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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Woodbury took the top team in Minnesota to overtime Wednesday, but the combination of fouls and missed free throws eventually caught up to the underdogs in the quarterfinal round of the Class AAAA state tournament. After surviving under a second-half Woodbury surge, the three-time defending state champions proved the superior team in the critical overtime frame, winning 82-75. "We all know we played one heck of a regulation and fell short in overtime," said senior Woodbury forward Connor McKeen. Shot making - especially from the free-throw line - proved to be Woodbury's weakness.
An Afton man made his first court appearance this month on allegations that he recklessly shot off his shotgun inside city limits. Stephen F. Mahley, 43, was charged in December with one count of reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality - a felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine. According to a criminal complaint: Washington County sheriff's deputies were called to Mahley's residence at 3:28 a.m. Dec.
An Oakdale woman who claimed drug use clouded memories of whether or not she stole from a car in Woodbury was spared a two-year prison term, but was sentenced to probation and jail for a theft conviction. Nicole Bremer, 30, was sentenced Feb. 17 by 10th District Court Judge Gregory Galler to 89 days in jail.
Roseville may have edged Woodbury for the Suburban East Conference title, but the Royals came back and beat the Raiders where it counts: in the Section 4AAAA championship game. Woodbury reached the state tournament Thursday, thanks to a 68-66 overtime win over Roseville at East Ridge High School. For Woodbury's seniors, the accomplishment represents the realization of a childhood goal. Many of the players have played together since elementary school. "We play so well together," said senior Tyler Graves.
The concept of high-speed buses on Interstate 94 is rising to the top. Officials on Thursday shared findings that show two options for bus rapid-transit as the most preferred among a slate of possibilities an east metro panel has been studying for more than a year. One of the two preferred options calls for high speed buses to operate in a bus-only lane out of St. Paul that would also run down the I-94 median, where possible.
A renowned Minnesota hockey player and the founder of a Woodbury congregation died last month after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The Rev. Frank Sanders Jr. died Feb. 17 at the age of 62. Sanders, who later became a Woodbury resident, left a budding professional hockey career in the 1970s to pursue the ministry. He would later found the Woodbury-based Spirit of Life Bible Church.
Woodbury drops White Bear, faces Roseville Thursday It's two down and one to go for the Royals' pursuit of a state tournament berth. That effort continued Saturday, when Woodbury edged White Bear Lake 74-71 in the Section 4AAAA semifinals at East Ridge High School. "We knew it was going to be a tough one," Woodbury coach Scott Swansson said of the Bears, who advanced to the semifinal round with an upset win over Tartan.
Mike Osborn has a passion for pet food - but not just any kind. Osborn, owner of the new Pet Evolution store in Woodbury, is focused on delivering products that promote health and wellness in pets. "We won't just have any brand just because it sells," he said. "I only have brands I like that are healthy and good for your pet." He and business partner Rian Thiele opened Pet Evolution last month in the strip mall on Eagle Creek Lane near Angelina's Café. The businessmen described the store as a specialty pet food shop.
Woodbury advanced Wednesday to the Section 4AAAA semifinals with a convincing win over Stillwater. The Royals topped the Suburban East Conference foe 79-56 in section quarterfinals, which sets the stage for a pairing with another SEC contender: White Bear Lake. The Bears upset No. 2-seeded Tartan Wednesday in a 53-50 win. Both section semifinal games will be played Saturday night at East Ridge High School. Woodbury and White Bear Lake play the first game, set for a 6 p.m.
The political landscape in and around Woodbury is beginning to take shape with the election season about to kick into a higher gear. That began last week when Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Lake Elmo, announced plans to move to Woodbury, where he plans to run in the new Senate District 53. Redrawn lines in his current home district left him competing with current Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake. "As an incumbent, it places friends in the same districts.