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COTTAGE GROVE — Cottage Grove resident Katie Swenson has completed the Partners in Policymaking course designed to teach Minnesotans with disabilities or children with disabilities how to advocate for their rights. Swanson took the course to become a better advocate for her son, Cooper, who has severe autism. During the course, Swenson and other participants met with legislators at the Capitol. "The class opened my eyes to all the work that needs to be done," Swenson said in a news release.
WASHINGTON COUNTY — For a staggering number of students in the South Washington County School District, there is no home for them to return to after school.
COTTAGE GROVE — Improvements benefitting both two-legged and four-legged visitors to WAG Farms Dog Park are due to be complete this summer. Since the park opened in 2011, WAG Farms presidents Ellen Edwards and Dick Swanson said the most-requested improvements have been stairs, running water and possibly a paved parking lot. This summer, two of the three are finally becoming a reality.
SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY — Most offices and city halls will be closed Wednesday, July 4 in recognition of Independence Day. Here is the south Washington County guide of festivities for the day off: Cottage Grove The Cottage Grove celebration starts 5 p.m. in Kingston Park, 9195 75th St., hosted by the Cottage Grove Lions Club. There will be food and games at the Kingston Park pavillion, as well as prizes for both kids and adults. Ice cream and cheese curds will be sold by food vendors. Fireworks will start at 10:15 p.m.
COTTAGE GROVE — The nonprofit Rise won a Life Enrichment Award from the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation, or MOHR, for their Art Speaks class. Art Speaks is a program designed to empower Minnesotans with disabilities express themselves through art. The class serves more than 200 people across all Rise locations. The Art Speaks creations have been featured on display across the region at coffee shops, government offices and art galleries.
As use of the Cottage Grove Ice Arena continues to grow, so too do the space needs of the facility. The number of teams in the Cottage Grove Hockey Association have more than doubled in the last seven years, and membership is still growing. In order to continue expanding hockey programs, the city and the East Ridge Face-Off Club will build an addition for new locker rooms.
The Puppet Wagon will be traveling around Woodbury neighborhoods and parks performing puppet shows filled with music and silly puppets. Performances are about eight minutes long and participants can play with the puppets afterwards. Shows will be canceled in the event of poor weather conditions. A schedule can be found at www.woodburymn.gov/departments/recreation/special_events.php .
COTTAGE GROVE — Woodbury and Cottage Grove will issue bonds to finance the soon-to-be-constructed HERO Center. The Health and Emergency Response Occupations, or HERO, Center was funded in part by the state in the bonding bill this spring, but Woodbury and Cottage Grove still have the other half to split and pay. Gov. Mark Dayton allocated $9.5 million to the facility, $200,000 short of what the cities requested. Cottage Grove and Woodbury have both added $5.26 million to their capital improvement plans over the next five years for the center.
WOODBURY — Valley Crossing Elementary School fifth-grader Nathan Kinney earned a perfect score in the national vocabulary competition WordMasters Challenge. Nearly 150,000 students take part in the competition, but only 65 earned a perfect score in 2018. Valley Crossing fourth-grader Iris Meyer earned Individual Highest Honors after scorning 58 out of a possible 60 points. The WordMasters Challenge is for students in grades three through eight.
NEWPORT — A near-miss kidnapping of five children June 13 has left Newport residents rattled. Vanholy Var, 36, of St. Paul, was under a 48-hour hold as of Friday morning, June 15, according to Washington County jail records. He faces charges of kidnapping, first-degree burglary and receiving stolen property. According to the complaint filed June 13: