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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Police are investigating four recent burglaries at Cottage Grove residences. All of the incidents reportedly took place overnight over a four-day period, and two of the burglarized properties are in the same neighborhood. The first report came April 30 from a resident in the 7500 block of 74th Street. The house was entered while nobody was home, though there was no sign of forced entry, and $8,030 in electronics was stolen, according to the report.
A judge cleared a St. Paul man of a felony assault charge in connection with an August 2010 beating that was prompted by a racial comment at a St. Paul Park gas station. Tong Xiong, 22, was found not guilty of felony first-degree aiding and abetting assault following a trial in Washington County District Court. The trial was held last week, but Judge Susan Miles issued her verdict Wednesday. The decision in Xiong's case came a little more than a month after two other St. Paul men pleaded guilty to assault charges stemming from the same incident.
Myra Peterson's community contributions don't fit neatly into a specific category. She volunteers with local organizations, advocates for others and was an elected official for many years. The city of Cottage Grove's recent recognition of Peterson reflected that variety of public service.
Two years ago Cottage Grove native and lifelong resident Bev Gross was awarded local preservationist of the year. "I thought, well, that's going to be it now," said Gross, content with that recognition for her volunteer efforts to unearth and chronicle Cottage Grove history. "And now all of a sudden this comes up," she said, laughing. Gross was referring to her latest recognition: she was named Cottage Grove Volunteer of the Year for 2011.
A 19-year-old man faces felony charges after admitting to police that he had consensual sex with a 14-year-old Cottage Grove girl repeatedly over a number of months, according to a Washington County District Court criminal complaint. Joshua A. Phillips, who has no permanent address, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct. It is a felony involving sex with a victim under age 16 with whom the suspect had a significant relationship. Phillips also faces a felony charge of soliciting a child under age 15 in a sex act.
Park High School will have to settle on someone other than the leader of the free world as this year's commencement speaker. The school earlier this year entered a national contest to have President Obama speak to the 2011 graduating class, but did not make the list of schools still in the running for the presidential speech. Park staff and students put together an application for the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge, a contest to highlight the high school doing the most to prepare students for post-secondary education and a career.
Challenging life experiences prompted a new professional challenge for Karyn Wincentsen and Kerri Koch. The two one-time coworkers became friends and later business partners, recently opening their own full-service salon in St. Paul Park. They started taking clients at their Hairitage Beauty Salon last month. "We wanted to make our own money," Wincentsen said of the decision to start a business. Neither woman thought seriously about running a salon before the fall of 2009. Wincentsen had been a stylist for a few years. She met Koch while working at B & G Hair Co.
Diane Johnson was excited when the Hallmark greeting card company chose her homemade card among others to sell online. Then Hallmark fans liked it, too, and now Johnson's card - a funny birthday card featuring a childhood photo of her husband, Fred - won a second contest and will be sold in Hallmark stores this summer. "It was a nice surprise," Johnson, of Cottage Grove, said of winning the card contest.
Theft Two Cottage Grove females, ages 13 and 14, were referred to the Youth Service Bureau for shoplifting after they allegedly stole lingerie from Kohl's, 7990 Hardwood Ave., on April 8. SuperAmerica, 7162 East Point Douglas Road, reported a $20 gas drive-off April 9. Police were given a vehicle description, but no license plate number. A Rosemount man reported April 9 that his wallet was stolen from a vehicle parked at New Life Evangelical Church, 11245 West Point Douglas Road. The wallet contained credit cards.
Area emergency crews were called to help extinguish a fire Monday afternoon on the roof of a manufacturing building at 3M Cottage Grove Center. 3M officials notified their internal emergency squad of a fire around 3 p.m., said Vickie Batroot, 3M site director. The company then called in Cottage Grove fire crews to assist in extinguishing the fire and assessing it. St. Paul Park fire officials also responded. It was not immediately known where the fire started, but it was observed in duct work on the roof.