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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Woodbury residents voted in their third senator in six years this week when Democrat Susan Kent defeated incumbent Republican Ted Lillie. Kent drew 52 percent of the vote to Lillie's 48 percent, making her the second Woodbury Democrat elected to the Senate since Kathy Saltzman won in 2006. Kent, who will represent Woodbury, Landfall and parts of Maplewood and Oakdale in Senate District 53, said she thought voters responded to her message of bridge-building between parties. "Voters are just so tired of the partisan gridlock and I have really committed to do my best and bring my skills to wor
Nathan Thorn needed to be occupied as a youngster. Diagnosed with attention deficit disorder as a child living in Woodbury, he discovered he had trouble focusing. He would drift off while playing the outfield in baseball. He was constantly switching up positions in football to stay engaged. Then his aunt found a coupon for a karate class - a discovery that changed his life. Thorn's introduction to karate set him on a path that led to a prestigious distinction this year for the 1997 Woodbury High School graduate.
With all but one precinct reporting, all signs pointed to Democrat Susan Kent ousting incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Lillie in a Senate District 53 race that helped shift control back into DFL hands. Kent, of Woodbury, led 53-47 percent with 23 of 24 precincts reporting. The anticipated Kent victory followed a statewide trend that ushered in Democratic control back into the Senate after Republicans seized control of the upper chamber in 2010.
Voting started early in Woodbury this week. Students at Primrose School of Woodbury got an early civics lesson Friday, when they cast ballots as part of "Election Day at Primrose." Preschool and kindergarten students there received a primer on civic responsibility and the voting process. They ultimately cast votes for the monthly school mascot and snack choices. Some students picked between cheese and yogurt, while others picked between bananas or crackers and cheese. Adults will be voting in Woodbury on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
A Woodbury woman was injured after her vehicle drove off Interstate 94, crashed through a fence and plunged into Battle Creek Lake in Woodbury in an incident authorities described as a suicide attempt. "This was an attempt to harm herself," said Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske, who added that a suicide note was found at the 54-year-old woman's home. The woman survived the crash and was taken to Regions Hospital in St.
Washington County workers were given remedial training following a recent ballot discrepancy in Woodbury. The issue came to county officials' attention earlier this month after a Woodbury woman went to the county's Woodury service center and attempted to vote early. The woman, Lisa Hartzell, went to fill out the ballot and expected to find the District 53A race between Pam Cunningham and JoAnn Ward. It wasn't there. Hartzell took the ballot back to the service desk and explained the problem.
All season long, Andy Hill said his team was capable of beating any other team - if his Royals played to their potential. Woodbury proved that when it mattered most - on Friday in the quarterfinal round the Section 4AAAAAA playoffs against Cretin-Derham Hall. The Royals - heavy underdogs after compiling a 3-5 regular-season record and drawing a sixth seed in the playoffs - stunned the No. 9-ranked team in the state on its own turf, winning 21-14. "We played a full 48 minutes," Hill said, calling the Cretin upset "a huge win for our program." The win over No.
Travis Martinson, the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce's first-ever executive director, is resigning her post. Chamber board members were first made aware of the move Wednesday in an email from Chairwoman Liz Fleischhacker. Martinson addressed chamber members today in an email confirming her resignation. She said she has accepted a job as a development manager at her church in Burnsville. "I am so proud of what we have been able to accomplish in the time that I have been in Woodbury," Martinson said in the email.
Bill Pulkrabek believes Washington County is a top-flight organization and he wants to keep it that way. He just wants taxpayers to be shielded from as much impact the county delivers as possible. "I see my role as the advocate for the average taxpayer," said Pulkrabek, the incumbent District 2 commissioner who was first elected to the board in 1998. He goes up against Oakdale resident Ted Bearth in the race for District 2, which includes eastern Woodbury, Lake Elmo and Oakdale.
Public service is nothing new to Ted Bearth. He spent 24 years at Oakdale City Hall serving as a longtime City Council member and six years as the city's mayor. Now Bearth has his sights set on another public office: Washington County Board's District 2 seat. He faces incumbent Washington County Board Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek in the district, which comprises eastern Woodbury, Oakdale and Lake Elmo. Bearth said he had been asked by community members to run for the seat each year Pulkrabek has been up for re-election. "Now I said, 'Hey, maybe I should,'" Bearth said. He said he's runnin