Recent Posts

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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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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The 411 on Stillwater’s Fourth of July Celebration: Fireworks, Parking and Parades


Stillwater is gearing up for its annual Fourth of July celebration with live music and a fireworks display. This year’s celebration will feature the largest fireworks in Minnesota, City Council Member Mike Polehna said. Because of the location and space, pyrotechnicians are able to launch 12-inch diameter shells, 1,200 feet in the air. The fireworks will begin at about 10 p.m. Music for the fireworks show will be simulcast on KLBB Radio, AM 1220. 4 Downtown Parking Lots Closed July 3-4:

Several downtown parking lots (map) — 2, 4, 5 and 9 — which are located adjacent to Lowell Park will be closed to vehicles Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4. Continue Reading →

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Updated: Stillwater Lift Bridge Closed to Motor Vehicle Traffic

Updated at 2:09 p.m.

The Stillwater Lift Bridge is closed to traffic due to a power outage, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). A motor vehicle struck a transformer at about noon Tuesday, knocking power out to the bridge, according to MnDOT. “We aren’t sure how long it will take Xcel to fix it, but we are anticipating at least a couple of hours,” Kent Barnard, a spokesperson for MnDOT said. The Lift Bridge was in the up position when the vehicle stuck the transformer, Barnard said. Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski said that city’s Public Works department was told the Lift Bridge could be stuck in the up position for at least a day. Continue Reading →

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Man Dies in Apparent Drowning on Lake Jane in Lake Elmo

A man died after an apparent drowning Thursday morning on Lake Jane in Lake Elmo. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at 11:13 a.m. for a man who was underwater in Lake Jane. Several fire rescue units and the sheriff’s office Water Patrol responded to the scene where the man was located and pronounce dead. According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office:

Three men were fishing in a canoe that became flooded and sank. The weather was windy and there were white caps on the lake. Continue Reading →

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Living with Black Bears: Several Bear Sightings Reported in Bayport on Tuesday Morning

Several black bear sightings were reported Tuesday morning in and around Lakeside Park in Bayport. An adolescent black bear was seen meandering around Lakeside Park, and according to one report, the bear charged a man and his dog, stopping about 10-15 feet away from them. It’s not uncommon for black bears to be seen in the Stillwater area in the spring and early summer. There have been dozens of black bear sightings reported in the area in recent weeks. If you encounter a black bear:

Don’t panic. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Baseball Stars of the Week Awards: Week of June 4

Every week this baseball season, we will announce Stillwater Area Baseball Weekly Stars here on Stillwater Current. Here’s our weekly award winners for the week of June 4. Zac Litzow is the Stillwater Current Volunteer of the Week. Zac coordinated two cookouts for both teams’ families for doubleheaders the 11AA team hosted on back to back Sundays. Coaches and the families of both teams raved how fun it was to have a double header with a meal in between. Continue Reading →

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6-Year-Old Girl Dies After Apparent Drowning in Lake Elmo Swimming Pond

A 6-year-old child died after an apparent drowning in Lake Elmo Park Reserve’s swimming beach on Sunday afternoon. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded at 1:17 p.m., Sunday to a report 6-year-old Saint Paul girl who had been pulled from the water and was not breathing. Resuscitation efforts were performed on the victim at the scene. The girl was transported to Regions Hospital where she was pronounced dead. The name of the child is not being released at this time. Continue Reading →

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State Patrol: Roseville Teen Dies in Oak Park Heights Crash

A 17-year-old Roseville boy died Thursday afternoon after his motorcycle struck an SUV in Oak Park Heights. The driver of the motorcycle, Declan Ronan Raverty, died in the crash, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. The passenger on the motorcycle, Katie Rose Pagel, 20, of Roseville was transported to Regions Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the fatal crash happened at about 4:45 p.m. on Highway 95, just north of Highway 36. A Harley Davidson was traveling northbound on Highway 95 when a Cadillac Escalade exited the Sunnyside Marina and crossed the highway, according to the State Patrol. The motorcycle struck the rear quarter panel of the SUV. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Baseball Stars of the Week Awards: Week of May 21

Every week this baseball season, we will announce Stillwater Area Baseball Weekly Stars here on Stillwater Current. Here’s our weekly award winners for the week of May 21. Posch Builders recognizes Gray Fleming, 10A assistant coach, as the Coach of the Week. Gray took over head coaching duties for the tournament this weekend. “Gray is a dedicated coach with such a positive attitude that helped keep the boys engaged and into the game despite the bad weather. Gray was instilling good Pony baseball with strong defense, hitting it down and hard and being aggressive on the bases. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Area High School Mountain Bike Team Info Meeting and Bike Swap


The Stillwater Area High School Mountain Bike Team, MN State Division 1 Runner-Up in 2016, will be holding an informational meeting and bike swap on May 21 at 3 p.m. at Valley View Park’s Upper Parking Lot. Entrance is on the east side of Osgood, 1 mile south of Hwy 36 and just north of the Oak Park Heights Prision. If you have bikes, clothing or gear you have outgrown, bring it to the swap! Students and parents/guardians of the classes of 2018 – 2023 [7th – 12th grades] are welcome. Stillwater still boasts the largest high school mountain bike program in Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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Forest Lake Reaches Tentative Agreement to Keep Police Department

It appears that the Forest Lake Police Department will not be disbanded after all. Days after the Forest Lake City Council voted to dissolve the police force, and contract with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the city of Forest Lake, the Forest Lake Police Department, the police union and Sheriff’s Office issued a joint press release announcing that a tentative agreement had been reached. Forest Lake patrol officers and sergeants unions will each hold a vote on the agreement on Thursday. The agreement will be presented to the council next week. City leaders and union representatives negotiated the agreement at the encouragement of Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry, county commissioners and city council members, the news release said. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Baseball Announces Player of the Week Awards

Every week this baseball season, we will announce Stillwater Area Baseball Weekly Award Winners here on Stillwater Current. Here’s our weekly award winners for the week of April 30 to May 6. The Dave’s Sport Shop Hitter of the Week is Tanner Kahn. Tanner, 11, had 6 at bats (ABs) last week and went 4-4 with 2 walks (BBs). The Pitcher of the Week is Owen Leister —also 11 yrs old— who pitched 2 innings, with only one walk and a 4.50 ERA. Continue Reading →

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Update: Missing Boater Found Safe After Accident on the St. Croix River

The boater who was reported missing after an accident south of Bayport on the St. Croix River early Sunday morning has been located alive, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. The boaters in the accident were identified as Jason Elgersma, 36, and Kristin Erickson, 35, both of Minneapolis. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has marked the boat as a safety hazard on the river, and ordered that it be removed by the owner in a timely manner. The boating accident remains under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Continue Reading →

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Authorities Search for Man After Boating Accident on the St. Croix River

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a man who went missing after a boating accident early Sunday morning south of Bayport on the St. Croix River. According to a news release, a man and a woman were aboard the boat at the time of the accident. The boat took on water and was partially submerged. The woman made it to shore safely. Continue Reading →

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Minnesota Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Stillwater School District’s Decision to Close 3 Schools

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday morning issued a ruling that the Stillwater Area Board of Education acted within the law when making the decision to close three elementary schools next school year. The Court concluded that the March 3 school closure hearing “afforded a reasonable opportunity for interested parties to testify on the question under consideration,” conformed to the requirements of Minnesota law, and therefore, the Board’s decision to close Withrow, Marine and Oak Park elementary schools the schools is “supported by substantial evidence” in the record. “We appreciate the Court’s consideration of this issue,” a statement from Stillwater Area Public Schools reads. “Our student, staff and families of varying perspectives have remained earnestly and deeply engaged throughout this process, and we are grateful to them. We are looking forward to working along with our communities to continue our transition into the start of the 2017-2018 school year.” Continue Reading →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 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 →

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Hill Murray Tops Stillwater 6-3 in Section Finals, Advances to State Hockey Tournament

The Hill-Murray Pioneers topped the Stillwater Ponies 6-3 Friday night’s Section Finals to advance to the the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament. Hill-Murray scored three goals in the third period (2 with an open net) to claim the Section 4AA title, and clinch a berth to the state tournament. Here’s a quick recap of the action via @PonyHockey on Twitter:

#11 Noah Cates scores with 15:45 left in the 1st! Assisted by #13 Austin Murr! Ponies up 1-0! Continue Reading →

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Updated: Police Investigating Report of Suspicious Activity Involving Kids

Update: Washington County investigators have since confirmed that an incident at a bus stop in Lake Elmo this morning was not malicious in intent, a statement from Stillwater Area Public Schools reads. “Local law enforcement have reported it was a local parent checking in on a student who was presumed to have missed the bus. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating two calls of suspicious activity involving elementary school age children. According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office:

At 5:37 p.m on March 1, the sheriff’s office was notified of suspicious male at Lake Elmo Elementary School. “The male entered the school after hours and approached staff asking for a child by name who was is an after school care program,” according to the report. Continue Reading →

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Partnership Plan holds 10th annual Gala to support educational enrichment

The “Mystery Wall” will take its place as the newest activity to spice up a night of fun-with-a-purpose at The Partnership Party on March 11. This will mark the 10th anniversary of The Partnership Plan’s gala that raises funds to support enrichment projects and activities in Stillwater Area Public Schools. The Partnership Party is scheduled for Saturday, March, 11, from 5:30 to 11 p.m. at Envision Event Center (formerly the Prom). Admission is $75 per person, although teachers and staff of Stillwater schools are invited to attend at the special price of $50. The Partnership Party got a major reboot last year, renaming itself from Jeans & Jewels and revising the night to provide much more opportunity for socializing. Continue Reading →

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Open Letter to Stillwater Area School Board, Superintendent Denise Pontrelli and Kristen Hoheisel

I submitted my open letter to all Stillwater School Board members, Superintendent Denise Pontrelli and Executive Director of Finance and Operations, Kristen Hoheisel:

Here is a link to an article published by the City Pages, “Stillwater school officials can’t explain financial adviser’s six-figure payday,” for your review. It is not new news to you, but you have neglected to take action for the best interest of the taxpayers. During the January School Board meeting, the School Board’s majority voted 4-3 to give Kristen Hoheisel blanket approval of contracts up to $100,000 without board review. As a taxpayer I am demanding a reversal of this January vote. I rarely hear the board ask any thought provoking questions in order to make better decisions. This rubber-stamp approach has to stop. Continue Reading →

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Sarah Stivland: Thoughts on Being a Stillwater School Board Member

The past few weeks since being sworn in as one of Stillwater School District’s newest board members has been a whirlwind of trainings and meetings. I’m learning what it takes to be an outstanding school board member. The primary purpose of the school board is to execute wise judgement in the use of community funds in order to provide the best possible learning experiences for each and every child in our district. According to Minnesota Statute 123B.09 subd.8:

“The board must superintend and manage the schools of the district; adopt rules for their organization, government, and instruction; keep registers; and prescribe textbooks and courses of study…”

In order to create the best possible learning environments, school boards must continuously engage with all community stakeholders to share accurate data on costs, academic achievement, building needs, innovation and technology needs, population trends, and many other important factors. In order to have an effective system, community members need to be engaged in the process. Continue Reading →

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Details of New Marine Area Community School — Grove Elementary — Coming Into Focus

Details about the new Marine Area Community School (MACS) are starting to come into focus. The group starting the new K-6 charter school set to open next fall recently announced its name — Grove Elementary — rolled out a new logo, is starting the process of hiring teachers and will soon enter into lease negotiations for the school’s location. “From nearly the start of our planning, we’ve been considering three locations: the current Marine Elementary building, the former Concordia Language Village buildings at Wilder and Christ Lutheran Church in Marine,” Marine Area Community School Board Chair Kristina Smitten said. “Because District 834’s Board of Directors imposed a stay on itself due to the ongoing legal situation, District 834 leadership has felt unable to discuss the possible sale of the Marine building,” she continued. “We are proactively moving forward — we need to for our students and our community — and we are absolutely thrilled about the opportunities presented by the Wilder facilities.”

Learn more about Grove Elementary

At the January business meeting, the MACS board unanimously decided to enter into lease negotiations with the owners of the Wilder Forest buildings, which are located in May Township on Norell Avenue about six miles southwest of Marine and about nine miles northwest of downtown Stillwater. Continue Reading →

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First Open House for Osgood Avenue Project in Oak Park Heights, Stillwater Set for Feb. 8

Washington County is hosting an open house next week to present information — and gather feedback — about potential improvements to Osgood Avenue (County Road 24) between 50th Street North in Baytown Township and Oak Park Heights and Orleans Street East in Stillwater. The public meeting will be from from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the Washington County Government Center. The open house will be in the lower level conference room 16. This is the first of two planned public open houses relating to the $2.4 million project. Continue Reading →

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Twin Cities Live is All About Stillwater This Week

Twin Cities Live is all about Stillwater this week — culminating with a live broadcast from Pub 112 on Thursday, Feb. 2. Twin Cities Live will broadcast from Pub 112 from 2-4 p.m. Thursday. “The show’s theme is Food, Fashion and Fun,” according to a news release by KSTP – TV. “Twin Cities Live is about more than just Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Continue Reading →

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