Mike Longaecker is editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. His coverage includes local crime, legislative activity and prep sports.
You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
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By Mike Longaecker Firefighters said a lightning strike was to blame this afternoon for a house fire that left a Woodbury home heavily damaged. The house, located at 2725 Leyland Trail, received major smoke and fire damage to its interior, Woodbury Fire Department Commander Greg Schlichting said. No one was home at the two-story house at the time of the fire.
Minnesota flags flew at half-staff Monday in honor of a 24-year-old Woodbury soldier who died earlier this month. Ian Williams McConnell, an active duty Marine and 2005 Hill-Murray School graduate, died July 4. According to a news release from Gov. Mark Dayton's office, McConnell served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, where he performed explosive ordinance disposal. "Sgt. McConnell was compassionate and selfless and had a good sense of humor," according to a proclamation issued by Dayton. His parents are Andy and Elizabeth McConnell.
A Washington County judge in June sentenced a man convicted of burglarizing a Woodbury house to prison time. Cameron Thomas Lloyd, no permanent address, was sentenced to 34 months in prison. He was convicted in March of first-degree burglary after entering a guilty plea in the case. According to Minnesota court records, the case represents the fourth felony guilty plea Lloyd - who formerly lived in Woodbury - has entered since August 2010. All four were burglary convictions, according to state records.
MINNEAP0LIS -- Gov. Mark Dayton says ending the state government shutdown is so important that he is willing to drop his long-held demand to increase taxes on Minnesota's top earners. His announcement this morning was convincing enough to Republicans who control the Legislature to agree to meet with him this afternoon.
A Maplewood man whose blood test revealed a litany of drugs and alcohol following a Woodbury crash was charged in Washington County District Court with a felony and two misdemeanor offenses. Jake Lee Michael Fremont was charged with one count of felony drug possession and two counts related to driving under the influence.
Police say a Cottage Grove man was working to benefit a gang when he allegedly served as the getaway driver in a theft operation targeting Woodbury houses. Washington County prosecutors in May charged 21-year-old Chee Yang with one count of committing a first-degree burglary for the benefit of a gang - a felony that calls for a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $35,000 fine.
A Minnesota woman whose alleged drunken auto rampage began with a crash in Woodbury must spend two months in jail and repay thousands in medical costs. Renae Tollefson, 55, was sentenced to 60 days in jail, up to three years on probation and was ordered to pay her victims $8,735. The Lino Lakes woman pleaded guilty Feb.
A Wisconsin woman convicted of stealing more than $100,000 from the Woodbury workplace where she once served as vice president must spend more than three months in jail and repay the missing funds, a judge ordered. Debbie Jo Brown, of Osceola, Wis., was sentenced June 16 by Washington County District Court Judge Richard Ilkka to 100 days in jail and was ordered to pay $103,100 in restitution to Quality Abstract.
The Woodbury man who formulated plans for a murder in the vein of a popular cable-television program must stay at a state mental hospital, a judge decided this week. Andrew James Busskohl, 21, will remain indefinitely at Minnesota Security Hospital in St.