Hockey Day Minnesota Takes Center Stage in Downtown Stillwater

Outdoor hockey will take center stage along the banks of the St. Croix River this weekend in downtown Stillwater. Unseasonably warm temperatures — and a forecasted rain shower — have temporarily closed the Stillwater Ice Castles, but Hockey Day Minnesota organizers say rain or shine a whole lot of Minnesota’s favorite past time will be played in Lowell Park. Hockey Day Minnesota At a Glance

Friday Hockey Night

Gates open at 2 p.m. Friday, with the festivities kicking off at 4 p.m. with a showdown between the Stillwater Police and Stillwater Fire Department. The Minnesota Whitecaps will take on the Korean National Team in a professional women’s hockey game at 6 p.m.

The nightcap is an alumni game pitting the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers against the University of Wisconsin Badgers. Continue Reading →

Stillwater Ice Castles Temporarily Closed Due to Warm Weather

An important note from Ice Castles Minnesota:

Due to the unseasonably warm weather, Ice Castles’ Stillwater location will be closed Thursday, January 19th, and it’s possible that the Ice Castles will be closed into the following week. As a weather dependent event, as the weather changes so must our plans. Why can’t Mother Nature be a little more consistent? The purpose for closing is because the Ice Castles are made entirely of ice, which includes the walking surface in the floor. The walking surface is composed of 8” of crushed ice and snow. Continue Reading →

Community Thread Seeks Nominations for 2017 Community Involvement Awards

Community Thread and the Washington County Board of Commissioners are now accepting nominations for the 2017 Community Involvement Awards. The Community Involvement Awards shine a spotlight on volunteerism and honor the great work of volunteers in the community. “The St. Croix Valley is full of dedicated and passionate volunteers. Thanks to the enthusiastic service of individuals, families, groups, and employers, our community remains strong, rich and vibrant,” Sally Anderson, Executive Director at Community Thread said in a news release. Continue Reading →

Sticks in Stillwater Mite Hockey Festival Takes to the Ice this Weekend

The Sticks in Stillwater Mite Hockey Festival is set to take place this weekend at the St. Croix Valley Recreation Center. The second annual mite hockey tournament is a family-friendly event that will feature more than 100 mite hockey games over two days featuring 600 kids playing on teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota. The tournament takes place at the outdoor rink at the St. Croix Valley Recreation Center from Jan. Continue Reading →

Stillwater Ice Castles Now Open

The Stillwater Ice Castles officially open at 3 p.m. today in Lowell Park. Ice Castles LLC crews have been working on the winter wonderland for a couple of months, placing individual icicles into place and using a combination of water, ice and snow to sculpt it into a majestic, glacier-like castle. Buy tickets to the Ice Castles online

Ice Castle Hours

The ice castle is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3 – 9 p.m.; Friday from 3 – 10 p.m.; Saturday from noon – 10 p.m.; and Sunday from noon – 8 p.m. The ice castle is closed on Tuesdays. Online Tickets:

General Admission (12+): $9.95

Child (4-11): $6.95

Standby, At-the-Door Tickets:

General Admission (12+): $18

Child (4-11): $12

When you buy a ticket, you are buying an arrival window, according to the Ice Castles LLC website. “For example, if you buy a ticket from 7 – 7:30 p.m., we plan on you arriving between 7 and 7:30 p.m.  If you arrive before 7 p.m., you will need to wait till 7 p.m. to enter. Continue Reading →

Thank You, Alex: ‘Christmas Miracles Aren’t Just Found in Movies’

To the editor:

I am writing this letter to remind everyone that Christmas miracles aren’t just found in movies, they can happen anywhere. My family has had a very hard year, my husband lost his job and has been unable to find a new job after months of searching. We have two boys (6 and 8) and I have been dreading Christmas, because we had no extra money to buy our children Christmas presents. To try and save Christmas for my family I went to Target to try my last credit card, I filled my cart with everything that my kids wanted and headed to the register praying that it would accept the transaction. I figured that we could deal with the debt later, I just didn’t want my kids to go without on Christmas Morning. Continue Reading →

Light Up the Dark – Stillwater Public Library’s Adult Winter Reading Program

Relax this winter and indulge in reading a good book! Between January 3 and February 28, visit the library and pick up an entry form to participate in our program. All you need to do is read a book (any book), fill out the form, and receive a free mini book light. One light per person, while our supplies last! We will also have many book lists available to take home filled with good book suggestions. Continue Reading →

Reducing Stress Through Meditation Class at the Stillwater Public Library

Join us at the Stillwater Public Library from 2:00 – 3:30 pm on Thursday, January 12 for a unique class about the role of meditation in reducing stress. The scientific community has recently been exploring the use of meditation as a healing modality. Join Michael Ribet, long time meditator, as he discusses the extraordinary effect of meditation to reduce stress-related responses, improve concentration, enhance clarity of thought and mental equilibrium. He will also present a simple, yet powerful meditation technique that can enrich one’s life personally, professionally and spiritually. The program is free. Continue Reading →

January Children & Family Programs at the Stillwater Public Library

Kick-off the New Year with fun programs at the library! Join us for one of January’s regularly scheduled activities for children and families. Tuesdays at 10:30 am are Toddler Storytimes. Stories, songs & fingerplays encourage the development of early literacy skills for some of our youngest visitors. Format is geared toward children 18-36 months and their caregivers. Continue Reading →

Pizza Ranch is Now Open in Oak Park Heights

Pizza Ranch opened the doors of its newest franchise across the street from Stillwater Area High School in Oak Park Heights this week. Pizza Ranch’s buffet features pizza, broasted chicken, sides, salad and dessert. Pizza Ranch also offers delivery, pick-up and catering options. The new franchise location is the second for lifelong Stillwater residents Ernie and Kris Swanson, along with their son, Ernie Swanson Jr., and daughters Julie Hove and Jennifer Swanson. The Oak Park Heights restaurant is open Sunday – Thursday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m – 10 p.m.

“Opening a Pizza Ranch in our hometown has been a dream for our family for years,” Ernie Swanson Sr. said. Continue Reading →

Community Thread Offers Free Tax-Filing Assistance

Community Thread is offering free, by appointment, tax-filing assistance to low and middle income taxpayers beginning in early-February. Trained and certified AARP TaxAide volunteers will explain tax requirements, answer questions and electronically file income tax returns. Returns can only be prepared for Minnesota residents with income from Minnesota. Not all IRS forms and schedules can be prepared by AARP Tax-Aide (ie, residential rental income). Qualified taxpayers must bring:

Photo identification

Printed copy of 2015 Tax Return

Social security ID for each person listed on the return(s)

All income documents (W-2; Retirement and Social Security 1099’s; interest and dividends; state and federal tax refunds; capital gains/stock transactions; self-employment income and expenses; gambling winnings)

All documents for deductions (charitable donations; medical and education expenses; real-estate taxes; mortgage interest, etc)

Estimated tax payments made in 2016

All required tax-related documents are listed on the Community Thread website. Continue Reading →

3 Washington County Commissioners Sworn Into Office After Re-Election

Three Washington County commissioners were sworn into office Jan. 3 after being re-elected in November. Commissioners Gary Kriesel (District 3), Fran Miron (District 1) and Lisa Weik (District 5) were sworn into four-year terms.

Commissioner Kriesel was first elected in November 2004 to represent the residents of District 3. He was re-elected in 2008, 2012, and again, in 2016. He retired from Xcel Energy (formerly Northern States Power) after 33 years, and served two years on the Stillwater City Council. Continue Reading →

Story Man from England: Winter Wonderland at the Stillwater Library

Sing songs, play games and join in this interactive storytelling event based on winter-themed books with The Story Man from England. Ages: 2–8. No registration necessary. “I believe the most valuable impact I can make as a storyteller is to turn children on to books and reading. I do that by making those things as much fun as possible.” Continue Reading →

NORAD Santa Tracker 2016: Watch Santa Claus’ Christmas Eve Trip Around the World

It’s Christmas Eve, and once again NORAD is tracking when Santa Claus is coming to town. For more than 60 years, the same elaborate radar and satellite systems used to track North American airspace for potential missile and air attacks have been used to track Santa Claus. Watch it here:

According to NORAD, Santa will leave his home in the South Pole and visit the South Pacific first, and then travel to New Zealand and Australia. He generally reaches the United States between 9 p.m. and midnight on Christmas Eve. The NORAD website will provide “Santacam” updates throughout the day, releasing photos and videos of Santa while he travels around the world. Continue Reading →