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 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.
After riding high all season, the East Ridge girls alpine ski team advanced Wednesday to the state alpine ski meet. The girls team team finished second in Section 4A competition -- a top-two place good enough to earn the state berth -- held at Wild Mountain.
A burglary suspect who left Woodbury police a note telling them at which watering hole they could find him was sentenced last month in Washington County. Jacob Louis Crisham, of St. Paul, was sentenced Jan. 23 to 30 days in jail and 10 years on probation in the case. He was accused of breaking into the Woodbury home of his child's mother.
Don't let the name fool you. The skateboarders featured in a new video titled "Street Loafers" - shot and produced by two Woodbury men - are anything but. The riders perform tricks most folks would have a hard time dreaming up. The athletes slide gracefully down steep handrails and land on their wheels. They ride streets. They ride vertical walls. They ride ramps. Loafing?
Woodbury Republicans have a presidential task ahead of them. On Tuesday, Feb. 7, when Minnesota's political parties gather to caucus, local GOP supporters will be weighing in on who they like best to challenge President Obama on Election Day. Other parties gathering to caucus will be the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Constitution, Green and Independence parties.
Behind a memorable performance by senior Justin Pahl, an underdog Raptors squad took down Woodbury in a home thriller. East Ridge topped Woodbury 70-69 in the game, bolstered by Pahl's 29 points and a defense that helped snuff out an 11 point deficit. Raptors head coach Paul Virgin said his team's defense was the difference maker in the rivalry game. "That Woodbury team is really good," he said of the Royals, who opened the week ranked No. 9 in the state. "And they're well coached.
Police were called last week to Woodbury High School after the parent of a high school wrestler allegedly slugged a coach. According to a Woodbury police report, the incident occurred Jan. 26 during a varsity wrestling match between Stillwater and Woodbury high schools. The victim, an assistant Stillwater High School wrestling coach, told police that a female parent had been interfering with wrestlers during the meet. He later told woman that "the bench is no place for parents," according to the report.
Jean Sanford is fired up about voter ID. "This is a hot-button issue for me," the St. Paul woman said, calling it "the most important campaign I've ever worked on." She and more than 100 other people attended a Woodbury forum Tuesday that tackled issues including voter ID - and provided evidence that the effort to require voters to provide state-issued identification could be among the most divisive issues lawmakers will face this legislative session. The meeting drew heckles and sharp comments from some attendees.