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ST. PAUL PARK — The 34th-annual Heritage Days — themed "And the beat goes on" — celebrated many of the mainstay attractions that makes the festival what it is Aug. 17-19. Mud volleyball stretched through dozens of teams and dozens of hours, kinds enjoyed inflatables and the exotic petting zoo, and the fireworks prompted "oohs" and "ahs." New events also added to the heartbeat of the celebration, including the Northern Lights Wrestling Club and extravaganza kids karaoke performances on Sunday.
COTTAGE GROVE — An engine fire in the south end of Cottage Grove left a vehicle totaled Aug. 22. According to the Cottage Grove Fire Department, the driver was traveling southbound on Manning Avenue when the vehicle started smoking under the hood around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. The department received calls from drivers behind the vehicle, reporting that the car was releasing heavy smoke. They also tried to alert him by honking or signaling to him that something was wrong, the driver told firefighters.
The Cottage Grove budget is looking to hold strong on a 3-percent levy increase goal for 2019. Finance Director Robin Roland expects an estimated 2019 general fund balance of $13.7 million. The 2018 actual general fund was $13.3 million.
The City Council race heated up in the last few days of the filing period with candidates flooding in to fill two open seats. Current City Council members Tracy Rahm and Roz Johnson have both opted against filing for election this year, leaving two seats up for grabs.
Over a dozen vehicles were vandalized Aug. 12 in Cottage Grove and Hastings. Yellow and red spray paint was put on at least four vehicles between 7 p.m. Aug. 12 and 8 a.m. Aug. 13, according to police.
WOODBURY — Woodbury Days held Aug. 24-26 is going little in its 40th year — by adding more fun and games for the kids. Woodbury Days Council President Kati Cheney said this year the handful of new events are targeted at a younger audience. New kids' craft booths throughout the weekend include a clay donut workshop, tiny robot building, LEGO dogs, fusebeads creations, slime-making and more.
COTTAGE GROVE — The East Ridge Face Off Club and Cottage Grove Ice Arena broke ground Aug. 14 on new locker rooms that will help growing hockey teams have enough space. The number of teams in the Cottage Grove Hockey Association have more than doubled in the last seven years, and membership is still growing. The expansion will add nearly 2,200 square feet onto the west side of the arena's west ice sheet for the locker rooms and extra storage. The city expects the expansion to be complete by November.
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."
Jim Domeier loved parades. From 2002 until he died last May, he was either a Heritage Days volunteer or St. Paul Park royalty chaperone. In his honor, the Heritage Days committee named his family the grand marshals for this year's parade.