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Many activities planned for Night to Unite

The Cottage Grove Police Department and the Cottage Grove Crime Prevention Board invite Cottage Grove neighbors to join together on Tuesday, Aug. 7, for our fourth-annual Night to Unite celebration. Night to Unite is designed to:

-- Get to know one another in your neighborhood

-- Build neighborhood involvement by bringing police and communities together

-- Bring awareness to crime prevention and local law enforcement efforts

Cottage Grove celebrates Night to Unite by promoting neighborhood parties. Each registered party will receive a box filled with items to use as well as helium-filled balloons. Registered parties will also receive visits from either the police, fire, the mayor or City Council members, Blitz the police K9 or McGruff the Crime Dog. This year some of the parties will have a hula hoop contest sponsored by the Cottage Grove Crime Prevention Board.

In our efforts to give back to the community, we are asking for donations of diapers and baby supplies to support Tubman. Tubman is an organization that offers a wide range of services for families including family violence shelters and transitional housing. We will also be promoting the "Backpack Campaign" to collect school supplies for area children. Backpacks are supplied to you courtesy of the Cottage Grove Crime Prevention Board. Your neighbors are encouraged to fill the backpack with school supplies and the Cub Foods box with diapers and/or baby supplies. These items are picked up the following morning and are then delivered to the Friends in Need Food Shelf and the police department for distribution.

Interested in learning CPR? We are offering a basic CPR course that will give you enough knowledge and hands-on experience to feel comfortable in the event of a cardiac emergency. EMS professionals will visit your party and give you and your guests a 20-minute basic CPR class. Check the box on your registration form if interested.

Last, but not least, for the kids we have a coloring contest sponsored by our Parks and Recreation Department. The winner will receive special treats delivered to their party by Freckles the Frog. For more information about the 2012 Night to Unite or to register your block party, please contact police officer Gail Griffith at 651-458-6025 or email her at ggriffith@cottage-grove.org. You can also check out the city website at www.cottage-grove.org.

John Brunkow

Volunteer in Police Service

Schoen will bring compromise to Minnesota Capitol

What an asset the new Highlands Park splash pad is to our community. As I've visited with friends and made new friends while bringing my kids there, I said we owe a big thank you to the leaders in Cottage Grove for getting this built, especially since we no longer have a pool to go to during an incredibly hot summer.

As we talked about the wisdom of this new facility, I was told the splash pad was not supported by all members of the Cottage Grove City Council. Who wouldn't support a cost-effective water park that is safe for small kids and builds community? Council member Derrick Lehrke voted against the project, calling it "an overgrown sprinkler." This should be no surprise, as he routinely opposes any issue supported by the other council members and the mayor.

What really concerns me is Lehrke wants to take his unwillingness to compromise to the state Capitol to be our representative. It appears the word "no" is Lehrke's only response when voting on issues that benefit our community. Even worse, we are often left without an explanation for his no votes. The inability to get things done at the Capitol is what has hindered this state from moving forward. After spending some time learning about Lehrke's voting record, I will be casting my vote this November for the DFL House District 54A candidate Dan Schoen, who as a police officer and hostage and crisis negotiator works to arrange a compromised safe end to a dangerous situation.

Compromise and consensus building are sorely missed in the current political process. Schoen will work for the greater good of all Minnesotans.

Elijah Harter

Cottage Grove

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