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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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.
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.