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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
Judge dismisses court petition over how Stillwater district promoted bond issue

Judge dismisses court petition over how Stillwater district promoted bond issue

Voters were misled, a Stillwater parent argued, but the judge ruled that the law was on the side of the district.

Cottage Grove rezones land for new middle school

Plan for new Oltman Middle School is "great for the kids."
Washington County Sheriff's Office finding a home in Newport

Washington County Sheriff's Office finding a home in Newport

City's police department closed, but the officers changed uniforms and remained.
Equipment problem won't stall St. Croix River bridge opening, MnDOT says

Equipment problem won't stall St. Croix River bridge opening, MnDOT says

A smaller jack is needed to tighten cables that hold segments together. Work on river spans not affected.

Large field files for three board seats in controversial Stillwater school district

Eleven candidates, including two incumbents, will compete in November in midst of debate over closings.

Forest Lake man gets 30 years for killing his girlfriend

A Forest Lake man has been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison for killing his girlfriend and leaving her body in their apartment…
Former Lake Elmo administrator sues city, ex-council member for defamation

Former Lake Elmo administrator sues city, ex-council member for defamation

Dean Zuleger said he's been passed over for similar jobs because of statements made about his departure.

Strong competition for Oakdale seat vacated when Washington County commissioner died

Six candidates will compete in Tuesday’s primary election for a vacant Washington County Board seat representing Oakdale and the surrounding area, with the two top…
Twin Cities area braces for sex trafficking tied to Super Bowl, Ryder Cup

Twin Cities area braces for sex trafficking tied to Super Bowl, Ryder Cup

Metro-area prosecutors and police agencies anticipate that hundreds of women and girls will be sold on the sex market during Super Bowl 2018, mostly at huge organized parties and through provocative online ads and social media.

St. Croix County girl charged in savage attack on brother's girlfriend

Homicide charge against the 14-year-old girl says she attempted suffocation and cut victim's neck with a piece of a broken bowl.
Washington County stops bookings of Historic Courthouse weddings

Washington County stops bookings of Historic Courthouse weddings

County officials cite excessive wear and tear on the 146-year-old Stillwater landmark for the moratorium on new bookings.
Woodbury mom charged with enslaving, assaulting Chinese nanny

Woodbury mom charged with enslaving, assaulting Chinese nanny

Police found beaten victim wandering on a dark street, said she was looking for airport to return home.
Columbus ships discover new world — in Hudson, Wis.

Columbus ships discover new world — in Hudson, Wis.

Niña and Pinta dock for 12 days to tell of an explorer's journey
Stillwater man charged with murder in fatal knife attack on father

Stillwater man charged with murder in fatal knife attack on father

William James Scheel was stabbed himself as sister tried to stop attack on their father.

No casino in the cards for Washington County, tribal president says

The Prairie Island Indian Community's development of recently acquired acreage in Washington County could be years away and most likely will include housing or businesses…
Coming soon: A sparkling improved Washington County swim pond

Coming soon: A sparkling improved Washington County swim pond

The manufactured water attraction will reopen in early August after a $1.3 million overhaul.
Man gets more than 13 years for death of Danielle Jelinek

Man gets more than 13 years for death of Danielle Jelinek

Aaron Schnagl claimed at his sentencing Friday morning that he didn't receive a fair trial.

Judge will weigh arguments in dispute over Stillwater bond referendum

Parent says district misled voters in 2015, but district says vote to close schools was a separate action.
Mondale sides with St. Croix River in U.S. Supreme Court private property case

Mondale sides with St. Croix River in U.S. Supreme Court private property case

Former VP, environmental groups say family's sale of lot would harm river.
Disputed St. Croix River land parcel not 'buildable,' U.S. Supreme Court filing says

Disputed St. Croix River land parcel not 'buildable,' U.S. Supreme Court filing says

St. Croix County opposes sale of parcel in family's Supreme Court fight.
Obituary: James Kellen, University of St. Thomas librarian

Obituary: James Kellen, University of St. Thomas librarian

The polio came suddenly, when James Kellen was playing in a football game his junior year in high school. Soon he was flat on his…

Man gets a double sentence for internet rape of Lake Elmo girl

Cheyenne Foster pleaded guilty to persuading the victim through online chats and video conferencing to commit sex acts.
Former Stillwater mayor's federal sentencing delayed five months, judge rules

Former Stillwater mayor's federal sentencing delayed five months, judge rules

Ken Harycki, convicted of tax evasion, will be given a chance to help prosecute co-defendants.

Stillwater schools head into year of uncertainty with lawsuits, distrust

Parents have built a strong alliance to battle the district's decision to close three elementary schools.
Lake Fest in Forest Lake kicks off summer events in Washington County

Lake Fest in Forest Lake kicks off summer events in Washington County

Memorial Day signals that the fun is just around the corner
Road to growth: Washington County soon will open new public works complex

Road to growth: Washington County soon will open new public works complex

Washington County's new public works complex reflects a suburban transformation over 50 years.

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.
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