A new team has been formed in the Washington County Attorney's office to combat environmental crimes.

The three-attorney unit, drawn from existing staff, will take on violations such as generating hazardous waste without a license, operating environment-related businesses without licenses, and illegal dumping of computers, said George Kuprian, who heads the office's civil division.

Kuprian said he has seen the need for such a team for years. The three assigned attorneys -- new first assistant attorney Brent Wartner, criminal attorney Pete Johnson and civil attorney Maura Shuttleworth -- will work with the county's Public Health and Environment agency.

"If the word gets out, people will know we're enforcing it, and they'll be less likely to pollute the county," Kuprian said. "What we're doing is mobilizing resources to put attention on a problem."

Wartner began his new job Thursday. He came from the Minnesota Department of Corrections, where he had been general counsel and director of policy and legal services since 2006. He also has been a Minnesota assistant attorney general, a special assistant Dakota County attorney, and a criminal division law clerk in Ramsey County. He graduated from the University of Minnesota law school.


Board postpones vote to repeal sales tax

A commissioner's proposal to repeal a quarter-cent sales tax for transit development was postponed last week on a 3-2 county board vote.

Bill Pulkrabek made a motion to rescind the tax and withdraw county support for the Counties Transit Improvement Board, the coalition of metro counties that decides how tax revenue from those counties will be spent on transit projects. Autumn Lehrke seconded the motion.

After that, Gary Kriesel said the board should wait until "after the election" to consider Pulkrabek's proposal. The board should consider any action on the sales tax in the context of its legislative agenda, he said. Lisa Weik seconded the new motion. Kriesel, Weik and Dennis Hegberg voted in favor of postponement. Pulkrabek and Lehrke voted against.

Pulkrabek is being challenged for his seat in the November election by Ted Bearth of Oakdale.


Speaker will discuss Alzheimer's advances

The next Conversations of the Valley presentation will be "Recent Advances in Alzheimer's Disease Research," with speaker Karen Ashe, founding director of the N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care at the University of Minnesota. Ashe will discuss her research on Alzheimer's disease and its impact on health care delivery.

The program will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 17 at The Grand Banquet Center at 301 S. 2nd St. in Stillwater. Cost of the lunch and program is $17 and must be paid in advance.

To make a reservation, call the Conversations of the Valley reservation and information line at 651-430-3830. Reserva- tions by credit card can be made online at www.scvfoun-dation.org/news_calendar.htm using PayPal.

Methodist Church plans Italian dinner

A community Italian Festa di Pasta will be held at First United Methodist Church of Stillwater at Greeley and Myrtle streets on Oct. 20 from 4-7 p.m. The dinner will feature chicken tetrazzini, penne pasta with Italian sausage, and spaghetti with a choice of three sauces. Italian salad, garlic bread, homemade desserts and spumoni complete the menu.

Children under 5 eat free. Kids ages 6-10 cost $5 and adults $12. There will be a hand-made quilt raffle, silent auction, and homemade crafts.

Call 651-439-1880 or e-mail firstumc@msn.com to reserve a seat.


Woodbury Drive plan topic of open house

Washington County will host an open house for the Woodbury Drive (County Road 19) reconstruction project from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting will take place at Woodbury City Hall, 8301 Valley Creek Road.

The Woodbury Drive reconstruction project will take place from Park Crossing to just south of Bailey Road and is planned for summer 2013. The public meeting will feature information regarding the phasing schedule for major construction, utility relocations occurring now through 2013, and landscaping and aesthetic amenities proposed along the corridor.

More information can be found on the county's website at www.co.washington.mn.us/woodburydrive. Questions can be directed to Jane Krebsbach, project manager, at 651-430-4330 or Jane.Krebsbach@co.washington.mn.us.

Photo studio expands in move from St. Paul

Photographer Melissa Miroslavich has opened a new and larger location in Woodbury at 700 Commerce Drive, Suite 100. The family photography studio previously had been operating in St. Paul for about 10 years.

"We have outgrown our St. Paul space, and although we love the Lowertown St. Paul area, we want to make everything more convenient for our clients," said Miroslavich, owner and a Woodbury resident.

The grand opening was held last week. For more information about the studio, contact Miroslavich Photography at 651-343-4823 or Melissa@MiroslavichPhotography.com.


Bias and stereotypes discussed in training

The Forest Lake Human Rights Commission will host diversity speaker Andre Koen for a training session on Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Forest Lake City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

Andre, a diversity trainer, cultural coordinator and motivational speaker, will discuss bias, stereotypes and prejudices. The session will examine how to take responsibility in promoting justice and to think critically about diversity issues. For more information, email Humanrights@ci.forest-lake.mn.us or call 651-209-9721.


New administrator hired from Wisconsin

Kristina Handt has replaced Anne Hurlburt as Scandia's city administrator.

Hurlburt retired from the job last week. She was Scandia's first administrator after the city incorporated in 2006 and worked 33 years in local governments.

Handt is the former village administrator of Luck, Wis. She started work Sept. 17.

The Scandia City Council hired Handt on Aug. 28.


Never act your age, speaker to suggest

All seniors are invited to a lunch event at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, 900 Stillwater Road, Mahtomedi, on Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $20. 

The speaker will be Dr. Dale Anderson, a surgeon who describes how laughter and method acting turns on a body's upbeat chemistry to make people feel happy, healthy and years younger.

To sign up, contact Lisa Grundtner at 651-762-9117 or lgrundtner@saintandrews.org