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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Not so long ago, Bryce Madsen had his doubts. He spotted a photo of a youth Muscular Dystrophy Association ambassador and said, "That'll never be me," his mother, Kelly Madsen recalled. How wrong he was. The 10-year-old Woodbury resident was treated to a major surprise today when he was named the 2013 Minnesota Statewide Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) of Minnesota. MDA officials arrived Thursday morning at Bailey Elementary, where Bryce is in fifth grade, and presented him with the distinction during class.
Music takes a high priority at the Nelson household. Instruments at the Woodbury home include a grand piano and a didgeridoo - the Australian aboriginal wind instrument that emits a wobbling bass sound. However, the most notable sounds in the house come from the Nelsons' four sons - all of whom are members of the renowned Minnesota Boychoir. The Nelson brothers, along with a family from Shoreview, represent the largest family contingent with four brothers apiece in the 150-boy choir. "Such a unique experience and opportunity to have all four boys from one family as members of the Minnesota
State dollars for a bus-rapid transit system through Woodbury would begin flowing as soon as this year under a proposal being considered this week by a transportation panel. The Gateway Corridor Commission is expected to vote at its Thursday, Dec. 13, on a proposal for Washington County to request $1 million in borrowed funds from the state. According to a commission memo, the funding would go toward preliminary engineering work. The memo states the request is based on "bond-eligible" work to begin no earlier than 2014.
Snow continued piling up Sunday around Woodbury thanks to the season's first major snowstorm that was leaving double-digit accumulation levels in the area. The National Weather Service extended a winter storm warning through midnight tonight -- just as temperatures were expected to plummet. Woodbury's forecast calls for an overnight low of 9 degrees and a Monday high of 12. Snow accumulation for the Woodbury area could reach 14 inches by storm's end, according to the weather service. No official accumulation totals for Woodbury were posted by the NWS by 3:30 p.m.
A shoplifting stop turned into a felony case for two St. Paul Park people arrested Monday in Woodbury. Woodbury police were called Nov. 24 to Walmart on Hudson Road for a shoplifting report. A Walmart loss-prevention worker told the officer that a man and a woman were observed concealing about $20 worth of merchandise inside the woman's purse before both suspects walked out of the store. When police went to search the female suspect, identified in a criminal complaint as 27-year-old Shelby Cook, they found a syringe tucked into her sock.
Afton Alps is being purchased by the operators of one of North America's most well-known skiing destinations, officials announced today. According to a news release, Vail Resorts, Inc., has entered into agreements to buy Afton Alps and a ski resort in Michigan for a combined $20 million. The buyer plans to "upgrade and enhance" the skiing experience at Afton Alps and at Mount Brighton, Mich. Part of the acquisition strategy appears to be an effort to drive ski trips to Vail and other ski areas owned by the operator.
Nick Boyer doesn't think physical fitness should be limited to those who can afford it. The Woodbury resident and personal trainer this month launched an organization called Power of Exercise. The concept behind the nonprofit is to provide a gym membership and personal trainer services at no cost. "I see a need and an opportunity to help people who can't afford it," Boyer said. The plan, he explained, calls for Power of Exercise to receive nominations for prospective clients through the organization's website.
A Woodbury woman appeared in court last week on allegations that she threatened another person with a knife at a group home and damaged a police car. According to a criminal complaint, officers were called Nov. 21 to a group home in the 7600 block of Carillon Plaza East for an assault report and located the suspect, Katianna Haselbauer, locked in her bedroom. Also inside the bedroom was a Ginsu steak knife. Police talked with staff workers at the home who said Haselbauer had left the home earlier in the night and came back with the knife.
After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 10 years ago, Nancy Roberts decided to write. The disease had stripped Roberts of her peripheral vision, so the Woodbury resident took time away from work as a nurse and became introspective of her situation.
The sound is unmistakable once you take a step inside Royal Oaks Elementary. In a rhythmic pattern, you hear "clack-clack, clackity clack." And so it is announced: cloggers are in the house. Each Tuesday through this week, Royal Oaks has been home to clogging instruction through District 833 Community Education. Instructor Jean Morgan - an experienced clogger since first learning the steps in 1989 - shows beginner and intermediate cloggers the way.