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COTTAGE GROVE — A fire started in the second-floor bathroom of Park High School led to evacuations and missed classes, but no injuries. Cottage Grove Fire Department was called to the school just before 11:30 a.m. Sept. 19. Police said a 16-year-old male student was responsible for the fire and that it was an "isolated incident." The fire, contained mostly to a toilet paper roll inside a dispenser in the men's restroom, was quickly extinguished by staff. The fire led to a significant amount of smoke.
WOODBURY — A White Bear Lake woman has been charged with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution and money laundering using a business in Woodbury. Shixun Lan, 51, was arrested Sept. 11 following an investigation by the East Metro Sex Trafficking task force.
COTTAGE GROVE — Two expansive gardens won the highest honor for Cottage Grove green thumbs. Cottage Grove awarded the Green Garden award at the Sept. 5 City Council meeting to St. Luke's Lutheran Church in the commercial category and Kent and Nicole Raymond in the residential category. Parks Department Horticulturist Marcus Honcharenko said the Raymonds' gardens were chosen this year based on the emphasis pollinator plants were put in the arrangements.
A Wabasha man was sentenced to one year in jail and two years probation for soliciting sex from a minor in September 2017. Mark Leonard Poirier, 48, was sentenced in Washington County District Court to one year in jail with 60 days credited, two years of probation and probationary terms including no use of internet dating or chat sites. According to the complaint: Undercover officers posed as a 15-year-old girl offering services on Backpage.com.
The East Metro Suicide Prevention Coalition is holding the 8th-annual “Together It Gets Better” fundraiser 5k. The event will be start at 9 a.m. Sept. 15 at the Colby Lake Pavillion, 9715 Valley Creek Road. Registration opens at 8 a.m. There will be a walk/run, food truck, a DJ, and wellness booths to make up a resource fair.
A little over a year from now, east metro residents can expect to see a plan for drinking water free of perfluorochemicals in their communities.
WOODBURY — A Hayward, Wis. man accused of attempting to hire a minor for prostitution had his initial hearing in Washington County District Court Aug. 2. According to the complaint: Scott Klohn, 62, approached a 17-year-old male at a fitness center in Woodbury while the male was exercising May 19. Klohn asked him if he would go into the bathroom and "poop in a cup" for him for $20. The male declined. He then saw Klohn staring at him in the locker room while standing in a towel. Klohn later removed the towel and walked around the male still staring at him.
STILLWATER — A 26-year-old Mound, Minn. man was sentenced in Washington County District Court last week for electronic communication describing sexual conduct with a minor. Christopher Allen Boder was sentenced to one year in jail, two years probation and a $3,000 fine. According to the complaint: In May 2016, police posted on a social media application designed for anonymously sharing secrets online. The application has also been known to be used to engage in illegal activity, including the sexual solicitation of juveniles.
COTTAGE GROVE — Parks and Recreation held its final river access event for the summer, but it certainly won't be the last for the city. The sold-out sessions were filled by 40 eager canoers paddling along the Mississippi River backwaters in morning and afternoon sessions Aug. 18. Earlier this summer, the city held an Explore Grey Cloud Island event to re-familiarize the community with the area on the edge of the city. The city is planning similar events for the future, to continue encouraging residents to be active near the river.
WOODBURY — An Amery, Wis. man was sentenced in Washington County District Court for soliciting prostitution. Richard Mark Bottolfson, 29, was sentenced July 18 after he contacted someone he believed to be a teenager for sex. According to the criminal complaint: Police used a classifieds website in January to post an ad on the women-seeking-men section, posing as a 15-year-old female. Bottolfson responded to the ad asking to meet in person. Police, posing as the girl, told him to meet in an apartment in Woodbury.