Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed Karin McCarthy, a Washington County prosecutor, to replace B. William Ekstrum as a judge in Minnesota's 10th Judicial District.

McCarthy's chambers will be in Anoka County, one of the eight counties in the 10th Judicial District along with Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington and Wright.

McCarthy was an assistant attorney in the criminal division of Washington County Attorney Pete Orput's office. Previously, she was a staff attorney for Tubman, an attorney for the Family Violence Network, associate attorney at Caswell and Associates, and an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul. She chairs the St. Croix Valley chapter of Minnesota Women Lawyers and is president of the Cottage Grove Public Safety Board.

Ekstrum, who was appointed to the bench in 2005 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, retired from the 10th District in January. He will serve statewide as a senior judge through mid-2019.

Kevin Giles

Washington County

18 Minnesota men charged with seeking sex with teenager

A law enforcement sting during Super Bowl week resulted in arrests in Woodbury of 18 men who thought they had arranged to have sex with a 15-year-old girl.

The operation was part of a multiagency project led by the Minneapolis Police Department and including the East Metro Sex Trafficking Task Force, to suppress child sex trafficking.

All the men arrested were Minnesota residents and most live in the metro area, said Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry. They were each charged in Washington County District Court with solicitation of a juvenile. "The commercial sex trade industry is not a victimless crime," Starry said.

Also participating in the sting were Woodbury and Oakdale police and the Washington County Attorney's Office.

Kevin Giles

Brooklyn Park

Tater Daze moves to community center

Brooklyn Park's long-standing Tater Daze festival, which pays homage to the city's potato-growing roots, will move this year from Noble Sports Park to the Community Activity Center.

The Tater Daze planning committee announced its decision earlier this month. Organizers cited concerns about weather and accessibility as reasons for moving the event to the community center, 5600 85th Av. N. They said the new spot is more centrally located, offers indoor options in the event of rain and can be reached using local buses.

Not all City Council members were sold on the switch when it was discussed during a December meeting. Some raised concerns about parking and street crossing safety at the new site.

The move will be the latest for the city-sponsored festival, first held in 1964. Tater Daze, which has cost the city on average about $57,000 in recent years, attracts thousands of people each summer. The city-sponsored event will be held June 14-16.

Hannah Covington

St. Anthony

Input sought for Lowry Grove study

University of Minnesota researchers want to tell the story of the controversial sale and closure of Lowry Grove, St. Anthony's only mobile home park, and they're looking for people to interview about it.

Project leaders are casting a wide net and seeking input from several groups, including former residents, the attorneys who worked with residents after Lowry Grove was sold, officials with the nonprofit that tried to buy the park, volunteers who helped displaced families, St. Anthony city officials and the developers that purchased the property.

Ed Goetz, director of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, said the focus of the project is twofold: The impact on residents of the park's closing, and the broader story of the park's sale and the fight to keep it open.

Researchers hope to document the lives of residents at Lowry Grove, their relocation experiences and current situations.

Those interested in participating in the study should contact Goetz at 612-624-8737 or

Hannah Covington

Cottage Grove

Koerner named new public safety director

Cottage Grove Police Capt. Pete Koerner is the city's new public safety director effective Saturday, succeeding the retired Craig Woolery. He will be sworn into office on March 7.

Koerner has been with the Cottage Grove police since 1992, when he began as a community services officer. He became a patrol officer in 1995, detective in 2002, sergeant in 2003 and deputy director and captain in 2006. He has held many special assignments, including SWAT crisis negotiator and negotiations commander, instructor in the use of force and Taser, and multifamily officer.

Kevin Giles