A night for neighbors to unite

Night to Unite parties across Anoka County Aug. 6 gave people a chance to connect with their neighbors.

Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart said the annual Night to Unite event, which happens the first Tuesday evening of August, gives residents of all ages a chance to meet the public safety officials and be reminded that they appreciate the 911 calls.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to break down barriers and say, ‘You’re not wasting our time.’ We don’t want to see our citizens victimized,” Stuart said.

Police squad cars and fire trucks from multiple departments visited neighborhoods so kids would have the opportunity to sit in the front seat and look at all the dashboard buttons or sit in the back of police car to get some idea of what suspected criminals see when being taken to jail.

The Anoka Police Department handed out bike helmets at multiple parties. Many police departments and the sheriff’s office brought sticker tattoos or candy.

Some fire departments such as Andover and Ramsey let children shoot fire hoses.

Americans were not the only ones to enjoy the festivities. Two exchange students from Germany and one from Japan attended the community party in St. Francis.

Some examples of block party registration numbers through the police departments were 126 in Blaine, 96 for communities covered by the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, 27 parties in Anoka and 13 in Spring Lake Park.

Jan Heinecke, Kay Cloutier and Carol Menken enjoy a visit at Anoka’s Rivers Point Park during their neighborhood’s gathering. Photo by Mandy Moran Froemming Barb Heggesteun and Tana Johnson work on getting the food ready at the gathering at Rivers Point Park in Anoka. Photo by Mandy Moran Froemming Seven-month-old McKaila Koran attended her first Night to Unite block party at 14th Avenue in Anoka with her grandpa Gary Janas. Photo by Mandy Moran Froemming Twenty-month-old Zoey and four-year-old Ruby Davison try their hand at the bean bag toss game in Blaine. Photo by Bill Jones There was plenty of food for an expected more than guests at the 7th Street NE party. Photo by Bill Jones Longtime residents of the 7th Street NE neighborhood visit with each other. Photo by Bill Jones Night to Unite event organizer Brenda Powers makes name tags for the Lembke family at the 7th Street NE location in Blaine during the city’s annual festivities. There were 126 block parties registered in Blaine. Photo by Bill Jones Photo by Sue Austreng Samantha and Aubrey Lindberg twirl the hoops around and around during the St. Francis Night to Unite event at the community park. Photo by Sue Austreng Japanese exchange student Yuko Tsuchiya is surrounded by St. Francis Night to Unite hosts and hostesses as she serves hot dogs to hungry visitors. Photo by Sue Austreng Photo by Sue Austreng Photo by Sue Austreng Sgt. Mike Long and Officer Karen Fiske of the Spring Lake Park Police Department talk with residents at a Cleveland Street party. Photo by Bill Jones Ramsey firefighter Adam Schrag shows Patrick Kennedy, 8, how to shoot a fire hose. Photo by Eric Hagen Photo by Eric Hagen Ramsey firefighters Adam Schrag (pictured) and Chris Hansen showed Ramsey neighborhood kids a fire water tanker vehicle at Night to Unite block parties Tuesday evening. Photo by Eric Hagen A group of Ramsey neighbors enjoy good conversation and food at a Night to Unite block party hosted by Joan and Terry Heaps. Photo by Eric Hagen A few Ramsey neighborhood kids got to knock down a parking cone with a fire hose with the help of Ramsey firefighter Adam Schrag at a neighborhood block party. Photo by Eric Hagen Landon Ditter gets instruction on shooting a fire hose from Ramsey firefighter Adam Schrag at a Night to Unite neighborhood block party hosted by Joan and Terry Heaps. Photo by Eric Hagen Ramsey firefighter Adam Schrag shows Sam Reis, 8, the inside of a Ramsey water tanker truck. Firefighter Chris Hansen partnered with Schrag to visit neighborhoods Tuesday evening, Aug. 6 while public safety officials from all over the country were visiting similar Night to Unite block parties. Photo by Eric Hagen Photo by Eric Hagen Neighborhood kids at an Andover Night to Unite party Tuesday evening decorated their bikes and some dressed up themselves for a costume parade down Quince Street. Photo by Eric Hagen Brandon Cochran, 5, checks out a computer in the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team vehicle. Photo by Eric Hagen Anoka County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joe Burk hands out candy to Andover kids at a Night to Unite party hosted by Jesse and Lonnie Kirkendall Tuesday evening. Photo by Eric Hagen Corey Domeier, 9, and about 20 other kids dressed up themselves and their bicycles and paraded them down Quince Street during a neighborhood block party in Andover. Photo by Eric Hagen Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart gives a tattoo sticker to Vince Anderson, 5, at an Andover Night to Unite party hosted for the sixth year by Jesse and Lonnie Kirkendall. Photo by Eric Hagen Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart talks about a SWAT team transport vehicle at an Andover neighborhood block party hosted by Jesse and Lonnie Kirkendall for the sixth year. Photo by Eric Hagen Joey Ling, 2, dreams of being a firefighter during a Night to Unite party in Andover. Photo by Eric Hagen The Night to Unite celebration at Lida Rental townhouse development Tuesday evening had a luau theme. Photo by Peter Bodley Thurman Woodberry cooked up hot dogs at the Night to Unite event at Presbyterian Church of the Master. Photo by Peter Bodley Children used chalk to create designs on the parking lot at Presbyterian Church of the Master during the church’s Night to Unite celebration Tuesday. Photo by Peter Bodley Guitarist/vocalist Chuck Skajewski entertained at the Mary T, Inc. Nite to Unite gathering Tuesday evening. Photo by Peter Bodley Miriam Craig, who has lived in Coon Rapids since 1953, is greeted by Coon Rapids Police Sgt. John Stahnke (left) and Coon Rapids Police Officer Bryan Platz (right) at the Night to Unite celebration on the 8400 block of Mississippi Boulevard Tuesday evening. Photo by Peter Bodley William Brown (right), who has been organizing the Night to Unite event on the 8400 block of Mississippi Boulevard for 10 years, chats with Rihab Naheel. Photo by Peter Bodley Coon Rapids Fire Capt. Mark Seaton shows Amy DeRaad (left), Clare Kennedy, 4, and Dale DeRaad (right) the interior of a fire engine at the Night to Unite neighborhood gathering on the 8400 block of Mississippi Boulevard. Photo by Peter Bodley Photo by Sue Austreng Becca Kietzman and Cassandra Jensen play a little Ladder Golf during Night to Unite festivities staged in the Mt. Olive Lutheran Church parking lot and co-hosted by River Oaks of Anoka. Photo by Sue Austreng Always a popular playtime attraction, the bouncy house had kids jumping for joy during the Mt. Olive/River Oaks Night to Unite event. Photo by Sue Austreng Always a popular playtime attraction, the bouncy house had kids jumping for joy during the Mt. Olive/River Oaks Night to Unite event. Photo by Sue Austreng Ten-year old Trevor Hyatt poses alongside Otto, a giant Great Dane who stopped by the Mt. Olive/River Oaks Night to Unite event in the church parking lot. Photo by Sue Austreng Photo by Sue Austreng Jillian, Cooper and Rob Holscher enjoy a picnic in the grass at their neighborhood party in Anoka. Photo by Mandy Moran Froemming Guests grab a plate of food at the block party on 14th Avenue in Anoka. Photo by Mandy Moran Froemming Sgt. Eric Peterson of the Anoka Police Department talks with Hunter McCraig, 5, who received a new bike helmet from the police department. Photo by Mandy Moran Froemming
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Ramsey firefighter Adam Schrag shows Sam Reis, 8, the inside of a Ramsey water tanker truck. Firefighter Chris Hansen partnered with Schrag to visit neighborhoods Tuesday evening, Aug. 6 while public safety officials from all over the country were visiting similar Night to Unite block parties. Photo by Eric Hagen