Free guitar restringing for donation to Haiti

American Guitar & Band, 13777 Grove Drive N. in Maple Grove, is offering to restring and appraise guitars this weekend for a $10 donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund to help Haiti's earthquake survivors. Fender Music and D'Addario are donating strings for the event.

The store's owners, Stephanie and Cory Lake, said when they learned that $10 buys a blanket and $25 can provide a family of five with a kitchen kit to prepare meals, they were inspired to act.

"So many people have a guitar sitting in a closet at home and they would love to know its value. All players know that they need to change guitar strings regularly, but it is easy to procrastinate. ... We decided to take these things off of your to-do list in exchange for a small donation," Cory Lake said in a news release.

Stephanie Lake describes it as "a musical Antiques Road Show. It will be fun to see what comes out of local attics and basements, knowing that something so simple can directly impact lives."

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. American Guitar & Band is authorized to accept Red Cross cash donations through February.


Citizens' Academy sign-up under way

A 10-week, behind-the-scenes look at the Edina Police Department is offered by the Citizens' Academy from March 9 to May 11.

Participants will learn about interrogation, drug enforcement, drunken driving offenses, use of force, the K9 program and more.

Classes are held Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. For an application or more information, go to and under "City Departments" click on "Police," then go to the "Services and Programs" page. Or call Edina officer Brian Hubbard at 952-826-1610.

Space is limited and applications must be received by March 1.

Country Club to begin restoring greens

Professional golfer Tom Lehman and the Lehman Design Group will restore the greens complexes and bunkers at Edina Country Club starting June 2.

"We have struggled with greens that were not up to our standards for more than 15 years,'' club president Scott Thiss said in announcing the project. "Now the membership, by a majority of 80 percent, voted to fix the problem once and for all."

The course is closing June 1 and will reopen June 1, 2011. The club is making arrangements for members to be able to play at other courses.

The structure of the course will stay the same, but greens and green surrounds, including bunkers, will be redesigned.

Lehman and his business partner, Chris Brands, have a combined 35 years of experience working on more than 70 golf courses.

Noted Lehman: "I played this course several times while attending the University of Minnesota and competing on the Gophers golf team. The layout hasn't really changed much since it was originally designed in 1923. We are extremely excited to be creating a master plan for Edina Country Club.''

Construction and seeding should be completed by about Sept. 1, and that should allow the course to reopen next spring, course superintendent Mike Powers said.


Fundraiser set for Vinland Center

The Friends of Vinland National Center will sponsor a Winter Walkabout as a fundraiser for the center at the Vinland Lakeside Chalet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Events will include guided snowshoeing and hiking on three trails. Food and live Scandinavian music also will be offered. Cost is $25 for adults and $10 for children; it's free for those age 4 and under. For more information, go to

The Vinland Center, located at 3675 Ihduhapi Road in Loretto, offers programs for people with disabilities, including behavioral health services with a focus on substance abuse for people with cognitive disabilities. It also offers vocational services and supportive housing.


Mason Motors to get Excellence Award

The South Lake-Excelsior Chamber of Commerce has announced its 2010 awards for business excellence and community heroes, to be presented at the Mad Hatter's Ball on March 5 at BayView Event Center in Excelsior.

The Business Excellence Award is going to Mason Motors, formerly known as Bill Mason Chrysler Jeep. Opened in 1922, it was one of the oldest and most respected family-owned dealerships in the Chrysler network. Nevertheless, when Chrysler downsized last spring, Bill Mason Chrysler Jeep was stripped of its franchise. Rather than close its doors, Bill and Ryan Mason chose to retain their employees and move into resale of used vehicles and service of all makes and models.

In the community hero category, from 11 nominees, the awards committee selected Martha (Marti) Brannon of Tonka Bay and Jan Gray of Greenwood.

Brannon is being honored for her role in providing assistance to families and individuals who have fallen on hard times. She is one of the founders of His House Foundation, a nonprofit Christian community-based human service organization that provides assistance to people in need.

Gray was selected for her commitment to serving senior citizens. She's credited for her role in the rebirth of the South Shore Community Center's senior programs.

Michelle (Mitch) Hedlund -- founder and CEO of UPonGREEN, a national environmental advocacy program -- will receive the chamber's green award. Hedlund spent two years developing the "nine simple actions" program before launching it in Excelsior in 2009. It has since gone viral over the Internet from a handful of charter companies, including the South Lake-Excelsior Chamber, to thousands of members nationwide.

Award presentations are scheduled for 7:30-8:15 p.m. March 5 during the Mad Hatter's Ball, which runs from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. The ball also will feature live and silent auctions, music, hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar.

The event is open to the public; tickets are $40 with advance reservations, available at the South Lake-Excelsior Chamber, 202 Water St. Or call 952-474-6461.


Libraries plan online room reservation setup

Hennepin County Library will begin an online self-service process for reserving meeting rooms and other public spaces on March 1.

The process will replace two different systems and policies in use at the time of the merger of Hennepin County Library and Minneapolis Public Library, resulting in a single reservation process at all 41 libraries in the system. Called Room Reserve, it will allow customers to see room availability and make room reservations across the entire library system.

Demand for gathering places has been growing, say library spokespeople, and the libraries strive to make spaces available to groups on an equitable basis. Spaces may be reserved up to three months in advance.

Reservations that were made before Feb. 22 will be honored and will be automatically transferred to the new reservation system. Beginning March 1, complete an online Room Reserve request on by clicking on Library Information, then Library Services.

Space is made available for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. However, neither for-profit nor nonprofit organizations may use the meeting spaces to conduct commercial activities, such as the sale of products. Spaces also may not be used for purely social purposes, such as parties or weddings.

Also, the Minneapolis Central Library in downtown Minneapolis has five spaces available for rent. They may be used for social purposes, such as parties. Reservations are handled through Mintahoe Hospitality Group. Call 612-253-0255 or e-mail for more information.



It's registration time for summer camps

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Drive in Chanhassen, is now registering kids for nearly three dozen summer day camps.

The programs provide hands-on planting, science, cooking and art projects for ages 4 to 14. Camps are usually half-days, running one, two or three days, and include snacks or lunch. They start as early as May 8 and continue through August.

In the Children's Garden, a summer-long growing adventure, kids get to watch their own garden plot transform from seeds into snacks. There are four sessions, each of which meets for two hours a week, June through August.

Adults also can get involved through family classes such as "Pea Pods" sessions for ages 3 to 5.

Cost of a camp ranges from $25 to $190. Arboretum members receive a discount. For details on the classes available and to register, go to or call 952-443-1422.

'One-stop' wedding fair set for Sunday

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Drive in Chanhassen, is hosting an "All About Weddings Fair" from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. It's a "one-stop" opportunity to browse for indoor and outdoor venues for an engagement party, wedding ceremony, reception and similar events such as anniversary celebrations.

Vendors will be on hand to discuss catering options, wedding coordinator services, wedding cakes (including free samples), photography, flowers, music and even dance floors.

Admission to the fair is $10, payable at the door, and it includes arboretum admission. There is a free preview from noon to 1 p.m. Sunday for couples who have booked weddings for this year at the arboretum. For more information, go to or call 952-443-1430.