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The Afton City Council approved a 4.5 percent tax levy increase last week as part of the 2018 budget. The $2,133,786 total tax levy, which includes debt service as well as general fund and transfer levies, represents a $91,886 increase over the 2017 levy. Residents whose property values at $500,000 will pay about $80 more to the city's portion of property taxes for a total of $1,694. Commercial property of the same value will see a $127 increase to about $3,114 in city property taxes.
For many Japanese Americans, the trauma of World War II internment camps lingered long after their release. In her newest novel, "On Liberty's Wings: A Post-WWII Novel," Afton author Diane Dettmann chronicles Yasu Nakahara's journey to rebuild her life after her family's release from a camp in California. By 1948, Yasu has moved to Minneapolis. Although the 22-year-old newlywed found her calling as a teacher, Yasu still struggles with post-war prejudice and residual flashbacks to prison camps surrounded by barbed wire.
A new citizens' group in Washington County aims to help community members take action against sex trafficking operations in the East Metro. After nearly half a year of development, the Washington County Citizens Against Sex Trafficking will host its first public event at the end of January. Their mission, CAST President John Larson said, is to promote awareness of the issue, is to spread awareness of the issue, cultivate an improved network of resources and serve as an entry point for community members to get involved.
A woman told police she feared for her life as a Woodbury man allegedly forced her head underwater and sexually assaulted her at hotel on Christmas Eve. Erik Lee Feagler, 36, now faces a felony charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The woman described a violent encounter after the two met at a Woodbury bar Dec. 24 and agreed to meet at a room in a nearby hotel.
Will Hunn hadn't thought much about Woodbury crime since moving her nearly 20 years ago. In the past few months, however, he said crimes like burglaries and mail theft prompted more of his neighbors to install surveillance cameras while others opt to work from home. "Woodbury's a great place, but it's disconcerting when you have lifetime residents getting security systems," he said. And the crimes, Hunn said, seem to have escalated. Woodbury Public Safety recovered six vehicles stolen during a three-week period this fall.
Middle school can be a tough time to navigate changing friendships. Tim Hofmann, principal at Cottage Grove Middle School, said most disciplinary problems his office has dealt with in recent years stem from conflicts between friends. "We started pulling data about when we're seeing students, what we're seeing with counselors and social workers," Hofmann said. "It was off the charts for the last couple years that the issues females were having in our building were relational issues about friendships."
One of two people accused of running a sex trafficking ring out of a Twin Cities suburb was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his role in what prosecutors described as a "large-scale" operation spanning multiple states. Ricky Turner Jr., 29, pleaded guilty to a felony aiding and abetting racketeering Thursday in a Washington County court, where he was convicted of that charge as well as felony promotion of prostitution.
A new veterinary clinic and dog daycare will be one of four businesses to replace Woodbury's Craft Beer and Kitchen. City Council approved a conditional-use permit Dec. 13 for Wellhaven Veterinary Clinic. The 5,000-square-foot facility will sit between a retail building and drive-through coffee shop slated for Commons Plaza, a 2.3 acre site on Radio Drive and Tamarack Road proposed by Florida-Based developer 700 Comm.
Children got to meet Santa Claus Dec. 16, 2017, at Valley Creek Mall in Woodbury.
The commerce Drive Bruegger's Bagels near Woodbury's Super Target, along with three Minneapolis locations, closed this week. Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, which owns the bakery franchise, announced 30 closures nationwide Wednesday. A statement from the company cited "financial performance and improved positioning for future growth." More than 240 Bruegger's locations throughout the U.S. will remain open, according to the statement. Among those will be Woodbury's City Center Plaza location at 8320 City Centre Drive, which is connected to Caribou Coffee.