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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State Rep. Denny McNamara rolled to re-election but saw his Republican Party lose control of the Minnesota House. McNamara, R-Hastings, beat DFLer Joanna Bayers 57-42 percent in the House District 54B race last week. McNamara had 12,498 votes to Bayers' 9,228. McNamara has served five terms in the Minnesota House. With Republicans in control of that chamber for the past two years, McNamara has served as chairman of a House environment and natural resources committee.
Katie Sieben is headed back to the state Capitol -- and into a Senate majority that she will now help lead. Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, coasted to re-election last week and then was named an assistant Senate majority leader as Democrats reclaimed control of the Legislature In her race for a third Senate term, Sieben won 63 percent to 36 percent over Republican challenger Janis Quinlan.
A Cottage Grove woman out jogging on her birthday was shot by a teenager with a paintball gun in a passing car but she managed to snap a photo of the vehicle and give it to police. A 17-year-old Cottage Grove male and a 20-year-old Cottage Grove man were arrested and later cited by police in connection with the Saturday, Nov. 10, incident. The 44-year-old victim called police that day to report that she had been jogging on Hardwood Avenue south of 70th Street shortly before 11 a.m. when a red Eagle Talon passed her and an occupant of the car shot at her.
Sen. Katie Sieben will help decide what election changes Minnesota sees in the coming years. Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, will lead the Senate elections subcommittee when Democrats take control of the Legislature in January. That post, announced Wednesday, is in addition to her position as assistant Senate majority leader. Sieben has worked on elections issues for several years in the Legislature. She was part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers that crafted changes to the state's absentee voting process after the protracted U.S.
A St. Paul Park man will spend up to 10 years in prison for firing at police during a drunken standoff last year. Nathan A. Kluessendorf, 23, was sentenced Nov. 2 for three felony charges of using deadly force against a peace officer during a nearly five-hour standoff at his St. Paul Park home Aug. 2, 2011. According to police and court records, Kluessendorf was intoxicated and suicidal during the incident that ended only after an officer shot and wounded him. Kluessendorf was charged with six felonies, including three counts of attempted first-degree murder.
An overnight home burglary was reported in Cottage Grove last week, the third such break-in in as many weeks. Police were called to a home in the 7700 block of Ivystone on Friday, Nov. 9. The homeowner said someone had entered the house the previous night through two unlocked doors, according to police. The man said his wife's purse was stolen from its spot on a stairwell in the home. The value of the purse's contents, which included an iPod, was estimated at $200. The break-in happened sometime between 9 p.m. and 4:30 a.m., according to the report.
Republicans pulled out a surprising win in south Washington County in 2010 en route to claiming control of the Minnesota Legislature, but the political pendulum swung the other way locally and statewide just two years later. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate Dan Schoen put a local House seat back in DFL hands in last week's election, one of many Democratic pick-ups that helped the party regain legislative control. Schoen handily won the Minnesota House District 54A race, beating his chief opponent, Republican Derrick Lehrke, 54 percent to 37 percent.
Washington County had a higher voter turnout rate last week than the overall state rate. An estimated 82.4 percent of Washington County's registered voters cast ballots in the Nov. 6 election. Statewide, about 76 percent of eligible voters went to the polls or voted absentee, according to the secretary of state's unofficial election results. Washington County saw 172,530 total voters.
A Cottage Grove man found dead in his car Monday died from an accidental fall and hypothermia, according to police and medical officials. Cottage Grove police on Tuesday identified the victim as 66-year-old Dallas G. Jensen. He died as a result of trauma caused by falling and hypothermia, according to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office, which performed an autopsy. The death was determined to be accidental. Emergency crews were called to a home in the 8800 block of Hamlet Avenue at 4:29 p.m.
It's easy to see the Cottage Grove Veterans Memorial when walking into the new City Hall. That is by design -- literally. The new memorial near the front door to City Hall was designed as the focal point to the civic building, said Gary Bloedel, chairman of an advisory committee that worked on the memorial honoring U.S.