Washington County Board Appoints Chief Deputy Dan Starry as County Sheriff

The Washington County Board of Commissioners appointed Chief Deputy Dan Starry to the post of Washington County Sheriff, after Sheriff Bill Hutton announced his intent to retire from the office on April 30. Starry will serve the rest of Sheriff Hutton’s term, which runs through Jan. 7, 2019. Starry will be sworn in in early May. Hutton will take over as the executive director of the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association. Continue Reading →

Police, Stillwater Schools Investigate Assault Near Stillwater Junior High School

Police are investigating a report that a Stillwater Junior High School student was assaulted Monday afternoon just a few blocks from school. The assault happened across the street from Fairview Cemetery on Orleans Street and Osgood Avenue. The child was approached for a ride home from some teenagers Monday afternoon, and after he declined a ride twice, they reportedly got out and beat him up. Here is the letter Stillwater Junior High School Principal Eric VanScoy sent to families:

Yesterday, while walking home from school, a Stillwater Junior High School student was assaulted by a group of unknown males. The incident occurred just a few blocks from school by Fairview Cemetery on Orleans Street and Osgood Avenue. 

We’re currently working with officers from Stillwater and Oak Park police departments to investigate the situation and search for the individuals involved. Continue Reading →

Charlie’s Irish Pub Bartender Dan Schiltz Wins Best Bartender in the Valley Contest

Dan Schiltz — of Charlie’s Irish Pub — wowed judges and took home some serious bragging rights last weekend during the Best Bartender in the Valley competition. Schiltz won the 2017 Best Bartender in the Valley title with his technical take on a classic concoction: Judy’s Irish Old Fashion. Schiltz began crafting the cocktail by rimming a lowball glass with espresso grounds — which he the dipped in high-proof bourbon — and lit on fire to toast the grounds. In a separate glass Schiltz muddled ginger-infused sugar and chocolate bitters, poured 2 ounces of 2 Gingers over the sugar and served the drink neat with an orange accent. The annual Best Bartender in the Valley competition was held March 12 at Pub 112. Continue Reading →

Get a Sneak Peak of ArtReach’s Artisan Birdhouses at Preview with a Pint Event at Lift Bridge Brewery

ArtReach St. Croix is hosting their fourth and final Birdhouse Auction Fundraiser on May 18 at JX Event Venue in downtown Stillwater. You can get a sneak peek of some of this year’s birdhouses Tuesday night (March 14) during the Birdhouse Preview with a Pint event from 6-9 p.m. at Lift Bridge Brewery. Tickets for the auction will be available for purchase. This year, 40 imaginative birdhouses — and several bird sculptures — created by local artists will be auctioned off to support ArtReach’s arts marketing efforts in the St Croix Valley. Continue Reading →

Rita’s Italian Ice Opens for the Season on St. Patrick’s Day

Rita’s Italian Ice is opening for the season on Friday, March 17. In case you weren’t aware, Rita’s Italian Ice is located in Lucky’s Station on Greeley Street and Curve Crest Boulevard. The Stillwater location is open from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday -Thursdays, and 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The menu includes Italian Ice, Cream Ice, Frozen Custard, Milk Shakes, Misto Shakes, Sugar-Free Italian Ice, Gelati, and Frozen Custard Cakes. The frozen treats are gluten and fat free. Continue Reading →

School Year Will End a Day Earlier than Expected for Stillwater Area Public Schools

Parents take note (and arrange for childcare, if needed): Students last day of school will come one day earlier than expected in Stillwater Public Schools this year. The Stillwater Area Public Schools Board of Education on Thursday approved a shortened calendar for students, moving the last day of school for students from Thursday, June 1 to Wednesday, May 31. The change is so more than 200 school staff members have more time to move between — and within — school buildings before next school year. The calendar change comes as the district looks to close Marine, Withrow and Oak Park elementary schools, boundary changes, construction, transition students from a junior high to middle school model and change the high school from a 10-12 to a 9-12 building. The Minnesota Court of Appeals has not yet ruled on the appeal of school closures. Continue Reading →

Ninth annual Lakeview Health Foundation Community Breakfast raises $44,000

The Lakeview Health Foundation held its ninth annual Community Breakfast last month, raising $44,000 for patient and community projects supported by the foundation. About 200 people attended the complimentary breakfast at the Lake Elmo Inn Event Center. The program included speeches by Chris Jesmer, husband to Jeanine Jesmer, who spoke about his experience giving CPR to his wife before handing over to a Lakeview EMS crew last year. Jeanine had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest but survived thanks to her husband following CPR directions from the 911 operator and the subsequent efforts by the EMS team. Other speakers included representatives from Lakeview EMS and Helene Houle, whose generous donation to the foundation enabled the purchase of a new ambulance last year. Continue Reading →

150th Anniversary of Washington County Historic Courthouse Set for June 3

Washington County is planning a celebration of 150 years since the groundbreaking for the Historic Courthouse, the 100th anniversary of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument and a special dedication of a 2017 Time Capsule the first weekend in June. The 150th Anniversary Celebration will be 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at the Historic Courthouse, featuring a time capsule ceremony, live music, carriage rides, Civil War re-enactors, $1 hot dogs, old-fashioned candy, picnicking on the lawn and a Civil War exhibit grand opening. During the event, the 150th Anniversary Time Capsule will be dedicated with items representing Washington County to give future generations a glimpse of what life is like in Washington County in 2017. Continue Reading →

Stillwater Area Public Schools Working with Police, Community to Keep Students Safe

Stillwater Area Public Schools is continuing to work with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department to investigate a March 1 incident involving a suspicious person at Lake Elmo Elementary School. “While we have very little new information to report, police continue to ask for the public’s help,” a news release from Stillwater Area Public Schools reads. “As is our standard protocol, we have shared any relevant surveillance footage from Lake Elmo Elementary with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. In this incident, however, a clear image of the person in question was not captured.” The sheriff’s office has released the following description of the person involved in this incident as a middle aged white male, about 5’10” tall with with oily, unkempt white-colored, shoulder-length hair. Continue Reading →

North Hill Community Garden Sign Up Begins March 30

North Hill residents are busy organizing the community garden to bring neighbors together through gardening. Sign up for North Hill Community Garden plots begins at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 30 at First United Methodist Church, 813 West Myrtle St. The North Hill Community Garden is located near Staples Field on the corner of Aspen Street West and North Martha Street. Plots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis to Stillwater residents, upon receiving payment and signing the gardening agreement available at northhillcommunitygarden.org. Plot Sizes and Price

9 x 9 plots cost $30/season

4 x 9 plots cost $20/season

Handicap accessible plots are available. Continue Reading →

Please Stop Stealing from Our Local Food and Clothing Shelf

I’m not going to bury the lede here: Please stop stealing from our local food and clothing shelf. For the second time in as many years, someone has stolen props from Valley Outreach’s attention-getting displays used to promote local food and clothing drives. Two years ago, it was The Great Undie Heist. This time around, someone swiped a bright orange table and four blue chairs from a display in the front lawn of Valley Outreach. (At least the Great Undie Heist was sort of funny…)

The stolen dining set was part of a display to highlight the nonprofit’s Feed a Family promotion as part of the Minnesota FoodShare March campaign. Continue Reading →

Conversation of the Valley: ‘Real Mountains – A Grief Journey’ with Author Dan Seftick

The death of a child is a parent’s worst nightmare. The normal course of life has been altered. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children. The future now bears little resemblance to the visions of past dreams. To call the road ahead devastating is an understatement. On the night of April 16, 2011, Dan Seftick’s 31 year old son Greg died with his friend in an avalanche in Grand Teton National Park. Continue Reading →

New Youth and Family Education Coordinator at Youth Service Bureau

Youth Service Bureau (YSB) welcomes our newest team member, Merri Guggisberg. At YSB, our mission is to help youth and families learn the skills they need to be more successful, at home, in school and throughout the community. Merri brings over 10 years of experience leading youth programs and coordinating parent education sessions in Inver Grove Heights and throughout Dakota County’s Tri-District region. She holds a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences, and a B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Management. In addition to our early-intervention services in mental health, chemical health and Diversion programs—YSB is highly regarded for providing reliable, practical parenting information on a variety of relevant youth-development topics. Continue Reading →

Last Chance: Nominate Your Favorite Volunteer for a Community Involvement Award

The deadline to nominate volunteers for the 2017 Community Involvement Awards is Friday, March 10. Community Thread and the Washington County Board of Commissioners partner for the awards that spotlight volunteerism and honor the great work of volunteers in our community. The awards recognize volunteers in six categories:

Youth

Group/Family

Exemplary Employer

Outstanding

Lifetime

Legacy

You can nominate residents or organizations in Washington County who meet the criteria for each award. You can download the nomination form here. Email your nomination to Awards@CommunityThreadMN.org (Subject: CIA). Continue Reading →

Two Public Hearings Set for Short-Term Rentals in Stillwater

The Stillwater Planning Commission is hosting a public hearing next week to gather feedback about a proposed ordinance to allow, and regulate, short-term home rentals in town. The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 8 at Stillwater City Hall. The city council will consider the same proposal during a public hearing at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 21 at City Hall. If you cannot attend either public hearing, but would still like to participate in the process, you may submit written comments to Community Development Director Bill Turnblad via email at bturnblad@ci.stillwater.mn.us. The proposed ordinance hearing is a response to the popularity of websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO that enable property owners to rent out space in their home on a short-term basis. Continue Reading →