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NEWPORT — A preliminary proposal made back in April has caused waves among many in Newport, especially those living along the Mississippi River's edge. Developer Mark McCain inquired at the April 5 Newport Economic Development Authority meeting about possibly constructing a planned unit development (PUD) along the river in the Mill Pond area. He suggested twin homes targeted at empty nesters looking to downsize, for around $400,000 to $450,000. The developer would have to purchase parcels of city-owned land and some private property to gather enough for a PUD.
ST. PAUL PARK — Donald and Mary Drigans took a risk when starting Park Grove Electric in 1973, but it has paid off. "When first we were in business, we operated from out of our home," Mary Drigans said. "We had four kids at home at the time. It was difficult, but we managed to do it." Forty-five years later, two of those four children — Don and Jim — now own and manage the business. "It's been 45 years," she said. "It seems like it was just yesterday."
WOODBURY — An Eden Prairie man is facing two felony counts of filming pornographic images of minors. According to the criminal complaint: Dean Andrew Avery, 48, bought clothing for three girls under the age of 10 and asked them to change into the different outfits, including bikini swimsuits. He asked them to strike poses or do the splits, and would focus the shots on the genital areas. Avery can be seen in the videos in a Windgate Road home. He was arrested Aug. 2 on a search warrant.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER — An early-morning oil spill in South St. Paul has spread as far south as Grey Cloud Island. Union Pacific spokeswoman Kristen South said a train derailed around 2 a.m. Aug. 8, causing a diesel tank on a locomotive to be punctured, spilling 3,200 gallons into the Mississippi River.
The long-awaited lane extension on Interstate-494 is beginning this month, slowing traffic during the construction, but with the goal of breaking up commuter traffic in the long run. The extension will stretch from Hardman Avenue from Seventh Avenue, widening and resurfacing the road as well as constructing retaining and noise walls.
COTTAGE GROVE — What's in a name? For the Wolterstorff family, it's a lot of heritage, memories and honor. For some long-time Cottage Grove residents, it's history, local tradition and recognition. A lake just west of Jamaica Avenue and south of the Woodbury border has remained unnamed for decades, but a petition by the Wolterstorff family has spurred a competition for its name.
COTTAGE GROVE — The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a drowning that took place in the Mississippi River in Cottage Grove July 29 just before 6 p.m. William Perkins, 77, of Inver Grove Heights was found near his boat north of Lock and Dam #2. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner is investigating.
SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY — The CE Skoolie bus has been on the streets all summer for weeknight No Kid Hungry events. The events are coordinated by the South Washington County School District and Second Harvest Heartland as part of their No Kid Hungry pilot program aimed at fighting child hunger. Games, free meals and activities come with the bus. SoWashCo Cares Director Cheryl Jogger said most stops average between about 30 to 50 people, though it depends on each stop. The Royal Oaks Elementary School visit had over 100 attendees.
STILLWATER — A Woodbury man pleaded guilty to identity theft charges of over 300 victims and two counts of unlawfully securing unemployment benefits. Hai Jay Phu Vu, 53, a former employee at Minneapolis-nonprofit House of Charity, pleaded guilty in Washington County District Court July 16. According to the criminal complaint: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development investigators originally investigating unemployment benefits found other strange transactions in Vu's account.
After serving kids ages 5-18 for around 40 years, the Youth Service Bureau is opening its age restrictions to young adults up to 25 years old. Over the past two years, YSB has been constantly expanding both geographically and in its services, with age expansion being the latest addition. "We're seeing a lot more kids that are college-aged that come home for the summer ... that are continuing to have need for therapy services for anxiety, depression and other mental health," Executive Director Bob Sherman said.