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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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.
The Woodbury officer-involved shooting case will be presented to a grand jury, a Ramsey County spokesman said Thursday. The case involving the three Woodbury officers who shot a man to death Aug. 31 at Woodbury's Red Roof Inn automatically goes to a grand jury because it involved a death, said Dennis Gerhardstein, public information officer for the Ramsey County Attorney's Office. "That's really the key," he said. Police fired on Mark E. Henderson, a hostage in an Aug. 31 incident at the Red Roof Inn, after he rushed out of a motel room where someone had pointed a gun at an officer.
Woodbury firefighters contained a small fire to a bedroom Thursday at a Sweetwater Path residence. No one was injured during the fire, which occurred before 3 p.m. at 11085 Sweetwater Path, said Woodbury fire Cmdr. John Wallgren. He said a "young adult" called to report her mattress had caught fire and was unable to extinguish it herself. Wallgren said he arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the second story of the home's south side.
Wednesday was a day for looking to the horizon for three Woodbury High School seniors. Kristina White, Mikayla Mayer and Lauren Puglisi all signed letters of intent to play Division I college sports as part of National Signing Day ceremonies. "We look forward to amazing things that will be happening on your college campuses," WHS Activities Director Jason Gonnion told the student-athletes during Wednesday's ceremony. White, a standout guard for the Royals on the basketball court, will be attending the University of Vermont next year. Nathan McGuire, who takes the reins this year as head co
Richard Herod III never considered himself a political activist. Not until he was told to remove a "vote no" yard sign from the yard of his Woodbury townhome. He said he felt backed into a corner, so he reacted. "Sometimes getting your voice out there is more important than being everyone's friend," Herod said. The townhome association order - which was later overturned - spurred a sea change in him that led to an effort to spread his opposition to the Minnesota ballot measure that sought to amend the state's Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Voters ousted Washington County Board Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek from office last week, opting for another Oakdale man with a long history of public service. Ted Bearth defeated Pulrkabek in the District 2 race for commissioner, winning 52 percent to 47 percent. "It's just gratifying that people put their faith and trust in me," Bearth said. "And it came home." The win brings an end to Pulkrabek's run on the board, to which he was first elected in 1998. He said voters in Washington County may have decided it was time for a change of scenery.
A Woodbury woman with deep roots in education and restorative justice came away with a win last week over a GOP candidate who focused on health care and schools. Democrat JoAnn Ward defeated Pam Cunningham in the House District 53A race, which comprises western Woodbury, Landfall and parts of Maplewood and Oakdale. Ward secured 11,932 votes - or 56 percent - to Cunningham's 9,269. "I'm speechless," Ward said after the win.