The Washington County license centers and service centers in Stillwater, Woodbury, Cottage Grove and Forest Lake are adapting to rule changes issued by the federal government requiring the separation of passport and driver's license agents from staff issuing certified birth records.

To comply with the new rules, birth and death records no longer will be available at the Washington County License Center in Woodbury or at the Valley Ridge Mall in Stillwater. Certified birth and death records will be available at the Government Center in Stillwater, in the Public Health and Environment offices at the Headwaters Service Center in Forest Lake and at the Cottage Grove Service Center from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, call Washington County Property Records and Taxpayer Services at 651-430-6175.


Celebration planned to remember Bremer

A celebration of life for Stillwater blogger Karl Bremer, who died from pancreatic cancer on Jan. 15, will be Feb. 10 from 1-4 p.m. at Stoneridge Golf Course, 13600 N. Hudson Blvd., Stillwater.

Bremer, 60, was a writer and photographer known for his investigative blog, "Ripple in Stillwater," and his skewering of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in a book about her rise to public office.

Bremer also was known for his love of jazz and blues. In addition to his wife, Chris Hanson, he is survived by his parents, Gene and Lodell Bremer and a brother, Steve, of Kearney, Mo. Another brother, Jon, preceded him in death. Memorials are preferred to Tipitina's Foundation. WASHINGTON COUNTY Historical Society hopes to match gift

An anonymous donor has offered up to $25,000 to the Washington County Historical Society toward the purchase of a building for the new Washington County Heritage Center.

The amount of the donation will depend on how much money board members can match before March 1.

Raising the match money are Chairman David Lindsey of Cottage Grove, Vice Chairman Scott Foss of Mahtomedi, Secretary Joseph Otte of St. Paul, Treasurer Tom Simonet of May Township, Myron Anderson of Woodbury, John Kaul of Afton, and five Stillwater residents: Mark Balay, Holly Fitzenberger, Karlene McComb, Becky Pung and Scott Schell.

For more information, call Executive Director Brent Peterson at 651-439-5956 or send an e-mail to To donate in the name of one of the board members, send a check or money order to: WCHS Board Challenge Match, P.O. Box 167, Stillwater, MN 55082.

Some residents will receive surveys

Washington County soon will mail surveys to 1,500 residents to measure the performance of county government programs. Residents will be randomly selected, with 300 from each of the five commissioner districts.

The first surveys will be mailed Feb. 11. Anyone not replying will receive a second mailing. The survey is being administered by National Research Center Inc. Responses will be anonymous and the survey firm won't share its mailing list with Washington County, the county said. Results will be available in May or early June. 

Washington County has done several opinion surveys of residents in the past 20 years asking them to rate their quality of life, service delivery, and their satisfaction with county government.


Girl Scout cookies on sale until March 17

Girl Scouts soon will appear at residences and retail stores to sell eight varieties of cookies, from Do-Si-Dos to Thin Mints.

This year the cookies will come in packaging that highlights the business skills the girls learn selling them: setting goals, managing money and developing people skills in dealing with customers. The girls also learn about business ethics, problem-solving and making critical decisions.

The sales period extends through March 17. Cookie booths will be operated Feb. 11 to March 17. A cookie booth locator is available at

Each package of cookies costs $4. Of that amount, 70 percent funds programs, Girl Scout leaders said. Last year, River Valley's Girl Scouts earned more than $2.9 million for Scout programs.


Chocolate shop opens Valentine's quick lane

Owners of St. Croix Chocolate Company will open a drive-through service in front of their shop in Marine on St. Croix from Feb. 10 through Valentine's Day.

"Last year during Valentine's week, we had gentlemen lining up outside our door every morning," said chocolatier Robyn Dochterman.

Dochterman and co-owner Deidre Pope will operate the drive-through daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from next Sunday through Valentine's Day. Customers can choose from a menu of heart boxes in assorted flavors such as Champagne and Wild Strawberry, Sea Salt Caramel, Passion Fruit, Kona Coffee and Honey Whiskey.

In 2012, the shop won the Best Chocolatier award at the Taste of Chocolate festival in Bloomington and has been growing steadily since. Online ordering is available at


Foundation matches donated money

Maggie Arzdorf-Schubbe, chair of the Lower St. Croix Valley Foundation, has announced a special matching fund established for donors.

"For people who live in the five cities south of the I-94 bridge, this is a wonderful opportunity to give back to their hometowns," Arzdorf-Schubbe said.

The Lower St. Croix Valley Foundation has been an affiliate of the St. Croix Valley Foundation since 2010. Last year the board awarded grants for new playground equipment and a rain garden to the Yellow Ribbon Alliance for improvements to Cully Field and for new trash cans along the running and biking path connecting the cities. Anyone interested in having their donations matched can call Jane Stevenson at 715-386-9490.


City administrator put on paid leave

Mitch Berg, Bayport's city administrator, has been placed on paid administrative leave while a complaint against him is being investigated, City Attorney Andy Pratt said last week.

Berg announced in December that he would resign in March, and the City Council accepted his resignation during its Jan. 7 meeting. He has worked in Bayport since October 2009. Berg was one of five finalists for city administrator in Thief River Falls, Minn., in December, but he did not get the job.

Pratt said the circumstances of the complaint filed against Berg are confidential under state law until a final disposition is heard.

Berg could not be reached for comment, and interim City Administrator Sara Taylor referred questions to Pratt.

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