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 say a Cottage Grove woman suffocated her newborn baby while sleeping with him after she had been drinking. Washington County prosecutors charged Toni A. Medrano, 29, with two felony manslaughter charges in connection with the 3-week-old baby's death last year. Medrano admitted that she drank vodka and later went to sleep with her newborn positioned between her and a cushion on a couch in the family's Cottage Grove home.
Students likely will pay more to participate in some District 833 athletics and activities next year as an alternative to possibly losing extracurricular activities. Fees for Minnesota State High School League sports and fine arts activities will increase by $25 for students at East Ridge, Park and Woodbury high schools under a proposal the South Washington County School Board is expected to act on later this month.
The family of a Cottage Grove man who was found unresponsive in an Illinois jail cell is raising questions about his death. The Kane County Sheriff's Office said last week that it is investigating the death of Keith D. Renfroe, 20, after he was found unresponsive in his jail cell and later died after being removed from life support at a Chicago-area hospital. Mike Padden, an attorney for Renfroe's parents, said the 20-year-old was healthy when he was booked into the Kane County jail on May 18 for alleged felony criminal trespassing.
Goodbye, school. Hello, summer. Students in South Washington County Schools emptied their desks, cleaned out their lockers and gave their teachers one last hug as they wrapped up the school year. District 833 seniors had their last day a week ago, but students in grades K-11 finished the 2011-12 school year on Wednesday, June 6. As students poured out of classrooms at Crestview Elementary School and Nuevas Fronteras in Cottage Grove, teachers wished them well, told them to be safe and reminded them to read this summer. They'll be back in class Sept. 4.
A Cottage Grove woman is accused of engaging in repeated sexual activity with a teenage boy she had cared for and babysat. Desiree D. Cruz, 29, is scheduled to appear in Washington County District Court next week on charges of first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct, both felonies, for allegedly engaging in sexual activity and penetration with a boy during a two-year period. The alleged incidents began when the victim was 15 and Cruz was 26. Cruz had cared for the boy from when he was age 8 to when he was 10 years old.
College won't be a new experience for many of this year's Math and Science Academy graduates. Most of the 25 graduates from the Woodbury charter school spent part of their senior year attending area universities through a post-secondary enrollment program.
One group of District 833 graduates is planning to leave high school with two diplomas. The 2012 graduating class includes 15 students who were the first to complete the district's International Baccalaureate full-diploma program. The program, which was launched in District 833 in 2010, combines rigorous college preparatory classes with intense writing assignments and a time-consuming community service project.
Authorities are investigating the death of a Cottage Grove man who was found unresponsive in an Illinois jail cell. The Kane County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday is it investigating the death of Keith D. Renfroe, 20, after he was found unresponsive in his cell and later died after being removed from life support at a Chicago-area hospital. Renfroe was booked into the Kane County jail on May 18 for alleged felony criminal trespassing, according to a news release from the sheriff's office. A jail officer saw Renfroe standing by the sink and toilet area of his cell shortly before 2 a.m.
State officials earlier this year fined 3M's Cottage Grove operation for air-quality violations. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced recently that 3M-Cottage Grove's abrasive systems division was issued a $4,000 penalty in January for air-quality violations. The company had reported the violation and it paid the fine in January, according to MPCA records. The violation stemmed from testing conducted in July 2011.
The contract for the incoming District 833 schools chief includes a larger salary and lacks terms that were at the center of controversy surrounding Superintendent Mark Porter's dismissal. Keith Jacobus agreed to the South Washington County School Board's contract offer, which puts his first-year superintendent salary at $178,000 and provides annual raises and other terms that are standard in the field, the board's attorney said. The board unanimously voted to approve the contract offer during a meeting Thursday, May 24.