The St. Croix River Association has announced winners of its St. Croix Watershed Stewardship Awards:

• Sally Leider has taught “Watershed Wisdom” for more than 16 years to about 2,000 young people. She said there are many challenges for the river, “but if we lose the young river champions, we will lose the larger, long-term battle” to protect it.

“Through her work in local schools, Sally inspires young people to be leaders, helping them develop a deep sense of commitment to preserving natural resources. She helps young people gain the confidence that their voice counts, and that they can make a difference,” said Deb Ryun, executive director of the association.

• The city of Stillwater and Washington County are joint winners for their work to create a new park with three-quarters of a mile of riverfront property. This newly acquired “Aiple property” will allow public access to the St. Croix River, and sits adjacent to the Brown’s Creek State Trail, which connects to the Gateway State Trail.

“While there were numerous setbacks and obstacles along the road to victory, the county and the city of Stillwater never gave up and, as a result, this property along the banks of the St. Croix River will be set aside in perpetuity,” Ryun said.

When the acquisition is complete, Washington County will turn the property over to Stillwater, which will operate it. The St. Croix River Association also honored Elayne Aiple, who could have sold the property to a developer for more money, but instead left a legacy for public enjoyment, Ryun said.

More information is available at


Valley Outreach buys building

The Stillwater nonprofit Valley Outreach has purchased the building it has rented since 2007.

The 32-year-old organization provides food, clothing, emergency financial assistance and resource advising to people in need across the St. Croix Valley. The building, at 1911 Curve Crest Blvd. in Stillwater, houses Valley Outreach and several other tenants.

Executive Director Tracy Maki said that in future years, Valley Outreach could expand partnerships with other local nonprofit organizations to offer services that also benefit Valley Outreach clients, so it makes sense for them to share space in the building.

In 2014, food shelves in Minnesota charted a 4 percent increase in clients. Valley Outreach numbers show that 42 percent of clients asked for food support for the first time ever. “We continue to see situational poverty, when circumstances move people to places they’ve not been previously,” Maki said. “Many of these families will be with us for a few months, then gone again as their household incomes improve.”

Valley Outreach occupies nearly 45 percent of the building that also houses five tenants, with all available space leased.


City administrator receives recognition

Clint Gridley, Woodbury’s city administrator, has received the Dr. Robert A. Barrett Award for Management Excellence from the Minnesota City/County Management Association. The annual award recognizes a member who is an exemplary role model, leader and mentor in the profession of local government management.

Gridley became city administrator in 2004. Before that he was city administrator in Cedarburg, Wis., and assistant city manager in Miamisburg, Ohio, and Highland Park, Ill.

“He exemplifies innovative, thoughtful, professional public service that exceeds the expectation of his customers,” said Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens. “He is truly a leader in the city management profession.”

The award is named in honor of Dr. Robert A. Barrett, once director of the Urban and Regional Studies Institute at Minnesota State University-Mankato.

May Township

Arcola Mills opens for summer season

Arcola Mills, the site of the 1847 Mower mansion, situated on 55 preserved acres on the St. Croix River, opened for the summer season on May 17.

Established in 1847 by John and Martin Mower, the Arcola site was one of the earliest hubs of the logging industry on the St. Croix. The mansion is one of the two oldest timber frame homes in Minnesota still standing.

Visitors can learn about the history of the property and the logging industry as well as the efforts to restore the mansion.

Arcola Mills is situated at 12905 Arcola Trail N., six miles north of Stillwater on Hwy. 95.

More information is available at


Businesses celebrate 2014 as banner year

More than 100 business representatives recently gathered at Central Park in Woodbury for the city’s annual Business Celebration, formerly known as the Business Town Meeting. Woodbury in 2014 had 86 new businesses, $33.3 million in commercial reinvestment and 165,000 square feet of new commercial construction.

Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens presented awards to 10 new commercial construction projects, as well as the top 10 commercial reinvestment projects. They add value to the city’s tax base and bring new jobs to Woodbury, the city said.

Kevin Giles