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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Local street repairs, state politics and a city charter -- all have been the subject of recent letters to the editor and viewpoints on this opinion page. We've noticed a steady stream of letters submitted lately and look forward to that continuing in the weeks and months ahead, especially considering that the 2012 elections are creeping ever closer. We consider that robust letter-writing activity a good sign. It suggests readers are taking interest in issues that affect them and the community. Not only that, they're taking the time to share their opinion with fellow Bulletin readers.
Cottage Grove-area Democrats say their small caucus turnout doesn't represent party enthusiasm entering a major election year. Only about 55 to 60 people turned out to caucus Tuesday in Cottage Grove precincts of Senate District 57, only a fraction of the turnout in the last presidential election year - 2008 - but also noticeably lower than attendance two years ago. House District 57A DFL Chairwoman Diana Tunheim attributed this year's turnout to the fact that there is no contested presidential race in the party and many activists didn't get involved at the caucus level because they do not k
A Cottage Grove man is charged with engaging in sexual conduct with a teen girl multiple times. Washington County prosecutors last month charged Cecilio Lemust, 24, with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a victim between the ages of 13 and 16. According to the criminal complaint: A woman reported to Cottage Grove police Jan. 17 that her daughter had been acting unusual and eventually admitted to her that Lemust had exposed himself to her. In a police interview last month, the girl said Lemust had touched her sexually three times beginning in the summer of 2011.
John Kriesel said his biggest fear as a state representative is being pegged as a typical politician. With one year in the Minnesota House under his belt and a possible re-election bid later this year, Kriesel -- for better or worse politically -- in many ways has proven himself to be anything but a conventional legislator. "I don't want to fit the stereotypical politician mold," the Cottage Grove Republican said in a recent interview.
Bill Pulkrabek, the Washington County commissioner accused in a disorderly conduct case, was ordered to pay a fine and serve one year on probation Wednesday after the Woodbury man entered a plea in the criminal case. The 42-year-old entered what's known as an Alford plea - where defendants do not plead guilty, but concede there is enough evidence to render a guilty verdict - for the misdemeanor offense. In a statement he released Wednesday, Pulkrabek admitted to a "mistake" and apologized for what he called "an isolated incident." "I take full responsibility for my lapse in judgment," the
For Park basketball fans, one Tuesday game ended with a comfortable victory. The other game was just plain uncomfortable. The Wolfpack girls team returned to its winning ways in a 66-58 victory over visiting Woodbury. Meanwhile, the conference-leading Royals boys team crushed Park 98-37. That 61-point trouncing left Park still searching for its first Suburban East Conference victory in two years, and it kept Woodbury undefeated in the conference. The first half of the boys game ended with Woodbury up 57-20, even after the Royals turned to some of their non-starters.
South Washington County's state lawmakers plan to ask voters for another term this fall. All three District 57 legislators - Sen. Katie Sieben and Reps. John Kriesel and Denny McNamara - said they intend to seek re-election in November, though it is unclear how redistricting will affect their seats. New legislative boundaries will be released Feb. 21 and the maps could change who represents Cottage Grove and surrounding communities. "It's my plan," Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, said of running again.
South Washington County lawmakers predict the unpredictable for the 2012 legislative session. Without a state budget to balance - that was done last year, following a partial government shutdown - and with an election year that includes new legislative district boundaries to be released Feb. 21, local lawmakers say it could be a short session. "It's going to be a mad dash" by legislators to get done and return home to campaign in newly drawn districts, Sen.
Marathon Petroleum Co., the former owner of the St. Paul Park oil refinery, paid a $700,000 civil penalty for failing to properly treat wastewater containing the chemical benzene, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced. Marathon illegally disposed of nearly 115 million gallons of wastewater containing benzene into an unprotected lagoon at the refinery rather than removing the benzene at its wastewater treatment plant, the MPCA said. The lagoon is near the Mississippi River.
An overtime victory wasn't the highlight for East Ridge in its recent game against Forest Lake. The highlight came courtesy of Raptor senior shooting guard Justin Pahl. Pahl, the Raptors' captain, netted his 1,000th point as a high school player in the narrow 56-54 victory on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at Forest Lake. Pahl reached the milestone as he led the Raptors with 12 points in the win over the Rangers.