MINNETONKA

Nonprofit gets federal grant for $346,285

Opportunity Partners, a Twin Cities nonprofit serving people with disabilities, has won a three-year grant of $346,285 from the U.S. Department of Education's Projects With Industry program to promote job placement of people who face barriers to employment.

Job-seekers with a disability or medical condition may qualify for free job placement services through the program in fields such as food services, janitorial, hospitality, retail and clerical services. Candidates may participate in classes to learn how to apply and interview for a job.

Applications for the program are being accepted from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursdays at Opportunity Partners' Koch Campus, 5500 Opportunity Court, Minnetonka. Candidates also may request an appointment by contacting Mary Jo Nohava at 952-351-5404 or at pwi@opportunities.org.

Opportunity Partners has formed a Business Advisory Council of business leaders who will provide their expertise to the project.

For more information on Opportunity Partners, go to www.opportunities.org.

RICHFIELD

Panel of experts will discuss state budget

District 63 state legislators will host a symposium on the budget challenges Minnesota is facing from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Richfield Community Center, 7000 S. Nicollet Av., Richfield.

Participants will include former state finance commissioners John Gunyou and Jay Kiedrowski, Bill Blazer of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Mark Haveman of the Minnesota Taxpayers Association, Nan Madden of the Minnesota Budget Project, Dane Smith of Growth and Justice, and Geri Katz of the Service Employees International Union, Minnesota Council.

They will discuss their ideas for restoring the balance between state revenue and expenses.

The event is open to the public.

HENNEPIN COUNTY

Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthday coming up

The Hennepin County Library is sponsoring a wide range of events during February. Here's a sampling:

Diversity Writing and Art Contest, through Feb. 15 at the Brookdale Library, Golden Valley Library, Oxboro Library and others. For grades 3-5 and grades 6-8, a chance to build off of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech by writing about their dream in an essay, short story or poem or by creating a work of art.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Birthday Party, 1-2 p.m. Saturday at Brookdale Library, for ages in kindergarten and up. The author of "Little House on the Prairie" was born on Feb. 7, 1867. The party will feature a pioneer theme with butter-churning, old-fashioned games and stories. Kids are urged to dress up like a pioneer or try on some costumes that will be available for black-and-white portraits.

"Notable, Notorious or Fun" facts about Minnesota, 1-2 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Author Kate Roberts will discuss significant events in Minnesota history.

Author Julie Kramer on her new book, "Stalking Susan," from 7-8:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Excelsior Library. Kramer, a former WCCO-TV investigative producer, will discuss her new thriller.

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

MINNETONKA

2009 Young Artist winner to play

The Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra's Bravissimo III Young People's Concert is scheduled for two dates:

3:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at Normandale Hylands United Methodist Church, 9920 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington.

3:30 p.m. March 1 at Minnetonka United Methodist Church, Hwy. 101 and Lake St. Extension, Minnetonka.

This year's concert will feature the Music Association of Minnetonka's 2009 Young Artist Competition winner, Rose Marie Bart, and the Minnetonka High School Jazz Band. Bart is a senior at Mounds View High School and has been playing cello for 10 years. 

The idea behind the Bravissimo Concert is to expose children and their families to the world of classical music.

This year's concert will showcase pieces that elementary school students are learning through the BRAVO program in their schools. 

While there is no admission charge, free-will donations will be accepted at the door. For more information, call 952-401-5954 or go to www.musicassociation.org.

MARY JANE SMETANKA, LAURIE BLAKE