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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Woodbury got the monkey off its back in a big way Wednesday, clobbering Park 11-0. The road win was the first of the season for the Royals, who now stand at 1-2 overall and 1-1 in Suburban East Conference play. The Royals collected all 11 of their runs in an explosive third inning. Park coach Kerry Ligtenberg pulled starting pitcher Max Bundschu after giving up seven runs and issuing two four-pitch walks in the inning. But things only got worse from there. Pitcher Joe Cocchiarella entered the game with two outs and the bases loaded.
Less than a year after being convicted of a similar crime, a Woodbury woman faces a felony charge for allegedly attempting to fleece an insurance company out of money. Cheryl Tchida, 48, was arrested April 1 by Woodbury police and jailed on suspicion of defrauding an insurance company. She was charged in Washington County District Court on April 4. If convicted, Tchida faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. According to a criminal complaint, Woodbury police were alerted to the case by a Farmers Insurance Co.
A Washington County judge ordered jail time for a 31-year-old man accused of holding thousands of dollars in stolen goods 11 days after being arrested for possessing methamphetamines. Jeremy Robert Drusch, formerly of Woodbury, received three years' probation and credit for time served at the March 16 sentencing hearing. Drusch pleaded guilty in October 2010 to fifth-degree drug possession, a felony.
A Wisconsin woman accused of swindling her Woodbury employer out of nearly $100,000 pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge. Debbie Jo Brown, 44, entered a guilty plea on one count of theft by swindle as part of a plea agreement in Washington County District Court. Terms of the plea deal were not immediately available. According to a criminal complaint, company officials at Quality Abstract, based in Woodbury, became suspicious after a March 2010 Internal Revenue Service audit flagged a period between 2007 and 2008.
A Woodbury woman accused of molesting a juvenile boy pleaded guilty Monday to one count of criminal sexual conduct. Stephanie Ann Stewart, 21, pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, as part of a plea agreement. Washington County prosecutors accused Stewart of engaging in sexual contact with a teenage boy between the age of 13 and 15. Woodbury police were alerted to the case in April 2010 by social services following an anonymous report. During an interview with Woodbury police, the boy alleged that in spring 2010, Stewart drove him and a friend to the boy's house.
A prison sentence was stayed for a St. Paul renter accused of threatening his Woodbury landlords with a gun. Benjamin James Ray, 23, was sentenced March 23 to 161 days in jail - time he has already served - for one count of terroristic threats with reckless disregard or risk. Ray pleaded guilty to the felony on Oct. 27, 2010. The sentence, issued by Washington County District Court Judge Elizabeth Martin, includes having no contact with the victims and paying $1,710 in restitution.
Rep. Mindy Greiling asked a roomful of people attending a legislative update at R.H. Stafford Library for a show of hands: Should lawmakers finish this session on time no matter what, or should they stand behind their convictions in the face of a government shutdown? Nearly every hand in the room shot up in support of fighting on. Woodbury resident Russ Nynas was among those calling on Democratic Gov.
STILLWATER -- Pete Orput promised himself he would not call for any changes within his first 90 days in office. He admits he has already broken that promise, but submits that it's a minor change: the newly elected Washington County attorney has encouraged his staff to partake in casual Fridays - provided they're not in trial or meeting with witnesses. "These people are doing God's work," he said, noting how he regularly sees his prosecutors working on Saturdays without receiving overtime pay. "I wish I could do more for the folks here.
It's all in the delivery. That's how you get laughs, Dan Cole said. It's a lesson in comedy he learned decades ago watching his older brother Alex perform standup routines across the country. Dan - better known to local sports radio listeners as the Common Man - went on tour in the early 1980s with Alex Cole, who performed at 1,700 college campuses from the East Coast to the South. "That's where I watched comedy," said Dan, a Woodbury resident and KFAN radio personality. "You'd think, 'I could do that.'" Some 30 years later, Dan has finally decided to try his hand at it.