County gets top health ranking

For the third year in a row, Carver County ranked first in health outcomes among all Minnesota counties, according to the 2015 County Health Rankings report recently released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

The report ranks nearly every county nationwide on 35 factors that affect health, including education, transportation, housing, jobs, diet and exercise.

The health outcomes include five measures: years of potential life lost before age 75, percentage of adults reporting fair or poor health, average number of poor physical health days per month, average number of poor mental health days per month and low birth weight.

Carver County ranked fourth in Minnesota for health factors that contribute to health outcomes. Health factors include 30 measures related to health behaviors, clinical care, physical environment, and social and economic factors.


Historical Society offers program

The Deephaven Historical Society will sponsor a free presentation on Sunday, April 19, at Deephaven City Hall in Cottagewood. Harry Allen will talk about the history of the Cottagewood General Store, and Allen Taylor, author of "Hidden Revealed: A Sequel Account of the May 6, 1965 Tornado Outbreak," will present accounts of the worst tornado ever to strike the Twin Cities.


Ice Castles drew 88,000 visitors

More than 88,000 people visited the Ice Castles in Eden Prairie, the city announced recently.

The attraction, which opened at the end of December and closed at the beginning of March, drew crowds to the ice attraction, with local restaurants and businesses also reporting a bump in business, according to the city.

Utah-based Ice Castles LLC has been bringing the attractions to several states across the country, bringing it to the Mall of America in Bloomington two years ago and to Eden Prairie's Miller Park this year. Crews "grew" 5,000 icicles a day on "ice farms," and "harvested" the icicles, lighting them up at night with thousands of multicolored LED lights.

City leaders in Eden Prairie will spend the next several months evaluating the impact of the attraction at Miller Park and determining with the Ice Castles company if the attraction will return next year.

Program offers look at immigrant lives

What's it like to be a Somali immigrant living in a Twin Cities suburb like Eden Prairie?

That and other questions will be explored during a free program titled "The Immigrant Experience: A Conversation With Hamse Warfa and Mohamed Duale."

The program, sponsored by the Eden Prairie Community Foundation, the city of Eden Prairie, and People Reaching Out to People, will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 23, in the Heritage Rooms of the Eden Prairie City Center, 8080 Mitchell Road. Refreshments will be served. No registration is required.

Warfa was born in Somalia and left refugee camps with his family to settle in the United States in 1994. Unable to speak English, he found his initial years difficult. But today he is a program officer for the Eden Prairie-based Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, a suburban Twin Cities resident and the author of the recently published book "America, Here I Come."

Duale, also a published author, has studied at Mananga Agricultural Management Centre in Swaziland, Somali National University in Mogadishu and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He works as a community liaison with Eden Prairie's Community Development Department and lives in the suburbs.

The two men will talk informally about their journeys and also take questions from the audience. For more information, call 952-949-8499.


League of Women Voters plans events

The League of Women Voters of Edina is sponsoring the following events:

• "What Copper Mining Means for the Boundary Waters and Minnesota," a presentation by Betsy Daub, policy director of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. 9:45 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 9, Edina Senior Center.

• "Legalizing Honeybees and Chickens in Edina," a presentation by Dianne Plunkett Latham, chairwoman of the local food task force of the Edina Energy and Environment Commission. 9:45 to 11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 11, Edina City Hall.

• Forum on the Edina School District's referendum, 7 p.m., April 20, Edina City Council Chambers. The district is seeking voter approval for a $124.9 million facilities plan. The facilities bond referendum will be held on Tuesday, May 5. Superintendent Ric Dressen and Susan Brott, district director of communications, will speak about the referendum and answer questions at this public forum.


Event discusses Piper kidnapping

The Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society's next "Tapping History: Pints & Reflections on Lake Minnetonka's Past" will be held April 13.

The event, "Stolen from the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper," features author William Swanson at 7 p.m. at the Excelsior Brewery, 421 3rd St., in Excelsior, and is free and open to the public. The author will discuss the book and the 1972 abduction of Virginia Piper from her lakeside garden in Orono by two masked men. Two days later, ransom was paid and Piper was found unharmed, only to be besieged by the media and placed under FBI scrutiny.

"Tapping History" is a series featuring a history expert, meeting the second Monday of each month at the Excelsior pub. For more information about the event, contact or 952-221-4766.


Music students to visit Women's Club

The monthly luncheon meeting of the Women's Club of Hopkins will be held at noon on Tuesday, April 21, at Mizpah United Church of Christ, 412 5th Av. N., Hopkins. Lunch will be served at noon. There will be a short business meeting following lunch and a program at 1 p.m. The program will be presentations by some students from the music department at Hopkins High School.

Reservations should be made by April 17 at 952-933-6325.


Maple Grove Transit wraps its buses

Maple Grove Transit is sticking its toe into the world of bus wrap advertising, covering one of its motor coaches with an advertisement promoting an orthopedic clinic that recently opened in the city.

The ad for Twin Cities Orthopedics featuring a golfer on the curb side of the bus and a runner on the driver's side will debut on April 8

Other transit agencies such as Metro Transit have wrapped buses and trains for years, and "there is some acceptance and familiarity with it," said Maple Grove Transit Administrator Mike Opatz.

The ad, created by AllOver Media, will bring $3,500 to the transit agency and comes after a couple of years of exploring the idea, Opatz said.

Going forward, Opatz said a couple more buses might get wrapped, but the agency will continue to use the green maple leaf that is prominently displayed on its fleet to market itself. "It's in a sense a traveling billboard," he said.


Rotary to host food-packaging event

The Minnetonka Rotary will host the second annual Outreach food-packaging event on April 18 at Hopkins High School, 12400 Lindbergh Drive, Minnetonka. Entry is on the north side of the Lindbergh Center at entrance M. Six area Rotary clubs — Eden Prairie AM, Edina, Minneapolis City of Lakes, Minnetonka, Mound-Westonka and St. Louis Park Noon Clubs — will participate.

The goal for the day is to build 45,000 packaged meals for distribution to local food shelves and food banks. These packaged dinner entrees of rice and beans will be distributed to individuals and families within two weeks.

Volunteers will work from 9 a.m. until noon, with three one-hour slots available. To sign up, go to


Live-burn training site nears milestone

With the help of a $10,000 donation from the Plymouth Crime and Prevention Fund, the city Fire Department will finish a large segment of a new live-burning training site.

The city first started building the site in 2004, using money raised through the fund, a nonprofit founded by residents and business owners. Firefighters have welded together three bulk shipping containers into a fire training structure to simulate interior fire conditions found in a home, allowing firefighters to train in interior fire-suppression techniques.

Class to teach kids on emergency response

The Plymouth Fire Department will host a Home Alone Workshop from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 28.

The event will be held in the second-floor training room of the Plymouth Public Safety Building, 3400 Plymouth Blvd. The program is geared toward children ages 8 to 10. The workshop will teach children how to respond in an emergency if they're home alone. Cost is $5 for each child and the class is limited to 30 participants.

For more information, call 763-509-5198. To register, call the Parks and Recreation Department at 763-509-5200 or go to using course number 47799.


A honk-out to all Thunderbird lovers

Come and admire 1955, '56 and '57 Thunderbirds owned by members of the Mini Birds of Minnesota Thunderbird Club at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 18, at the Westonka History Museum at the old Mound City Hall, 5341 Maywood Road, Mound. They'll be on display, and club members will be present to talk about them.

While there, check out the museum's Tonka Toys collection.


Allina Health Trail Mix Race returns

The Allina Health Trail Mix Race is back for its 24th season, and you can take part 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 18 at Lake Rebecca Park Reserve, Rockford.

The event offers races of 50K ultra (solo), 25K (solo) and 50K team (four-person teams/12.5k each runner). The trails take runners through picturesque prairies, wooded landscapes and wetland areas. Race proceeds are donated to the Three Rivers Park District's adaptive equipment fund.

Cost for the 50K ultra solo is $50 for preregistration and $60 the day of the race. The 25K solo is $40 for preregistration and $50 on race day. The cost to enter a team is $120 for preregistration or $160 on race day.

Online registration must be completed by midnight on April 13. For more information, go to