Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages. Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing.
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Read more (Sept. 2016): City Council approves Woodbury Costco The retailer Costco Wholesale is still expected to come to Woodbury but not by October, as previously planned.
The Woodbury City Council approved two new housing developments May 11, but not before they cast a wary eye to what those new units will mean to Bailey Road. New construction planned will bring nearly 250 more homes to the area south of Bailey Road and west of Radio Drive. With those homes comes the potential for hundreds more vehicles to use Bailey Road on a regular basis -- a road some say is already too busy. The developments include Phase II of the St. Therese senior housing apartment complex, and the Harvest View/Harvest Commons townhome and single-family home projects.
Getting to school on bike or on foot might get a little easier in the future for some Cottage Grove students, thanks to a project of Washington County. The county has been selected to conduct a pilot program for the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program. And Cottage Grove Elementary has been chosen as the site to benefit from the pilot. The U.S. Congress passed legislation to establish the Safe Routes to School program with the intention of promoting biking and walking to school.
The good news is, Washington County will get three more child protection workers, thanks to funding from the state of Minnesota. The bad news is, to date, there has not been any additional funding to the agencies that process those cases through the legal system. Washington County Community Services has received grant funding of $222,758 from the state to hire another three child protection workers.
Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf is taking its services on the road. Really. There's a food truck and everything. CCEFS has started something of a mobile food shelf, and is delivering food to one senior living complex in Oakdale. By the end of the year, Director Greig Metzger said, CCEFS hopes to be delivering food to at least four area senior living complexes.
Newport will likely look much different in a decade, thanks to a redevelopment plan moving through the Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Known as Red Rock Crossing, the redevelopment plan covers property to the west of U.S. Highway 61, south of Interstate 494. Broken into four phases, the project is expected to evolve over the next decade, according to HRA Executive Director Barbara Dacy.
Everyone has heard the quote, "Safety first." At Washington County, those two little words are the base for a larger-scale security training program being implemented in all of the county's locations. The county's security training is based on the national security training program that goes by the acronym ALICE—for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate—and is being led by Sgt. Tim Harris of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
Is sex trafficking really happening in our communities? The major crimes unit of the Washington County Attorney's Office will say, "Yes," and there are numbers to prove it. According to research done by Criminal Analyst Aimee Schroeder, a member of the major crimes unit, a staggering 15,742 online solicitations for sex were posted to the online classifieds site Backpage.com from Jan. 1-March 31, 2016. And that's just one online classifieds site, in one region of the state of Minnesota, in one three-month timeframe.
Ever wonder, while driving around Woodbury, what is going to be built where that big pile of dirt is being moved? Or, how many houses are coming in on that new development? Well, now the City of Woodbury is answering those questions—virtually. In late April, the City of Woodbury's Planning division launched its new Development Map, an online map that not only shows where new commercial and residential developments are coming in, but also gives details about square footage of the buildings, plans and designs of the buildings, and timelines for construction.
With a blue sky above and a slight chill in the air, Sunday was just about the perfect time to take a run — which worked out well for the 278 people who participated in the Cinco de Mayo 5K Run/Walk held on the grounds of Bielenberg Sports Center. Although the run is in its 10th year, Sunday's was the first held in Woodbury — the event had been held in St. Paul in previous years. This year's run/walk was organized by the East Ridge High School chapter of the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) Club, and took runners on a route around the BSC and ERHS campuses.