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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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.
The Woodbury woman convicted of doling out an unusual punishment ritual to her boyfriend's daughter must spend 60 days in jail, a Washington County judge decided this month. Ahavel Scherz, 27, was sentenced Nov. 7 to 365 days in jail - 305 five days of which were stayed by 10th Judicial Court Judge Mary Hannon, provided Scherz follows her probation for two years. A Washington County jury convicted her in August of one count of malicious punishment of a child, a gross misdemeanor, and one misdemeanor count of domestic assault.
Minnesota's transportation system hit a low point in 2007. The state - and the nation - recoiled in shock when the I-35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, taking 13 people's lives. The fallout left the state's transportation reputation tarnished and prompted U.S. Sen.
Cody Becker drove up to the Woodbury-area Best Buy on Wednesday from Hastings expecting to land unbeatable deals on electronics. He didn't expect to make a few friends along the way. Becker, along with Cottage Grove resident Mark Scherr and St. Paul man Andrew Summy, were first in line at the Oakdale Best Buy. The three were strangers, but said they had reached buddy status by Thanksgiving Day. So maybe it's not all about the deals, Becker said. "It's about the camaraderie," he said.
A Woodbury man made his first court appearance this month on allegations that he wrecked a woman's vehicle by beating on it. Louis Verdere White IV, 27, was charged with one count of first-degree property damage, a felony. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. According to a criminal complaint, police were called June 20 to Demori's Restaurant in Oakdale on a report of a male damaging cars in the parking lot. Police located the suspect, later identified as White, standing next to a black vehicle.
If Woodbury voters haven't yet gotten used to the revolving door of legislators it's seen over the past decade, one political analyst said they ought to. David Schultz, a Hamline University School of Business professor, said the city's changing demographics will likely mean political alliances shifting across different election seasons. "I see it continuing to be a swing district," Schultz said, noting that voting tendencies have changed as the city "is becoming more urban." He spoke Wednesday, Nov.