Nov. 20 – Dec. 9

The Red Cross continues to face a critical blood shortage and is issuing an emergency call for eligible blood and platelet donors of all types to give NOW and help save lives.  Blood donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in.  Commit to give and make a difference.  Use the Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to make an appointment.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Visit (where you can download the FREE Red Cross Blood Donor App) or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to make your appointment:
     Tues.        11/27         2:00-7:00              American Legion in Nisswa

     Wed.         11/28          9:00-2:00              American Legion in Nisswa
     Wed.         11/28          12:00-6:00             CentraCare Health in Long Prairie

     Thurs.      11/29          9:00-3:00              CentraCare Health in Long Prairie

     Thurs.      11/29          8:00-2:00              Verndale High School in Verndale

     Fri.            11/30         12:00-6:00             St. Mathias Catholic Church in Fort Ripley
     Mon.         12/3               12:00-6:00             American Legion in Ironton
     Tues.        12/4               12:00-6:00             Pequot Lakes High School in Pequot Lakes
     Thurs.      12/6               8:00-2:00              Pierz Healy High School in Pierz
     Tues.        12/11             11:00-5:00             FitQuest Athletic Club in Baxter


Cass County Public Health is hosting some upcoming walk-in Immunization Clinics for children who are on MA/MnCare or who are un- or under-insured.  Select immunizations are available for adults who are un- or under-insured:
         Tues   11/27         9:00 – 11:00           Cass Co. Health, Human & Vet. Services

            Wed    12/5              9:30-11:30             Pine River-Backus Family Center
            Fri       12/14            
10:00-12:00           Northland Area Family Center

            Tues   12/18            10-12 & 1-2:30        Pillager Family Resource Center
        *Thurs. 12/27         9:00 – 11:00           Cass Co. Health, Human & Vet. Services
For more information, call 218-547-1340 ext. 246

Free Master Gardener classes through the UMN Extension Crow Wing County Master Gardeners will take place at the Brainerd Public Library each month in 2018 from 12:00-1:00.  Monthly presentations facilitated by certified UMN Extension Crow Wing Master Gardeners will discuss subjects ranging from garden tools to gourds.    (Schedule subject to change…check their website for updates)
          Tues. Dec. 11            “Holiday Pizzazz: Using Plants for Holiday Décor” JoAnn Weaver


In an effort to provide a safe environment to share stories, provide support and education to those who have lost a loved one to suicide, a Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group invites you to its bi-weekly Monday meetings on the first and third Monday of each month.  The group meets from 7:00-8:30 at Lutheran Church of the Cross on County Road 13 in Nisswa.  This is a group for adults only.  With questions, contact Jeri Borgwarth at


**Kinship Partners is looking for mentors for a number of lakes area children who are on a waiting list.  If you would like to make the difference in the life of a child here in our community, please contact Kinship Partners.  Mentors can be individuals, couples, or families.  It doesn’t cost a lot of money, just a little time.  Visit for more information.


Crow Wing County and Lakes Area Law Enforcement have come together to introduce The Vitals App.  Vitals is the new app that helps protect people with visible and invisible conditions and disabilities by voluntarily communicating critical information to law enforcement and first responders. Each Vitals individual is assigned a Vitals beacon that transmits a private and secure signal to authorized first responders that are within 80 feet, allowing them temporary access to critical information that can help the individual and law enforcement de-escalate what could become a dangerous or emergency situation.  To learn more, or to register for the service, visit or text VITALS to 797979.

Brainerd Lakes Area residents are encouraged to turn in your empty toner and ink jet cartridges at either of The Office Shop locations (Brainerd or Aitkin) for recycling.  By doing so, you will be helping the Zachary Johnson Kids with Cancer Fund.  The fund offers grants to surrounding area families with a dependent child (age 21 or under) who has any form of cancer.  It can be used for anything that the patient or caregiver wishes.  If you are interested in applying for a grant, contact Riverwood Foundation or stop at either Office Shop location.  Or to donate, visit or call 218-927-5158.

The City of Brainerd will use Crow Wing County Alert powered by EverBridge to make sure you know about issues that may affect your safety. This system allows the City of Brainerd to contact thousands of residents in seconds, so you can find out about an emergency right away.  Receive important messages from the City of Brainerd via email, phone, and much more!  Get up-to-the-minute information about severe weather, road closures, snow emergencies, event cancellations, and much more!  To register for the Crow Wing County Alert, visit 


It’s time for the annual Sertoma Winter Wonderland.  Everyone is invited to come drive through the Arb to see the landscape of beautiful Christmas lights.  Advance tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Cub Foods (both locations), the Brainerd Dispatch, Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union and at the Arb.  General admission at the gate will be $15/vehicle… $10/advance tickets… and $25/small busses and limos.  The hours of operation are from 5:30-8:30pm.  Run dates:
Wed. Nov. 28-Sat. Dec. 1st….Wed. Dec. 5-Sat. Dec. 8th….Wed. Dec. 12th – Sat. Dec. 15th…. And Wed. Dec. 19th – Tues. Dec. 31st.  For more information, visit

Don’t forget to support your friends and neighbors in the lakes area by donating to the Salvation Army Red Kettles this holiday season.  When you hear the bells and/or see the kettles, please make a contribution to help those in need.

Honor a Veteran by making a donation to Wreaths for the Fallen, an organization making sure that all veterans who are at rest in the Minnesota State Veteran’s Cemeteries are honored with a wreath on their grave during the month of December.  On Sat. Dec. 8th, a remembrance ceremony will be held at 11:00 at the Little Falls and Preston, MN cemeteries.  Following the ceremony, volunteers will span out and place the wreaths on the graves.  To make a donation to the cause, please visit and click on “honor a veteran.”

Xcel Energy reminds you to watch out for scams. If someone calls you or shows up at your home or business and threatens to turn off your power if you don’t pay your bill immediately, hang up or shut your door. Xcel Energy doesn’t work that way. Call them to find out what you owe and when it’s due. If a caller says you overpaid your bill and will get a refund if you’ll give your bank account number, hang up and call Xcel. Don’t let someone steal your money or your identity. Don’t get scammed.


It’s time for the annual Sertoma Winter Wonderland.  It kicks off on Thanksgiving night, Thurs. Nov. 22.  Everyone is invited to come drive through the Arb to see the landscape of beautiful Christmas lights.  Advance tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Cub Foods (both locations), the Brainerd Dispatch, Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union and at the Arb.  General admission at the gate will be $15/vehicle… $10/advance tickets… and $25/small busses and limos.  The hours of operation are from 5:30-8:30pm.  Run dates:
Thurs. Nov. 22-Sat. Nov. 24…… Wed. Nov. 28-Sat. Dec. 1st….Wed. Dec. 5-Sat. Dec. 8th….Wed. Dec. 12th – Sat. Dec. 15th…. And Wed. Dec. 19th – Tues. Dec. 31st.  For more information, visit

The Heartland Detachment, Inc. Marine Corps League is, once again, hosting the local Toys For Kids Drive for kids in need in the lakes area.  The group asks that you bring a new, unwrapped toy to one of the participating collection locations (Hubbard Radio is one) and the group will collect the toys from those locations in mid-December, wrap them and get them to kids who may otherwise not get a toy this holiday season.  If you have questions, place call 838-1640.






The Self-Healing Communities Project underway in the Garfield and Lowell neighborhoods says, “Let’s Talk Solutions,” and have “A Community Conversation” on Tues. Nov. 27th at Lowell Elementary School in Brainerd.  Free child care and appetizers will be available at the event.  The project says they need everyone to come together and word toward a safer, healthier neighborhoods in the community.  For more info and to register, visit or call 218-297-1385. 

Join Lonesome Cottage Furniture Company as they host the Brainerd Lakes Chamber’s last Business After Hours for 2018 on Tues. Nov. 27th, from 4:30 – 6:00 PM at their manufacturing plant AND retail showroom in Pequot Lakes. Tours of the manufacturing plant (4772 Morehouse Drive) will be provided from 4:00-5:00 PM. Holiday themed appetizers and a hot cocoa bar will be served at their retail showroom (30671 Patriot Avenue). The program will begin at 5:15 PM with a welcome and introductions. Lonesome Cottage Furniture Company will be giving away a Wooded River Throw ($100 value) and 2 Wooded River Pillows ($50 value each) for door prizes! Must be present to win.

The City of Pequot Lakes is seeking community input on potential improvements to Rasmussen Road. The City will be hosting a Rasmussen Road Project Open House on Tues. Nov. 27th at 6:30 p.m. at the Cole Memorial Building in Pequot Lakes. All are welcome to attend. For more information, please contact City Hall at (218)568-5222.

Healthy employees are key to a healthy business.  Workplace wellness can help your business increase employee satisfaction, maximize productivity, minimize absenteeism, and manage healthcare costs. Crow Wing Energized invites small and large businesses to attend a FREE Workplace Wellness Conference “Mental Fitness: 5 Ways to Increase Resiliency and Wellness in the Workplace” on Wed. Nov. 28th from 7:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Crow Wing County Land Services.  Featured speaker is Kay King, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota Community Educator.  Those attending are asked to RSVP online at and click on Events.

The public is invited to attend the Brainerd High School A’Cappella CHOIR’s presentation of their annual Madrigal Dinners to be performed at the Legacy on Fri., Sat. and Sun., Nov. 29-Dec. 1st.  The Madrigal dinner includes a full evening of entertainment put on by the 70-voice choir, beginning with a wassail social, a 4-course feast, entertainment by the court jester and actors, and a concert of Christmas music and carols.  Advance tickets are $35 and seating is reserved.  Tickets available online at

Hailing from the song-rich soil of Minneapolis, Brianna Lane, a gifted singer-songwriter who plays both guitar and banjo, will perform on Fri. Nov. 30th as part of the Grassroots Concert series in Nisswa.  The concert will take place at the Live Well Nightclub & Coffee Bar at the Journey Church in downtown Nisswa.  Admission is $10 at the door for adults…and $5 for children under 12 (with listening attention and accompanied by an adult.)  Doors open at 6:30, Show starts at 7:30.

The public is invited to a Craft & Vendor Bazaar on Sat. Dec. 1st at the Oak Street Chapel in Brainerd.  The Bazaar will be held from 9:00-2:00 and feature hand-sewn good, wool gloves, homemade wood products, crocheted items, Mary Kay products, Scentsy, “31” Bags, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, door prizes, food and more!  All are welcome, it is free to attend.

Mark your calendar for the Holiday Bake Sale & Boutique on Sat. Dec. 1st at Good Samaritan Society – Bethany in Brainerd.  The Sale & Boutique will be up and running from 9:00-1:00 and will feature craft vendors, concessions, holiday baked goods, and photos with Santa.  The event is hosted by the Bethany Auxiliary and GSS Way Committee.  To learn more, call Kelli at 829-4366.

The Crossing Arts Alliance will be hosting a wreath-making workshop at their downtown location on Sat. Dec. 1st, from 10:00 to 12:00.  It’s a Natural Wreath Workshop with Mary Schaefbauer of Sonnenblume Floral. $40 for TCAA members, $45 for non-members. All supplies are included. Students are encouraged to bring gardening gloves. Students will create a holiday wreath, unlike any other in the world! Workshop participants will use fresh, responsibly foraged Brainerd pine, and natural design materials to create a unique holiday wreath.  Please contact the Crossing Arts Alliance to register or do it online at

It’s time for Holly Days in Crosslake!  Part of the fun includes a number of events on Sat. Dec. 1stFrom 9:00-3:00, enjoy the Christmas Bazaar & Bake Sale at the Crosslake American Legion.  You can purchase cookies by the pound, enjoy local crafters selling Christmas items and all the proceeds will be used for local scholarships.  Also, from 1:00-4:00, it’s Holiday At The Dam!  Bring in a new, unwrapped toy or cash for the Christmas For Kids program and enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, a bon fire with s’mores, kettle corn, cocoa and cider.  There will be a make-and-take craft.  It is free to attend.  Then, from 4:00-7:00, it’s the annual Christmas For Kids event at Maucieri’s where they will be raising funds and gathering toys for those less fortunate in the Crosslake, 50 Lakes, Nisswa, Mission, Merrifield and Pequot Lakes area. With a minimum $10 donation, or a new, unwrapped toy, you’ll get a free drink.  There will be a silent and live auction, as well.  And finally, from 4:30-7:30, the Christmas Festival will happen at the Crosslake Evangelical Free (or Log) Church with a children’s program, hayrides, bon fire, crafts and cookie decorating and a meal.  For more info., visit or download the Crosslake app.

Join the fun at the annual Holiday Sip & Shop event at Madden’s Town Hall on Sun. Dec. 2nd from 12:00-4:00.  You’ll see over 40 local vendors and enjoy wine tasting and goodies.  Tickets are $10 and available at Morey’s, the Cascade Med Spa, The Fine Line, The Hearth Room.  The tickets will be $15 at the door.  The event is sponsored by the Brainerd Service League, supporting charitable organizations in the Brainerd Lakes Area since 1938.  For more info, call 218-330-0001.

Heartland Symphony Orchestra’s Winter Concert Series will be held Sun., Dec. 2nd in Brainerd at 2:30 p.m. at the Tornstrom Auditorium.  The theme for the Winter Concert Series is “Family Adventure”.   It will feature music from “The Snowman”, Howard Blake’s fantastical tale of a boy’s adventures with his snowy friend.   The narrator for the performance will be Bill Satre.  Soloist Jennifer Pelowski will sing “Walking in the Air”, the popular song from the soundtrack of “The Snowman”. Tickets are free to youth and students K-12 or $12 for adults and $10 for Seniors. Tickets may be purchased at the door, by mail, or online Call 1-800-826-1997 for more information.

The Heartland Animal Rescue Team in Baxter is hosting a “Meowy Catmas” Open House for Kids on Sun. Dec. 2nd from 1:30 – 3:30 at HART in Baxter.  Not only will kids be able to visit with the cats and kittens at the shelter, but there will be crafts, gift bags with Christmas goodies and they can meet HART’s Canine Ambassador, Chaz!  All children are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult.  For more information, visit

The Longville Area Community Choir invites the public to its Winter Concert, “My Lord, What a Morning” on Sun. Dec. 2ndThe concert will take place at 4:00 at Salem Lutheran Church in Longville.  All are welcome.


12/3 – 12/9


The Brainerd Public Library will be hosting “Windfall,” the A’Cappella choir, on Mon. Dec. 3rd at 2:30pm.  Windfall will be sharing holiday carols and the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library will provide holiday refreshments as part of the library’s open house and book fair.  All are invited.  The event is free to attend.

Brainerd Lions invites the community to “Spaghetti With Santa!” On Mon. Dec. 3rd at 5 pm, Santa comes to town at First Lutheran Church, 424 South 8th Street in Brainerd, and the Brainerd Lions start serving pasta.  Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for kids ages 5-12, and 4 years old and under are free.  Tickets are available at Senor Patrons in Brainerd, the Northland Arboretum, and at the door.  All proceeds benefit local community projects and the Lion’s Sight Fund which provides vision screening in local public schools.  For more information, check out the Brainerd Lions Facebook page.

The Pine River-Backus Family Center/RadioThon To End Child Abuse Fundraiser will, again, be taking place at the Salty Dog Restaurant in Backus on Tues. Dec. 4thThe pulled-pork sandwich dinner will be sold and served to you by Cass County Law Enforcement from 4:30-7:00pm with the proceeds going to the Pine River-Backus Family Center to help fund its programs and services.  The Salty Dog is on State Hwy 87, two miles east of Hwy 371. Everyone is welcome!

Region Five Development Commission was recently the recipient of MnDOT’s Regional Transportation Coordinating Council grant and will be hosting a Public Meeting on Tues. Dec. 4th at 6:00pm at Timbers Restaurant in Staples. The public is invited to attend this event to discuss transportation in our region. Complimentary dinner will be provided to registered attendees. Visit to register today!

It’s time for the Kick Off to the 2018 RadioThon to End Child Abuse.  Join your friends from Crow Wing County’s Child Protection Team and Collaborative Services Team anytime between 10:00 and 2:00 for a Brat, Pop and Chip lunch for only $4.  The food will be served at the Westgate Mall in Brainerd where the RadioThon takes place.  Free delivery for pre-orders of 5 or more brats if ordered by MON. DEC. 3rd.  To pre-order, call Whitnee at 454-6443.

The 2018 RadioThon to End Child Abuse will be taking place on Thurs. & Fri. Dec. 6th and 7th LIVE from the Westgate Mall in Brainerd.  The RadioThon runs from 12:00 noon on Thurs. to 12:00 noon on Friday.  Everyone is invited to stop by and make a donation in person or listen to (this station)-FM and call in a donation.  There will also be an online auction where all the proceeds will go toward the RadioThon.  The dollars raised go to the services in Crow Wing, Cass, Morrison and Aitkin counties that help in the fight against child abuse and neglect. 

Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center Auxiliary invites the community to their annual Holiday Bazaar from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 7th.  The sights, sounds, and smells of the season will be showcased in the River Room Grille and meeting rooms on the lower level of Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center, 523 North 3rd Street, Brainerd. 

Arrive early for the best selection on the Cookie Walk and skip your baking this year.   

Hopefully you have made your list and checked it twice…because you will find gift items from crafters and vendors showcasing items for personal use and the home during the Holiday Bazaar. There will also be beautifully themed and wrapped gift baskets on silent auction during the entire week of December 3 to 7.  All funds raised by this event benefit direct patient care as gifted by the Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center Auxiliary.


Honor a Veteran by making a donation to Wreaths for the Fallen, an organization making sure that all veterans who are at rest in the Minnesota State Veteran’s Cemeteries are honored with a wreath on their grave during the month of December.  On Sat. Dec. 8th, a remembrance ceremony will be held at 11:00 at the Little Falls and Preston, MN cemeteries.  Following the ceremony, volunteers will span out and place the wreaths on the graves.  To donate, please visit and click on “honor a veteran.”

The Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, Grampa G’s Farm, and the Sustainable Farming Association invites the public to an Open House:  Passive Solar Deep Winter Greenhouse in Pillager on Sat. Dec. 8th from 10:00-12:00.  The event location is at 207 W. Highway 210 in Pillager and will include a Deep Winter Greenhouse presentation, ribbon cutting and tour and self-guided tours with Q&A time. 

It’s time for the 2018 Holiday Craft Fair at the Fifty Lakes City Hall and Bar & Bottle Shop on Sat. Sept. 8th from 10:00-4:00.  Great gift ideas, food, crafts and fun!  There will also be wine-tasting in the Bar & Bottle Shop.  (If you’d like a table at the event, call Ann at 218-838-6109.

Salem Lutheran Church presents an ecumenical Choral and Orchestral Event, “The Winter Rose” on Sat. Dec. 8th at 7:00pm and on Sun. Dec. 9th at 10:00am at Salem Lutheran Church in Deerwood.  The concert will also be performed on Sun. Dec. 9th at 1:00 at Heartwood Grand Lodge in Crosby.

The Legacy Chorale will perform “Joy To The World…A Celebration of Carols from Around the World” on Sun. Dec. 9th at 3:30 at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd…. On Tues. Dec. 11th at 7:30 at Crosby-Ironton High School…and on Sat. Dec. 15th at Salem Lutheran Church in Longville.  The concerts are free to attend, however a free will donation is encouraged.