Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.
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Bail was set at $1 million Wednesday for a Cottage Grove man who authorities linked to a complex Dark Web plot to pay for his wife’s murder before he ultimately poisoned and shot her himself and staged her death as a suicide. Stephen Carl Allwine, 43, was charged with second-degree intentional murder in the Nov. 13, 2016, death of his wife, Amy Louise Allwine, 43, at their 110th Street home. He appeared Wednesday for a brief first appearance in Washington County District Court. He is being held in Washington County jail.
The husband of a Cottage Grove woman found dead in her home two months ago has been arrested on suspicion of murdering her. Police on Tuesday arrested Stephen Carl Allwine, 42, and booked him at the Washington County jail on probable cause second-degree murder in connection with 43-year-old Amy Louise Allwine’s death.
South Washington County Schools has delayed school start times by two hours Tuesday morning. Weather and road conditions prompted the delayed start. Many districts in the region delayed their start or closed altogether in response to icy road conditions. District 833 schools will begin two hours after their regulardly scheduled start times. Buses will pick up students two hours later than usual. There is no district pre-K and half-day kindergarten. Kids Club sites will open at 8:30 a.m.
Local lawmakers say they would support efforts to allow voters to physically cast their ballot more than a week ahead of Election Day. State law allows counties to give voters the option of casting an absentee ballot in person within seven days of the election. Legislators said the process was popular in the 2016 election in Washington County and the county saved taxpayer money by not having to process as many absentee ballots the traditional way. They agreed it should be expanded, suggesting a 14-day window.
School District 833 The new Oltman Middle School will be larger than originally proposed but the project still is within its budget, according to District 833 administrators. As administrators met with teachers and staff recently to discuss the school, they altered some of the design and expanded the building from 188,000 square feet to 192,000 square feet. That's the result of "design creep," said interim facilities director Mike Vogel, describing a common practice where a building size grows as users help fine-tune the design prior to construction.
South Washington County Schools reached a new contract agreement with its second-largest employee union and the last group without a contract for the current school year. The District 833 School Board on Thursday, Dec. 15, approved a new two-year agreement with Local 70, which represents about 450 paraprofessionals. The contract covers the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. The contract is retroactive to July 1.
Former East Ridge High School principal Aaron Harper’s felony theft trial has been postponed a third time due to attorney scheduling conflicts. The latest postponement moves Harper’s trial in Washington County District Court to May 8, 2017. Harper faces three felony theft by swindle charges stemming from his time as principal of the District 833 high school in Woodbury.
School District 833 South Washington County Schools will collect slightly less in property taxes next year. District 833 School Board members approved a 0.7 percent decrease in the tax levy for 2017. Their 7-0 vote came Thursday, Dec. 15. The district's property tax collections will total $72.5 million next year, down from about $73 million in 2016. The general fund levy, which includes voter-approved referendum revenue and other tax collections that fund basic classroom expenses, will rise by 0.2 percent, from about $42.91 million to $42.98 million.
Washington County The Washington County Board of Commissioners passed the 2017 budget and tax levy at its Dec. 13 meeting. The county plans a modest bump in its property tax collections in 2017. The $96.1 million levy would amount to a 3.49 percent increase over 2016. However, most taxpayers should pay less in the county portion of their property taxes, since the increase is offset by a 3 percent growth in the county's tax base, which includes an estimated $363 million in new construction.
South Washington County Schools has awarded its first group of monthly "climate and culture ambassadors," employees who exhibit exceptional behavior that improves climate and culture. The November ambassadors are (from...