Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.
Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.
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The devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan hit close to home for an area couple who planned on visiting their home country later this spring. Hide and Satoru Sudoh, members of Woodbury Lutheran Church, have lived in the United States for nearly half a century, but have kept up on events in Japan ever since moving here.
Growing up in Nigeria, Cyprian Obasi got sick with malaria almost every month. He would get high fevers, headaches, chills and pain all over. There was medication to treat the symptoms, but he said the side effects were also sickening. If left untreated the disease can cause severe complications and eventually death. "Ninety-nine percent of people bitten by mosquitoes will have malaria," the Woodbury resident said.
The first thunderstorm of the season caused extensive electrical damage to a Woodbury home early Tuesday morning. Three residents woke up to the strong thunder and evacuated the house safely after lightning struck the roof of their home, fire commander John Wallgren said. "They woke up from the thunder and knew that their house got hit, they smelled smoke," Wallgren said. Firefighters received the call around 3 a.m.
We all know the basic benefits of greenery around us, but tree canopy has much more to offer than shade, cleaner air and the nice scenery. A lengthy discussion at last Wednesday's Woodbury City Council workshop provided detailed information from experts on the benefits of added tree canopy in Woodbury, as well as the risks of Emerald Ash Borer. "People have been planting trees for a very, very long time and they will continue to do so because they're beautiful," said Jill Johnson, coordinator of the Midwest Center for Urban and Community Forestry in St.
Growing up in a family of cooks, Angela Verrastro learned from the best, especially grandma Angelina. "Food was almost always at the center of any family gathering," she said. In a small town in New York, Verrastro grew up learning how to make authentic Italian sauces, pastas, breads, and all natural meats and poultry dishes. But she never took cooking seriously until well into her adult life. Inspired by cooks in the family and her time living in Brussels, Belgium, Verrastro opened up Angelina's Kitchen in Woodbury about five years ago.
A former flight instructor has taken on a completely new venture. Candace Schmitt now owns Edible Arrangements in Woodbury, located at the Tamarack Village Shopping Center. The store has been busy since it opened late last year in the midst of the holiday season and then again during the month of February for Valentine's Day. It was gearing up for more popular holidays like St. Patrick's Day last week with a grand opening to treat customers. Edible Arrangements is a nationwide company with franchisees in the metro area that take orders for same-day deliveries and pick-ups.
Bielenberg Sports Center's domed field house is well beyond its lifespan and in need of major replacements. To figure out how to finance the project, Woodbury City Council discussed various options at Wednesday's workshop and found out it may be feasible to expand without raising property taxes. Woodbury Finance Director Tim Johnson presented two financing options. Design options were not discussed. He told the council a general obligation bond would result in the lowest interest rate.
A 33 percent population increase over the last 10 years that put Woodbury in the top-10 largest cities in Minnesota was no surprise to city officials. The comprehensive plan adopted in 2000 predicted a 60,000 population figure by the year 2010, which came pretty close to the final number of 61,961. "We're known for being a well-planned city," Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said. "We planned for this growth." According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Wednesday, Woodbury's population grew from 46,463 in 2000 to 61,961 in 2010.
Woodbury's Housing and Redevelopment Authority has already used almost 50 percent of its loan budget for 2011. Residents have taken advantage of the four loan programs, especially the foreclosure purchase, which has been the most popular since the city began lending in April of 2009. HRA loans are available to help bridge the financial gap for some homeowners seeking to buy foreclosed properties, a first home, upgrades or energy-efficient projects. The four areas have a total budget of about $440,000 for 2011.
Although Woodbury continues to attract new businesses, it's still not completely recession proof. Mi Familia Mexican Restaurante and Cantina closed its doors about a week ago after operating in the Valley Creek Mall for four years. It joins the big retailer Ultimate Electronics that is now in liquidation mode after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. "We know in the last couple of years, it's been a tough economy for all business people," said Woodbury Chamber of Commerce chairman Mark Streed. "The most vulnerable businesses in a tough economy are the restaurant businesses.