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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Police this month arrested a homeless man accused of stealing a Woodbury resident's car and intentionally crashing it in Wisconsin with hopes that it would never be seen again. Andrew W. Hammett, 20, was charged by warrant in June with one count of motor vehicle theft, a felony. He was booked July 4 into Washington County jail.
Woodbury is looking to outfit its upgraded Bielenberg Sports Center with sustainability enhancements and it's turning to the state to help foot the bill. A list of proposed bonding projects released last week by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development included a $1.5 million request from the city of Woodbury to fund a portion of the Bielenberg Sports Center (BSC) project.
Denny Farrell was well aware of the homeless population in Washington County. So when three Guardian Angels Catholic Church members who hoped to bring a shelter to the church approached Farrell - the parish administrator and longtime volunteer with Twin Cities-based homeless organizations - he was all ears. "I totally understood what was happening," he said. The effort got immediate traction at the church and the surrounding faith community. Now organizers at Guardian Angels are eyeing a Sept. 3 date to open what officials say will be the only homeless shelter in Washington County.
A Woodbury woman was indicted on federal charges that she created an alternative identity to receive government payments to live in a low-income housing development here. An indictment was unsealed Monday, July 16, alleging Oluremi George, 53, received more than $18,000 in low-income housing tax credits through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to a justice department news release.
An Oakdale woman appeared in Washington County District Court last week on multiple drug charges, including allegations that she possessed a half-pound of methamphetamines during a traffic stop. The amounts of drugs discovered are clear indications Brand was selling the product, according to a Woodbury investigator. "That's a fair amount that would indicate it's not for personal use," said Woodbury police Cmdr. Jay Alberio. Danielle Brand, 25, appeared in court Thursday, July 12, on new felony drug charges after first being arrested in February 2012. She was charged Feb.
Garrison Keillor used his familiar Minnesota voice as a rallying cry Monday, July 16, for local Democrats. The host of "A Prairie Home Companion" leaned hard on his Minnesota roots as he urged activists from Senate District 53 to help defeat Republican opponents in the fall. Keillor, who led a parade of high-profile Democrats - including Jim Klobuchar, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk and State Auditor Rebecca Otto - kicked off his speech at the District 53 "DFL Unity Picnic" by describing the route he enjoys taking when descending into the Twin Cities on airplane flights. The 69-year-old li
Prison time was ordered last month for a man suspected of stealing two motorcycles in one day in Woodbury. James Barnett Jr. was sentenced June 27 to 21 months in prison for a felony theft conviction stemming from the case. Barnett was accused of stealing two motorcycles, each valued at about $10,000 apiece, from neighboring locations in Woodbury. A criminal complaint states Woodbury police received two reports Aug. 29, 2011, of motorcycle thefts - one occurring in the 1600 block of Century Circle and one from the 1500 block of Parkwood Drive.
The Woodbury Blue Legion team was riding a wave of rock-solid pitching as the season enters the halfway mark. Woodbury was tripped up, however, on Monday, July 9, in a road game at East Ridge.
A case that prosecutors said is emblematic of the hazards of sharing information online has led to jail time and thousands in fines for a Woodbury man. A Washington County district court judge on June 22 sentenced Woodbury resident Timothy Noirjean to 150 days in jail, five years on probation and more than $15,000 in fines. Noirjean, 27, pleaded guilty in March to 13 counts of electronic identity theft. He was accused of posing as a Facebook friend to an Oakdale woman and hacking her information - and information belonging to her friends.
A bicyclist was hospitalized Friday afternoon with minor injuries after being struck by a vehicle at Queens Drive and Valley Creek Road in Woodbury. The crash, which occurred at 4:33 p.m., involved a 37-year-old male bicyclist from St. Paul and a 49-year-old female Woodbury motorist. Woodbury police Sgt. Dave Brennan said all reports from witnesses were that the vehicle was proceeding on a green light.