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. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
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A Cottage Grove man allegedly ripped up a city park with his car during a police chase in the first of his three arrests in three days this week. Richard J. Smith Jr. was arrested for suspected drunken driving early Sunday after he allegedly fled a traffic stop and led police on a pursuit through town to Hearthside Park. A day later, he was picked up on suspicion of trespassing and disorderly conduct.
Cottage Grove residents who want a close look at police operations -- from the right side of the law -- will have their chance this summer. The Cottage Grove Police Department is planning its second Citizen's Academy, an eight-week course meant to expose people to police operations and raise awareness about law enforcement issues. The academy will run for three hours on Thursday evenings from Aug. 9 to Sept. 27. It will include lectures, demonstrations, tours, hands-on exercises and a squad car ride-along. The academy is free; participants will receive a polo shirt to wear to class.
Gary Esler listens intently as the radio crackles to life. He jots down information as his partner operating radio equipment connects with someone from Hawaii. A Navy veteran who was once stationed in Hawaii, Esler asks for the controls. "Aloha! Where are you located?" Esler, a member of the Cottage Grove-based South East Metro Amateur Radio Club (SEMARC), asks the other ham radio operator. The two exchange information before signing off. Connections like these excite the Hastings resident. "I guarantee you we'll work all of the United States today," he says.
Lisabeth Mackall remembers her husband's condition after was he was transported by medical helicopter from the scene of his car crash. "It was bad," she said. As he lay at North Memorial Hospital, Savage police officer and Cottage Grove resident Frank Mackall had minor scrapes and no broken bones but there were serious concerns about his head trauma. "It didn't look good," Lisabeth said of Frank's early prognosis. Yet just as remarkable as his survival in the one-vehicle crash has been the success of his recovery.
A Cottage Grove road was closed for a time Tuesday after a semitrailer carrying grain stalled and then nearly tipped over. The stretch of 70th Street between Keats and Lamar avenues was closed Tuesday afternoon. A truck driven by Roger Peterson, of River Falls, Wis., had mechanical problems while traveling on 70th Street east of Keats Avenue and pulled over.
A Cottage Grove man who worked as the St. Paul-Minneapolis Catholic Archdiocese's accounting director is accused of stealing nearly $700,000 from the church and using it to pay credit cards and other personal expenses. Scott J. Domeier, 50, was charged last week with seven counts of theft by swindle in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul. He pleaded not guilty. Domeier could not be reached for comment.
Jana Armstead discovered her long-sought "feel-good find" in Cottage Grove. Armstead, of St. Paul, has searched for community festival medallions with friends around the Twin Cities for over 25 years but it had been several years since she uncovered a prize herself. That changed Sunday when after only three clues and a few hours of hunting she unearthed the Strawberry Fest medallion in Hamlet Park. "It was a feel-good find because it's been a while," Armstead said.
A fire caused extensive damage to a Cottage Grove home Monday morning. Fire crews from at least three south Washington County communities fought the blaze in a two-story home at 7228 Jensen Ave., just north of Kingston Park. Cottage Grove public safety officials said the homeowner called in the fire at about 9 a.m. It was not immediately clear if anybody was injured or how the fire started. The fire was visible from a second-floor bedroom window. It was extinguished within a half-hour. A few dozen firefighters and public safety officials from Cottage Grove, Woodbury and St.
The St. Paul Saints minor-league baseball team brought its mascot, music and quirky entertainment to St. Paul Park on Thursday, June 7, for a community spotlight baseball game between St. Paul Park and Cottage Grove 15AA teams. The Saints announced the youth game, led fans in silly between-inning contests and offered other entertainment.
Brianna Wukawitz's fight against leukemia gave her two perspectives she wants to share with others. First, the 15-year-old said, people shouldn't dwell over small matters.