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Farmington police are asking the public for help identifying two suspects in an armed gas station robbery earlier this week. The robbery happened around 3 a.m. on Jan. 9 at the Elm Street Kwik Trip in Farmington, according to police. Security footage from the store shows two people entering the store in hooded sweatshirts and face coverings. Authorities said the suspects displayed a handgun and left the store on foot traveling north. Police are also asking for the public's help identifying the logo on a red sweatshirt one of the suspects wore.
Tracy Reitman has listened to coyote calls just about every night for more than a decade. She grew accustomed to the sounds of wildlife, including the nightly coyote chorus, after moving to her home on the Pine Glen development 14 years ago. The proximity to nature is one of the features that drew her to Cottage Grove.
For the second year in a row, Belwin Conservancy in Afton invited the community to huddle up around a roaring bonfire marking the longest night of the year. The blaze ignited around noon on Dec. 21 as facilities specialist Eric Palman loaded on logs from fallen trees with a skid steer. "It's to get a nice bed of coals going," Palman said of the seven-hour process. "If I just throw all this stuff on a new fire, it may just go out." Hours after sundown, the stack towered over visitors' heads as embers shot into the sky to celebrate Winter Solstice.
For many Japanese Americans, the trauma of World War II internment camps lingered long after their release. In her newest novel, "On Liberty's Wings: A Post-WWII Novel," Afton author Diane Dettmann chronicles Yasu Nakahara's journey to rebuild her life after her family's release from a camp in California. By 1948, Yasu has moved to Minneapolis. Although the 22-year-old newlywed found her calling as a teacher, Yasu still struggles with post-war prejudice and residual flashbacks to prison camps surrounded by barbed wire.
A new citizens' group in Washington County aims to help community members take action against sex trafficking operations in the East Metro. After nearly half a year of development, the Washington County Citizens Against Sex Trafficking will host its first public event at the end of January. Their mission, CAST President John Larson said, is to promote awareness of the issue, is to spread awareness of the issue, cultivate an improved network of resources and serve as an entry point for community members to get involved.
A woman told police she feared for her life as a Woodbury man allegedly forced her head underwater and sexually assaulted her at hotel on Christmas Eve. Erik Lee Feagler, 36, now faces a felony charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The woman described a violent encounter after the two met at a Woodbury bar Dec. 24 and agreed to meet at a room in a nearby hotel.
Middle school can be a tough time to navigate changing friendships. Tim Hofmann, principal at Cottage Grove Middle School, said most disciplinary problems his office has dealt with in recent years stem from conflicts between friends. "We started pulling data about when we're seeing students, what we're seeing with counselors and social workers," Hofmann said. "It was off the charts for the last couple years that the issues females were having in our building were relational issues about friendships."
One of two people accused of running a sex trafficking ring out of a Twin Cities suburb was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his role in what prosecutors described as a "large-scale" operation spanning multiple states. Ricky Turner Jr., 29, pleaded guilty to a felony aiding and abetting racketeering Thursday in a Washington County court, where he was convicted of that charge as well as felony promotion of prostitution.
A former South St. Paul teacher will serve just under two years in prison for robbing a Woodbury pharmacy earlier this year. A Washington County Court on Dec. 11 sentenced Melanie Sue Parkin, 37, to 21 months in prison on a felony charge of first-degree attempted aggravated robbery. Woodbury police arrested Parkin in the early hours of Feb. 13 after staff at the Woodbury pharmacy reported an armed robbery.
A Woodbury man accused of archiving more than 22,000 digital images of child pornography will spend 120 days in jail. Nickolas Daniel Kroening, 37, was sentenced in a Washington County court on four of five felony charges of possessing child pornography. He pleaded guilty to all five charges in October. According to a criminal complaint filed Feb. 14 in Washington County, Woodbury police arrived at Kroening's Fallbrook Lane home in September after learning of numerous child pornography downloads linked to an IP address at the residence.