An Oak Park Heights City Council member serving his third term has resigned effective April 30.

Les Abrahamson said he is moving to Dallas to become a team manager in the initial loss reporting division of State Farm Insurance. "It's going to be quite an experience to head south for the Dallas summer," said Abrahamson, 44, who grew up in Stillwater.

His current term expires in December. The City Council last week voted 4-0 to appoint Mike Liljegren to replace Abrahamson effective May 1.

In nearby Bayport, another vacant City Council seat was filled March 18 when Patrick McGann was appointed. McGann, 43, replaced Mark Ostertag, who died at his home on Dec. 22.

Bayport doesn't yet have a permanent city administrator in the wake of Mitch Berg's departure in early March. Sara Taylor, the assistant administrator, has been filling the top job until further notice.

Washington County

Spirit award goes to

Youth Bureau worker

Allissa Obler has received this year's "Spirit of the Mission" award from the Youth Service Bureau (YSB). The award recognizes a colleague who contributes to positive morale, exhibits enthusiasm, shares new ideas, takes on new projects and represents YSB well in the community.

Obler is director of development and communication. She joined YSB in 2011 and manages private and public fundraising as well as communications and marketing.

YSB helps youth and families learn skills for success at home, in school and throughout the community. Programs include youth-focused family counseling, educational awareness programs and chemical health support. Details are available at


City will charge for using reserve officers

Organizers of for-profit events in Stillwater now will pay the city a fee of $15 per hour for each reserve police officer who assists with the event. The City Council voted 5-0 recently to approve the request by Police Chief John Gannaway, who will deposit the fees into a fund to pay for uniforms and training.

Gannaway told council members that reserve officers are volunteers who play a significant role in city police operations by patrolling parks, trails, and downtown homes of vacationing residents.

Reserve officers are provided with uniforms and equipment but don't carry firearms. They also use a marked police vehicle to patrol the city at least two shifts per month, and assist with special events such as the 4th of July fireworks and art fairs.


Lions Club ready to serve up breakfast

The Woodbury Lions Club is holding its 42nd annual Community Pancake Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, at the East Ridge High School cafeteria, 4200 Pioneer Drive.

This year's menu items include pancakes, sausage, bananas and yogurt parfait with granola topping. And of course, no breakfast would be complete without bottomless cups of coffee, milk and juice.

More than 50 volunteers will serve the breakfast. Money raised, in addition to profits from the all-city garage sale in May, pays for scholarships awarded to Woodbury graduates.

Adult tickets are $7, $4 for kids. Children younger than 4 years old eat free. For more information, call 651-768-2300.


Brush site opens for new season

The Newport Compost and Brush Site has opened for the season. Hours of operation are Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Grass and leaves cost $5 per vehicle load. All brush must be smaller than 6 inches in diameter and costs $5 per cubic yard.

Only brush and leaves in compostable bags will be accepted.

Washington County

Appointments made to watershed board

Dennis Hanna, Grey Cloud Island Township, and Brian Johnson, Woodbury, will serve three-year terms on the South Washington Watershed District board until May 1, 2016. Appointments were made by the Washington County Board on April 2.

Watershed districts help to control or alleviate damage by floodwaters, improve stream channels for drainage or navigation, reclaim or fill wet or overflow lands, oversee water supply for irrigation, and protect groundwater, among other things.

lake elmo

Test hole to help map county geology

The University of Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS) Office will drill a test hole in the Lake Elmo Park Reserve to collect rock and sediment samples to produce a new geologic atlas of the county. Test holes provide information on the sediment, bedrock, and groundwater conditions, which is used to create geologic and groundwater maps.

Drilling in Lake Elmo Park Reserves is estimated to take two to four days. Afterward, MGS will pay any costs to restore the site to its original condition after drilling.


County gets money for a new bridge

Washington County will receive $247,859 for partial payment to replace the bridge over Valley Creek in Afton on County Road 21. The County Board has awarded the contract for the project to Minnowa Construction, Inc., for the bridge construction April 2. The project will cost $455,488, with the additional funding coming from county state aid funds.


Last work being done on Valley Creek Road

The Valley Creek Road pavement rehabilitation project in Woodbury, which began in July, will end this spring with modification of traffic signals and installing permanent roadway striping. The $3.26 million project added accessible pedestrian ramps, new signs and signals along the route, improved storm sewers, and improved trails.

Changes made to the original construction contract included adding a right turn lane on Valley Creek Road at Woodbury Drive. The lane was requested by the City of Woodbury, which will pay for it at a cost of $123,693.

The entire project will be completed for $250,000 less than the $4 million project budget, which was funded by county bonds, said construction manager Cory Slagle.


Firm named to help plan transit station

The Washington County Regional Rail Authority (WCCRA) has named Cost, Planning & Management International, Inc., (CPMI) as the firm that will provide construction management services for the Newport Transit Station at a cost no greater than $132,226.

The company will assist in preparing bid packages, managing the overall project schedule and budget, and performing site inspections to oversee work being performed by contractors.

The rail authority also amended a contract with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., which is designing the station. The contract with Stantec was modified to add construction administration through the construction phase of the project, and to add some design modifications to the project. The changes will increase the contract with Stantec by $74,850, to bring the revised contract with the company to $324,765. Construction administration services include participating in pre-bid conference and progress meetings, responding to contractor inquiries, providing design support and revising drawings as necessary.

The Newport Transit Station Project is being funded by grants from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the State of Minnesota, the Counties Transit Improvement Board Capital Grant (CTIB), and a local match from the WCRRA levy.

Kevin Giles, Jim Anderson