NEWSBRIEFS: Ramsey Co. / Maplewood / Oakdale / Lake Elmo - October 8, 2017

Co-founder Dr. Trent Cole accepted the Oakdale Business of the Year award on behalf of the Oakdale Optical Center. Mayor Paul Reinke presented the award on behalf of Oakdale and the Oakdale Area Chamber of Commerce. photo courtesy of Kristie Shafer

Oakdale Optical Center named Business of the Year

In 2001, Oakdale and the Oakdale Area Chamber of Commerce established the business of the year program to recognize the contributions made by its business community. Since then, 14 businesses have been named Oakdale Business of the Year.

On Oct. 5, Oakdale Optical Center was named the 2017 Business of the Year.

This award recognized the support the Oakdale Optical Center has offered the city through involvement in the Business Showcase, Spring Fling, Holiday Helping Hands, Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf and the OACC annual golf fundraiser. 

Oakdale Optical Center also mentors health professionals entering the field, sponsors local sports teams and partners with local schools and athletic organizations to conduct baseline concussion testing.


Apply to attend a U.S. Service Academy

Sen. Al Franken’s office is now accepting applications from young Minnesotans interested in attending one of the nation’s four service academies, including the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. In order to attend a service academy, candidates must be nominated by a member of Congress, or other applicable nominating source. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27. 

 “Each year, I’m proud to nominate several talented Minnesotans to our four U.S. Service Academies,” said Franken. “I’m happy to assist eligible Minnesotans in the nomination process, and I look forward to helping our future leaders seek admission to these prestigious academies.”

To be considered for an appointment to a service academy, an applicant must meet the eligibility requirements established by law. An applicant’s academic record, extracurricular and athletic activities, physical aptitude, leadership ability  and medical qualifications are all considered. You can view specific requirements and download an application at  

 To be considered for a nomination, send a completed application with all required materials to Sen. Al Franken, Attn. Nominations Coordinator, 60 Plato Boulevard East, Suite 220, St. Paul, MN 55107 or by email to

For the academy classes entering in the summer of 2018 and graduating in 2022, the deadline for applying is Oct. 27 at 5 p.m.


Super Bowl Host Committee encourages kids to enter the Super Snack Challenge

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) Legacy Fund, in partnership with Newman’s Own Foundation, is encouraging kids across the state to enter the Super Snack Challenge. Super Snack Challenge invites Minnesota children ages 8-14 to share their favorite healthy game day recipe. Fifty-two winners will be invited to attend the Super Kids Tailgate Party to take place during the 10-day Super Bowl festival that precedes Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, 2018. Ten “All-Pro Chefs” will be honored during the Super Kids Tailgate Party and a Super Snack Challenge MVP will be crowned, winning the opportunity to give $25,000 to the charity of his or her choice.

 Minnesota-native and celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern is helping build excitement for the Super Snack Challenge. Zimmern helped kick-off the Super Snack challenge at the State Fair in August.

 “The Super Snack Challenge is a way for children across Minnesota to have some fun, make their own Super Bowl memory, and create lifelong healthy eating habits,” said Dana Nelson, vice president of Legacy and Community Partnerships for the MNSBHC Legacy Fund. “We can’t wait to see all of the creative recipes that Minnesota kids send us. We know they are up for the challenge.”

 The Super Snack Challenge is part of the MNSBHC Legacy Fund’s efforts to leave a lasting legacy of improved health and wellness for Minnesota children. The challenge also provides another opportunity for Minnesotans across the state to get involved and celebrate our opportunity to host the Super Bowl.  The Super Bowl Legacy Grant Program is made possible each year by a $1 million contribution courtesy of the NFL Foundation and is complemented by the Super Bowl Host Committee.

 Entry for the Super Snack Challenge is easy. Children age 8-14 can prepare a healthy Super Bowl Snack using some of their favorite healthy ingredients. Their parents or guardians can submit the recipe ingredients and instructions online at Recipes will be graded on nutrition, ease-to-make, creativity and taste. 

Judges, including notable Minnesota chefs, will select 52 semi-finalists, 10 finalists, and three Super Snack Challenge winners. The 52 semi-finalists will be invited to attend the Super Kids Tailgate during the 10-day Super Bowl festival in Minneapolis. Minnesota children have until  Oct. 16  to submit their Super Snack recipe. Full entry rules are available at

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