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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A jury trial is scheduled for a Lake Elmo man accused of burglarizing two businesses in Woodbury in March. Robert Louis Canfield, 42, was charged March 25 with two counts of third-degree burglary, both felonies, after allegedly breaking into Public Storage on Hudson Road and 2001 Nails on City Centre Drive. According to a criminal complaint, police responded to a burglary report March 23 at Public Storage, where officers found a glass door window smashed out and the key to a safe missing.
For Jake Duesenberg, it's never too late to hold a party. Though the Tea Party movement saw its biggest surges more than three years ago, Duesenberg, a Woodbury resident, last week unveiled the East Metro Tea Party. As he sees it, the moment is just as urgent now as it's ever been to arrange the organization. "The federal debt's not getting any lower," Duesenberg said. On Thursday, April 4, the group held its inaugural meeting at the Machine Shed in Lake Elmo, where attendees were joined by GOP House lawmaker Kathy Lohmer and 2012 congressional candidate Tony Hernandez.
An Afton man was charged with a felony after he allegedly strangled a cat to death after a domestic disturbance at his home. Washington County deputies were called March 14 to the home of Thomas Allen Disselkamp for a domestic disturbance report. According to a criminal complaint: When officers arrived, a man later identified as Disselkamp hollered at them to go away.
Jason Posel remembers how, as a youngster growing up in St. Paul, he was introduced to a K-9 police officer and his dog. "Maybe that planted the seed," he said. Fast-forward to adulthood, where Posel is the Woodbury Public Safety Department's senior K-9 officer - one of three now serving on the force. He and his dog Niko patrol Woodbury's streets where, they work drug cases, track missing persons and perform apprehensions. On April 6, Posel will demonstrate Niko's unique talents at the Woodbury Community Expo.
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.