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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An investigation into juvenile sex trafficking turned up a teenage girl and the arrest of a Little Rock, Ark., man this month in Woodbury. A Minneapolis police officer investigating juvenile sex trafficking activity spotted an ad Aug. 9 on the website Backpage.com that depicted the image of a provocatively dressed young woman offering "unrushed service, full of pleasure." The officer called the number on the ad and spoke with a female who said she was at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury.
Prison time was ordered for a Minnesota woman convicted of participating in an identity theft ring that was busted up at a Woodbury hotel. Angeline Marie Jereczek, 28, was sentenced July 27 to 6 ½ years in prison following a February 2012 guilty plea to a felony identity theft charge.
t's just after 2 p.m. on a Tuesday at Royals football stadium. Beneath a high sun, a group of teenagers works its way through a routine on the field. But instead of pads and helmets, these students march across the field with gear made of brass, steel and wood. They are the Woodbury High School marching band, and they're well into what's known as "Heat Week" - five days of intense training designed to turn the students into a cohesive unit. Band Director Brent Comeau calls it "rite of passage" for marching band members.
An untimely pizza order spelled doom for a St. Paul man who faces a felony drug charge, according to Woodbury police. A criminal complaint against the 28-year-old man spells out the allegations like this: The man was at the Red Roof Inn on Dec. 20, 2011, while Woodbury police were combing the motel for mail fraud suspects.
David Carlson doesn't mind bucking the system. After serving four years as a Marine Corps infantryman, the Woodbury resident said he got his fill of falling in line. "That's the end of that," the 30-year-old said. Carlson said it's that spirit that has energized his campaign to defeat state Rep. Kurt Bills, R-Rosemount. He, Bills and Bob Carney Jr. face off on Tuesday, Aug. 14, in a Republican primary to challenge U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Bills is the Minnesota Republican Party's endorsed candidate, a distinction that offers heavy support from the party.
A Woodbury man added to his list of burglary allegations when he allegedly broke into an Applewood Road home and stole prescription pills. Paul Thomas Harrington, 18, is due in court this month on a second-degree burglary charge. The allegation is the latest for Harrington, who was arrested in December 2011 after numerous reports of break-ins around his home. Harrington was charged with two counts of second-degree burglary connected to those incidents.
It was a night to unite in Woodbury. Children squealed with joy Tuesday at the sight of fire trucks that made stops across the city. Meanwhile, adults enjoyed food and laughs with neighbors. The interactions were part of the nationwide Night to Unite event, where neighbors came together for block parties and gatherings at neighborhood parks. At Evergreen West Park in Woodbury, that included a visit from Woodbury firefighters, who demonstrated hands-only CPR as part of the Take Heart Woodbury campaign, which aims to train 7,000 residents in the method.
A woman convicted in a 2008 southeastern Minnesota murder case pleaded guilty last week in a Woodbury check fraud case while awaiting arraignment on separate mail theft charges. Samantha Mary-Helen Siples, 23, pleaded guilty Thursday, Aug. 2, to one count of possessing stolen checks, a felony that calls for a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Siples was sentenced to 41 months in prison in 2008 on a murder-related charge.
Kelly DeBrine aimed to have a civil discussion on the issue of taxes. She got that last week - for the most part. Technicalities surrounding taxes took a back seat Tuesday, July 31, to more abstract questions probing attendees' support for public amenities and visions for quality of life.
For many high school students, the end of summer means winding down before the inevitable return to the books. There will be no such late-summer rest for James Fenton. Later this month, Fenton, who will be a senior at East Ridge High School, will be working at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Fenton was one of two Minnesotans selected to serve as pages at the event, where GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is expected to receive his party's nomination to run against President Obama in the fall. "It is a very big honor," the 17-year-old said of his selection to work at th