Stillwater Area Public Schools will mark the opening of the district's new Early Childhood Family Center with an invitation-only ribbon cutting on Thursday. The public can tour the center during an open house from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 8.

Situated on the campus of Stillwater Junior High School, the new center will offer physical and speech therapies, as well as social, emotional and academic skill development for ages birth to 5. Classes for parents and opportunities for preschoolers to prepare for kindergarten also will be offered.

Courage St. Croix and Northeast Metro Intermediate School District 916 also will offer programming in the $10 million building, designed by BWAR Architects of St. Paul and built by Kraus-Anderson.

Along with spacious classrooms, the building features brightly colored floors and accents and a children's gymnasium with cushioned floor tiles color-coded to accommodate children's activities and games.

It also has "green" features, including solar-powered hot water heating, low-flow plumbing fixtures and high-efficiency mechanical systems.


Young residents sell veggies from community garden

Cimarron youth are making a stand -- a new produce stand, that is.

Teens at Cimarron, a neighborhood in Lake Elmo, are growing and selling fresh vegetables as a summer job to gain work experience, make money and provide fresh local produce to residents.

The Cimarron Youth Garden food stand is in the visitor parking lot at the Cimarron Park Golf Course clubhouse, 901 Lake Elmo Av. N. 

The stand is for the sale of produce grown at the garden, which includes carrots, peppers, tomatoes, onions, squash and other fresh vegetables and flowers. 

If there are vegetables left over after the stand closes, they are distributed to families in the community who might need the extra food. The garden stand offers a chance for the teens to learn more about business development and what it takes to start and run a small business.

The Cimarron Youth Garden, part of Our Community Food Project in Washington County, is in its second year, with 28 young people participating in building garden boxes, hauling soil and planting gardens.


Morning 'Park Rise' programs continue

Washington County Parks will feature outdoor morning "Park Rise" programs on Tuesdays and Saturdays through Labor Day.

"Zumba on the Beach" at Lake Elmo Park Reserve's swim beach continues from 9-10 a.m. Experience the wildly popular outdoor dance and fitness craze with instructor Stephen Blythe.

Lake Elmo Park Reserve is at the intersection of County Road 19 and County Road 10, one mile north of Interstate 94 in Lake Elmo.


Interim city administrator offered permanent job

Ron Moorse, the temporary city administrator in Afton, has been offered a permanent job by the city for 30 hours a week, and nearby Lakeland has offered him a job for 10 hours a week as a zoning official.

Moorse would keep an office in Afton as he works for both cities under that offer. But last week, he was awaiting word on whether he would get a job as full-time city administrator in North Mankato.

Moorse is the most experienced of three finalists who have been vying for the job in North Mankato.


City receives recycling grant

Oakdale will receive $103,836 over two years to operate its recycling program after Washington County commissioners approved the grant Aug. 14.

Funds are used to administer the city's recycling program, conduct waste education in schools, and develop and promote additional recycling opportunities for residents.

Awards given to property owners that have curb appeal

Oakdale recognizes property owners who go "above and beyond" typical maintenance to create aesthetically pleasing properties. This year's Acorn Award winners are:

Oakdale Village in the Commercial category, Oakdale City Hall in the Public category, Red Oak Preserve in the Renew category, Lori Rosemark in the Residential category, the Leisman Family in the Residential Green category and Holy Cross Lutheran Church in the Commercial/Institutional category.


District 833 earns award for managing its finances

For the sixth consecutive year, the Minnesota Department of Education has recognized District 833 for excellence in financial management.

The department gives its finance award to districts that submit Uniform Financial Accounting and Reporting Standards data and financial statements in a timely fashion, have positive fund balances and demonstrate sound fiscal policies and procedures. The award is presented to only 15 percent of public school districts.

South Washington County also earned a certificate of excellence in financial reporting from the Association of School Business Officials International.


Money magazine names city as a "Best Place to Live'

Money magazine has published its best places to live list of America's small cities, and Woodbury checks in at No. 11.

The magazine said the suburb with 63,600 residents is one of the top cities in the Twin Cities to raise a family because of good schools and ample opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Low crime and quality health care also helped Woodbury land on the magazine's list of the top 100 communities.

Eden Prairie at No. 3 and Eagan at No. 14 also made the top 25.


Four seek City Council seats

Four people have filed to run for the Forest Lake City Council. They are Jim DuFour, Ed Eigner, Jeff Klein and Ben Winnick.

Voters will elect two of them to the council during the general election Nov. 6. Several other Washington County cities also have races.


Cost of St. Croix River Crossing was incorrect

An article in the Aug. 19 Washington County section incorrectly stated the cost of the planned St. Croix River Crossing project. The cost, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, is $580 million to $676 million.