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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A Cottage Grove woman despondent after she was charged with manslaughter in the death of her newborn son has died after she set herself on fire, according to police. Toni A. Medrano, 29, died of injuries she sustained after using a flammable liquid to set herself on fire last week outside a St. Paul Park home, St. Paul Park Police Chief Mike Monahan said Monday. His department and the Ramsey County medical examiner are investigating her death. Emergency crews were called to a home in the 1300 block of Chicago Avenue about 4 a.m.
The Newport Volunteer Fire Department might want to plan to make more booya at its 60th-annual booya feed next year. Hundreds turned out for this year's booya feed - held Saturday and Sunday, July 7-8 - and the department was running out of the stew-like meal by early Sunday afternoon. The event started Saturday evening with a parade. On Sunday afternoon at the main fire station, people could buy cups of booya for $3.50 and other food and beverages, play Bingo and other games and try for raffle items. There also were children's games.
A Cottage Grove woman charged with manslaughter in the death of her newborn son tried to commit suicide by setting herself on fire this week, according to police. Emergency crews were sent to a St. Paul Park home about 4 a.m. Monday after someone at the home reported that a woman was burned after attempting suicide by starting herself on fire in the backyard. A police report identified the victim as Toni A. Medrano, 29, of Cottage Grove.
As a 17-year-old, John Miller enlisted in the Marines with a focus on intelligence because it would help his post-military career prospects. It also provided Miller with impressive work while still in the Marines. A Cottage Grove native, Miller is about halfway through his first overseas deployment, serving at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. The 19-year-old's job is to collect intelligence about the region's battle space and then present it daily at a briefing of 50 to 60 military officials including a commanding general. The job can be stressful, Miller acknowledged.
A fire damaged a second-floor balcony on a Newport home Monday afternoon, two days after a blaze destroyed a Newport garage containing collector trucks. Firefighters and emergency responders were called around 3:30 p.m. to a house fire at 455 Sixth St., about a block from Pioneer Park. Newport firefighters called St. Paul Park and Cottage Grove authorities for backup, but the fire appeared to be contained to the balcony and exterior door framing.
A Cottage Grove man who owned a talent casting company is accused of molesting two boys who were aspiring actors and spent lots of time alone with him. Matthew D. Feeney was charged last week in Washington County District Court with two felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Mark Porter has found a new job as a school superintendent. Porter, the former District 833 school superintendent, was hired Thursday for a similar position with the Monroe County School District in the Florida Keys. The school board there selected Porter over four other finalists, including the current schools chief. Porter will be the district's first superintendent hired by the school board; he'll replace a superintendent who was appointed by the Florida governor, according to the Key West Citizen newspaper.
A revamped Perkins restaurant in Cottage Grove could give customers a glimpse at what all of the chain's locations will look like. The local restaurant recently completed a remodeling project that spiffed up the exterior of the building as well as the lobby and dining areas inside. The Cottage Grove location was the first in the country to receive both an interior and exterior remodel simultaneously, said Nate Raway, the local restaurant's general manager.
A key administrator is leaving South Washington County Schools. Rick Spicuzza, an assistant superintendent, is leaving for a similar position in the Mounds View School District. Spicuzza has served as assistant superintendent for curriculum and assessment in District 833. He was hired in 2007 to help the district study its student test scores and better align teaching to state academic standards. Spicuzza will become deputy superintendent in the Mounds View district, where he worked before coming to South Washington County Schools.
Vandalism A Cottage Grove resident reported an odd incident of vandalism on May 20. The homeowner called police after someone put bologna on windows, the driveway, the garage door and on the windows of a vehicle parked at the home in the 6500 block of Bluestem Lane. A Cottage Grove resident reported May 27 that a home in the 8700 block of Greene Avenue was hit with paintballs. There was no damage. Police received a report June 1 that a house in the 8400 block of Greenway Avenue had been struck with paintballs.