Things to do, places to go (posted Nov. 29)

Click here for a listing of local, upcoming Santa Day programs.

Music afternoon in North Branch 

The We R Able Support Group will sponsor an afternoon of music by the Pine City Senior Singers Dec. 5, 2 p.m., at the Chisago County Senior Center, 38790 6th Ave., North Branch. For more information call 320-358-1210.

Book presentation 

Join Minnesota authors Mike Link and Kate Crowley at Scout & Morgan Books, 114 Buchanan St. N., Cambridge, Dec. 1, 3 p.m. when they present their new book, “Going Full Circle: A 1,555-mile Walk around the World’s Largest Lake”. The husband and wife team chronicle their unique, shore-hugging journey around Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake.

Books are available at Scout & Morgan Books. For more information, call 763-689-2474. This community event is free and open to the public.

Bazaar and bake sale

Chisago Lake Lutheran Church in Center City has set the date for its 12th Annual Christmas Bazaar and Bake Sale.  This year’s event will be Dec. 1, 9 a.m.  to  3 p.m.

For additional information, call the church office at 651-257-6300 or visit

Reduce chronic pain and stress

Mary Jo Meadow, Ph.D, Forest Lake, will offer a six-week course entitled “Mindfulness Practice: Living in the Here and Now,” from 5-6:30 p.m. Mondays, Dec. 3, 10 and 17, at Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming. The course in mindfulness practice can help with pain, stress, habits, insomnia, painful emotions and disturbing thoughts. The class is offered by voluntary donation. To register, call Rachael Sarto at 612-884-3405 and leave your name, number and email.

We R Able Bowlers banquet

Bowling is a popular fall activity for We R Able participants.  They come together to celebrate the end of the season with a banquet Dec. 5, 5 p.m., at the Chisago County Senior Center, 38790 6th Ave., in North Branch.  The band Neighberz will perform a selection of old time favorites and dance tunes.  Santa Claus makes an appearance to add his best wishes for the holiday season.  Pre-registration is needed by Nov. 28.

Christmas caring tree

Any parent in need of help purchasing gifts for their children can pick up an application for assistance at the Rush City Food Shelf – open every Tuesday from 2 to 4:45 p.m. The applications are also available from Rush City churches. This offer is limited to children ages infant through 18 and living in and attending school in the Rush City School District. Rush City Cares and Rush City Lions sponsor this event.

Medica Workshop

Learn the basics of Medicare. Find out how Medica’s Prime Solution Cost Plans can work for you at this Chisago County Senior Center class. No RSVP required. For questions call 651-200-8641. Classes are held at 1 p.m. Dec. 8.

Winter bookmaking class 

We R Able is offering a chance to learn to make some easy books using paper folding, cutting and gluing just in time for last minute gifts or cards for the holiday season. Valorie Arrowsmith is the instructor and teaches  6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 3 at the St. Croix River Education (SCRED) building at 425 S. Dana Avenue in Rush City. For more information, or to pre-register call 320-358-1220.

A Mystery Mountain Christmas 

The Mystery Mountain Boys, a local gospel-bluegrass band, will present “A Mystery Mountain Christmas” at Spring Lake Lutheran Church in North Branch, Dec. 8, 7 p.m.

The concert is free, but donations will be accepted.

For information, call the church office at 651-674-4606 or email [email protected]

Santa Days breakfast

The North Branch Lioness Club would like to invite the public to the Santa Days Pancake Breakfast and Santa Workshop at the Chisago Senior Center Dec. 8.

All proceeds are donated to the Senior Center to help it stay open. Santa’s Workshop is for children to purchase handmade items for family members. All items are 25 cents.

The Lioness club is committed to supporting the North Branch Food Shelf with quarterly donations. Those interested in supporting our community can join the club. For more information, contact Gloria Mechels at (651) 674-7458 or e-mail: [email protected]

PFLAG meeting

The East Central Minnesota Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays will meet Dec. 9, 4:30 p.m., at Common Ground, the Cambridge United Methodist Church, 404 North Cypress, Cambridge.   Please note, this is a new time and location.  If you have questions concerning PFLAG, call 320-396-3128 or 763-464-0079.

Flexbooks discussion

Rose Dalske of North Branch Area Public Schools will discuss the project a dozen teachers embarked on in the summer of 2012 to create electronic flexbooks aligned to Minnesota math standards in the Creating Flexbooks Based on Minnesota Standards breakout session at TIES 2012 Education Technology Conference Dec. 11, 12:15 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1300 Nicollet Mall, in Minneapolis.

Call Kathy Guthrie at 651-999-6051 for more information or e-mail [email protected]

Holiday swag class

Sue DeLuney offers a new focus in her series of garland-making classes through We R Able Dec. 11. Participants will create a swag using materials that represent the winter season.  This class is offered 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and there is a fee to attend.

The class location is at the North Branch High School, 38175 Grand Ave., room B151.  We R Able provides programs for adults with disabilities in a four-school district area of East Central Minnesota through the St. Croix River Education District.  To register, call 320-358-1220.  We R Able also has a Facebook page.

Parenting plus

All grandparents/kinship caregivers who are raising grandchildren/relative’s children are invited to a support group meeting Dec. 11, 6:30 p.m., room No. 110 at the Pine City Elementary School. Enter door No. 5 by the Dragonwood Playground to find the meeting. Free childcare is available. Call 320-629-4030 to sign up for childcare or for more information.

Santa Lucia party in Rush City

In the darkness of December the Scandinavian countries provide a remedy for more light.  They celebrate by remembering Santa Lucia, who is said to have worn a crown of candles in her hair as she brought food and drink to starving people in Sweden.  Join We R Able in Rush City Dec. 13, 6:30 p.m., for an evening of music by the Spirit River Scandiband, a Lucia procession, some pepparkakor, and julgranskaramel, which is a traditional holiday craft.  The location is the new SCRED building at 425 S. Dana Avenue, next door to the library.There is a modest fee to attend, and pre-registration would help with planning.  For more information visit We R Able on Facebook or call 320-358-1220.

Change of meeting time

On Dec. 4, the North Chisago Historical Society will have its annual ethnic potluck meeting 6 p.m. at the Rushseba Town Hall. Participants are asked to bring their favorite dishes for the smorgasbord.

On Feb. 5, 7 p.m., troubador Joel Karlsson from Sweden will be the featured guest at Rushseba Town Hall. Refreshments will be served. The public is invited.

Christmas party luncheon

A Christmas party luncheon will be held Dec. 18, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Rush City Community Center, 720 W. 14th St. Games, Christmas carols and piano music will be part of the festivities.  A $3.50 donation is suggested for registered diners.  Non-registered diners are asked to donate $7. No registered diner is ever refused a meal if unable to pay.

Singer songwriter 

Singer songwriter Pat Schonhardt of Braham will appear at the We R Able Cool Time event at North Country Coffee in North Branch Dec. 27, at 6 p.m. He will perform a variety of tunes on the guitar drawn from his years of experience with rock, country, Native American, bluegrass bands, and he will feature holiday favorites in his set list.

Pre-registrations are required with We R Able for the Cool Time event.  Please e-mail [email protected] or call 320-358-3616.

Author visit

On Dec. 15, 10 a.m., the Pine City Public Library will host Minnesota author Ann Zemke. She will talk about her grandmother’s orphan train story and her book, They Named Me Marjorie.

For more information, call the Pine City Public Library at (320) 629-6403 or visit

Christmas Eve dinner

The annual Christmas Eve dinner at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rush City will be held Dec. 24, 6 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rush City.  This is a free dinner and open to anyone who would like food and fellowship on this special day.  Please call the parish office at 320-358-4370 to confirm the number of people you are bringing to dinner.

Poetry contest

The Friends of the North Branch Area Library has announced its second annual Valentine Poetry Contest.  The contest has been expanded this year into two categories, adult and children.

Each category will have a grand prize of $50 with five $10 prizes for runners up.  The children’s category theme is “Valentines” and anything connected with Valentine’s Day.  The adults will be judged on the more adult theme of “Romance”.

This contest is open to any amateur poet.  Entries must be submitted to the North Branch Library by Feb. 1 to allow time for judging.    Poets submitting entries are requested to be present to read their poems at a program February 9, 11 a.m..  Winners will be announced following the readings.

Teen addicts program 

“Our Place,” a teen addition recovery program offered by the Lakes Area Youth Service Bureau, helps teens struggling with addiction to get support in their recovery for any type of addiction. Meetings are every Tuesday, 6 p.m., at LAYSB Forest Lake office: 651-464-3685.

Peer Support Group Offered in East Bethel

A NAMI Connection peer support group for adults recovering from a mental illness meets weekly in East Bethel. The free group is sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota. Trained facilitators who are also in recovery lead NAMI Connection groups. The group meets on the first and third Thursdays, 7 p.m., at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 19001 Jackson St. NE, in Pastor Maria’s office.

For more information, contact Laura at 763-639-8785. Find more about NAMI’s free classes and support groups at 651-645-2948.

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