Eden Prairie, Maple Grove in top cities

Maple Grove and Eden Prairie were among five Minnesota cities recently named to Money magazine's list of top 100 cities in the country this year.

Eden Prairie was named No. 3 in the "Best Places to Live" list and Maple Grove was No. 22. Among the other Minnesota cities that made the list were Twin Cities suburbs Woodbury (No. 11), Eagan (No. 14) and Lakeville (No. 19).

The magazine praises Eden Prairie for its good employment prospects, natural beauty, well-educated workforce and budget surplus. Downsides? Long, cold winters and "not much of a downtown besides a mega shopping mall."

The magazine listed Eden Prairie as No. 1 in 2010.

Maple Grove was praised for its shopping and retail centers, hospital and active community organizations.

Carmel, Ind., and McKinney, Tex., were named No. 1 and No. 2 cities in the nation.

SouthWest Transit reveals new ads

In an effort to increase ridership and raise awareness about SouthWest Transit, a new bus campaign will be unveiled to show that riding the bus isn't just economical but "it's actually cool."

The campaign features images on the back of buses of rock stars, divas, bosses, heartthrobs and brainiacs to show that those types of people are all among bus riders.

"I believe that there is a misconception about the people who ride SouthWest Transit," CEO Len Simich said in a statement. "Our passengers run the gamut from professors to students, from athletes to musicians, and from politicians to professionals in all fields."

More than 1 million people use SouthWest Transit each year between Chaska, Chanhassen and Eden Prairie to downtown Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota.

Former U.S. senator to discuss election

Rudy Boschwitz, former U.S. senator from Minnesota, will discuss similarities between the Reagan-Carter election of 1980 and the Romney-Obama election this year at a meeting of the Republican Seniors of Minnesota next Tuesday.

The session begins at 10 a.m. with a business meeting, followed by the guest speaker, at Poor Richards Commonhouse, 8301 Normandale Blvd. in Bloomington. At noon lunch is served.

For more information, e-mail repseniorsmn@aol.com or call 952-828-1943.


Steele Fitness to open new training center

Steele Fitness will open a 5,000-square-foot fitness center this winter as a part of a new development in downtown Excelsior.

The new location will have a large one-on-one training floor, a group training room and locker rooms. It will be part of a new retail complex located on Water Street between Oak and George streets. The site is being developed by Oppidan Investment Company, a national property development firm based in Minnetonka, and is the first major development in Excelsior in several years.

Steele Fitness plans to take advantage of its location near Excelsior Bay on Lake Minnetonka to offer members paddleboard workouts, lake swims and water aerobics with specialized trainers. Steele trainers also plan to travel between the new Excelsior location and an existing Steele training center in Wayzata using personal watercraft that cut down on the commuting time.

Other Steele Fitness locations include Wayzata, Edina and St. Paul. A center in downtown Minneapolis also is set to open this fall.

For more information, go to www.steelefitness.com.


Book discussion focuses on democracy

The Edina Reads Committee and the Edina League of Women Voters will host a discussion of Parker Palmer's book, "Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit," at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11.

The discussion, in the Fireside Room of the Edina Senior Center below the Edina library, will be led by retired Edina High School teacher Lonni Skrentner.

The library is loaning copies of the book on the honor system and Barnes & Noble Galleria is selling the book, which participants need not read to take part in the discussion about building a healthier body politic.


Penn Fest needs volunteers

Volunteers are needed for Open Streets at Penn Fest, a Sept. 16 celebration that will close Penn Avenue to motorized vehicles from 63rd Street to 76th Street from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Volunteers will work three-hour shifts to inform and direct people at the celebration, which showcases businesses along Penn Avenue and will feature music, dancing, crafts, sports and kids' activities.

For more information, go to www.penncentralofrichfield.com or call Jim Topitzhofer, Richfield recreation services director, at 612-861-9394 or e-mail him at jtopitzhofer@cityofrichfield.org.


Green cleaning clinics at the libraries

This fall, Hennepin County libraries will host eight free sessions on how to make an all-purpose green cleaner and a green scrubbing cleanser for stubborn stains.

Participants will take home the cleaners they make, plus recipes for the cleansers and other green cleaning ideas.

Registration is required for the classes. It can be done online at www.hclib.org or by calling 612-543-5775. The sessions are set for:

• 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at Oxboro Library in Bloomington

• 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at Northeast Library in Minneapolis

• 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at Pierre Bottineau Library in Minneapolis

• 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at Nokomis Library in Minneapolis

• 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, at Rogers Library

• 12:30-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at St. Anthony Library

• 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at Sumner Library in Minneapolis

• 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Brooklyn Park Library.