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.
- Member for
- 1 year 9 months
ST. PAUL - Rep. John Kriesel was sitting outside the Minnesota House chamber, his mind firmly made up on one of the most controversial issues at the Capitol. Kriesel, a freshman from Cottage Grove, said he split with fellow Republicans and opposes a bill that would put before voters a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota. "I don't care in there who's supporting it and who's not," Kriesel said, pointing to the House chamber during a recent interview, "but I know that I can't in my heart." That was not the case until just recently, Kriesel said.
An anti-drug proposal rooted in south Washington County could soon become Minnesota law. The Minnesota Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would make synthetic marijuana illegal in Minnesota. Democratic Sen. Katie Sieben of Cottage Grove, who sponsored the proposal, said the bill containing the so-called ban on "fake pot" must be reconciled with a similar House measure but is headed toward Gov.
Sen. Katie Sieben said her outlook has improved about a state budget deal being reached by lawmakers' fast-approaching May 23 deadline. Sieben said she earlier was "much more pessimistic" that a deal could be reached, but action heading into the weekend from Republicans who control the Legislature made it more likely that lawmakers would finish on time. "I'm really more optimistic then I was earlier in the week," Sieben said following a legislative town hall forum she held Friday at Cottage Grove City Hall. However, Sieben said there remain major differences between DFL Gov.
Cottage Grove police want to bring some reality to the public's perception of law enforcement. "There are a lot of Hollywood stereotypes about law enforcement and what we can and cannot do," Cottage Grove police Sgt. Gwen Martin said. "You talk about the CSI effect.
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.