Park Grove Library at 7900 Hemingway Avenue S.Photo courtesy of Washington County
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Return to 2022

PART 2

Over and done, but still left to run. Here’s what happened on the latter half of last year’s trip around the Sun: JULY July 7, 2022 A series on Cedarhurst debuts, subtitled as “a family, a farm, and a story” The June 28 Economic Development Authority meeting hears of business interest following a trip to Vegas.

‘Lets Go Brandon’ signs give local boys confidence, prompting a visit with NASCAR driver Brandon Brown, looking to redefine the phrase he unintentionally inspired.

Fliers distributed within Cottage Grove cause concern, prompting city officials to speak out against them.

July 14, 2022

Part II of the Cedarhurst series develops, with the approximate location of the Severance family plot in old Cottage Grove Cemetery included as connections began to be made. Cursive is mentioned as an important skill for those doing historical research, while Cordenio is shown in a portrait from the famous mansion.

Also reported on the second week of July, is a pending repeal and replacement of the city’s entire zoning code. Last codified decades back, the passage of time has led to new questions and greater complexity, the old code being deemed inadequate and occasionally vague when related to modern building questions.

In school news, South Washington County Schools looks to pose a $462 million building bond referendum question to voters August 9, with the Journal sharing information from the district’s website, later making a shift to larger graphics based on reader feedback. One thing’s for sure: people want to know what’s going on in the schools.

July 21, 2022

Opening the third week of July, reports was the city would buy a portion of the former Dunes golf course for a park land. The grant agreement with the DNR was part of long-standing plans related to the property.

As for Cedarhurst, July 21 saw a partial family tree debuted for the Severance family, with generations past to fill in as information became known.

July 28, 2022

Coming in for notice the week of July 28, the council recognized Menards manager Michael Chernick for helping save the life of shopper Pam Larson, who had collapsed with heart failure at the store on May 2. Thanks to the actions of Chernick and others, Pam was alive and present at the city hall with her helpers, including police and EMS.

AUGUST Aug. 4, 2022 Opening the week of August 4, a dilemma of two candidates and one ballot spot saw Tom Dippel and Tony Jurgens compete for the new Senate District 41 seat.

In school news, meanwhile, the August 9 bond referendum was approaching, with voters to weight in on paying extra taxes to fund school construction, as supporters of Newport Elementary led the campaign to vote no on the measure, which would close their school.

Closing out the week of August 4, Cottage Grove implemented a 12-month CBD sales moratorium after the Minnesota Legislature adopted a large omnibus bill with provisions on the legalization of certain products with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. As of July 20 the moratorium meant businesses that had a license to sell CBD could not expand upon current products, as stock was taken of the situation.

Aug. 11, 2022

Following up the Legislature’s omnibus bill in which it legalized certain uses of CBD with THC in it, the Journal looked into how the moratorium was affected businesses with products in development. Described by one business owner as “a double edged sword,” the need for more licensing was contrasted with frustration for the would be consumer, and businesses who weren’t able to sell products they had been developing before the moratorium hit. In other front page news, a body was recovered from the St. Croix River in Washington County at Stillwater township, after a fishing accident had led to drowning. A 43-year-old man from White Bear Lake was identified as the victim, a vehicle found at the St. Croix Boom Site with abandoned fishing boat along the shoreline.

Aug.18, 2022 Coming in for the third week of August, the city continued to navigate controversy over Mississippi Dunes, as voters decided to reject the $462 million ask from the school related to building bonds. Back to the drawing board, the earliest anything could return to voters in relation to the bond issue was February. Opposition to the referendum was strongest percentage wise in Newport, with near universal rejection of the plan that would close Newport Elementary. Woodbury in urban had voted for it on the balance, while Cottage Grove was split, a large number of voters choosing ‘no’but not unanimously. Opposition to the referendum was strongest in Cottage Grove’s first precinct (close to Newport), where the district would have needed to turn 1,015 votes the other way, just to break even.

As for city history, the fourth installment of a Cedarhurst piece made the front page, delving into the business relations of Cordenio Severance, as well as the fact that he once needed someone to vouch for him in getting a passport, as no written record of his birth, was known to exist. Meanwhile the attic at Cedarhurst was revealed to be full of mirrors, with the turn of the century home sporting no visible insulation on the floor of the attic or upper story.

Aug. 25, 2022

Closing out the month of August, reports were that new Logistic Park Plans had been approved at the Aug. 17 council meeting. The development long in planning would see quick execution, as building rose in the city’s business park south of Highway 61.

SEPT. Sept. 1, 2022 Coming in for notice the first week of September, building plans for a new park on Ravine Parkway were revealed, with the park to be known as Glacier Valley starting long ago in time, from a human viewpoint. Geologic time is vast.

Not all was good news, however, as it was revealed the city had fallen victim to a fraud. The extra payments for a trunk sewer on the south side, had originated after a email phisher with bad intentions had managed to convince a city employee that they were in fact the contract firm hired to build the sewer. The investigation was ongoing, with some $1.276 million missing. The takeaway? Email phishers deal in trust, and then use it to avoid having to do honest work. Beware!

Sept. 8, 2022

Following up on the fraud investigation of the week prior, Cottage Grove public safety director Pete Koerner released a statement that the matter was still under investigation and thus protected by 13.82 of the State code.

Over at South Washington County Schools, meanwhile, the state report card showed mostly losses in instruction over the pandemic shutdown, while Newport had scored a net double digit gain in science after numbers from 2022 were subtracted from those for 2019, before COVID hit. If a silver lining existed, it was that tackling reading early on could help mitigate the learning impact that shutdown had brought—but there was good news as well!

Coming soon on East Point Douglas Road, a new restaurant tone called Thai Garden was in the works, along with a Pizza Ranch to the northwest.

Closing out Sept. 8, Pine Harbor Christian Academy celebrated an expansion of its learning facility, attendees at the ribbon cutting including the senior pastor, school principal, and city mayor, as well as chamber executive director Laurie Levine.

Sept. 15, 2022

Reported the week of Sept. 15, a fire at Newport Ponds in the 1600 block of 10th Avenue at Newport had seen two transported to hospital, but without fatalities. The apartment was gutted, with things turned over to the State Fire Marshal’s Office, deemed a common occurrence in cases such as the apartment fire.

Speaking out on power outages, meanwhile, Xcel Energy told the council that the Cottage Grove area was supplied by 13,000 volt feeders from two substations in the area, with voltage the property that drives electricity. Appreciating the relations it had with the city, Xcel Energy took its commitment to the area seriously.

As for taxes in the area, they were set to rise 12.6 percent, a less than popular fact

for many.

Sept. 22, 2022

Coming in for news from Sept. 22, Cottage Grove was set to get the newest Pizza Ranch in the state of Minnesota. Located next to Muddy Cow at 7855 Harkness Avenue South, the ground, had officially been broken.

Over on Hardwood Avenue South, the Cottage Grove Apartments were rising, with the city skyline between 70th and 80th Streets changing in turn.

As to the school, a routine policy review was due to consider removing the Administrative Organizational Plan from a list of Policies, the school board identified as the highest authority within the district on a chart at the school website.

Sept. 29, 2022

Closing out the month of September, a lawsuit brought against the city in relation to the planned Mississippi Landings development, had been dismissed. Brought by three relators from a group called the Friends of Grey Cloud, the suit had sought to use legal action to stop and/or delay development on the former Mississippi Dunes golf course.

As to more upbeat news, a gunshot victim from St. Paul had been found alive at a Cottage Grove hotel. Treated by paramedics, the woman with a gunshot wound to the leg was transported to a hospital, while two men were detained as part of an ongoing investigation.

OCTOBER Oct.6, 2022 Opening the week of October, the Newport Council was set to meet Thursday, Oct. 6. Among the items on the agenda were repairs to windows at the Newport Library, in bad disrepair from time and wear.

As to Halloween activities there were many in town, while a first ever coffee tasting event used media that played off the love-hate relationship of many with caffeine. Put on by the Washington County Heritage Center, promotional materials included an old post saying “Instant Human! Just add coffee.”

Oct. 13, 2022

Making the news for Oct. 13, a fire had caused evacuation at Wiederholt’s Supper Club, a regional venue for decades, and located in Miesville.

Meanwhile at Open Forum Oct. 5, citizen comment had ventured everywhere from school safety to the River Oaks golf course, while a police department open house had reportedly helped to foster community connection with law enforcement.

Oct. 20, 2022

Partnering with Nexus Healing to build a place called Aspen House, Dakota and Washington Counties were committed to helping provide shelter and programs for teens age 12- 18 and in crisis.

Down at the fire open house, meanwhile, firefighter Mike Campbell used a long pole to show why water should never be used to put out a kitchen fire. As oil is less dense than water, it floats on top, and that includes flaming oil. Kitchen fires should be smothered and deprived of oxygen as a safer method to get that out of control pot roast or other cooking under control. Using water is dangerous, and will spread the flames.

Oct. 27, 2022

Closing out October while looking to the election, area candidates made their cases to voters and shared what they would do if elected. Tom Dippel faced off with Judy Seeberger for Senate District 41, while Tina Folch and Shane Hudella engaged in a race for State House seat 41 B, as two examples As to history, a short series on James Sullivan Norris began, billed as “the man who gave cottage Grove its name.

Inside page 2, a public land survey map sectioned out with familiar shoes and others long gone, showed what Cottage Grove had looked like in the early days, before Lock and Dam 2 had seemingly buried forever different islands, created by alluvial fanning from Cottage Grove Ravine into the Mississippi. The changes had come in the 1930s, while the map had preserved what once was.

NOVEMBER Nov. 3, 2022 Staring out the month of November, three council seats were listed as up for election November 8. The seats, held by Steve Dennis, Tony Khambata, and Dave Thiede, would return to them after the election, as the race without opposition resulted in an effective win for all three candidates.

As to Meadow Grass Park, it had a new playground, the completed main structure located in the northwest corner of 70th Street South and Meadow Grass Lane South.

In sadder news, a Cottage Grove resident and teacher at Park High named Corbin Buss had recently died, leaving behind a young son and partner. A Go Fund Me page had been set up to help with the unexpected and sudden financial challenges, the page searchable as ‘Baby Arthur James Buss’ at Go Fund Me.

Nov. 10, 2022

Coming in the week of Nov. 10, the Council discussed plans for Glacial Valley Park being built at 9900 Ravine Parkway South.

At the same time, South Washington County Schools was dealing with a driver shortage, and plans surrounding Park Grove Library took public criticism as to efficacy of a remodel.

Nov. 17, 2022

Addressing the Nov. 1 power outage, mayor Myron Bailey said that it wasn’t something particular to Cottage Grove.

“In this particular case, this was not something that was very specific to any area in our community. As a matter of fact, over 8,000 households and businesses covering Cottage Grove, Woodbury, St. Paul Park, Newport, and Old Cottage Grove lost power. It was unbelievable how wide it was.”

The outage was reportedly due to an event at a substation which took it offline.

Nov. 24, 2022

Taking time out to celebrate Nov. 24, the City of Newport had a new City Hall, while a $2.146 million upgrade was coming soon to River Oaks Golf Course.

Concurrent with but separate from these things, a Woodbury teen was sentenced for his role in a crash that had taken life in March 2021, the car leaving a roadway and crashing into a tree, then splitting in half. An adult prison sentence of combined 69 months was suspended as long as the teen complied with all aspects of probation.

DECEMBER Dec. 1, 2022 Coming in for Dec. 1, the Newport Council was set to consider a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the South Washington County Watershed District on stormwater best management practice (BMP).

A head on collision caused injury to a local resident who was 34 weeks pregnant, a Nebraska man being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in the crash at Keats Avenue and 70th Street South Dec. 8, 2022

Passing its tax levy Dec. 5, the St. Paul Park Council set its levy rate of 7.92 percent while looking to raise $2.5636 million in necessary funding for public expenditures.

Dec. 15, 2022

Coming in for news Dec. 15, Park High School had two ExCEL Award winners, in Becky Etten and Taran Blasy. The award though MSHSL was in its 27th year, meant to highlight those who showed leadership qualities, volunteered in their communities, and were otherwise model citizens.

Arriving in town before Christmas, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolled into Cottage Gove Dec. 12, delighting attendees to the event postponed for two year’s due to COVID.

Dec. 22, 2022

Saying goodby the week of Dec. 22 was Commissioner Wayne Johnson, to be replaced as Distirct 4 representative on the county board by Karla Bigham, elected in the fall.

Making Christmas special for area families meanwhile, were the Cottage Grove Lions, with the group providing gifts and financial help to those in need.

Dec. 29, 2022

Closing out the year with yet more taxes, the district approved its school tax levy at the Dec. 15 meeting, prompting one Woodbury resident to seek a discussion with the district.

“I don’t know how we’re going to get that discussion,” he said of helping local government hear people’s voices.

And with that we end our review, of 2022.


The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train comes to town on Dec 12. Photo courtesy of Canadian Pacific

January 11, 2023