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For Woodbury resident Ruth Cherinet, a church offers one of the strongest connections she feels to her Ethiopian heritage and community. Cherinet said the unity she feels with the congregation at the Ethiopian Evangelical Church in St. Paul is somewhat rare in Minnesota's Ethiopian community. Her parents' home county is home to at least 10 different ethnic groups, which can sometimes drive a wedge between Ethiopians both in Minnesota and abroad.
Minnesota-based solar energy developer Greenmark received the go-ahead from the Woodbury City Council to build a 3-megawatt solar garden in a rural-residential stretch of the city. The approval however, came with an added condition to shield the panels from the view of nearby houses. The proposed facility would cover 17 acres of land off Military Road in Woodbury's southwestern corner, operating on a 25-year lease with the landowners.
For two decades, Theresa Janechek poured countless hours orchestrating the community's biggest annual celebration, ensuring each year offers visitors something new and exciting. This year, Janechek served her final year as the Woodbury Days Council president after 20 years at the organization's helm. The three-day event this year attracted 35,000 attendees — about half of Woodbury's total population— with food, vendors, rides, demonstrations, music and a parade.
A Mahtomedi man faces an 18-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to felony sex trafficking charges involving at least two women. Shaun Maubach, 32, told a Washington County court Wednesday, Sept. 6 that he "ran security" for a commercial sex operation in which buyers paid $300 to $1,000 an hour for sex. Woodbury police arrested Maubach at a Woodbury hotel June 20 on active warrants for burglaries in Washington state and Kansas.
Woodbury Days crowds withstood the less-than-ideal weather to make the most of the Aug. 25-27 celebration.
A registered sex offender will serve nearly a 1 1/2-year prison sentence for attempting to solicit a 15-year-old girl for sex using an anonymous mobile app. A Washington County District Court judge ordered Shawn David Langner, 25, of Woodbury to pay $820 in restitution on a felony charge of electronic communication describing sexual conduct with a child. Langner was charged in February 2016 and faced an additional felony charge of soliciting sex with a child, which was later dismissed. According to a criminal complaint:
For a trained vocalist like Linda Mealey-Lohmann, a tonal language like Chinese make perfect sense: different inflections evoke different meanings. She studied different languages through diction courses as a vocal major in college and took four years of Spanish classes, but few other languages "clicked" with her quite like Chinese. During a 10-week course she took over the summer, she said her background as a singer helped her detect and mimic tonal differences her classmates would miss.
A former East Ridge High School principal will serve 240 hours of community service and pay South Washington County Schools $7,500 for misusing district funds. Aaron Harper, 42, of Cottage Grove, was sentenced in Washington County District Court Thursday, Aug. 24, for one felony theft by swindle charge after pleading guilty in May. Two other felony theft charges were dismissed in the plea.
A group of 16 Woodbury police officers logged more than 1,600 videos filmed by body-worn cameras since April, when a four-month pilot project to test the devices began. The cameras, which officers turn on during interactions such as traffic stops, filmed an average of 10 videos per 10-hour shift, but one shift yielded more than 50 videos. The department is recommending the addition of a new full-time administrative assistant to help review and manage potentially hundreds of hours worth of footage.
A Woodbury man will serve two years in prison and three months community service after agreeing to pay for sex with a person he believed to be younger than 16. Ernest Dohbila, 39, was convicted in Washington County Aug. 7 on a felony charge of soliciting prostitution with a person he believed was a minor. Woodbury police arrested Dohbila last year during an undercover sting last year targeting prospective sex trafficking customers seeking juvenile victims.