Tour an old-school farming operation near Belle Plaine

The University of Minnesota's Extension Service invites you to a "small farm walk-n-talk" near Belle Plaine next week.

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30, rain or shine, participants will tour Seven Story Farm, run by Heidi Morlock and her family.

The farm features traditional pasture poultry and pork and grazing cattle and sheep, as well as decorative plantings and a vegetable garden. No registration is required.

It's located at 22285 Delaware Av. in Belle Plaine, near the intersection of County Road 59 and Delaware Avenue. Look for the wind generator.

To learn more, call 1-507-238-5449 or e-mail sacke032@umn.edu.

SCOTT COUNTY

How to find child care

There's now an online map of licensed child care providers in Scott County, allowing you to zip right to places near your home or commute.

You might be surprised just how crowded is the flock of stickpins in some residential areas.

County officials have put together a Web page that also offers these options:

• A referral network called Think Small -- 651-641-0305 -- that can point you to providers in Scott, Dakota and other counties.

• A state website that allows you to specify your own city.

• An association of family child care providers in Scott County.

The county recommends a call, "once you have narrowed down your search and have interviewed providers, [to] 952-445-7751 to ask to speak to someone in child care licensing to check on complaints on the providers."

Links to all the sites can be found at www.startribune.com/a1651.

SHAKOPEE

Transit station's grand opening

A grand opening to celebrate the launch of the Eagle Creek transit station is set for Tuesday.

The public is invited from 4 to 6 p.m. to have a look and enjoy some food, prizes, gifts and entertainment.

The station offers express service -- BlueXpress Bus service to downtown Minneapolis, which opened in early July at County Roads 21 and 16 near Eagle Creek Elementary School. It replaces the site at Safe Haven for Youth in Prior Lake. The BlueXpress continues to offer service from the Southbridge Crossings Transit Station at County Road 18 and Crossings Boulevard.

For more information about the Grand Opening event, the BlueXpress Bus and its schedules, go to www.blue xpressbus.com or call 952-496-8800 or 952-496-8001/TTY.

SOUTH METRO

Buses compete for State Fair rides

The region's two big bus agencies are once again competing for your business as the State Fair approaches.

MVTA, which serves a swath of suburbs from Savage to Rosemount, is offering express service from its Burnsville and Eagan stations. At Burnsville, it's all 12 days of the fair. The address there is 600 E. Hwy. 13. At Eagan, it's Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day, although you can take regular routes from Apple Valley or Eagan to the Mall of America for Metro Transit express buses to the fair seven days a week.

Weekdays the buses run hourly, while weekend and holiday buses leave on the half-hour.

Metro Transit is promoting bargain tickets, but you must buy by today to get the discount. The normal round-trip fare drops from $5 to $4 with the discount. Buy online at metrotransit.org or in person at Metro Transit retail stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Metro Transit's nonstop expresses run from 8 a.m. to midnight. Maps and other details are available at metrotransit.org/statefair or by calling 612-373-3333.

The city bus service is cautioning that with major construction underway at Southdale, State Fair service is not available there this year. Instead try 82nd St. and 24th Av. S. in Bloomington, across from the Mall of America's east parking ramp, or a new location, Best Buy, 7601 Penn Av. S. in Richfield, weekends and Labor Day.

DAVID PETERSON