights and cords can be dropped off at more than two dozen locations in Dakota, Goodhue and Wabasha counties this year. People with disabilities will collect the lights and cords for recycling and process them at ProAct’s Eagan and Red Wing facilities through January.

Organizers said they cannot accept cord adapters, battery packs, plastic rope lights or CFL lights.

In Dakota County, there are drop-off locations in Burnsville, Apple Valley, Eagan, Farmington, Hastings, Lakeville, Mendota Heights, Rosemount and Inver Grove Heights. For a complete list of locations, go to www.proactinc.org.


Turkey day: Run first, eat guilt-free later

More than 2,000 people are expected to run, jog or walk a 2K course or a, 8K course at the Gobble Gait in Hastings on Thanksgiving morning.

Race day registration starts at 7 a.m., with the 8K at 8:30 a.m., and the 2K immediately thereafter. Both start on 2nd Street in downtown Hastings. Registration through Tuesday costs $35 for the 8K, $10 for the 2K and $25 for the family 2K for 3 to 10 immediate family members. Starting Wednesday, the cost for the 8K goes to $40.

The race, which started in 1998, benefits Hastings Family Services.

A prerace packet pickup party will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Onion Grill, 100 Sibley St. in Hastings. The “Gobble Gait breakfast” will be from 7 to 11 a.m. Thursday at the Hastings American Legion.

For more information, go to www.gobblegait.com.


Searching for the emerald ash borer

The city is asking residents to examine their ash trees for signs of the emerald ash borer. The insect was discovered recently in Lebanon Hills Regional Park and is probably spreading throughout the city, according to a news release.

The top symptoms to look for include:

• Heavy woodpecker damage as the birds try to get at the larvae under the bark. Infestations often start at the top of trees, making the symptom easier to spot from the ground and during the winter.

• Signs of poor health such as crown dieback or suckering at the base of the tree.

• Vertical cracking in the bark that is not deep into or through the trunk.

• Visible emerald ash borers. The bugs are about a half-inch long and only emerge from under the bark in the spring and summer.

• D-shaped exit holes the insects make when they emerge. The hole is generally only an eighth of an inch, making it hard to spot.

If residents suspect their trees are infected, they are asked to call Apple Valley Natural Resources at 952-953-2461.


School board member is All-State

Shakopee school board member Mary Romansky has been named to the 2016 All-State school board, the Minnesota School Boards Association’s most prestigious award. She will be honored at the association’s leadership conference in January. She has served on the Shakopee school board since 1998.