Recent Posts

Age Range Expansion at Youth Service Bureau Now Serving Youth and Young Adults Ages 5 – 25

At YSB we want to make sure our high-quality services and early-intervention philosophy are available to young adults. YSB is pleased to announce that our Counseling/Therapy Programs are now officially serving youth and young adults up to the age of 25. Why is this important? Research indicates that adolescence doesn’t end until around the mid-twenties. We all know that adolescence is a period of major transition. Continue Reading →

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Talk of the District: Even the Best of Schools Face Challenges

My favorite thing to do is visit a classroom and see the smiling faces of kids and teachers as they learn and grow together. Their energy and passion is contagious, and I feel motivated and inspired by them. Yet, these visits also make me aware of other things happening in our schools. Things that aren’t so positive. I see a small number of our children in distress. Continue Reading →

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Man Dies After Jumping from St. Croix Crossing

A man died Monday morning after jumping from the St. Croix Crossing. A man crawled over the railing on the north side of the new bridge and jumped, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. He was found dead on the ice below. The incident was reported by a motorist who was passing by at about 8:45 a.m. The incident happened on the Minnesota side of the bridge. Continue Reading →

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SNOW DAY: Stillwater Schools, River Grove, Closed on March 5

All Stillwater Area Public Schools will be closed on Monday, March 5 due to the anticipation of inclement weather. “Forecasters are predicting a winter storm to hit our area tomorrow. In anticipation of inclement weather, we have decided to cancel school for Monday, March 5. There will be no school for all students. Adventure Club will also be closed and all regular after school and Community Education activities including Early Childhood, adult and youth classes are canceled. Continue Reading →

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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

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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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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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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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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