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The Cottage Grove City Council has appointed a new interim member to serve through November 2019. Local business owner Wayne Butt was selected out of 10 candidates to fill the vacancy left by Wayne Johnson, who was elected to the Washington County Board in November. The council interviewed and voted on candidates at a special meeting held Dec. 19. After three rounds of voting, Butt won 3-1 against Ken Brittain. He was sworn in Friday and will serve until a special election for the seat is held next November. The term goes through January 2021.
Since opening the Woodbury location of Osaka Sushi and Hibachi five years ago, owner Rebecca Wang says she's heard a recurring request. "A lot of people come from Cottage Grove, and they're like, 'Oh, it's kind of sad that there's no sushi restaurant down here,'" she said. This week, she's set to fill the void with her new restaurant, Sushi Cafe. Located on Harkness Avenue, the restaurant's offerings include customizable sushi dishes, hibachi-style entrees, poke bowls, noodles and bubble tea made with real fruit.
The Washington County Board of Commissioners raised salaries for the first time since 2009 — a pay bump from $52,713 to $69,000. The board also increased salaries for Washington County Attorney Pete Orput from $171,580 to $180,159; Sheriff Dan Starry from $152,876 to $161,570; and administrator Molly O'Rourke from $176,344 to $185,161. Board requests speed studies from MnDOT
Ahead of the legislative session, state lawmakers are exploring proposals including creating an emergency supply of insulin and setting price controls on the drug.
The Washington County Board approved its 2019 budget Dec. 11, which includes a 5.47 percent increase in the property tax levy.
A new spa is coming to Woodbury Lakes. The national chain Woodhouse Day Spa opened its second Minnesota location this week. The spa will host an open house Wednesday, Dec. 12 featuring live holiday music, tours, free treat bags and discounts on services, boutique items and gift cards, said owner Amy Adams. Adams said Woodhouse differentiates itself from most salons by offering over 70 services, including nail and skin treatments, facials and massages. "Woodhouse is designed to be a resort quality spa, right in your backyard," Adams said.
Former commissioner appointed to Watershed District Board
With a 4-3 vote, the Stillwater school board has decided to expand Brookview Elementary School in Woodbury. After opening in 2017, the school is nearing its 450-student capacity as hundreds of single-family homes are likely to be built nearby within the next decade, according to Woodbury planning officials. The expansion will consist of adding eight classrooms, with an estimated cost of up to $5.5 million. The project will be funded through the district's lease levy.
As people grapple with divisive political discourse nationwide, a local chapter of the League of Women Voters wants to help. The Cottage Grove and Woodbury chapter of the League of Women Voters will host a presentation from Rep. JoAnn Ward, D-Woodbury, on Saturday, Dec. 1. Ward, an outgoing third-term legislator who has a background in restorative justice and volunteers with the non-partisan National Institute for Civil Discourse, will give tips for headache-free political conversations. The talk begins at 10:30 a.m. in the second-floor conference room of Jerry’s Foods in Woodbury.
After nearly a year of cancer treatment, a South St. Paul second-grader has received a St. Bernard puppy from Make-A-Wish Minnesota. The surprise was featured during a segment of ABC's "Good Morning America" earlier this month, which captured Kaelee Dufrane lighting up as she met her new friend. She named the pet Missy after the character in the Disney film "Beethoven" — her all-time favorite movie, she told the network. Dufrane went through 14 rounds of chemo and 30 rounds of radiation to treat her osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.