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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Some of Minnesota's top brass donned hard hats and work boots Monday during a Habitat for Humanity event in Woodbury. The 11th annual CEO Build Day was held at Woodbury's Garden Gate Development. Homebuyers pounded nails alongside company executives from businesses including Cargill, the city of Woodbury, HealthEast, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, The Opus Group, Wells Fargo and Xcel Energy. Speakers at the event included Koji Aku, a mother of two who will be moving into the development. "We are very happy," she told the assembled group of executives and Habitat officials.
The home of a former Woodbury firefighter was destroyed early Saturday, Oct. 6, after fire swept through the house. The home, owned by retired Woodbury firefighter Tom Richardson, was a total loss, said Woodbury Fire Cmdr. John Wallgren. Two people home at the time were able to escape the burning house, located at 2601 Brittany Lane. A pet cat succumbed to smoke inhalation, Wallgren said. A female resident was taken in for a medical evaluation, but was released, he said. No firefighters were injured in the fire, which was first reported at 12:47 a.m. Saturday.
A Woodbury man convicted of possessing black tar heroin was sentenced Sept. 19 to three days in jail and a $500 fine. Robert John Ennis, 19, received a stay of adjudication on his sentence, which calls for five years' probation.
Woodbury found its offense again Friday, but it wasn't enough against a speedy Roseville team. The Raiders handed the Royals their third loss in a row, winning 36-22 during Roseville's homecoming game. "We gave them too many big plays," said Woodbury football coach Andy Hill. Those included three jump-ball passes hauled in for touchdowns and a kickoff return that broke the Royals' back. The Royals entered the second half with a manageable 14-13 deficit.
Police cited a River Falls, Wis., woman for theft Sept. 13 after an incident at the Woodbury Walmart, where the suspect allegedly pushed a security guard to the ground. Officers were called to the store for a theft in progress involving a female wearing a black-and-white zebra-print dress who was seen leaving the store with unpaid merchandise. Walmart loss prevention workers followed the woman to the parking lot, where the suspect turned over several clothing items.
A man who left his cellphone behind at the scene of a Woodbury burglary was sentenced to prison time. Andre T. Holt, 26, was sentenced to 49 months - two-thirds of which must be served in prison, according to Minnesota law. The West St. Paul man was convicted and sentenced Sept.
A message of economic development ran up against the promise of leadership last week as candidates vying to represent Woodbury on the Washington County Board staked out their positions during a public forum. Challenger Nancy Remakel, a Woodbury planning commissioner, focused on boosting economic development in the county during a Tuesday, Sept. 25, League of Women Voters forum. "Economic development is a very big challenge for this side of town," the former Woodbury City Council member said.
The Royals spent much of the week toiling over its struggles on extra points.
A man accused of ripping the head off his ex-girlfriend's pet snake was sentenced last month on a burglary conviction. A 21-month prison sentence was stayed for Brian Jeffrey Schmidt, 38, provided he abides terms of a five-year probation. The Anoka man must spend a year in jail, 10th District Court Judge Tad Jude ordered. Schmidt will receive credit for 201 days already served. Other terms of the sentence call for Schmidt to pay $450 in restitution, to serve a lifetime firearm ban and a life suspension of his voting privileges.
This week's Homecoming festivities kicked off with the induction of a former NFL player into Woodbury High School's Hall of Fame. Chip Lohmiller, a 1984 WHS graduate, was honored Monday -- the first day of Homecoming activities at the high school. Lohmiller was an all-state player for the Royals before he played four years of college football at the University of Minnesota. He was drafted in 1988 by the Washington Redskins, where, as a kicker, he went on to win a Super Bowl during his nine-year NFL career. "You're from Woodbury," Lohmiller told a packed gymnasium Monday.