Shawn Hogendorf

Recent Posts

Stillwater Area Public Schools Considering Changes to School Start Times

Stillwater Area Public Schools is considering a change to start times for the 2019-2020 school year. The preliminary proposal to change start times was shared with the school board during a work session last week. According to the preliminary proposal:

Start times would be earlier for Oak-Land and Stillwater middle school students, as well as two elementary schools;

Move the start time for Stillwater Area High School back 40 minutes for an 8:20 a.m. start time;

Move five elementary school start times back about 30 minutes; and

Impact local charter and non-public schools with possible start times beginning near 10 a.m.

According to Stillwater Area Public Schools:

“School board members are considering a change to school start times that would allow for high school students to begin school later in the day. Medical evidence and research suggests that a start time of 8:30 a.m. or later would better align with teens’ unique sleep needs – improving both the physical and mental health of high school students.” The district could see a financial benefit from adjusting start times, according to the district’s website, by “allow the district to better balance the number of buses needed during each tier of bussing.”

Link: School board considering start time changes for 2019-2020

Link: Start Time Research on stillwaterschools.org

Link:  Preliminary Proposal shared with Board of Education

The preliminary proposal would move the district to a four tier busing system, instead of the current modified three tier system. Tier 1: (7:30 a.m.) Both middle schools and two elementary schools. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: On ‘Misconduct by Ptacek and Stivland’

Attorney Kristi Hastings, hired to investigate the alleged misconduct of school board members Michael Ptacek and Sarah Stivland, found that Ptacek and Stivland acted in violation of this District’s Respectful Behavior Policy, and Board Governance Process. Dr. Ptacek made a series of public statements about a District employee. Attorney Hastings found that:

1. When asked a question by the press, instead of making a straight-forward and honest statement, Ptacek asked a rhetorical question crafted to cause people to read between the lines and assume that someone (the District employee) had done something improper. 2. Continue Reading →

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Talk of the District: More than 8,000 reasons “Why”

Let’s face it. We all have days when the alarm clock goes off and we just do not want to crawl out from under those covers. So when that feeling kicks in, what is it that motivates us to fight off the desire to fall back asleep? What is the “why” that gets us going each day? I posed this question to the staff of the Stillwater Area Public Schools at the start of this school year. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: Why I Won’t Be Supporting O’Loughlin for Minnesota House Representative in 39B

Stillwater school board member, Paula O’Loughlin, is running for Minnesota House Representative in District 39B. Here’s why I won’t be supporting her:

In May 2015, the voters of Stillwater passed a $100 million school bond which promised, among other things, improvements to every district elementary school. A few months later, the district proposed to instead close three schools. They called this plan BOLD (Building Opportunities to Learn and Discover). Soon after the announcement of the district’s BOLD plan, I posted a thank you on Facebook, listing a few Main Street businesses that had made public declarations against the plan. Continue Reading →

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Update: Stillwater Area Public Schools, River Grove Brace for Snowstorm with Early Dismissal on Monday

Stillwater Area Public Schools is planning for early release from class Monday in anticipation of a dumping of snow. “Due to heavy snowfall expected to occur throughout the day on Monday, we are anticipating that students will be released from school early and all evening activities will be canceled on Jan. 22,” a post on the district’s website reads. “At this time, we are planning for the school day to begin at the normal time, but buses will depart for afternoon routes at 12:35 p.m. for middle and high school students, and at 2 p.m. for elementary students. We will continue to monitor the weather overnight, and if we feel conditions are unsafe for morning travel we will notify families of further scheduling changes as early as possible. Continue Reading →

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Police: Stillwater Man Dies from Gunshot Wound

A 20-year-old Stillwater man is dead and another man is in custody after a shooting Friday night in the 100 block of Bayberry Court in Stillwater. At about 7 p.m., Jan. 19, Stillwater Police were called to Lakeview Hospital on the report of a gunshot victim, Stillwater Police Chief John Gannaway said in a news release. The victim, Charles O’Connell, 20, was pronounced dead a short time later.  O’Connell was transported to Lakeview by private vehicle. Continue Reading →

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Washington County Historical Society’s Winter Ice Cream Social is Saturday

The Washington County Historical Society’s annual Winter Ice Cream Social is happening  Saturday, Jan. 20 at Lowell Park. The Winter Ice Cream Social is from noon to 4 p.m., with forecasts calling for temps in the mid 30s. Leo’s Grill and Malt Shop will be serving ice cream. There will also be free coffee, chili for a nominal fee, and of course, a bonfire. All funds raised from this event benefit the Washington County Historical Society. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater’s Beloved Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque is Closing

One of downtown Stillwater’s most beloved restaurants is closing this weekend. Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar will close on Saturday. “Being a part of this town is so important to me,” Chef Shawn Smalley said. “Everyone has been so supportive and so cool.”

Smalley said a “conflict about the lease” is the reason his restaurant is closing, but he’s “thankful for the opportunity” the landlords have given him over the years for leasing him the space on the south end of Main Street. “I’ve wanted to own a bar in this town since I was 18,” Smalley said. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Ice Castles Now Open

The Stillwater Ice Castles open this week in Lowell Park. The Stillwater Ice Castles will open at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5. Ice Castles LLC crews have been working on the winter wonderland for a couple of months, placing individual icicles into place and using a combination of water, ice and snow to sculpt it into a majestic, glacier-like castle. Buy tickets to the Ice Castles online

Ice Castle Hours

The ice castle is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4 – 9 p.m.; Friday from 4 – 10:30 p.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday from noon – 8 p.m. The ice castle is closed on Tuesdays. Continue Reading →

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River Valley Athletic Club Announces New Ownership

The River Valley Athletic Club announced new owners and a new look to ring in 2018. Longtime Stillwater resident and entrepreneur, Dave Najarian and his family are the new owners of River Valley Athletic Club. Najarian purchased the club from previous owner Summer Kuehn. The Najarian family also owns Nelson’s Ice Cream and the Lion’s Tavern in downtown Stillwater. Najarian and his family have been residents of the Stillwater area for 17 years, and club members of River Valley for more than 10 years. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: State of the Stillwater School District

I’ve done a lot of reflecting over the past couple of months about the state of our School  District. Where we’ve been, where we are now, and what’s ahead. Our schools have been closed, friendships have been damaged, the community has changed, children and parents have been hurt. The roller coaster that has been our district for the past two years, has changed me personally. I have spoken up and found a voice in me I knew was there, but maybe was hidden for a while. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: Something is Missing this Veterans Day in Minnesota

Want to go beyond thanking veterans for their service this Veterans Day and do something more to recognize the service of Minnesota’s veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Did you know that Minnesota recognized its veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War with veterans  bonuses, but Minnesota is yet to recognize its Afghanistan and Iraq vets with this same type of bonus? So how do we fix this? It’s pretty easy. All we need is one Minnesota state legislator to author a bill in the 2018 legislative session to provide for this bonus. Continue Reading →

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Patriots Tavern Closes for Repairs After Early Morning Fire

An early morning fire damaged the Patriots Tavern on Sunday. No injuries were reported, but the restaurant will be closed for a few days while repairs are made, according the Patriots Tavern Facebook page. “Friends we will unfortunately be closed for a couple of days due to an outside fire at the restaurant. It happened after hours and no one was harmed thankfully. The linen & towel storage bin caught fire and damaged our walk-in cooler amongst a few other minor things. Continue Reading →

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Lost Cat

Lost Cat

$100 Reward if found and returned

• Male (Neutered) Tabby Cat

• Tan/Orangish Color

• Name: TJ

• Went missing on October 5th

• Please Call 651-430-9278 or 651-315-0302 with any information

• TJ’s home is 4860 Normandale Ct N – Stillwater- that is where he was last seen

*****TJ required prescription medication so please help find him ASAP

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR HELP! Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Schools Will Investigate a Complaint Filed Against 2 School Board Members

The Stillwater Area Public Schools Board of Education approved a motion to investigate a complaint filed by a district employee against two Board members during a closed meeting this week. A complaint was filed against Board Members Sarah Stivland and Mike Ptacek, Stillwater Area Schools Executive Director of Administrative Services Cathy Moen confirmed in an email this week. Both Stivland and Ptacek have been vocal critics of the School Board’s decision to close three elementary schools. Stivland was elected to her seat on the Board last November. Ptacek has served on the Stillwater Area Public Schools Board of Education since November 2008. Continue Reading →

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Local Views Counterpoint: ‘Comparing Apples to Oranges’

Dr. Zis Weisberg’s September 18, 2017 opinion piece in the Stillwater Current provides enough tosspottery for a week long seminar on political dishonesty and deception. For now, let’s start with his false claim that something was amiss in Stillwater Area Schools paying its financial advisor, RW Baird, $115,000 for work on a “competitive” sale bond issue, compared to the Sartell (Sartell-St. Stephen) School District paying its financial advisor, PMA, about $10,000 for work on a “negotiated” sale bond issue. The two companies did completely different types and amounts of work on two different types of debt sales. The types of work that must be completed on the two types of sales are not identical. Continue Reading →

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Local Views Counterpoint: ‘We Got Value, Without Cronyism’

Let’s dissect the central theme of Zis Weisberg’s 9/18 Local Views column: “We deserve the best possible value for the dollar, not cronyism.”

First, the dictionary definition of “cronyism” is “the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, WITHOUT REGARD TO THEIR QUALIFICATIONS” (emphasis added). Is Weisberg claiming that BWBR, the architectural firm, and Baird, the financial services firm, are not qualified to do the work they were contracted to do? BWBR is one of the Upper Midwest’s oldest and largest design solutions firms and is consistently ranked in the top five architectural firms in the region. They have been working with the district for more than 20 years going back to Rutherford Elementary and, more recently, the ECFC. In addition to education, BWBR regularly handles multi-million dollar projects for the Mayo Clinic and Fortune 500 companies like 3M. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: ‘We deserve the best possible value for the dollar, not cronyism’

Who is 834VOICE? According to a letter published in the Stillwater Gazette Aug. 12 by Mr. Blondin, we’re a “dark money group funded by hidden political agents.”

Mr. Blondin asked, “who are the special interests out to harm public education in our community by funding 834VOICE?”

He also attacked my credibility. These attacks are nothing more than a disingenuous attempt to divert attention away from district wrong-doing. This same strategy is being used by the District’s legal team instead of addressing serious allegations. Continue Reading →

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Police Investigating Armed Robbery at US Bank in Downtown Stillwater

Stillwater Police are investigating an armed robbery that happened at an ATM at US Bank, 213 E. Chestnut St., in downtown Stillwater just before noon on Sunday. At about 11:50 a.m., a Stillwater Township woman was robbed at gunpoint in the lobby of US Bank with what appeared to be a semi-automatic hand gun, Stillwater Police Sgt. Jeff Stender said. The suspect is described as a white man who was about 6 feet tall, with a slender build, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, sunglasses and green shorts, possibly with a camouflage print, according to police. The man was initially seen fleeing the area on foot, before getting into a silver, early-90s model Ford Focus. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater’s Polka Street Dance to Celebrate Lift Bridge Closure is Saturday

The city of Stillwater and the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce are hosting a street dance downtown on Saturday to celebrate — and commemorate — the closure of the historic Lift Bridge. The street dance — Saturday, Aug. 12 from 5- 10 p.m. — will feature music by the Alpensterne Polka Band, food trucks and a beer tent. The polka dance is a nod to the 1931 opening of the Stillwater Lift Bridge, and the popular polka dance that was part of Lumberjack Days. The city will close Chestnut Street from Main Street for the street dance. Continue Reading →

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St. Croix River Crossing Opens at 8 p.m.

The St. Croix River Crossing will open to traffic at 8 p.m. today, Gov. Mark Dayton announced at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning. Three MnDOT vehicles will be the first to cross, Kevin Gutknecht, an agency spokesman told the Pioneer Press. Mark Desch, a longtime Stillwater business owner and classic-car collector, will be the last to cross the Stillwater Lift Bridge driving his 1931 Stutz DV-32 Convertible Sedan. The city of Stillwater will commemorate the official closing of the Lift Bridge with the Cruisin’ to Closure event beginning at at 6 p.m. in Lowell Park. Continue Reading →

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End of an Era: 411 on Today’s Events for Closing Down the Stillwater Lift Bridge, and Opening of St. Croix River Crossing

 

Stillwater will celebrating the opening of the St. Croix River Crossing today, while commemorating the closing of the historic Lift Bridge. The ribbon cutting for the St. Croix River Crossing is set for 10 a.m. on the west end of the new bridge. Public parking will not be available at the site of the ribbon cutting; however, parking at nearby locations on both the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides has been identified and shuttles will be provided to get to the location of the dedication. Continue Reading →

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Highway 243 Bridge Over St. Croix River Closed for Emergency Repairs

The Minnesota Department of Transportation closed the Highway 243 bridge between Franconia Township and Osceola this afternoon after a hole was discovered in the deck. MnDOT bridge maintenance staff are on the scene and are assessing bridge damage. It will remain closed through the weekend until repairs are made. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes to reach their destinations. It is recommended that travelers use the Highway 8 bridge at Taylors Falls/St. Continue Reading →

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Lumberjack Days Friday Schedule: Lumberjack Shows, Down Hill Derby, Crankshaft and HALEY

Stillwater Lumberjack Days 2017 is on. The vendor market, activities and the Lumberkids area open at 10 a.m. Friday. The Shackletons, Porcupine, Crankshaft and HALEY close out the night on the main stage. Here’s a look at Friday’s schedule:

11 a.m.-6 p.m. — Helicopter Rides (Riverside Park – just South along the trail)

Noon-6 p.m. — Pontoon and Gondola Rides ($5 each)

1-4 p.m. — Bingo in the Park (Beer Garden)

1 p.m. — Reading of 2nd Clue for the Medallion Hunt at the Warden’s House Museum

2-5 p.m. — Lumberjack Days Down Hill Derby on 2nd Street

4-7- p.m. — Lumberjack Demonstrations

Live Music:

Michelle Katz: National Anthem 5
 p.m.

The Shackletons 5-6 p.m.

Porcupine 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Crankshaft 8-9:15 p.m.

HALEY 9:45-11 p.m.

Continue Reading →

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Lumberjack Days Kicks Off Thursday with an Ice Cream Social

Stillwater Lumberjack Days kicks off Thursday with an Ice Cream Social at the Washington County Historic Courthouse. The Ice Cream Social begins at 5 p.m.

The first clue in the Lumberjack Days Historic Medallion Hunt will be read at 7 p.m. during the Ice Cream Social. Buttons will be sold until 6:59 p.m.

There will be live music by Scrapegoat Skin & Bones and Blue Groove Bluegrass, as well as a petting zoo, children’s games and activities. The Civil War exhibit is open in the Historic Courthouse, and you can take jail tours. There will also be hotdogs and brats, $.50 root beer floats, doughnuts and penny candy. Continue Reading →

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Help The Locals Out: Volunteer for Stillwater Lumberjack Days

The Locals are still looking for volunteers to help with Lumberjack Days. The Locals are looking for help setting up the Lumberjack Days music stage at the corner of Water and Myrtle streets starting at 10 a.m. Thursday. The Locals are also looking for help as set-up and tear-down crew members, volunteers for the downhill derby, music stage hands and helping with the parade. Check out the available times and positions, and sign up to help

Lumberjack Days is happening this week, July 21-23, in downtown Stillwater. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Baseball Stars of the Week Awards: Week of July 16

Stars of the Week for July 16:

The Dave’s Sport Shop Hitter of the Week is Isaac Schlichting. Isaac hit a clutch lead-off triple in the bottom of the last inning of a tied game and eventually scored the winning run walk-off style. Sam Olson and Andy Wiederholt are the Stillwater Motors Players of the Week. The 12A players played with the 13A team who needed a couple players and combined for 3 hits, 7 RBI’s and a fantastic catch in CF. Reece Bastyr is the Bayport Printing House Sportsmanship Star of the Week. Continue Reading →

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Early Morning Storms Knock Power Out for More than 5,700 People in Stillwater

Powerful storms that moved through the area early Wednesday morning left thousands of people without power. Xcel Energy reported that about 14,000 customers in Washington County were without power, including more than 5,700 in the Stillwater area. Crews are working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. You can check the Xcel Energy Power Outage map for updates. Continue Reading →

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