The Burnsville Police Department will have extra squad cars patrolling the streets Thursday to raise awareness and educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. Most people think of texting and driving when they think about distracted driving, but it actually includes any activity — eating, playing with the radio, applying makeup — that takes a driver’s attention off the road.

Minnesota law says no driver can use a wireless device to write, read or send a message while driving or while stopped at a stop sign or stop light.


Nominations sought for lighting contest

Burnsville residents have until Friday to nominate single-family homes, neighborhoods and apartment, condo or townhouse complexes in the city’s fourth annual winter lighting contest.

The nominations will be reviewed by the Burnsville Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the top three entries in each category will receive prizes.

To qualify, nominees must be within the Burnsville city limits and be visible from the street. A nominee can win first prize for only three consecutive years. To make nominations, you must be 21 or older, complete a nomination form and include a photo.

Winners will be announced at the Dec. 22 City Council meeting. For more information, call 952-895-4690.



Remembrance tree honors loved ones

The tree in the courtyard of Northfield Hospital has been dubbed the “Tree of Remembrance,” and the public can sponsor a single light for $10 or a string of lights for $100 to remember a loved one who has died.

All the money raised goes to the Northfield Hospice.

A lighting ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the hospital at 2000 North Av. Refreshments will be served. Music will be provided by the Northfield Youth Choir. RSVPs are encouraged; call 1-507-646-1457.

To arrange a light or string of lights, call Sara Lippert at the same number or e-mail her at



Kids can shop for holiday gifts Saturday

The second annual Secret Holiday Shop will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 at the West St. Paul City Hall, 1616 Humboldt Av.

Children of all ages are invited to enter the “no parents” zone to shop for gifts for family members and friends. Volunteers will help the younger shoppers. Presents will be wrapped and labeled.

Parents should create a shopping list and budget for their child. Tickets are 50 cents apiece, and gifts range from 50 cents to $12. There will be jewelry, coffee mugs, specialized gifts for grandparents and aunts and uncles, stuffed animals, knickknacks, toys and other items.

To volunteer at the Holiday Shop, call 651-552-4150.



Boots, mittens sought for students in need

New boots, snow pants, waterproof mittens and gloves, hats and warm socks are needed for Prior Lake’s Tree of Warmth. Items should be dropped off by Friday at the Prior Lake Chamber of Commerce, Prior Lake City Hall, Prior Lake-Savage District Services Center or the UPS Store. All donated items will go to students in need in the Prior Lake-Savage area schools.



Help wanted for New Year’s Eve party

Volunteers are needed for Dakota County Parks’ annual New Year’s Eve party from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 31 at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan.

The Parks Department needs help lighting luminarias from 1 to 4 p.m. From 3:30 to 8:30 p.m., volunteers are needed to tend bonfires, help with registration, patrol trails, help fitting snowshoes and other tasks.

Volunteers must be 16 or older or supervised by an adult if age 15 or younger. Free admission and a hot meal will be provided for the volunteers. For more information or to sign up, go to and click on Volunteering.

Cross-country ski passes on sale now

Skiers age 18 and older need a daily or a season pass to use cross-country ski and ski-skate trails in Dakota County parks.

A season pass costs $20; a daily pass is $5. Passes can be bought online at, at the Lebanon Hills Visitor Center or the Western Service Center, 14955 Galaxie Av. in Apple Valley, during regular business hours. To buy by phone, call 952-891-7000.

A pass is not required for the Lone Rock Trail in UMore Park.

Money generated by the passes helps with grooming and maintenance of the ski trails.

The county’s Parks and Recreation Department added that the Minnesota Ski Pass is a separate program and is not required or accepted on Dakota County trails.