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As Texans continue to assess the wreckage of the hurricane that ripped through the state's southeastern corner last week, Woodbury businesses, faith communities and organizations have offered their assistance. Hurricane Harvey, which reached land Aug. 25, left at least 70 deaths in its wake, displacing and stranding thousands more. The destruction prompted a swift response from Woodbury Lutheran Church, which raised about $30,000 in free-will donations the weekend of Sept. 3.
Guests at the Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf politely stepped around shopping carts, shelves of food, volunteers and one another as they browsed the inventory of groceries last week. Each year, about 6,300 people in need filter through a crowded, 1,500-square-foot space in the basement of Woodbury Lutheran Church once a month to load up on a variety of foods, hygiene and baby products, and household items such as toilet paper.
For Woodbury resident Ruth Cherinet, a church offers one of the strongest connections she feels to her Ethiopian heritage and community. Cherinet said the unity she feels with the congregation at the Ethiopian Evangelical Church in St. Paul is somewhat rare in Minnesota's Ethiopian community. Her parents' home county is home to at least 10 different ethnic groups, which can sometimes drive a wedge between Ethiopians both in Minnesota and abroad.
Need a little motivation to get moving? A new 60-day wellness challenge from Woodbury THRIVES is offering residents a chance to win prizes for making healthy choices over the next couple months. As part of its 10,000 steps challenge, Woodbury THRIVE provides participants with a challenge card listing dozens of healthy activities related to healthy eating, physical activity, mental well-being, community connections and spirituality.
Minnesota-based solar energy developer Greenmark received the go-ahead from the Woodbury City Council to build a 3-megawatt solar garden in a rural-residential stretch of the city. The approval however, came with an added condition to shield the panels from the view of nearby houses. The proposed facility would cover 17 acres of land off Military Road in Woodbury's southwestern corner, operating on a 25-year lease with the landowners.
For two decades, Theresa Janechek poured countless hours orchestrating the community's biggest annual celebration, ensuring each year offers visitors something new and exciting. This year, Janechek served her final year as the Woodbury Days Council president after 20 years at the organization's helm. The three-day event this year attracted 35,000 attendees — about half of Woodbury's total population— with food, vendors, rides, demonstrations, music and a parade.
A Mahtomedi man faces an 18-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to felony sex trafficking charges involving at least two women. Shaun Maubach, 32, told a Washington County court Wednesday, Sept. 6 that he "ran security" for a commercial sex operation in which buyers paid $300 to $1,000 an hour for sex. Woodbury police arrested Maubach at a Woodbury hotel June 20 on active warrants for burglaries in Washington state and Kansas.
A four-tenant retail building is scheduled to replace the former Craft Beer and Kitchen building on Commons Drive. The 14,000-square-foot development will feature large standalone retail building, two multi-tenant buildings and a drive-thru coffee shop, following the Woodbury City Council's unanimous approval Aug. 30. The space could also house office space, including medical or dental, as well as about 4,500 square feet for a restaurant space.
The city of Woodbury is unlikely to continue discussions on establishing a Convention and Visitors Bureau. A recent proposal mapped out a plan of action for an initiative to market and promote the city's hotels, retailers, venues and recreation opportunities. If the City Council opted to move forward, the initiative would impose a 3 percent lodging tax on hotels to cover the more than $600,000 cost of establishing the CVB and administration fees. Woodbury would join more than 100 Minnesota cities to impose a lodging tax.
Woodbury Days crowds withstood the less-than-ideal weather to make the most of the Aug. 25-27 celebration.