Two dogs, each male German shepherds from Slovakia, are the newest members of the Woodbury Police Department.

Bosco, 19 months old, will be paired with officer Tom Ehrenberg, and 11-month-old Nova will team up with officer Brian Cline. Both dogs and their handlers will start a 13-week training program in March at the St. Paul Canine Training Center.

The Woodbury Public Safety Department uses canine units for tracking of lost or missing persons, detecting drugs, searching buildings and apprehending suspects.


Picha named top citizen for 2012

Dwight Picha, Woodbury's community development director, has been named the 2012 Citizen of the Year by the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce.

Picha, who has lived and worked in the city for 36 years, was honored at last month's chamber gala.

"I'm flattered to be recognized as Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce," he said. "I'm well aware of the community dedication exhibited by many of our citizens. There are numerous worthy of this award, and I'm humbled and grateful to the chamber for this honor."

Picha has seen the city grow from 8,000 people to the state's 10th-largest city at 63,000 people, and had a leading role in managing that growth responsibly.

He was recognized for his exemplary community service as a board member with the chamber, involvement with the Lions Club, and leadership with St. Paul/Metro East Development Corp. (SPEDCO), a nonprofit agency that aids small businesses.


Land and Water funds help pay for easement

The Washington County Board approved receipt of a conservation easement over land in Oakdale that will be an addition to the Priory Nature Area.

The reimbursement to the city of $40,815 in Land and Water Legacy bond proceeds is for the city's purchase of the fee title to the land.

The Land and Water Legacy Program is funded by a voter-approved $20 million bond referendum to be used to purchase interests in lands to improve water quality of rivers, lakes and streams; protect drinking water resources; purchase parkland; preserve wetlands and woodlands; and protect land along water bodies from development.

In 2012, the County Board agreed to provide up to $50,000 of the bond proceeds to the city of Oakdale to fund 50 percent of the cost to acquire 5.4 acres of property previously owned by Peter Paul Taubenberger. The property is near the intersection of Hwys. 120 and 5. The city intends to use the property for a park and open space.


County will share cost of Hilton interchange

Washington County will contribute a little more than $1 million to rebuilding the intersection of Hwy. 36 and Hilton Trail, or County Road 29, in Pine Springs.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will reconstruct the intersection in the coming year. A county agreement with MnDOT outlines responsibilities for the project, including construction cost share and maintenance of roads, trails, storm water ponds and a bridge.

Part of the county's contribution, $700,000, will be paid for with state aid money carried over from the 2012 budget.


New law librarian starts in Stillwater

Pauline Afuso, the new librarian at the Washington County Law Library, replaces Brian Huffman, who has taken a similar job in Dakota County. 

Afuso received her master of library science from the University of California, Los Angeles and her law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

She spent the past 12 years working at West Publishing (now known as Thomson Reuters) as a product manager, developing online legal research tools for Westlaw and WestlawNext. She also has worked as a reference librarian at the University of Southern California Law School Law Library and at the law firm of Paul Hastings in Los Angeles.

The Washington County Law Library in the lower level of the Stillwater Courthouse contains the most comprehensive collection of legal research materials in Washington County. It maintains more than 10,000 volumes of printed legal materials and offers online access to numerous legal sources including all Minnesota court calendars, decisions in appellate cases, and the Westlaw search system.

The library is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Katzung will advise homeless prevention

Peter Katzung of Woodbury has been named to the Washington County Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Citizen Advisory Committee.

Katzung will serve a term expiring June 30, 2015. Commissioner Lisa Weik, District 5, recommended the appointment. The committee provides public comment and increases the accountability of the Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program in the county.

Homeland Security pays for planning

Washington County will receive $130,900 from the Department of Homeland Security to increase county emergency preparedness.

The program focuses on regional preparedness and collaboration in major metropolitan areas. Other local governments that receive similar funding are Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin and Ramsey counties, and Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Washington County will use the money in part to:

Purchase mobile data computers for law enforcement and fire/rescue, and equipment for a back-up antenna for amateur radio coverage.

Strengthen disaster planning to include a public education campaign and promotional materials, Department of Homeland Security training, conferences and seminars, and exercises.

Fund a program known as Emergency Operations Center/Common Operating Picture, which will provide for operations center equipment and Web-based network communications, and the planning, developing and conducting of emergency exercises.

Cottage Grove

City again earns honor for financial reporting

For the 22nd consecutive year, the city of Cottage Grove's Finance Department has been recognized for the quality of its accounting.

The Government Finance Officers Association of North America presented the city with its achievement award for excellence in financial reporting for the year ending in 2011, said Robin Roland, Cottage Grove's finance director.

The award signifies that the city goes well beyond the minimal requirements in its accounting practices, and prepares its financial reports in an accurate and timely manner. About 95 cities in Minnesota earned the award this year.

Kevin Giles, Jim Anderson