Six state lawmakers from Minnesota and Wisconsin last week urged the Interior Department to move along a review of the St. Croix River Crossing Project that has now been delayed by more than two months.

Last March, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis ruled that the federal government didn't follow its own rules in approving its design for the long-disputed project near Oak Park Heights. Part of the order directed the National Park Service (NPS) to do an evaluation, which was supposed to be completed in July. However, the NPS work was partly sidetracked by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the lawmakers say the evaluation has been done, but not reviewed and approved by other federal agencies.

"As a result of the delay in the review being completed, the project has suffered negative consequences in terms of costs and inhibited progress," the letter says. "The Minnesota Department of Transportation has already had to postpone from this fall to next spring the load-testing for bridge piers and the relocation of historic buildings because of the standstill created by the court ruling and the Section 7(a) evaluation review."

The letter is signed by Sen. Kathy Saltzman, DFL-Woodbury, and Rep. Julie Bunn, DFL-Lake Elmo, from Minnesota, and Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, Rep. Ann Hraychuck, R-Balsam Lake, and Rep. Kitty Rhoades, R-Hudson, Rep. John Murtha, R-Baldwin, from Wisconsin.

Members of the Washington and Ramsey county boards were in Washington recently to meet with the Minnesota congressional delegation. Washington County Commissioner Gary Kriesel said Tuesday that the crossing project was a major topic of discussion.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Sheriff's Office gets grant to protect kids

The Washington County Sheriff's Office will receive a $5,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to assist in investigating and combating the exploitation of children.

The county board accepted the grant last week.

The funds will be used for investigative overtime reimbursement, training and equipment to assist in investigating cases of children exploited through the Internet.

The money will allow for an extension of an agreement between the Sheriff's Office and the state Commissioner of Public Safety and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension through next Aug. 31.

Poverty impact on kids will be forum topic

As the nation's poverty rate hits a 16-year high of 14.3 percent, Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties is leading local conversations about how to reduce poverty.

Community Action's first Kitchen Table Forum will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in St. Paul on Tuesday at Community Action at 450 Syndicate St. N. in St. Paul. Registration will begin at 5 p.m.

This first Kitchen Table event will focus on how poverty affects education, and include St. Paul School Superintendent Valeria Silva, St. Paul school board member Vallay Varro, Benjamin Mays Magnet School Principal Kate Flynn, Crossing Barriers Executive Director Ladan Yusuf, student leaders and others.

There is no charge for admission. RSVP to Kim Ellison at 651-603-5951 or kellison@ caprw.org.

COTTAGE GROVE

Chambers host classes on social networking

The Cottage Grove and Hasting Area Chambers of Commerce are teaming up to present a two-part series on using social media effectively.

Classes are from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Wednesday and on Nov. 3 . Both sessions will be at River Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove.

Dave Meyer of BizzyWeb is the presenter. Using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Meyer will talk about the purpose of each, and give directions on how to set up, manage and maintain accounts.

Cost for chamber members is $15 for one seminar and $25 for both seminars. For non-members, it's $30 for one seminar and $50 for both.

To register, contact the Hastings chamber at 651-437-6775 or by e-mail at info@ hastingsmn.org. A registration form is available for downloading at the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce website at www.cot tagegrovechamber.org.

WOODBURY

City needs to fill seats on advisory panels

Woodbury is seeking applications through Thursday for openings on city advisory commissions.

Citizens appointed to these groups serve on a volunteer basis. The term is for three years in most cases.

"Citizens who are members of advisory groups assist the city council by making recommendations regarding parks, development proposals, environmental issues and much more," said Mayor Bill Hargis. "Their contribution to our community is an important one."

This year, there will be 14 openings on the city's advisory boards. The panels are an Audit and Investment Commission, Economic Development Commission, Environmental Advisory Commission, Park and Recreation Commission, Planning Commission, and Watershed District Board.

Residents interested in serving should call City Hall at 651-714-3500 to request an application, or they may apply online at www.ci.woodbury.mn.us.

City looks for fans on new Facebook site

Woodbury is now on Facebook. Users of the social networking site can now get updates on general city news, events, employment, field closures and more. Go to www.facebook.com/wood buryminnesota.

STILLWATER

City gets 2-year grant to aid recycling

Stillwater will receive a grant of up to $68,384 over two years as part of the county's recycling grant program following approval of an agreement by the Washington County Board on Sept. 28.

The money will be used by the city for administering the recycling program, conducting waste education programs in schools and developing and promoting additional recycling opportunities for residents.

JIM ANDERSON