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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A gang member who admitted to stealing the window out of a vehicle in Woodbury was convicted and sentenced on a burglary charge this month. Yia Chang, 19, was sentenced Feb. 13 to 180 days in jail for his role in the case. The sentence also calls for him to spend five years on probation. Chang and another man, Cottage Grove resident Chee Yang - both confessed members of the True Blood Asian 22 street gang - were arrested in connection with a 2010 Woodbury burglary.
Motivated by an effort to ouster incumbents, a Woodbury man plans to run for Congress. Ron Seiford is currently collecting signatures to run as a Republican in the 4th Congressional District. The district, which now stretches into Woodbury following the release of new political boundaries, could pit Seiford against incumbent Betty McCollum, DFL-St. Paul. Seiford, a 42-year-old financial adviser, originally planned to challenge U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., until she announced plans to run in the new 6th Congressional District.
Public trails are to be part of Afton's new Cedar Bluff development. At least that's what Afton City Attorney Fritz Knaak said he discovered after reviewing documents filed through Washington County. "It couldn't be clearer," he told Afton City Council members on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Knaak had been directed by council members earlier this month to research the matter after the developer said in January that trails weren't planned. Council member Joe Richter asked how the paths are defined. Knaak said the council is charged with creating the plan. That leaves more work ahead.
It was all about heart last week at Liberty Ridge Elementary. Students and staff there participated Friday, Feb. 24, in the annual Jump Rope for Heart event.
Woodbury sophomore Justin Harold-Plakut led a charge of three Royals headed to state after Saturday's Section 4AAA individual wrestling meet. Harold-Plakut, Ty Johnson and Ben Donnelly all qualified for the state meet.
A Woodbury man was displaced from his home last week after fire destroyed a garage at the townhome he rented and smoke damaged its living space. The fire, which occurred late Thursday at 2232 Cypress Drive, was contained to an attached garage at a townhome. The resident, who was home at the time, escaped without harm.
Woodbury will tap off its biggest game of the year - so far - tonight at the Lion's Den. The game pits the Royals against Roseville in a battle for the outright lead of the Suburban East Conference. Both teams are locked in a tie for the lead at 13-2 in conference play. The Royals defeated the Raiders on the road in December, winning 89-75. Regardless who grabs the lead, tonight's game does not bring an end to the 2011-12 regular season.
Woodbury has a Senate district to itself and a current senator left to explore his options after the release of redistricting maps. New maps released today by a judicial panel re-carved the state's political boundaries and, with that, reshaped legislative representation for Woodbury for the next decade. The city will no longer share Senate representation with communities like Stillwater, Lake Elmo, Oak Park Heights and Baytown. The new district - Senate District 53 - comprises all of Woodbury and the southern tip of Maplewood, in addition to Landfall, the city to Woodbury's west.
Bail conditions were set Wednesday for a man accused of entering his ex-girlfriend's Woodbury home and ripping the head off her pet snake. Woodbury police arrested the man, 38-year-old Brian Jeffrey Schmidt of Anoka, on Tuesday - two days after the woman returned to her house to find her snake dead and her belongings soiled. Washington County prosecutors charged Schmidt with first-degree burglary, terroristic threats and torturing animals - all felonies. He remained in Washington County jail after District Court Judge Susan Miles set his bail Wednesday at $30,000 without conditions or $15,0
Woodbury's back on a roll. The Royals overcame a first-half deficit Tuesday on the road against White Bear Lake on their way to a 68-57 victory. The win improved Woodbury's overall record to 17-4 and 11-2 in the Suburban East Conference. The Royals trail SEC leading Roseville by a game. "We ran the floor tonight," senior Rickey Suggs said after the game. He led all scorers with 22 points on the night. Fellow Royals senior Ryan Fritze scored 13 against the Bears.