Forum targets water invasive species

Several west metro groups are part of a symposium next week on preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts, the Water Sports Industry Association, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and Tonka Bay Marina are presenting a half-day forum on AIS next Wednesday, March 19.

The event will take place from noon to 5 p.m. at the Kelly Inn in St. Paul and includes a discussion about the role of the boat industry and other private-sector partners in preventing the spread of AIS.

Registration for the half-day forum, which includes lunch, is $35. For the complete agenda and registration details, go to www.mnwatershed.org.


Plymouth will host City Sampler event

Plymouth is hosting its seventh-annual City Sampler event on Saturday, March 15.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at Plymouth City Hall, 3400 Plymouth Blvd. It will include a chance to meet the mayor and City Council members, provide feedback, ask questions of a city forester, or attend presentations by a police K-9 officer and his dog at 9:30 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Visitors can also win door prizes, buy low-cost bike helmets, order from the annual tree and shrub sale and meet city staff members.


Energy assistance hours extended

The energy assistance program offered by Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin (CAPSH) is extending its hours to manage the increase in energy assistance applications in response to expanded eligibility guidelines and the recent string of subzero days. The program now is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays. The office is at 8800 Hwy. 7, Suite 401, St. Louis Park.

"Working families cannot afford to take time off to get the assistance they need. The extended hours will better accommodate their schedules and make our services more accessible," said Scott Zemke, the partnership's director of operations.

As Minnesota's propane shortage continues, along with a colder-than-normal winter, Gov. Mark Dayton expanded eligibility for Minnesota's low-income home energy assistance program. He extended eligibility for heating assistance from 50 percent of the state median income to 60 percent.

CAPSH estimates that 10,800 more suburban Hennepin County households will now qualify for the energy assistance program. For more information, go to www.capsh.org/energyassistance or call 952-930-3541.


Views sought on trash-collection plan

In March, Edina's online community discussion site, Speak Up, Edina, is asking residents what they think of having city-organized garbage collection.

Residents now hire their trash hauler from a list of city-approved companies. Some residents are interested in switching to a system where one company would pick up solid waste in the whole city, or neighborhoods would be served by a single hauler. Proponents of those systems say they save money, reduce damage to streets and have environmental benefits.

Also on the Speak Up site are questions about possible improvements to the parking garages at 50th and France this summer.

Both discussions will be online until March 31. The site is www.speakupedina.org.


Robbinsdale co-op supporters to meet

Supporters of a plan to bring a cooperative grocery store to Robbinsdale will meet at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at Robbinsdale United Church of Christ, 4200 Lake Rd.

The get-together will include a potluck supper. Says the group: "Bring a dish to pass, your own utensils, beverages and cookbooks to swap or share. We'll bring the corkscrew!"

For more information, go to www.robbinsdalefoodcoop.org.

Support for the idea of a Robbinsdale food co-op began to simmer after the city's Rainbow Foods closed in April 2012. City officials support the effort.