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Bayport Officer Who Helped Save Suicidal Veteran Will Be Honored at Winter Gala Community Awards

The Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce recently announced the winners of their first annual Winter Gala Community Awards. The awards will be presented at the Chamber’s inaugural Winter Gala Community Award Celebration on Friday, Feb. 10 from 5:30 – 11 p.m. at the Water Street Inn. The Winter Gala Community Awards Celebration is open to the public – a $75 ticket includes a multi-course dinner, party favors, silent auction and raffle, live entertainment, awards ceremony and a tour of the Ice Castles. “We are very excited about this first annual inaugural event,” Chamber Director Robin Anthony said. Continue Reading →

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Volunteers Needed to Bring Comfort, Friendship to Hospice Patients

Lakeview Hospital Homecare and Hospice is seeking people to offer a compassionate ear and a helping hand to patients with terminal illness. Hospice volunteers provide a variety of services to patients and their families, from companionship and assistance with light chores for the patient to respite care for relatives. “Hospice care provides physical, emotional and spiritual support for patients with a terminal illness and their family members so they can live their final months in comfort and dignity,” said Nancy Kuckler, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator. “One of the most important people on a hospice team is the volunteer.”

Volunteers – who are needed across Washington County, Minnesota, and throughout St. Croix County, Wisconsin – undergo 15-20 hours of training before starting to work with patients. Continue Reading →

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Community Thread Seeks Nominations for 2017 Community Involvement Awards

Community Thread and the Washington County Board of Commissioners are now accepting nominations for the 2017 Community Involvement Awards. The Community Involvement Awards shine a spotlight on volunteerism and honor the great work of volunteers in the community. “The St. Croix Valley is full of dedicated and passionate volunteers. Thanks to the enthusiastic service of individuals, families, groups, and employers, our community remains strong, rich and vibrant,” Sally Anderson, Executive Director at Community Thread said in a news release. Continue Reading →

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Thank You, Alex: ‘Christmas Miracles Aren’t Just Found in Movies’

To the editor:

I am writing this letter to remind everyone that Christmas miracles aren’t just found in movies, they can happen anywhere. My family has had a very hard year, my husband lost his job and has been unable to find a new job after months of searching. We have two boys (6 and 8) and I have been dreading Christmas, because we had no extra money to buy our children Christmas presents. To try and save Christmas for my family I went to Target to try my last credit card, I filled my cart with everything that my kids wanted and headed to the register praying that it would accept the transaction. I figured that we could deal with the debt later, I just didn’t want my kids to go without on Christmas Morning. Continue Reading →

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Community Thread Offers Free Tax-Filing Assistance

Community Thread is offering free, by appointment, tax-filing assistance to low and middle income taxpayers beginning in early-February. Trained and certified AARP TaxAide volunteers will explain tax requirements, answer questions and electronically file income tax returns. Returns can only be prepared for Minnesota residents with income from Minnesota. Not all IRS forms and schedules can be prepared by AARP Tax-Aide (ie, residential rental income). Qualified taxpayers must bring:

Photo identification

Printed copy of 2015 Tax Return

Social security ID for each person listed on the return(s)

All income documents (W-2; Retirement and Social Security 1099’s; interest and dividends; state and federal tax refunds; capital gains/stock transactions; self-employment income and expenses; gambling winnings)

All documents for deductions (charitable donations; medical and education expenses; real-estate taxes; mortgage interest, etc)

Estimated tax payments made in 2016

All required tax-related documents are listed on the Community Thread website. Continue Reading →

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3 Washington County Commissioners Sworn Into Office After Re-Election

Three Washington County commissioners were sworn into office Jan. 3 after being re-elected in November. Commissioners Gary Kriesel (District 3), Fran Miron (District 1) and Lisa Weik (District 5) were sworn into four-year terms.

Commissioner Kriesel was first elected in November 2004 to represent the residents of District 3. He was re-elected in 2008, 2012, and again, in 2016. He retired from Xcel Energy (formerly Northern States Power) after 33 years, and served two years on the Stillwater City Council. Continue Reading →

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Local Views — All Kids: What is it About ‘All’ that Makes Us So Uncomfortable?

To be sure, the local school board election has occupied much of the recent bandwidth in our district. Amidst the spaces that harbor and stimulate the cacophony of negativity, there appears to be a heightened sense of urgency from many to simply find a way to allow ourselves to once talk again with one another without fear, judgment or personal attack. In many ways, our district is but a small microcosm of what is playing out on the national stage. Lines have been drawn, sides have been taken and one’s personal armor has been fortified with so many layers that it is difficult to always demonstrate authentic vulnerability and to extend and accept genuine compassion in every space, in every interaction. I know I have fallen short in both the former and the latter. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: When Voting for School Board Candidates, Consider Supporting Those Who Show Up

With less than one week to go before election-day, evaluating candidates for school board has become clearer. The BOLD debate has dominated the election cycle conversation.  But, there are other very important issues to consider. Two candidates, Mike Ptacek and Amy Burback, are incumbents. They have a record. Their prior actions, votes, and positions are well-known, and should be carefully considered when deciding to vote for or against either candidate. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: Response to ‘3 Schools Can Stay Open’ Letter

Once again we find ourselves agreeing with some of what Ms. Riehle writes in her latest missive “3 Schools Can Stay Open.”

She notes that “November 8th is a critical day for Stillwater Area Schools.” We agree. As consistent voters are aware, election day is always critical. Whether school board elections or senate and house elections or county commissioner elections, each voter must decide for whom they will vote. In the District 834 school board election, voters will decide who will represent them for the next four years. Unlike Ms. Riehle, we see beyond the single issue of school consolidation to view our candidates and their past experience. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: ‘3 Schools Can Stay Open’

If you haven’t heard, November 8th is a critical day for Stillwater Area Schools. Some voters may not be aware that the closing of Marine, Withrow, and Oak Park elementaries is not a done deal. There are three board seats up for election. If District 834 Voters elect Chad Gamradt, Mike Ptacek and Sarah Stivland, the candidates against the school closures, they will remain open. I have spent many hours interviewing each of these three candidates and I believe Gamradt, Ptacek, and Stivland are our best opportunity to get Stillwater schools on the right path. Continue Reading →

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Absentee Voting Continues; Voters May Have Usual Voting Experience Beginning Nov. 1

Absentee voting for the statewide general election continues through Monday, Nov. 7. On Election Day, Nov. 8, voters must vote at their designated precincts.  Polling location information is available online through the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office at Due to state legislative changes that allow for “no-excuse absentee voting,” voter turnout by absentee ballot is high. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Seeks Community Feedback on Concept Park Plan for the Aiple Property

The City of Stillwater is preparing a Concept Park Plan for the former Aiple property on the north end of downtown Stillwater — and city staff is looking for community feedback. As part of the planning process, city staff is hosting a community meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 3 at City Hall, so community members can review and comment on materials that have been prepared by park planning consultants. The materials include a site evaluation and an analysis of costs and options for potential re-use of the former Aiple Family residence. Community insights and comments will help guide city leaders as they decide on the elements to be included in the Concept Park Plan. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: Gary Kriesel ‘Represents the People’

Gary Kriesel represents the people. He is always willing to listen. Gary is proud of Washington County and what it has accomplished. Washington County has the lowest tax rate in the seven county area. The County has an economic development plan, a transportation plan and a financial plan that provides a roadmap for the future. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Dog Park ‘Howl-O-Ween’ Fundraiser Set for Oct. 29

The Friends of the Stillwater Area Dog Park is hosting a Howl-O-Ween fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Stillwater Dog Park. The “Howl-O-Ween” event is from 1-4 p.m. The fundraiser will have a dog costume contest,  a raffle, an agility demo and a chance to talk with vendors, including local dog trainers, food representatives, photographers and more. Judging for the dog costume contest will be from 2-2:30 p.m. Judges for the dog costume contest are Mayor Ted Kozlowski, Council Member Doug Menikheim and George Dierberger. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: A Response to ‘Stillwater’s Forgotten Children’

There are a few comments in Tina Riehle’s piece titled “Stillwater’s Forgotten Children” that we can agree with. Allow us to list a few. 1. “We live in a community of intelligent passionate people.” Absolutely. In District 834, which encompasses 18 separate communities, there are numerous intelligent people passionate about education. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: Stillwater’s Forgotten Children

The past 10 months have been a very exhausting marathon. Since the decision to go forward with the new BOLD proposal, it’s been a constant adrenal push to get through the endless school board meetings, retreats, past budgets, targeted programming, the Special Ed Report, the Allocation of Resources Report, the A-ROI information, the various consulting companies, school board candidate interviews and forums all while raising a busy young family running to school events, doctor appointments, dance class, soccer, coaching baseball, organizing play dates and running my own business. I have managed to do this and I have educated myself. With my experience of children in this district, I also have some insight. Stillwater is a unique community comprised of various socioeconomic neighborhoods. Continue Reading →

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Letter to the Editor: Re-elect Gary Kriesel to Washington County Board

While public attention has lately focused on national election politics, we need to remember that it is local policy and decision making that make the difference for our communities and quality of life. We are supporting Gary Kriesel for re-election to the Washington County Board. Gary’s work has been instrumental in a number of issues that matter to our communities. We support him for his work on preserving public land along the St. Croix River, the new St. Continue Reading →

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School Board Candidate Forum at First Presbyterian Church is Monday, October 17

Meet the candidates for Stillwater School Board

Monday, October 17,

7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church

Sponsored by the League of Women Voters

and First Presbyterian’s Peacemaking and

Social Justice Ministry Team

Moderator: Cader Howard

Please plan to attend and invite your neighbors. Inform yourself about the people that will be determining the direction of our community schools. 651-439-4380

6201 Osgood Ave N

Stillwater Continue Reading →

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Local Views: Keep Politics Out of Contingency Plans for School Boundary Changes

Recently, District administrators proposed contingency boundary changes. This necessary exercise will be a reality if The Minnesota Court of Appeals decides the District illegally closed three schools. Unfortunately, another District proposal is causing controversy. Students and families are having to face the possibility of moving to completely new schools, farther away from their current school, including longer bus rides, and greater hardships on parents whose children participate in after-school activities. Not only does this proposal move students to completely different elementary schools, some of these schools will feed into new middle schools. Continue Reading →

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Talk of the District: ‘Difficult Decisions are Bringing About Positive Changes for Kids’

“What comes easy won’t last. What lasts won’t come easy.” This is one of many similar quotes I’ve run across about change that resonates with me at the start of this new school year. There is no doubt our school district leaders have made some very difficult decisions in the past year. It certainly hasn’t been easy on them, on our staff, or on families and residents in our community. But as the quote suggests, we’re not in the business of making the easy decisions. Continue Reading →

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Local Views: Lead in the Water in Stillwater Area Public Schools

To the editor:

If you are a parent, you’ve probably received the dreaded sheet of paper in your child’s backpack: Someone in your child’s classroom has lice. You start feeling a little itchy-stratchy just from reading the headline on the page. The schools send out alerts if there is strep in the class, if police or ambulance are called to the school, if school is going to be closed for weather. Not to mention the multiple fundraising notices. The schools did not send out a notice about something very concerning. Lead in the water at the public schools. 

In 2014, the school district hired a consulting firm, Field Environmental Consulting, to test the lead levels in each of the schools, at each water spout.  They received that report in 2014. They knew that there were schools with lead level in the water at 7 of the schools in the district had water sources with lead in excess of the highest safety threshold set by the Minnesota Department of Health. The district was aware of this is 2014. But no notice was ever sent to parents, families, or staff about the lead in the water of these schools. 

The report does show that no drinking fountains were found to have had lead rates over the threshold, but without notice to parents and staff, were children advised not to fill their water bottles from fountains only? Or were children filling water bottles from sinks in classrooms without anyone knowing the lead levels were well beyond safety limits? Continue Reading →

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Local Views: Examining the ‘Buckets’ of Stillwater Area Public Schools

On July 29, 2016 parents received a Pony Email with a lead story titled, “Stillwater Students Continue to Earn High Marks on State Tests.” The article boasts how “Stillwater students outperformed the state average in all grades and all subjects.”

It’s not until the fourth paragraph do we learn that reading and science scores declined compared to last year. The only thing transparent about the district’s email is the lack of transparency. Why are they benchmarking our district to the state average, and using that standard for their headline? Shouldn’t they benchmark our schools to a higher standard like our own schools’s previous scores; or use an even higher standard like the top 10 percent performing school districts in the state. On August 12, 2016, the Stillwater Gazette had a front page article, “ISD 834 sees gains, losses in MCA scores.” Again, this article states, “overall scores were all above the statewide average.”

Marine Elementary School was singled out. Continue Reading →

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Aunt Nay’s 3-in-1 Garage sale

Aunt Nay’s

3-in-1 Sale

14691 upper 56th st n Stillwater MN

Estate, Daycare and DIY

August 11-12th 8-4

August 13th 8-12

Enough Furniture to fill a home

Longaberger pottery and Princess House Crystal

Toys galore even a mini-toilet

Projects to keep you busy all winter

House and Garage are full Continue Reading →

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Garage Sale to Benefit Africa Mission

Giant Multi-Family Garage Sale. All proceeds to benefit Stillwater’s Leslie family raise support for their work at the Rift Valley School in Kenya. Thursday, August 4 through Saturday, August 6, 8:00 am to 4 pm. 610 County Road 5, Stillwater, MN. Continue Reading →

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Lake Elmo Park Reserve Swimming Pond Set to Reopen Aug. 1

The Lake Elmo Park Reserve swimming pond will reopen on Monday, Aug. 1. The swimming pond, built in 1986, was renovated this summer with a new liner, pipes that carry the water in and out of the pond and skimmers that filter the water. More shade trees, benches and sidewalks were added to the area around the pond, as well as betterAmericans with Disabilities Act accessibility in the parking areas, picnic tables and a hard-surfaced, zero-depth entry to the pond. The depth of the pond was reduced from 6 feet deep, to 4 feet deep. Continue Reading →

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Why I Relay: Alyssa Manor

Most of us have been touched by cancer in some way or another whether it is a family member, friend, coworker, or possibly yourself. This is why I relay:

Cancer always seemed like a distant scary thing that couldn’t ever happen to anyone I knew. My naïve thoughts quickly changed when I met one of my closest friends, Jake Martell. Jake and I met in Jr. High but became extremely close throughout high school. Jake was diagnosed with cancer at a young age, so when I met him, he had already fought cancer, multiple times. Continue Reading →

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