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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The owners of a popular Woodbury dance studio will cut a rug Saturday with some Twin Cities media personalities. Tropical Ballroom plays host Saturday morning to a charity benefit to be staged in the vein of "Dancing with the Stars." Tricia Wood, co-owner of the studio, said the event will feature KSTP meteorologist Patrick Hammer and KS95 radio host Dez. Tricia Wood will be paired with Hammer, while her husband and studio co-owner James Wood, will dance with Dez. Tricia Wood said KSTP will be at the studio beginning at 8 a.m. for a segment to air at 8:40 a.m. Saturday.
Woodbury emergency workers were busy Saturday afternoon responding to two crashes in less than an hour, including a rollover on Interstate 94. The first crash was reported at 1:29 p.m. on I-94 just west of I-494. According to a police report, three vehicles were involved in the crash; one vehicle overturned as a result of the collision. Five patients were transported to Woodwinds Health Campus, according to a Minnesota State Patrol accident report. The crash occurred when one of the motorists, identified as Landfall resident Lynette Elsola, stopped for debris in the lane.
Grace Chandler is ready for lift-off. Fresh off the heels of a prestigious art distinction through a Google contest, the Woodbury teenager now finds herself in dually elite company. Chandler learned last month that her entry in USA Today's "Because it Flew" art contest earned her finalist status. The contest, which honors the end of NASA's space shuttle program, drew hundreds of entries from around the country.
A Republican-led forum on reform issues drew numerous critics of GOP policy Thursday at a Woodbury City Hall meeting that became surprisingly partisan for organizers. House Majority Leader Matt Dean, one of several lawmakers who led the meeting, said it was the first time the so-called "Reform 2.0" sessions had been overtaken by politics. "The politics is counter-productive," Dean, R-Dellwood, said after the meeting. "It's a waste of time." He said he expected a more policy-driven discussion, where citizens could provide input for the legislative process.
Jim Gelbmann said he still has unfinished business. After serving 16 years on District 833 School Board, the Woodbury man said he is seeking re-election in hopes of tackling one last major issue: the state's education finance formula. "The Minnesota Miracle of 1973 has become the Minnesota nightmare for a number of Minnesota districts," said Gelbmann, one of seven candidates vying for three School Board seats. He said districts like South Washington County find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes time for referendum measures.
A St. Paul man caught with more than 100 pieces of stolen jewelry in his vehicle didn't have the one thing that might have prevented his run-in with police: a full gas tank. Washington County prosecutors on Oct. 19 charged Carl Junior Jordan, 23, with one count of second-degree burglary, a felony. Police said evidence from Jordan's vehicle linked him to a Woodbury burglary where thousands of dollars' worth of jewelry were reported stolen. Woodbury police were first alerted to suspicious activity just after midnight Oct.
A Woodbury teenager accused of going on a neighborhood burglary spree earlier this year must serve four months in jail, a Washington County judge decided. Jonathon James Hanson, 19, was convicted and sentenced late last month on two felony burglary charges and one count of receiving stolen property. In addition to the 120-day jail sentence, Hanson must pay restitution to his victims and pay a $50 fine. Hanson was first charged in January after a neighbor of his in the 2400 block of Wimbledon Bay reported that numerous items had been stolen from her vehicle.
Sen. Ted Lillie asked members of the Woodbury business community for a show of hands. Who, the District 56 Republican asked on Friday, supports spending public money for a new Vikings stadium? Not a hand went up. He rephrased.
Authorities called on motorists and bicyclists to remain aware of one another last week, just days after Woodbury police responded to a vehicle vs. bicycle crash. Though fatal crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians vs. vehicles were down from 2010, state officials on Oct. 7 reiterated a call for safety. "Drivers must treat every corner and intersection as a crosswalk, whether it's marked or unmarked, and stop for crossing pedestrians," says Gordy Pehrson of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.
Woodbury coach Andy Hill said last week he wanted to come out right away and punch Cretin-Derham Hall in the face. But when his Royals matched up Friday against the undefeated Suburban East Conference leader, it was the Raiders who landed most of the blows in the 43-4 home loss. Woodbury dropped to 4-3 on the season and in the SEC, while Cretin continued its unbeaten streak. Royals coach Andy Hill said "way too many mistakes" led to the loss - just the problem he said last week he was looking to avoid. "We've got a real good and dangerous team if we can eliminate mistakes," he said, questi