Evansville show draws on old masters

A mostly self-taught artist heavily influenced by the old European master artists will display her work May 2-31 at the Evansville Art Center, 111 Main St., in Evansville.

Jo Schwalboski says her goal is always to produce an original while understanding painting techniques, colors and realistic portrayals. She regularly exhibits her work at the Art of the Lakes in Battle Lake and at the Paramount in St. Cloud, as well as private shows, and will return in July when the Evansville Art Center is one of the stops on the Art of the Lakes Tour July 19- 21.

The art center is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Conquer garden pests

Gardeners can learn how to fight garden pests and win as the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners of Douglas County host a Gardening Brown Bag talk, one of a series of lunchtime sessions.

Joel Kangas will talk on Tuesday, May 14, about how to maintain a healthy balance in your garden.

These gardening sessions offered free of charge without pre-registration from noon to 1 p.m. in conjunction with the Douglas County Library. Participants may bring their lunch or snack to the library.

The next talk is "Monarchs," by Daisy Stahlberg, on Tuesday, May 28.

Students looking for people to help

Discovery Middle School eighth-graders are looking for residents who would like their yards raked, windows washed, or other chores done during the annual Day of Caring on Friday, May 17.

The school teams up with the United Way to do service projects for those in need who have requested assistance. They will be wearing T-shirts designed by contest winner Henry Ramstorf.

Groups of about 10 students and an adult visit multiple sites. Projects may include light yard work, scraping and painting, general cleanup, planting or lawn maintenance/ landscaping.

Sponsorship information and project request forms are at www.uwdp.org, or contact Sarah Reif at 320-762-7900, ext. 4306 or sreif@alexschools.org

Luring birds with native plants

Native plants can attract birds to local yards and gardens, and on Tuesday, May 14, extension educator Robin Trott will explain how. She will join the Prairie Lakes Audubon Chapter at 7 p.m. at the Alexandria Senior and Community Center to provide an overview of native plants that provide food, shelter and nesting sites for your backyard birds.

There is no cost to attend, and the public is welcome.

Free events for Older Americans Month

Knute Nelson invites the community to two free events in May in recognition of Older Americans Month.

"Older adults play a key role in the vitality of our community," says Mark Anderson, president and CEO. "These events are a small token of our appreciation."

The first event will be a free lunch on Wednesday, May 15 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Grand Arbor, 4403 Pioneer Road. This lunch is also a "thank you" to the community for voting for Grand Arbor in the Echo Press "Best of the Lakes" awards for assisted living, memory care and retirement living.

On Wednesday, May 22, Knute Nelson will host an ice cream social from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at Nelson Gables, 1220 Nokomis St.

The events are intended for community members of all ages and both include live music, door prizes and tours.

55-plus driver improvement program

Drivers age 55 and up can brush up on their skills in April when the Minnesota Highway Safety Center offers its four-hour driver improvement refresher course in Alexandria.

The course is from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, at Grand Arbor Senior Residence, 4403 Pioneer Road SE.

Instructors provide the latest information about driver safety, new laws and vehicle technology. The course costs $22. It is open to the public; pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, visit www.mnsafetycenter.org or call 888-234-1294.

Those age 55 and older who complete the course qualify for a 10-percent discount on their auto insurance premiums for three years, according to Minnesota law.