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Mills Ford offers free test drives to benefit Brainerd High School

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■ Arbor Day planting scheduled May 19

An Arbor Day community tree planting near Whipple Beach is planned, rain or shine, from 1-3 p.m. May 19 in Baxter.

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Participants may bring a shovel (a 6-inch wide and 1.5 foot-long post-hole shovel is recommended as working the best) and a 5 gallon bucket.

The group will meet at the Whipple Beach parking lot. A presentation is planned at 1 p.m. Sloppy joes and chips will be served after planting.

The group is planting 300 Norway pine and white spruce trees near Whipple Beach.

■ U.S. Bicycle Route 45 expands to a continuous 700 miles in Minnesota

The Mississippi River Trail — also known as U.S. Bicycle Route 45 — received national recognition when federal officials today announced approval of USBR 45 through the Twin Cities metro area.

The route now officially runs the entire length of the Mississippi River in Minnesota.

The Mississippi River Trail (MRT)/USBR 45 connects 700 miles of existing shouldered highways, low-use roads and off-road paths for bicyclists and closely follows the Mississippi River from the headwaters at Itasca State Park to the Iowa border. Some sections have route options on both sides of the river.

To date, 5,616 miles of U.S. Bicycle Routes have been designated in 10 states: Alaska, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia. Presently, more than 40 states are working to create U.S. Bicycle Routes.

The newly approved middle segment passes through the Twin Cities Metro area and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area — a 72-mile-long park managed by the National Park Service. Much of the route is on bike paths with scenic views. This segment of the route offers opportunities to connect with restaurants, museums, parks and festivals along the river.

The northern segment of USBR 45 was designated in October 2012 and begins in Itasca State Park, where the river begins as a small stream. The route then travels through the north woods and past numerous lakes to Bemidji, Cass Lake, Grand Rapids, Brainerd, Little Falls and St. Cloud. At Cass Lake, bicyclists have an off-road option to travel 100 miles on the Heartland State Trail and Paul Bunyan State Trail.

The southern segment was designated in May 2012 and extends from Hastings to the Iowa border. This section is on roads and multi-use paths that closely follow the Mississippi River through steep limestone bluffs, hardwood forests, and more than a dozen river towns.

This summer MnDOT will begin installing MRT bike route signs for bicyclists to navigate the route. Detailed maps and other information are available to print or access via smart phone/GPS at www.mndot.gov/bike/mrt.

Once complete, USBR 45 will continue south along the Mississippi River to New Orleans. In the future, the U.S. Bicycle Route System will encompass more than 50,000 miles of routes. Visit www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/us-bicycle-route-system for more information about the proposed national network.

The U.S. Bicycle Route System project is spearheaded by AASHTO’s Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering. The project involves officials and staff from state DOTs, the Federal Highway Administration and nonprofit organizations such as Adventure Cycling Association, the East Coast Greenway Alliance and Mississippi River Trail Inc.

■ 2nd annual

Race for Grace

to run May 26

BAXTER — The second annual Race For Grace will be run at 10 a.m. May 26 at Forestview Middle School in Baxter.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The family friendly 5-kilometer run/walk will start and end at Forestview.

The Race for Grace honors the memory of Baby Grace Elizabeth Lee, who passed away a week before her first birthday in May 2011. Memorial Day weekend is the weekend Grace was born to Jake and Alyssa (Altrichter) Lee, the weekend she left them at the age of 1, and the weekend that will forever honor her memory.

Due to the generous sponsorships and participation of more than 300 friends and family at the first Race for Grace in 2012, an $8,000 donation was made to the Ronald McDonald House, a favorite charity of Jake and Alyssa.

This year, proceeds of the race will be donated to Faith’s Lodge, a place where parents and families who have faced serious illness or the death of a child, can retreat to reflect on the past, renew strength for the present and build hope for the future — www.faithslodge.org.

You may register online at www.raceforgracemn.com or print registration forms and mail them to Race for Grace, 1912 Woodcrest Road, Brainerd. Email inquiries to raceforgrace@live.com. Find fun photos from the 2012 race on Facebook.

Early registration deadline is May 14, to guarantee receiving a T-shirt.

Anyone unable to attend the race may contribute to Grace’s nonprofit fund through Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, www.communitygiving.org/brainerd.

Tax-deductible donation to the Grace Lee Fund will assist other families who have experienced the pain of losing a child or are dealing with a critical childhood illness.

■ Drive one for your school event

is May 18 in Baxter

BAXTER — Mills Ford, Baxter, is hosting a Drive one for Your School event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday along Highway 371 North.

Drivers, who must be 18 or older and with a valid driver’s license, may take a free test drive at Mills Ford and Brainerd High School gets a $20 donation up to $6,000 from Ford Motor Co. There is a limit of one test drive per household. In addition to the free test drive, the event includes hot dogs, pop, popcorn, a bake sale and a car wash. The Drive One Funds go to six Brainerd High School organizations — wrestling, gymnastics, adaptive floor hockey, Spanish club, dance team, sophomores class cabinet (prom).

For more information, call 866-455-7638.

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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