See more of the story

More than 60 spindly saplings have taken root in Brooklyn Park’s Norwood Park to replace trees ravaged by the emerald ash borer, a replanting effort that comes thanks to the Super Bowl Urban Forestry program.

Ahead of Super Bowl LII, to be played in February in Minneapolis, more than a dozen projects of this kind have sprouted in Minnesota to add native plants and trees to parks and recreation areas. The NFL and the Minnesota Super Bowl LII Host Committee spearheaded the projects with Verizon and Andersen Corp., working alongside other local partners.

The urban forestry program concluded with a celebration during the Brooklyn Park tree planting late last month. The NFL has undertaken environmental projects in tandem with the Super Bowl host city for 25 years.

Hannah Covington


Podany named police chief to replace Olson

Blaine has hired Brian Podany to be its new police chief, replacing former Chief Chris Olson, who retired this summer.

Podany, 42, of Blaine, has more than 20 years of experience in public safety and comes to Blaine from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, where he worked as commander of the patrol division. He will begin his new job on Nov. 27, and his annual salary will be $147,000.

“Blaine is such a huge, growing community. I’m excited to get started,” Podany said Thursday.

The city collected resumes from 46 applicants in 13 states for the position, and narrowed its search to five finalists in September.

Hannah Covington

Washington County

Libraries now offering video games

Washington County libraries are offering patrons more than 100 video games — compatible with PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Wii U consoles — as part of what officials are calling a strategic commitment to “serve as a technologically rich resource hub for patrons and visitors.”

To head off scowls over the educational value of this library expense, last week’s announcement defended the video games as a way to “improve social skills, enhance creativity, boost problem-solving ability, and nurture reading comprehension.”

Cardholders can reserve the games online at, or browse titles on shelves at the Hardwood Creek library in Forest Lake, Oakdale, Park Grove in Cottage Grove and R.H. Stafford in Woodbury. Games reserved online may be picked up at any branch location. Only three games can be checked out at a time, for a period of one week.

David Peterson


Public feedback sought for long-range plan

People in Roseville who want to offer their opinions about high-density housing and other elements of the city’s plan for the future have a couple chances this week.

The Roseville 2040 community workshop will be offered 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 2660 Civic Center Dr.

Roseville, along with other cities, updates its comprehensive plan every decade. Key topics include land use, housing and neighborhoods, parks, transportation and economic development. Log on to for more information.

David Peterson


City approves hundreds of new apartments

The City Council recently granted approval for nearly 700 new apartments and senior living units in Woodbury in the next two years.

Construction of five housing projects will be completed in 2018 and 2019, including Woodbury Flats, with 305 general occupancy units and a clubhouse, at Hargis Parkway and Radio Drive, and Legends of Woodbury, with 216 units for low-income senior residents, at Hudson Road and Settlers Ridge Parkway.

Kevin Giles

Columbia Heights

City, schools nab $750,000 state grant

Out-of-school program offerings in the Columbia Heights school district are getting a $750,000 boost over the next three years, thanks to a Minnesota Department of Education grant.

The 21st-Century Community Learning Center grant will fund programs ranging from pottery classes to coding classes, dance and theater opportunities. Students can participate before or after school, on weekends and through the summer months.

School officials and the city’s recreation department received the funding in September and kicked off the programs Oct. 2.

More information, including examples of student options, is available at

Hannah Covington