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Kevin Giles

Reporter | East Metro
phone: 651-925-5037
Suburban reporter Kevin Giles covers Washington County government and news throughout northern Washington County, such as public policy, transportation, prosecution and courts, prisons and the St. Croix River watershed.
Recent content from Kevin Giles

Forest Lake school evacuated after threat, but no bomb found

Elementary students will be bused home.
In memory of fallen police officers: 'Not one day is guaranteed'

In memory of fallen police officers: 'Not one day is guaranteed'

Law enforcement memorial service in Stillwater included naming 128 killed nationwide in the line of duty last year.
Forest in Washington County targeted for conservation protection

Forest in Washington County targeted for conservation protection

The Wilder Forest, north of Stillwater, is described as being pristine with rare birds and native oaks.

Owner of Oakdale store charged with selling dangerous synthetic drugs

Hatem Amin Younis was making sales at his business and his house, criminal charges say.

Affordable housing project coming to Newport's transit station

Red Rock Square units would seed development around Newport's new transit station.
Wash. Co. Atty. on reality of sex trafficking: As easy as ordering pizza

Wash. Co. Atty. on reality of sex trafficking: As easy as ordering pizza

Demand for underage and vulnerable girls on upswing, Imran Ali says.

Oil pipeline beneath St. Croix River increases flow, worrying environmentalists

Enbridge is getting ready to boost pumping capacity in lines that run under headwaters of the federally protected St. Croix River.
Lawsuit dismissed against city of Stillwater after swimming death

Lawsuit dismissed against city of Stillwater after swimming death

Boy, 9, died from rare brain infection traced to water in Lily Lake. Judge said there was nothing to show city knew of danger.
Boom Site north of Stillwater closes until midsummer for face lift

Boom Site north of Stillwater closes until midsummer for face lift

Work at the historic logging landmark on the St. Croix will include signs and green space.
Charter school will open in Marine on St. Croix

Charter school will open in Marine on St. Croix

A new charter school is coming to a small Washington County city that’s been fighting to save its longtime elementary school. State approval for the…

Afton City Council approves land-use plan for mosque construction

Backers say it will help foster religious freedom.
Proposed Stillwater performing arts theater moves closer to approval

Proposed Stillwater performing arts theater moves closer to approval

Neighbors protest height of new auditorium at former Zephyr dinner train site.
Stillwater delays taking action on controversial school closings

Stillwater delays taking action on controversial school closings

Stillwater school board members voted 4-2 to suspend action on their intended closing of three elementary schools until a court challenge is resolved.
Lift on Stillwater bridge begins operating April 20

Lift on Stillwater bridge begins operating April 20

The Stillwater Lift Bridge will begin its full-time summer lift schedule on April 20, allowing St. Croix River boats to pass beneath it at regular…
Stillwater superintendent says school closings within the law

Stillwater superintendent says school closings within the law

The Stillwater school district “acted well within the boundaries of the law” when it decided to close three elementary schools, Superintendent Denise Pontrelli said Thursday.…
Stillwater school district sued over closing elementary schools

Stillwater school district sued over closing elementary schools

A parents' group, 834 Voice, alleges board members and administrators skirted the law with bond issue.

Confusing Washington County intersection headed for an overhaul

Convergence of vehicles at Manning Avenue and 10th Street a concern for years.
St. Croix waterfront case sets up property rights showdown

St. Croix waterfront case sets up property rights showdown

A tiny plot of shore land on the federally protected St. Croix River has become a legal fight taken all the way to the Supreme Court over private property rights.

Forest Lake man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend, leaving body for days

Strong odor alerted neighbors and police three days later.
Controversial Lake Elmo Airport expansion creeps forward after committee endorsement

Controversial Lake Elmo Airport expansion creeps forward after committee endorsement

Opponents near Lake Elmo say longer runway will cause safety concerns, hurt property values.

Stillwater district says it has right to close schools

At issue is May 2015 bond referendum that included money for improvements.

Islamic Society proposes building mosque in Afton near Interstate 94

Islamic Society of Woodbury-East Metro would build it on 29 acres; $500,000 needs to be raised for project.
St. Croix River steward helps people understand protective regulations

St. Croix River steward helps people understand protective regulations

Natalie Warren will work with landowners, real estate developers and local governments to explain land-use regulations before misunderstandings turn into confrontations.
Obituary: Betty Wall Strohfus, WASP pilot and advocate for women who flew during World War II

Obituary: Betty Wall Strohfus, WASP pilot and advocate for women who flew during World War II

Betty Wall, 96, of Faribault, was in the Women's Air Force Service Pilots, which trained men for combat.
3M sells Tartan golf course; to be redesigned by Palmer and Sorenstam

3M sells Tartan golf course; to be redesigned by Palmer and Sorenstam

Golf legends Arnold Palmer and Annika Sorenstam will redesign the 27-hole Tartan Park, the struggling 3M golf course and recreation retreat in Lake Elmo, into an 18-hole layout.
Washington County Commissioner Ted Bearth dies after extended illness

Washington County Commissioner Ted Bearth dies after extended illness

The Oakdale resident, 77, was a former mayor and City Council member.

Eldredge found guilty in beating death of Oak Park Heights resident

Nathan Eldredge said nothing in his defense. Killing was 'excessively cruel,' victim's sister says

Defendant killed first, then had sex with girlfriend in victim's apartment, jury told

Nathan Eldredge represented himself at the first-degree murder trial but made no opening statement and said nothing in his own defense.
Ice is nice, but St. Croix River looks to spring

Ice is nice, but St. Croix River looks to spring

The mighty river, just a few weeks away from ice-out, is now approaching that dangerous time of year when its strong current drives unfathomable tons of ice downstream.
Stillwater board votes 5-2 to close three schools, gets booed

Stillwater board votes 5-2 to close three schools, gets booed

After months of contentious debate and five hours of testimony, the vote came late Thursday with a roar of disapproval.
Stillwater parent seeks court order to stop proposed school closings

Stillwater parent seeks court order to stop proposed school closings

Filing asks district to comply with referendum or hold a new one; board votes Thursday.
Washington County jail leads Minnesota in its help for visiting kids

Washington County jail leads Minnesota in its help for visiting kids

In a first in Minnesota, a makeover with "kid-friendly" features soon will help soften the shock of seeing parents wearing strange clothes behind a glass panel.

Stillwater school storm rooted in differing population projections

As closure vote nears, Stillwater parents disagree with district's predictions.
Majority opposes Stillwater school closing plan, survey shows

Majority opposes Stillwater school closing plan, survey shows

The survey was conducted for the Stillwater district.
Stillwater school board votes to delay school closing plan

Stillwater school board votes to delay school closing plan

Superintendent wants a delayed vote. Opposing parents say she's stalling and want the plan voted down.
Stillwater district asks for delay of board vote on closing three schools

Stillwater district asks for delay of board vote on closing three schools

The superintendent wants to push vote back to March 3, following a public hearing.

Stalled lawsuit over 3M chemical pollution will proceed, district judge decides

Judge says company waited too long to disqualify law firm.
Aaron Schnagl convicted in the drug-related death of Danielle Jelinek

Aaron Schnagl convicted in the drug-related death of Danielle Jelinek

A Chisago County man, Aaron Schnagl, was found guilty of third-degree murder Friday evening for providing the cocaine that killed Danielle Jelinek. But the jury found him not guilty of concealing her body.
Schnagl says he didn't give Jelinek the drugs that caused her death

Schnagl says he didn't give Jelinek the drugs that caused her death

Aaron Schnagl also testifies he did not hide Danielle Jelinek's body.
Parents, local governments protest proposed closing of Stillwater district schools

Parents, local governments protest proposed closing of Stillwater district schools

A new superintendent’s controversial proposal to close three elementary schools in the Stillwater district — scheduled for a vote by the school board next week…
Obituary: Mary Beth Blegen, National Teacher of the Year, dies at 72

Obituary: Mary Beth Blegen, National Teacher of the Year, dies at 72

Being widely known as National Teacher of the Year didn’t faze Mary Beth Blegen, who patted President Clinton on the shoulder after he spoke in…
State Farm era ends in Woodbury as cavernous old building falls to wrecking ball

State Farm era ends in Woodbury as cavernous old building falls to wrecking ball

Machines claw away the last pieces of State Farm building's hulking legacy.
Stillwater district on edge over proposed closing of 3 schools

Stillwater district on edge over proposed closing of 3 schools

A furious confrontation between the Stillwater school district and parents is roiling the district's plan to shutter two highly ranked elementary schools.
Renovation work to begin on historic St. Croix Boom Site

Renovation work to begin on historic St. Croix Boom Site

The river bluff park north of Stillwater will be made more accessible thanks to a grant.
St. Croix Riverway superintendent on loan to Pullman National Monument in Chicago

St. Croix Riverway superintendent on loan to Pullman National Monument in Chicago

National Park Service's Chris Stein to aid Chicago site.

State: Chemicals continue to decline in east metro drinking water

A decade after work began to reduce PFCs, east-metro residents down to safe levels.
Schnagl trial opens; he's accused of causing, concealing Danielle Jelinek's death

Schnagl trial opens; he's accused of causing, concealing Danielle Jelinek's death

Lawyers for both sides made opening statements Monday in the Chisago County murder trial.
Trial of man accused in death of Danielle Jelinek to begin

Trial of man accused in death of Danielle Jelinek to begin

Prosecutors say Aaron Schnagl caused the death of Danielle Jelinek, who was missing for 5 months.
New major crimes prosecutor in Washington County takes on sex trafficking of children

New major crimes prosecutor in Washington County takes on sex trafficking of children

Prostitution of children is a serious problem and a major crimes prosecutor is leading a team effort in response.
New St. Croix River bridge now won't open until late in 2017

New St. Croix River bridge now won't open until late in 2017

The new St. Croix River bridge won't open until late 2017, a full year after originally planned, because of equipment problems, material shortages and weather delays.
Newport abolishes police force, will contract with county

Newport abolishes police force, will contract with county

The city has been reeling over disclosures of scandalous behavior by some former officers and a discovery that an unsecured evidence room was a mess.

South Washington Schools district says lawsuit could add millions to building costs

Attorney says legal delay from school bond dispute could add millions to building costs.
DNR will plow Gateway, Browns Creek trails after all, reversing earlier decision

DNR will plow Gateway, Browns Creek trails after all, reversing earlier decision

Cities and Gateway trail users had protested, saying the initial decision had surprised them.
Popular Washington County swim pond will be reconstructed

Popular Washington County swim pond will be reconstructed

Park amenity will be 2 feet shallower and include updates when it reopens in June.
Ban Donald Trump? St. Paul City Council will consider it

Ban Donald Trump? St. Paul City Council will consider it

Council might take up motion saying he is unwelcome in city.

Decision reversed, William O'Brien State Park reopens to high school skiers

New policy was suspended after coaches and park managers talked to state.
Decision not to plow the Gateway Trail is drawing fire

Decision not to plow the Gateway Trail is drawing fire

Trail attracts hundreds of thousands of users a year.
East metro fans of winter sports need more winter

East metro fans of winter sports need more winter

The second-warmest autumn on record in Minnesota has kept cross-country skiing at bay, sidelining recreationists eager to start the season.

Lawsuit against Washington County school district contests narrow passage of $96M bond issue

Three plaintiffs allege vote recount led to wrongful passage of $96M measure.

Washington County holds public budget hearing on Tuesday

Proposed property tax increase is first in years.
Stillwater will narrow proposals for historic Shoddy Mill

Stillwater will narrow proposals for historic Shoddy Mill

The rag factory was part of the state's early Jewish history and now will be repurposed.

Traffic snarls at Hwy. 36 near St. Croix River bridge coming under scrutiny

Engineers are beginning to fix one of the most daunting intersections in Washington County — a year after it was rebuilt as part of the…

St. Paul man charged with prostituting Forest Lake girl

Damon M. DiMartino took most of the girl's earnings, forced her to distribute drugs, complaint says.
St. Croix River bridge construction slows for the winter

St. Croix River bridge construction slows for the winter

Construction complexities of the massive project force completion delay.
Management of Newport police was in disarray, Washington County sheriff writes in scathing report

Management of Newport police was in disarray, Washington County sheriff writes in scathing report

Evidence room management was way 'out of whack,' sheriff says.
Washington County forms coalition to take fight to sex traffickers

Washington County forms coalition to take fight to sex traffickers

Prosecutors, law enforcement, social services team up to counter crimes against kids via the Internet.
At 100, National Park Service seeks younger, more diverse crowd

At 100, National Park Service seeks younger, more diverse crowd

Near centennial, agency works to engage youth more attuned to technology, not nature.
Washington County deputies hold 'Coffee with a Cop' in Lake Elmo on Wednesday

Washington County deputies hold 'Coffee with a Cop' in Lake Elmo on Wednesday

The Washington County Sheriff's Office wants more conversations in less-emotional settings.
Rental fees could increase at Washington County Historic Courthouse

Rental fees could increase at Washington County Historic Courthouse

County Commission will weigh higher daily rates.
Washington County vows to fight spread of emerald ash borers

Washington County vows to fight spread of emerald ash borers

Invasive pest could spread quickly so county wants task force with cities' involvement.
Obituary: Lois Herman, 98, was 'Original Champagne Lady' for Lawrence Welk's orchestra

Obituary: Lois Herman, 98, was 'Original Champagne Lady' for Lawrence Welk's orchestra

There’s a 1939 film clip that shows Lois Best Herman singing and smiling next to a very young Lawrence Welk as his orchestra plays on.…
Body found in lake is missing Mounds View man Henry McCabe

Body found in lake is missing Mounds View man Henry McCabe

Henry McCabe went missing on Labor Day. Minnesota's Liberian community organized searches to find him.
Woodbury's giant State Farm office building will be demolished

Woodbury's giant State Farm office building will be demolished

CityPlace developer will build an office park in its place.

Oakdale man sent to prison for hammer attack on his wife

Husband apologizes for striking his wife; judge gives him 11 years.
Charges: St. Paul mom, 24, fatally shot steps from her apartment

Charges: St. Paul mom, 24, fatally shot steps from her apartment

Alvin R. Bell, 24, was charged Thursday in the death of a young mother whose apartment was ransacked, charges say.
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