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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Woodbury firefighters took advantage of unseasonably cool temperatures March 26 during an evening ice rescue drill at Battle Creek Lake. Firefighters wearing thermal neoprene suits plunged into the frigid waters at an open spot on the lake, while their counterparts practiced life-saving rescue techniques.
There was no question Aug. 31, 2012, was a stressful night for many members of the local law enforcement community. That included 911 dispatchers, who fielded calls coming from the Red Roof Inn during an incident that led to one man being shot dead and several others being sexually assaulted during a hostage situation at the Woodbury motel. Those 911 operators were honored for their work during the incident last week at a joint conference for the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, the Minnesota Sheriff's Association and the National Emergency Number Association.
Perseverance. Determination. Dedication. That's what Alex Coad said it takes to make it as an Eagle Scout. The Woodbury teen received the distinction - the highest the Boy Scouts bestows - earlier this year. "It was like all of the hard work I had put in up until that point had paid off," Coad, 16, said. The home-schooled student received the Eagle Scout honor after completing his service project - a trail restoration at Afton State Park - which fulfilled a critical requirement toward earning the rank.
Few subjects are more uncomfortable to bring up in any discussion than suicide. It's hardest when it smacks you in the face. I took that lick last fall. A longtime friend called me up to tell me our softball teammate Chuck had killed himself. There were no details at the time - those came out over the following week - so there we sat, turning over one piece of information: that our jolly, do-anything-for-you pal was gone. By his own hand. It was unthinkable. Still is. None of us saw it coming. Not for a second, even to those closest to him. Chuck was outgoing, upbeat. Always smiling.
Three family members safely escaped a burning house early today in Afton. Firefighters responded to a fully engulfed blaze at about 1 a.m. at 4696 Trading Post Trail. Lower St. Croix Fire Department Chief Chris Peterson said the home was "basically a total loss," and displaced the three adults living there. Washington County tax records indicate the home, valued in 2012 at $454,600, is owned by Michael and Sandra Conroy. Peterson said the family is living with family members. Residents were alerted by a smoke alarm after fire broke out in the basement, Peterson said.
The Washington County hostage negotiation team, members of which worked for hours to remove 10 people from a deadly situation last year at the Red Roof Inn, received an award on Monday for their work. Three Woodbury police officers - detectives Jeff Zerwas, Chris Rheault and Michelle Frascone - were among Washington County SWAT hostage negotiators honored at the Special Operations Training Association Conference awards banquet in St. Cloud, Minn.
It's easy for fishermen to drift off into daydreams. For Woodbury native Matt Wiseman, one day spent wetting a line brought dreams of someday opening a bait shop. But after his life was turned upside-down last summer, those dreams were kicked-started into a vision he's now making his reality. The 2003 Woodbury High School graduate on April 1 will open Matt's Lucky Bait - a Lakeland-based shop that will outfit St. Croix River anglers with live bait and custom lures. The shop is located about two blocks from the river on St.
Torun Lindstrom loves to explain the etymology behind her name. If you put a space between the second and third letters in her first name, it spells out "to run." And if you drop the "G" in her middle name - Grace - you get "race." To run.
Woodbury never found its high-octane offense Wednesday in a 70-59 loss to Eden Prairie in the state 4A high school basketball tournament. "It's too bad that people didn't get to see our real team play," Woodbury head boys basketball coach Scott Swansson said after the game. The Royals struggled mightily from the field, connecting on just 33 percent of its shots and 61 percent of its free throws. Senior guard Diallo Powell led Woodbury's scoring attack with 19 points.
On occasion, Scott Swansson likes to crack wise. So when he deadpanned that Woodbury's March 13 Section 4AAAA championship win as "one of my top four wins ever," you can bet it meant one thing: it was the fourth such game that sent his Royals to state. This time, it was familiar foe Stillwater who fell to the Royals, 52-44 - one year after Woodbury dispatched Roseville in the section title game. Not everyone's reaction to the win was as tongue-in-cheek. "I couldn't ask for anything better," senior Woodbury forward Mario Franco said after the game. The 25-4 Royals on Saturday learned their