City presents first-ever awards to property owners

Eden Prairie celebrated its first-ever "Spirit of Eden Prairie Awards" this month. The awards honor property owners who have enhanced and invested in their properties and contributed to the vitality, accessibility and sustainability of the community. Award winners were longtime homeowners Arnold and Jane Rohe, for landscaping and chemical-free methods; Tom and Arlene Howden, for landscaping that included donated plants and recycled materials; and the Preserve Association, which installed landscaping and gardens to increase accessibility and efficiency of its pool facility. For more details, go to edenprairie.org/spiritaward.



Park celebrates winter solstice

Three Rivers Park District will host a winter solstice celebration from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Kroening Interpretive Center in North Mississippi Regional Park.

The event includes music, holiday traditions from around the world, hiking or snowshoeing, a bonfire and crafts. Cost is $5 and reservations are required; call 763-559-6700.



Police watching for distracted drivers

Plymouth police are focusing this month on educating the community and enforcement regarding the dangers of distracted driving.

"This is a life-and-death issue," officer Scott Kirchner said in a statement. "We want drivers to put down their phones and focus on driving.

"Sending or reading a text is not worth risking your life — or the lives of others on the road."

State law prohibits operating a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device to compose, read or send a message; the prohibition includes being stopped in traffic or at a light. It's also illegal for drivers under age 18 to use a cellphone except to call 911 in an emergency. Distracted drivers can be ticketed for reckless or careless driving.



Lowry Nature Center hosts bird census

Three Rivers Park District will host a nationwide bird census from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 19 at Lowry Nature Center in the Carver Park Reserve.

The program, which is free and open to everyone age 10 and up, is sponsored by Minnesota Ornithological Union. Call 763-694-7650 to sign up for a park section for a full or half day. For more information, go to threeriversparks.org/events/A/audubon-christmas-bird-count.aspx.



City selects interim city manager

The Wayzata City Council has approved a contract for an interim city manager while a search firm looks for a permanent replacement for outgoing City Mananger Heidi Nelson.

Doug Reeder will become the city's interim manager, starting Tuesday. Reeder has more than 40 years of experience managing cities, including Brooklyn Park, Maple Grove, Minnetonka and Medina. Nelson started as the new Maple Grove city administrator this month.



New poverty rankings released

Newly released U.S. Census data shows that among major cities in the metro area, Rogers had the lowest poverty rate at 2.2 percent.

According to American Community Survey data, Brooklyn Center had the largest percentage of residents living in poverty, with 20.1 percent. The federal poverty line is drawn at a family of four earning $23,850 or less.

Minnesota Compass, a social indicators project that measures progress in Minnesota, compiled the newly released poverty data. The full rankings are available at http://www.mncompass.org/



City marketing residential lots

The Crystal Economic Development Authority is seeking proposals from builders for seven residential lots it hopes to sell for construction or movement of single-family houses.

The new homes must be owner-occupied with at least three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage. The EDA may also consider selling a lot to provide a new location for an existing house currently in Crystal.

Lot prices range from $25,000 to $55,000. Available lots and applications are at www.crystalmn.gov.

Shannon Prather