Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau.
You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
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Chris Rheault admits he was a skeptic. As a Woodbury patrol officer, he had heard about the department's Street Crimes Unit and wondered if it was just a bunch of cops hanging around in parking lots waiting for crimes to be committed. But Rheault said that perception got turned on its head last year after he began a one-year stint with the unit as part of a career development opportunity with the department.
Members of Woodbury's tennis community are pushing back against the possibility of some dilapidated courts going from bad to altogether gone. The effort, being led by Woodbury Royals Tennis Booster Club President Mary Hellerud and Woodbury High School tennis coach Michael Moran, seeks to preserve and upgrade four courts at Woodbury Elementary School. They are urging District 833 to spare the courts as officials there consider whether to replace the tennis courts with a hard-top playground. The district's 10-year facilities plan calls for the Woodbury Elementary tennis courts to be resurface
Spring was in the air last week at Central Park. The city of Woodbury on Saturday, April 27, hosted a "May Day Tea" event, where girls, moms and grandmothers donned flowery dresses and spring hats. Attendees sipped tea and enjoyed a mid-morning brunch that brought a touch of elegance to the event. After dining, the group of about 40 enjoyed activities, including a game of bingo. Among those at the event were a four-generation family from Woodbury -- Amanda Schwager and her 3-year-old daughter Brynna, grandmother Val Spahr and great-grandmother Jean Morris.
A fast-moving fire destroyed a twin home Saturday afternoon in Woodbury. No residents were injured in the fire, which started at 10605 Kingsfield Lane. The blaze spread to the adjoining unit, 10607 Kingsfield Lane. Heat from the fire, which was reported at 4:26 p.m., melted the siding on a neighboring house to the south and caused a small grass fire to the east of the twin homes. Residents of 10605 Kingsfield Lane escaped safely.
A little-known organization that responds to crime in a unique way stepped into the spotlight last week to honor its volunteers. Members of Washington County Community Circles gathered April16 for a volunteer appreciation event - and to mark the group's 15th anniversary. "The importance of volunteers to this county cannot be exaggerated," said Joe Spolidoro, chairman of Washington County Community Circles. The group offers what's known as restorative justice to people convicted of some crimes.
Woodbury firefighters extinguished a car fire Tuesday afternoon at Woodwinds Health Campus. A car caught fire under at the hospital's entrance under an awning. Firefighters extinguished the fire and used a saw to access the vehicle's engine compartment, where a small crew focused its attack. Woodbury Emergency Services Commander Mike Richardson said the fire, which was called in at 3:11 p.m., started after a motorist pulled the car near the entrance to pick up a patient.
A Wisconsin teenager was killed during a snowstorm Thursday after his vehicle entered the opposite lane of traffic and collided with a semitrailer on Interstate 94 in Washington County. The Minnesota State Patrol identified the victim as 16-year-old Jonathon Pohlen of Houlton, Wis. According to the State Patrol, Pohlen's Chevrolet Cobalt was headed westbound on I-94 when it lost control on the snowy roadway, crossed the median and struck the eastbound semi's trailer.
Brett Roeller has been quietly building a successful business from the confines of a simple workshop in his Woodbury garage. What's not so quiet is what he builds: guitars designed to catch the eye and, above all, deliver an unparalleled sonic experience. He's deadly serious when he says that what he hand crafts is far superior to anything guitar aficionados will find in any music store. "The sounds would blow them right out of the gate," Roeller said of his guitars, which cater to death metal and blues musicians. The 36-year-old is the owner of Roeller Custom Guitars, a business he starte
Two men were arrested last week after police uncovered an apparent chop shop and assorted stolen goods at an apartment garage in Woodbury. Prosecutors later charged Christopher Alan Siemers, 30, with three counts of receiving stolen property and one count of motor vehicle theft.
When a Woodbury man was diagnosed with lung cancer last June, his stepdaughter, Jenny Burow, made preparations to help him through the experience. What Burow didn't see coming, however, was that she'd soon be joining her stepfather, Steve Brennan, on a parallel journey. Burow, a Woodbury native, knew she'd be helping Brennan to and from appointments. But before she could, she needed to see the doctor to have a pain in her leg checked out.