Calendar week of 12/19

Birding and potluck dinner

The Christmas Bird Count is the longest running citizen science project in the world. Join the Wild River Audubon chapter as it searches for and counts birds. Results from all over the U.S. are compiled to increase the understanding of birds. Participants should meet at Chisago Lakes Lutheran Church in Center City, 7:30 a.m. Dec. 22. All levels of birders are welcome. Beginners will be paired with experienced birders. Stay for a pot luck dinner at the church at the end of the day. This is a free event. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Free Almelund Christmas event

A free community Christmas event is being held at Amador Heritage Center, 15695 368th St., in Almelund 3 p.m. Dec. 23.

Come to the old cabin on the grounds of the heritage center for an afternoon of old fashioned fun.  Pretend to be a resident of old Almelund and help decorate the restored cabin with homemade ornaments, hear the Christmas story and sing some carols.  Dress warmly. Those who would like to be involved in a living nativity can contact Merrie at 651-674-5149 or Pat at 651-583-2100.

Skate with Santa

What’s the one event Santa Claus chooses for a little break before his big night? An evening with the North Branch Area Hockey Association for a little ice skating, of course.

Skaters of all ages and abilities are invited to join NBAHA Dec. 23, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Isanti Arena, 600 1st Ave. N., Isanti, to skate with Santa. The event is free, but please bring a canned food item that will be donated to local food shelves.

Pictures with Santa will be taken to commemorate the evening, and holiday treats will be provided.

Helmets are required. Bike helmets are allowed.

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.

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.

School open houses

•Jan. 7, 6:30 p.m.

Early childhood education and kindergarten open house

Discovery childcare, preschool, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten

The open house begins with a short presentation that gives attendees an overview of the school, followed by tours and an opportunity to meet the school faculty and staff.

•Jan. 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

All-school open house

Preschool through grade 6

Attendees can stop by at any time during the open house for a personal tour and overview of the school, and an opportunity to meet the school faculty and staff.

•Feb. 8-May 31,

Open house Fridays

Fridays at 9:30 a.m.

Meet in the gym to begin a personal school-day tour of the school.

Finance workshop

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is hosting a free educational workshop series to connect financial action with personal values. Called “More than Money Matters,” the four-session workshop will be held Tuesday evenings, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. beginning Jan. 15 through Feb. 5 at St. John Lutheran Church, 28200 Jodrell St. N.E., North Branch. The workshop is presented by Tara Johnson, a financial representative with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Cambridge.

To register for this free workshop, couples can call Tara Johnson at 763-552-0595 or e-mail [email protected] The reservation deadline is Jan. 8.

Photography exhibit 

On display at the Downtown Deli, 113 SE Railroad Ave., in Mora, Jan. 2 to 18, will be a photography exhibit by Dee Kotaska. Downtown Deli hours are Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.   A reception, open to the public, will be held Jan. 12, 7 p.m.

Those with questions can contact Kotaska at 320-679-0524.

Crex Meadows events

A carnivore tracking and wolf ecology workshop is scheduled for Jan. 12, 8:30 a.m. at Crex Meadows in Grantsburg, Wis. Lunch and materials will be provided. Register by calling 715-463-2739 or e-mail [email protected]

Jan. 26 will be candlelight night, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

For more information about this event, call 715-463-2739, visit, or find Crex Meadows on Facebook.

Change of meeting time

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.

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.

Defensive driving course

Those who complete this course can save 10 percent on their automobile insurance. The Chisago County Senior Center, (6th Ave & Maple St, North Branch), will be holding an eight-hour driving class for those 55 and older Feb. 19 and 20, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. both nights. The two nights must be completed in order to receive a certificate. The cost is $18 per person, payable cash or check on the first evening. Participants must preregister by 651-674-8658.

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