Denmark Township family will be recognized at Farmfest

  • Updated: July 12, 2014 - 2:00 PM

The Keene family of Denmark Township has been named the Washington County Outstanding Farm Family of the Year 2014 and will be recognized at Farmfest in Redwood Falls, Minn., in August.

Jeff and Nancy Keene and Nicholas and Natalia Keene were selected by previous farm family winners for their contributions to agriculture. The competition was sponsored by Washington County Extension, the Washington County Farm Bureau, and the Washington County American Dairy Association.

Keene Farms started in 1959 with a 40-acre parcel. In 2010, Keene Farms LLC was formed, partnering Jeff Keene and his son, Nicholas. Jeff Keene is a member of the board of directors at River Country Coop. He also is involved in the Citizen-Assisted Lake Monitoring Program for the Metropolitan Council. Nancy Keene has been a Sunday school teacher, 4-H leader, and volunteer for USSA Ski Team. The family will appear at Farm Family Recognition Day on Aug. 7 at Farmfest.

Washington County

K-9 sick with cancer is retired from duty

The Washington County Board has transferred ownership of Cyrus, a Sheriff’s Office K-9, to his handler, deputy Ty Jacobson.

Jacobson was assigned Cyrus in 2007. Cyrus was diagnosed with cancer in March. A veterinarian and Jacobson decided Cyrus could no longer remain in service in the interest of public safety. The Sheriff’s Office retired Cyrus from active duty July 3.

Price tag rises on county campus outdoor project

Amended work orders associated with reconstruction of parking lots at the Washington County Government Center in Stillwater will cost the county nearly $1 million more than originally expected.

Cory Slagle, the county’s construction engineer, said unexpected soft soils, modifications to landscaping and other work on the outside portion of the campus required changes in contracts. The new cost of $3.4 million also includes $296,540 for campus lighting to replace an earlier, rejected bid.

“You never know what you’re going to find when you start digging,” said Commissioner Autumn Lehrke, who mentioned similar problems during a back-yard project at her house in Cottage Grove.

Commissioners said they wanted to do the job right the first time. Slagle will bring the cost increase back to the board for a formal vote.

“This reminds me of an old farmhouse that needs remodeling,” said Commissioner Gary Kriesel.

Parks group seeks an at-large member

The Washington County Parks and Open Space Commission is seeking an at-large member.

The commission brings citizens’ perspective to Washington County’s parks and open space. It reviews current operation policies, capital improvement programs, parkland preservation, park development projects, and planning for county parks. The commission recommends plans and policy changes to the Washington County Board.

For more information and an application, see the Washington County website at, and search for “parks and open space.”

Members reappointed to two advisory boards

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