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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Washington County authorities caught one of their own stealing drugs from a secure drop-off bin, according to allegations set forth in a criminal complaint. Ricky Harry Gruber, a 43-year-old Washington County sheriff's deputy from Oakdale, was charged today with one count of felony drug possession, two felony theft counts, one count of officer misconduct - a gross misdemeanor - and a misdemeanor drug possession charge. According to the complaint: A sergeant in the department discovered on Friday, Jan.
Sides are being chosen at the state Capitol over the future of a school building in Woodbury. Lawmakers got their first look last week at a bill that would fold Crosswinds East Metro Arts and Science School into a west-metro arts school's purview and preserve Crosswinds' unique integration offerings. On the other side of the battle is District 833, which is poised to take over the Crosswinds building if the bill isn't passed by April 1.
Pancakes weren't part of a breakfast ensemble last week. They were targets to be destroyed. Hudson resident Todd Peterson took home first place Saturday, Feb. 23, in a pancake-eating contest at Woodbury's Valley Creek Mall. The contest called on participants to speed-eat one Keys Cafe pancake, which have been dubbed "as big as manhole covers." Peterson, a Woodbury native, finished his in 1 minute, 8 seconds, and took home a $150 prize for his efforts.
An Afton man was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct after a woman accused him of abusing her when she was 8 years old. Charles Arthur Bell, 61, appeared in court Feb.
The Royals, winners of 13 straight and leaders atop the Suburban East Conference, were stopped dead in their tracks Friday in a road game against Roseville. The No. 5-ranked Royals lost 74-52 to the No. 10-ranked Raiders. The loss dropped Woodbury into a tie with for the SEC lead with Roseville and marked the team's first loss since falling to Stillwater on Jan. 4. Roseville and Woodbury are now knotted at 13-3 in conference play with two games to go in the regular season. Woodbury's final two games will be played at home, the first against Park, and the finale versus Mounds View.
Robert O'Brien believes there's more to golf than knocking the ball around the course for a few hours. So when his boss tasked him with finding a community-based cause for their Woodbury business to support, he reached out to a golf-based program that he and others believe can instill strong values in young people. "When I found The First Tee I felt as if I found exactly what this community needs," O'Brien said. The First Tee program, which also gained support from the Woodbury Rotary Club, is now set to launch this summer at Eagle Valley Golf Course in Woodbury.
The Royals claimed an outright lead in the Suburban East Conference last week behind two victories that also extended Woodbury's winning streak to 12 games. Woodbury stomped White Bear Lake 95-57 on Feb. 12 before edging Forest Lake 81-78 in a Saturday, Feb. 14, road game. The wins improved Woodbury to 18-3 (12-2 SEC) and came on the heel of the Royals climbing even higher into the Class 4A rankings - now positioned at No.
It didn't take a seasoned cop to tell something wasn't right. During a routine traffic stop on Feb. 8, rookie Woodbury police officer Caitlin Jaworski peered inside a car while her field training officer conducted the stop. What she spotted was a cache of electronics that, thanks to a little cooperative communication between departments, was revealed to be loot stolen earlier in the day from a Cottage Grove home. Police ended up arresting the driver and two passengers. Felony charges followed.
East Ridge High School Principal Aaron Harper found himself fielding some complaints Thursday after a controversial poem meant to honor Black History Month was read aloud over the school's public address system. "The Black Child's Pledge," written in 1968 by Shirley Williams and published in the controversial Black Panther group's newspaper, was read during East Ridge's morning announcements as an ongoing activity honoring Black History Month. Not long after the poem was read, Twitter comments began bubbling up from Woodbury community members, including Kelly Fenton, whose son attends East
When Woodbury Baptist Church members visited their sister church in Costa Rica, they had a chance to eyeball the playground equipment there. Cindy Klatt, area missions leader for the church, remembered it well: two broken teeter-totters, a 1960s-era slide and two broken swing sets.