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ST. PAUL — After a district court ruled that a Woodbury fee used to pay for roads was illegal, the Minnesota Court of Appeals heard arguments last week that seek clarity on whether Minnesota cities can charge developers for public infrastructure needed as a result of a project. The appeal, brought on by Woodbury, stems from a lawsuit filed by Martin Harstad, a New Brighton-based developer who Woodbury asked to pay roughly $1.3 million for road construction miles from his 183-residential neighborhood called Bailey Park.
With the deadliest stretch of vehicle crashes beginning in the summer months, officials are raising concerns about teenage drivers who will soon be sharing Minnesota and Wisconsin roads during the busiest travel time of the year. Dubbed the "100 Deadliest Days," the roughly three-month period between Memorial Day and Labor Day accounted for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities in Minnesota and Wisconsin last year. Officials in both states say teenage drivers — due to several factors — are at a heightened risk for being involved in a fatal crash.
Andy Mailer was in for a surprise last week. He was touring what he thought was a housing project his mom had completed for work in Woodbury. But when he entered a garage at the Autumn Ridge housing development, more than a dozen people dawning Mickey Mouse hats greeted him with the news: He and his family would be going to Disney World. As a wide smile appeared on his face, and Mailer, 10, of White Bear Lake let out an "oh." The trip was made through a partnership between the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Custom One Homes.
Woodbury THRIVES is inviting residents ages 55 and older to meet their neighbors at a social and walking event later this month. The grassroots health and wellness group is holding its "Coffee, Tea & Walk for Free!" event from 6-10 a.m. June 29 at the HealthEast Sports Center. The free event includes walks in the field house and conversations over coffee, tea and treats. Organizers also plan to hold a prize raffle.
A medical examiner has identified the body of 27-year-old Ken Xiong of Woodbury as the man who died in an apparent drowning in Lake Elmo Thursday, June 15. Police said Xiong and two other people had been fishing on Lake Jane when their canoe capsized at about 11 a.m. Authorities said windy conditions played a role in the boat becoming flooded with water causing it to sink. Only one person aboard was wearing a lifejacket.
A third hotel may be coming to Woodbury's CityPlace. Georgia-based hotel chain UpTown Suites is proposing to build a four story, 131-room hotel at the mixed-use site located south of Interstate 94 off of Radio Drive. Developers plan to build the economy-priced hotel a short distance from the Residence Inn by Marriott and the 120-room Marriott Courtyard Hotel, which is under construction.
After a family-owned grocery on Woodbury's west side opened two years ago, owners at the Spice Bazaar recently opened a butcher shop that sells everything from goat and lamb to free-range chickens. Located in the same strip mall as the international grocery store, the Spice Bazaar's owners said the decision to open Spice Bazaar - Halal Meats came largely from customers' requests for fresh meats. But the market didn't have the space to meet the request.
A 21-year-old Woodbury playground is being replaced later this month, and the old playground is likely destined for a community abroad. The city plans to donate the old structure to Kids Around the World, an international nonprofit whose mission is to refurbish unwanted playgrounds and re-build them in countries affected by poverty, war and other afflictions. Workers plan to remove the existing playground at Lakeview Knolls North sometime this week.
When JP Armstrong sent a 1:30 a.m. email to Deb Larson detailing his idea to perform a series of weddings aboard a parade float, she couldn't stop laughing. "I can't think of a better story to tell people years from now," said Larson, a member of the Afton Parade committee. Now the Afton Fourth of July Parade is taking a romantic turn. Armstrong, a local wedding minister whose resume spans more than a decade of wild and exotic weddings, will be marrying people as the float scoots down St. Croix Trail during the annual parade.
Woodbury was among the highest growing cities in the metro, according to a new report. In its preliminary study released earlier this month, the Metropolitan Council estimates Woodbury grew by nearly 10 percent between 2010 and 2016 — the fourth highest compared to other cities in the metropolitan area. Since 2010, Woodbury's population rose from 61,961 to 68,079, trailing Blaine by roughly 1,000 people. Overall, the metropolitan region expanded by 191,628 people, with Minneapolis and St. Paul seeing the largest gains.