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MISSISSIPPI RIVER — An early-morning oil spill in South St. Paul has spread as far south as Grey Cloud Island. Union Pacific spokeswoman Kristen South said a train derailed around 2 a.m. Aug. 8, causing a diesel tank on a locomotive to be punctured, spilling 3,200 gallons into the Mississippi River.
COTTAGE GROVE — The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a drowning that took place in the Mississippi River in Cottage Grove July 29 just before 6 p.m. William Perkins, 77, of Inver Grove Heights was found near his boat north of Lock and Dam #2. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner is investigating.
STILLWATER — A Woodbury man pleaded guilty to identity theft charges of over 300 victims and two counts of unlawfully securing unemployment benefits. Hai Jay Phu Vu, 53, a former employee at Minneapolis-nonprofit House of Charity, pleaded guilty in Washington County District Court July 16. According to the criminal complaint: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development investigators originally investigating unemployment benefits found other strange transactions in Vu's account.
RAVENNA TOWNSHIP — The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office recovered a drowning victim in the Vermillion River near the Etter Bridge in Ravena Township Monday, July 23. The Sheriff’s Office reported on its Twitter account that authorities began searching for the unknown drowning victim around 9 p.m. on Monday. The body was recovered just before 2 a.m. on the morning of July 24. The victim was found using sonar and recovered by the Sheriff’s Office dive team.
COTTAGE GROVE — On a wet, rainy summer day, the 3M settlement working groups sat down together for the first time to start brainstorming solutions to perfluorochemical pollution in East Metro water. Facilitated by Colorado-based contractors Abt Associates, two meetings spanned the day at the Cottage Grove Washington County Service Center for the Government and 3M Working Group and the Citizen and Business Working Group each to begin considering how best to use the remaining $720 million from the 3M Corp. and state of Minnesota lawsuit settled in February.
COTTAGE GROVE — Two years after an expansion that nearly doubled the Renewal by Andersen campus, the business is expanding again to keep up with its rapid growth. The company purchased 9.2 acres to the west of its current site — just south of its business park neighbor LeafLine Labs — to enlarge the parking area. Renewal by Andersen spokesman Adam May said though the lot is only slated for increased parking right now, it could house more expansion of the business in the future.
STILLWATER TOWNSHIP — A Cottage Grove man died Friday, July 6, following a head-on crash on Manning Avenue. The two vehicles collided around 7:30 p.m. on Manning Avenue North, approximately four miles north of Highway 36, according to a Washington County Sheriff’s Office news release. One of the drivers, Michael Day, 31, of Cottage Grove was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital just after 8 p.m.
NEWPORT — A near-miss kidnapping of five children June 13 has left Newport residents rattled. Vanholy Var, 36, of St. Paul, was under a 48-hour hold as of Friday morning, June 15, according to Washington County jail records. He faces charges of kidnapping, first-degree burglary and receiving stolen property. According to the complaint filed June 13:
BLOOMINGTON — The man alleged to have robbed a Cottage Grove bank back in May has been taken into custody. Jayvon Dominique Gant, 26, Bloomington, faces charges stemming from a monthlong spree of bank robberies in the metro area. According to a FBI criminal complaint:
Just as one by one 10 ducklings fell into the storm sewer May 30, so did two Hastings Police officers Mike Schmitz and Matthew Schlafer pull them back out one by one.