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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Firefighters from multiple agencies, including Woodbury, responded to a house fire in Afton. According to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, firefighters battled a blaze at a residence in the 1700 block of Majestic Pines Trail. A spokeswoman with the sheriff's office said there was no one home at the time of the fire, which was first reported at 12:51 p.m. The exact address was not released. Access to the area near the fire was still closed off at 4 p.m. A Washington County sheriff's deputy closed off access to the area beginning at 15th Street and Manning Avenue.
With any rough patches apparently smoothed over between District 833 and a neighboring preschool, Woodbury City Council members gave final approval Wednesday, May 23, for an addition at Liberty Ridge Elementary. The approval clears the way for construction on the $4.5 million construction project, which was sought by the district to solve an overcrowding problem at the school, located in the Stonemill Farms development. The expanded facility will provide space for up to 180 kindergarteners and 60 preschoolers, said Mike Vogel, District 833 assistant to the superintendent for operations.
Morris Bjornebo took a ride back in history last month. The Woodbury resident was chosen to participate in a trip to Washington, D.C., through the Honor Flight Network - a program that flies military veterans to the nation's capital to tour historic sites and memorials. "It's something he dreamed of for a long time and finally got to go," his wife, Phyllis, said. Bjornebo, a World War II veteran, was one of 100 veterans who flew out to Washington for the one-day trip.
Gov. Mark Dayton's veto of legislation containing a provision that would have benefited a Woodbury project isn't slowing momentum behind the effort, city officials said. "It's definitely on task," Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said. Dayton struck down a tax bill that contained a provision that would have granted the city of Woodbury an exception from state law governing public referendums on sports facilities.
The developer and builder of a large-scale development once dubbed Woodbury's "city within a city" are being sued by association members who claim shoddy work threatens to doom the buildings long before their life expectancy. A trial originally set to begin this week involving five defendants - all involved in the development of residential units at CityWalk's English Manor Homes - has been postponed until October. According to online court records, the jury trial is now set for Oct.
Woodbury city officials recognized local business community leaders last week at an event where Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens gave a run-down of accomplishments in commerce. Jobs in Woodbury's education and health service sectors are on the uptick, Stephens told a gathering of local business owners Thursday at the city's Business Town Meeting, held at Central Park. The city, which Stephens noted holds one-quarter of all jobs in Washington County, will continue reaching out through a strategy relying heavily on promotion of the city as an attractive place to do business. "We want to continue
A new Minnesota Vikings stadium got the green light at the Capitol, despite a lack of support from Woodbury's three lawmakers. The bill, which was signed Monday by Gov. Mark Dayton after being passed last week by legislators, calls for the state to contribute $348 million toward the new stadium - which is to be built in the approximate footprint of the Metrodome - while the city of Minneapolis will pay $150 million.
Every year the Relay for Life of South Washington County event raises gobs of cash to battle cancer. On April 26, a group of East Ridge High School students got to see where some of that money goes. The students visited the Richard M. Schulze American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Minneapolis, where they provided ice cream treats to the facility's residents and guests. The Hope Lodge, located in southeast Minneapolis near the University of Minnesota campus, provides private rooms for cancer patients and their caregivers.
Safety and homeowners' rights continued to be the biggest concerns Wednesday as Woodbury City Council members met with Washington County officials to discuss plans for the upcoming Woodbury Drive construction project. Members of the Washington County transportation engineering department unveiled the latest look of an evolving plan for the corridor, which looks to install two roundabouts on Woodbury Drive - one at Lake Road, the other at Bailey Road.
A Twin Cities woman accused of pocketing health care payments for elderly and vulnerable adult patients in Woodbury was sentenced last month to 30 days in jail and to pay restitution. The woman, Sunny May Bloomquist, pleaded guilty in December 2011 to one count of felony theft. She was accused of depositing more than $24,000 in funds for home-nursing care into her personal checking account. In addition to the jail and restitution, Bloomquist was ordered at the April 19 sentencing hearing to serve seven years on probation.