Staff Directory 10644901

Kevin Giles

Reporter | East Metro
phone: 651-925-5037
Kevin Giles covers Washington County issues such as public policy, transportation, environment and development, prosecution and courts, prisons and the St. Croix River watershed.
Recent content from Kevin Giles
The 130-year-old well tower and pump house that was built above Coldwater Spring near Fort Snelling needs restoration work, officials say.

Minnesota, Congress look to rally to improve tattered national parks

A backlog of repairs in five Minnesota sites alone now will cost more than $20 million; the bill nationally is in the billions.

Maplewood man sentenced for sexual assaults of girls

A Maplewood man was sent to prison Thursday for sexually assaulting two Oakdale girls. Timothy James Niedermayer, 47, was convicted in Washington County District Court…
H. Peter Meyerhoff

H. Peter Meyerhoff, who founded national 'Buy Black' business campaign, dies at 92

He was an engineer at Honeywell, designing laser guidance systems for jet planes, when he decided to work for better race relations in Minneapolis.
Former Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki sat during a City Council meeting.

Belfrey brothers sent to prison for health care fraud involving ex-Stillwater mayor

Roylee Belfrey and Thurlee Belfrey admitted "using for their own benefit" $3.96 million in withheld taxes between 2007 and 2014, according to court documents.
Stephen Carl Allwine

Stephen Allwine, speaking for the first time, insists he didn't kill his wife

The judge called the Cottage Grove man "an actor" in court Friday before sentencing him to life in prison without parole.
Stephen Allwine

Stephen Allwine found guilty of killing his wife, staging death as suicide

The Washington County jury deliberated for about eight hours after getting the case earlier in the day following six days of testimony.
Stephen Allwine

Cottage Grove man killed wife after failing to hire assassin, prosecutor says

Defense attorney tells jury there's no evidence Stephen Allwine committed murder.
Susan Swedell was last seen in January 1988 at a gas station about a mile from her home in Lake Elmo, Minn.

Aggressive search launched for Lake Elmo woman missing for 30 years

19-year-old disappeared 30 years ago today, riding in a car with an unidentified man.
More than two dozen people testified about River Falls dams before the Utility Advisory Board.

Decisions begin flowing in Kinnickinnic River dam debate

River Falls City Council will vote in February for one of three options.
Sarah Stivland was one of the two members accused of bullying.

Investigator finds no bullying by Stillwater school board members

Investigation followed complaint by Stillwater schools employee.

Crash-prone Hwy. 36 intersection in Oakdale headed for $23 million reconstruction

Hadley Avenue overpass will be built over Hwy. 36 and Gateway State Trail.
The Hot Air Affair in Hudson, Wis., attracts as many as 40 hot air balloons. The year’s event has a Super Bowl theme.

Hudson Hot Air Affair is taking off earlier due to Super Bowl

A week before the NFL title game in Minneapolis, Hudson Hot Air Affair showcases football in the sky and on the ground.
Longtime Woodbury Mayor Bill Hargis

Bill Hargis, ex-Woodbury mayor, has brain cancer

He led the eastern suburb from a patchwork of farms to metro's most populous.
Martha Riel returns after a seven-year absence as the new manager of the library in Lake Elmo.

Lake Elmo closes the book on its city library

Washington County will take over the city library, promising a wider range of services that residents want.
The opening ceremony for the St. Croix Bridge.

St. Croix River bridge inspiring shifts in regional transportation

Business owners in downtown Stillwater say that more locals are shopping now that the commuter frenzy over the Lift Bridge is gone.
A water main break in Oakdale early Sunday morning caused a large washout under Interstate 694, and motorists will face a major detour for days, said

Crack along water main caused I-694 shutdown; road closed until at least Friday

Ground heaving or roadwork might have forced damage to pipe beneath freeway, city official said.
Just north of the 15th street bridge, construction crews will be repairing a section of I-694 between 10th and 34th streets for several days. It was c

Washout in Oakdale could keep I-694 closed into next week

Traffic was jamming up or crawling along on east metro highways as they absorbed traffic detoured from I-694, which is closed in Oakdale because of a sinkhole resulting from a water main break.
David Edward Williams Jr., pleaded guilty on Aug. 10, 2017, to attempted first-degree murder.

Maplewood man gets 20 years for hammer attack on mother

David Edward Williams Jr. pleaded guilty last summer to attempted murder.

New Wisconsin property rights law could spur development on St. Croix River

Legislation seen as a victory for Murr family, who lost their case before U.S. Supreme Court in June.
Starting at the Pacific Ocean on Sept. 9, from left: Hannah Scout Field, Katie Ledermann, Alex Benjamin and Ariana Amini. They plan to finish their tr

Call of the wild: Minnesota women explore public lands, by bicycle

Four Minnesotans on bikes explore the southern U.S. on three-month journey.

Judge dismisses final lawsuit against Stillwater school district

Attorney for 834 Voice, the group that sued, objects to order handed down while dispute is being mediated.
Anita Emily Buck died Oct. 29.

Anita E. Buck, who put her stamp on St. Croix River Valley history, dies at 92

Once Anita E. Buck found her love of history, it caught on big, inspiring a passion for chronicling the St. Croix River Valley’s rich past.…

New crossing fixes long-standing problems at Grey Cloud Island Township

The updated crossing in Washington County will help clear clogged portion.
The old lift bridge in Stillwater

Trail work will close area around Stillwater Lift Bridge temporarily

The span will close in April for conversion and not reopen until June 2019.
Recent improvements at the Veterans Campground on Big Marine Lake in Washington County included work on new sidewalks between cabins during the first

Interest surging in Washington County Veterans Campground

Reservations surge for camp in Washington County that has been helping veterans heal since the 1920s.

New faces ready to take over in Falcon Heights

Voters in Falcon Heights were opting for new faces at City Hall on Tuesday in the wake of the fatal shooting within their borders of…
The nearly complete St. Croix River bridge connects the Minnesota and Wisconsin banks just south of Stillwater.

Long-awaited St. Croix bridge is feat of engineering, political will

The $646 million bridge, with a design so rare it's only the second of its type in the U.S., required a congressional exemption to span the federally protected river prized for its natural beauty.

Stillwater school board votes to investigate two members

Board won't say what the probe is about, but one member insists it has nothing to do with the recent controversy surrounding the closing of three schools.
Third-graders at River Grove played ball in the forest during their recess.

Washington County charter school opens in the woods in a summer camp setting

River Grove charter school near Stillwater sticks with nature.
Josh Hague and his attorney Andrew Pieper stood in his back yard in Mahtomedi, which has been flooding, due to an overflow of water.

Mahtomedi neighbors go to court over stormwater flooding

Homeowners blame a street project for poor drainage. City says it's searching for a permanent solution.
Ali Adsit, adopted by Ted and Carmen Trampe of North St. Paul when she was a baby, was pictured on the front page of a Stillwater newspaper at age 2.

Baby who survived Guatemala earthquake now embraces motherhood in White Bear Lake

Ali Adsit will tell her story at an October fundraising event for the EVOLVE adoption agency.
A home is under construction in Birch Park on Friday afternoon. Homebuilding in St. Croix County, Wis., once the state’s fastest-growing county, con

How much growth can the new St. Croix River bridge drive?

Housing starts in western Wisconsin's St. Croix County show signs of recovery after a flood of foreclosures during the Great Recession.

High water prompts no-wake zone on St. Croix this weekend

Weekend boaters warned to keep speeds to 5 mph.
Kevin and Jenny McLaren of Hudson, Wis., and their son Tate, 4, checked out the view of the St. Croix River from the new bridge.

St. Croix bridge project spawned dozens of environmental improvements

Environmental improvements on both sides of the St. Croix River are driven by an influx of funding.

Hotel workers in Washington Co. will be trained to spot sex trafficking

The "Speak Up" campaign is designed to protect women and girls.
Harvey Theodore Kneifl, 71, now is charged with 10 counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Four more girls added to list of Woodbury school bus sex assaults

Harvey Kneif, employed by Washington County schools, now charged with 10 counts.
Amy Lahr read a book with her son Corwin Lahr while at Valley Library for children's story time earlier in the month.

Washington County's little Valley Library hoping for big changes

Users want more space, defying a recent trend to shrink in favor of digital collections.

Counties, school districts set maximum tax levies for 2018

Washington County's is up from recent years; Hennepin and Ramsey stay about same.
The first cars to cross the St. Croix River bridge left Oak Park Heights on their way across the milelong span in early August. The old Stillwater Lif

More traffic crossing new St. Croix River bridge than old Stillwater bridge

Some motorists might have avoided the old Stillwater Lift Bridge.
Stillwater stairs

Repairs close Main Street Stairs, in Stillwater, into November

Repairs will be made to the second landing of the stairway, as well as an adjoining wall.
Ken Harycki sat during a Stillwater City Council meeting when he was mayor. Harycki is set to be sentenced at the end of the month.

Brothers tied to former Stillwater mayor plead guilty to tax crimes in federal court

Thurlee and Roylee Belfrey withheld taxes but never paid the government. Ex-mayor, in separate case, admitted to tax fraud.
Bob Hautman, an artist from Delano, Minn., is the winner of the 2017 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest

Hautman wins again: Minnesotans keep up duck stamp dominance

Bob Hautman painted a pair mallards to win his third contest.
After years of planning, the Point Douglas Regional Trail, soon will be built from the new Hastings Bridge along the Mississippi River and St. Croix R

New regional trail opens in southern Washington County

Point Douglas Trail will connect to Hastings bridge next June.

Judge tosses lawsuit against city of Grant

Council member alleged retaliation over his views on waste site near school.
Bree Doepner tried mystery shopping to earn money for her daily State Fair excursions but lost $4,700 of her savings.

'Don't trust anyone:' Hard-to-pin-down scammers flourish in Minnesota

The state doesn't have a comprehensive database tracking the fraudsters, who are getting increasingly creative.
Shaun Michael Maubach, convicted of sex trafficking.

Mahtomedi sex trafficker who brags of 'running 6 girls' goes to prison

Shaun Michael Maubach was also dealing methamphetamine, Washington County complaint alleges.
These women, photographed by John Runk, were casting their first-ever votes in the November election of 1920. They were given the right to vote by the

John Runk's movie clips of Stillwater show everyday life

The postwar films created a precious archive of city's rich history.
In Stillwater, Sharon Schmickle introduced Minnesota Coalition on Government Information members Don Gemberling, far left, and Steve Brandt. The event

Attorney says school districts need to improve their response to Minnesota data law

Public records attorney says districts need to improve their response to Minnesota law.
Julie Galonska, new leader of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, wants to make the area as special and interesting in 50 years as it is today.

Julie Galonska named superintendent at St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

The National Park Service job oversees two major rivers that were placed into federal protection in 1968.
Aaron Harper

Former Woodbury high school principal sentenced for stealing funds

Aaron Harper, who led the opening of East Ridge, won't serve time in jail, a judge decides.

Reconstruction of historic thoroughfare planned in Stillwater

Planning begins for short but well-traveled stretch of Third Street, post-Lift Bridge.

Judge finds that Cottage Grove golf course owner sexually harassed employees

Incidents occurred at Mississippi Dunes, where women were groped and a bar manager was fired, order says.
Dr. Dorothy McNeill Tucker, benefactor of the University of Minnesota Tucker Center, died Aug. 12, 2017, in Texas.

Dorothy McNeill Tucker dies at 93, funded U women's sports research

The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport remains the only research center of its kind.

Maplewood man pleads guilty to threatening his parents and beating his mother with a hammer

David Edward Williams Jr. beat his mother with a hammer, complaint says.
Washington County Commissioner Karla Bigham, shown during a discussion in February, said county financial needs are falling on "deaf ears" at the legi

Washington County's proposed tax hike is biggest in years

New construction in the east metro county could ease homeowners' burden of 6.9% property tax increase.
Stillwater’s Lift Bridge is now closed to motorists, but the two-lane bridge will be resurfaced and integrated into a 5-mile pedestrian and bicycle

New era begins for fabled Lift Bridge in Stillwater, now closed to motorists

The bridge is permanently closed to car traffic, but the bridge will endure as a pedestrian and bicycle path.
The first cars to cross the St. Croix River bridge leave Oak Park Heights on Wednesday on their way to the milelong span.

Thousands celebrate as new St. Croix River bridge is now open

Hours earlier, hundreds of onlookers applaud a four-lane crossing, decades in the making.
A Segway tour made its way past the Stillwater Lift Bridge earlier this year.

Stillwater plans big party when historic Lift Bridge closes to traffic

Celebration will combine with classic car show.

Woodbury day cares get extortion letter threatening false police report of sex abuse

Hush money would buy "silence" on false accusation of child sexual assault. Police are investigating.
The nearly complete St. Croix River bridge connects the Minnesota and Wisconsin banks just south of Stillwater.

St. Croix River bridge ribbon-cutting expected to draw a crowd

Buses will ferry spectators to the Wednesday event in Oak Park Heights.
Rebecca Cuellar watered her garden from a rain barrel on the deck with her daughter, Ali, 6. They also collected water by setting up buckets in the sh

Cottage Grove rescinds summerlong watering ban effective Aug. 1

The shutdown over contamination ends Tuesday, but restrictions will be in place and enforced.

Grant resident files suit against fellow City Council members

A City Council member in the Washington County city of Grant is suing the mayor and other City Council members, alleging retaliation for his “environmental…

Wisconsin legislator will introduce his second St. Croix River private property bill

Rep. Adam Jarchow takes on Murr land-rights issue despite high court ruling.

Wisconsin legislation seeks to benefit for-profit wedding business on St. Croix River bluff

Wis. legislators offer bills allowing firm on St. Croix to bypass zoning laws.
A drummer showed off his juggling skills on Afton's rebuilt Main Street during last week's Fourth of July parade. The road work, which includes new si

Afton parades its new look in midst of major infrastructure project

The city, and Washington County, teamed up to correct long-standing problems with streets, sewage and flooding.

Dakota, Washington counties approve transportation taxes

The move replaces an existing quarter-cent tax before CTIB dissolves itself.
Washington County last operated the Lake Elmo library in 2011.

Lake Elmo rejoins Washington County library system

City had checked out after dispute over services.
The Andiamo Showboat cruised below the St. Croix bridge back to Stillwater last fall. The bridge will open in August.

Ready? St. Croix River bridge ribbon cutting set for Aug. 2

Cars will begin to cross "within a day or two" of the ribbon-cutting, MnDOT official says.
A lifeguard watched over swimmers at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve swim pond in 2013.Stifling hot weather is expected to draw thousands to the manufactur

Lifeguards will watch over weekend crowd at Lake Elmo swim pond where drowning occurred

Parents, at Lake Elmo park and elsewhere, warned to be vigilant with children in water.
The Riverway guide, compiled with the help of local officials, spells out landowner responsibilities.

Booklet about St. Croix River regulations helps landowners go with the flow

Color guide explains what must be done before investing money in new buildings or remodeling.
Joe Slavin

Principal found in park died of self-inflicted gunshot wound

An Oakdale school principal found dead in a Woodbury park died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said Thursday.
Joe Slavin

Oakdale middle school principal found dead in Woodbury park

Cause of death under investigation, police say.
Afternoon traffic fills the two blocks of Chestnut Street, leading to the old lift bridge on Friday, June 2, in downtown Stillwater.

Pedestrians are front and center as Stillwater reclaims its core

Plaza will replace traffic jams when Stillwater Lift Bridge closes.
Arnold “Arne” Anderson

Dr. Arnold S. Anderson, who helped found two major Twin Cities medical centers, dies

On a July night in 1951, a young doctor was sweeping the floor at the new St. Louis Park Medical Center when parents with a…

Minn. Supreme Court rejects further appeal of Stillwater school closings

Denial means district could proceed with shutdowns if the school board decides to do that.
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