Mary Divine / St. Paul Pioneer Press
FOREST LAKE, Minn.—It didn't take Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry long to make his decision. After watching the Forest Lake City Council vote to disband the city's police department on Monday night, sitting through lengthy public comments at the Washington County Board meeting on Tuesday morning, and meeting with Forest Lake police officers later that night, Starry said he knew he had to withdraw a controversial proposal for his office to provide police services to the city.
Afton Work on a new community sewer system for Afton will begin in March, after the city reached agreement with representatives of tribal governments. To avoid any disruption of a possible ancient American Indian burial site, pipes will be rerouted and a stormwater retention pond will be built without a retaining wall. Construction of the sanitary-sewer system and other infrastructure projects have been on hold since tribal representatives last year expressed concerns about the Rattlesnake Effigy mound in downtown Afton.
OAKDALE — Stan Karwoski's road to the Washington County board began with the Oakdale Parks and Planning Commission in 1994. "I'm a parks guy at heart, and I really wanted to contribute," Karwoski said of applying for a spot on the city commission. "That was the beginning. I was kind of successful in getting some things done." Karwoski, who was sworn in Dec. 6 as Washington County's newest commissioner, spoke of parks, politics and the Master's golf tournament during an interview in an Oakdale Starbucks earlier in December.
STILLWATER — Turns out it takes 16 hours to transform downtown Stillwater into a winter wonderland. Crews building a gigantic ice castle in Lowell Park switched on sprayers about 3 p.m. Tuesday to begin the freezing process. By the time Ice Castles LLC site manager Blake Hawbaker reported to work at 7 a.m. Wednesday, a solid ice foundation was underway.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has issued a call for increased protection of Muslim students after an incident earlier this month between two students at Afton-Lakeland Elementary School. A fifth-grader at the school allegedly threatened to shoot a third-grader, who is Somali-American, and the next school day brought an airsoft-style pistol onto the school bus, officials said. The bus driver reported the incident and the school called the Washington County sheriff's office the morning of Nov. 14.
Four major projects in downtown Afton are on hold after representatives of tribal governments expressed concerns about possible ancient American Indian burial sites. Afton officials plan to meet with tribal officials Nov. 7 regarding the Rattlesnake Effigy mound, which is near a planned stormwater retention pond. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency last year issued a final permit for construction but the project had to be reviewed under the National Historic Preservation Act because federal funding is involved.
MINNEAPOLIS — When Patty Wetterling has the chance to talk face to face with the man who abducted and killed her son, she wants to know one thing: Why? "It makes no sense," Patty Wetterling said during an interview Tuesday afternoon. "I wrestle with the 'Why?' of all this. We know what happened and when and where, but we don't know why. As a rational person, you try to figure it out, but this one you can't, because it makes no sense."
ST. JOSEPH, Minn. — After nearly 30 years of searching, wondering, waiting and hoping, Patty and Jerry Wetterling finally know what happened to their son Jacob. The Stearns County Sheriff's office confirmed Saturday that the remains of 11-year-old Jacob, missing since 1989, have been found. "Our family is drawing strength from all your love & support," Patty Wetterling posted on Twitter Saturday afternoon. "We're struggling with words at this time. Thank you for your hope." She declined to comment further.
David Francis ripped open a bag of cypress blend mulch last month and carefully spread it around the base of a Black Hills spruce in the yard of his Stillwater townhouse. The tree is one of nine that David and Linda Francis have planted during the past nine years. Come October, there will be 10.
The bison will return June 11 to roam 150 fenced-in acres of Belwin Conservancy in Afton. The herd of about 40 animals is on loan from NorthStar Bison in Rice Lake, Wis., where they are raised for meat. While at Belwin, they graze freely and help continued restoration of the prairie. "Their grazing patterns and behavior significantly influence the biodiversity of the prairie," said Ned Phillips, Belwin's membership coordinator.