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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:
BLOOMINGTON — The man alleged to have robbed a Cottage Grove bank back in May has been taken into custody. Jayvon Dominique Gant, 26, Bloomington, faces charges stemming from a monthlong spree of bank robberies in the metro area. According to a FBI criminal complaint:
NEWPORT — For over 50 years, four rickety swings have been some of the only play equipment at Newport Elementary School. Through the rain, volunteers connected pipes and plastic June 9 to construct an eight-person swing set, merry-go-round, tetherball pole, spinners and a geometric climber outside the school, 851 Sixth Ave., to replace the old swings. Principal Rich Romano said the playground will be ready for use by the time school starts again in the fall.
SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY — Five contenders have thrown their hats in the ring for the Washington County Board of Commissioners District 4 seat. Wayne Johnson, Bill Sumner, Jeff Swenson, Marvin Taylor and John Thorson will battle it out for the seat in the Nov. 6 election. District 4 includes Cottage Grove, Denmark Township, Grey Cloud Island Township, Newport, St. Paul Park and portions of Woodbury and Hastings.
A fatal stabbing in Newport early Sunday morning in under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
COTTAGE GROVE — Lamont Bernard Taylor, 32, is facing charges of vehicle theft and fleeing police stemming from an alleged encounter with police just after 2 a.m. June 3. According to the criminal complaint: In a gas station parking lot, a Cottage Grove officer noted a vehicle that had been reported stolen out of St. Paul. The vehicle pulled out of the parking lot onto West Point Douglas Road and the officer followed. Taylor, who was the alleged driver, veered into the next lane and started driving between 80 and 100 miles per hour.
OAKDALE — Woodbury High School students prepared the Oak Meadows Senior Living gardens for the facility's 20th anniversary celebration as part of their Senior Service Day project.
SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY — In an effort to eliminate student hunger, South Washington County Schools and Second Harvest Heartland have partnered to launch several programs under the No Kid Hungry initiative. A No Kid Hungry kick-off event June 11 will begin a summer of events focused on free meals and activities. In South Washington County, one in five children is at risk of hunger, said Cheryl Jogger, District 833 Community engagement coordinator and SoWashCo CARES founder.
WOODBURY — Goddard School franchisees Rick and Shannon Gehrmann broke ground May 2 on the soon-to-be school. Construction on the nearly 10,000-square-foot building has started at the corner of Hargis Parkway and Finley Road, near East Ridge High School. The preschool will start accepting students late this summer, and is set to open in the fall for up to nearly 150 students. Shannon Gehrmann said the school will provide programming for kids six weeks to six years.
WOODBURY — Woodbury High School junior David Li, along with his three Mounds View High School teammates, has earned a finalist spot in the prestigious Genes in Space competition. Li's team is among four others that are battling for the top honor: launching their project to the International Space Station. Finalists get a prize, mentorships with Harvard and MIT scientists and the opportunity to present their research at the ISS Research and Development Conference in San Francisco this summer.