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 Afton woman who was the driver in a 2010 Washington County crash that killed one of her passengers was sentenced last month to a year in jail. Alicia Rae Haupert, 21, was spared a four-year prison term in the case, where she was convicted of criminal vehicular homicide. She was sentenced Sept. 16 after pleading guilty to the charge in June. According to a criminal complaint, Haupert was driving the morning of Jan. 29, 2010, when she lost control of a vehicle she was operating in May Township.
Charges were dropped last month against a man accused of trying to force himself on a Woodbury masseuse. Two counts of criminal sexual conduct were dismissed against St. Paul resident Houa Lor at a Sept. 23 hearing. The case had been set for a Sept. 26 jury trial. The case was dropped after police investigators lost touch with the alleged victim, a 24-year-old woman. Investigators had not been able to reach the woman for more than two months prior to the dismissal hearing, said First Assistant Washington County Attorney Steve Povolny. "We did everything we could," said Povolny said.
Call them the heart attack kids. One week after coming out on top of a nail biter, the Royals once again strung out the final outcome until the closing seconds - this time in a road game against White Bear Lake.
Twin Cities postal workers joined in on a coordinated nationwide effort Tuesday aimed at building congressional support for a bill that supporters say would spare the embattled service from massive cuts. That included about 40 supporters who rallied outside U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's offices in Woodbury.
One dog was killed and another was injured Sept. 19 after they were attacked by a third dog in a Woodbury neighborhood. Police were called at 4:07 p.m. to the area of Landau Drive and Elan Court for reports of a black dog running loose in the area after fatally biting another dog. According to a police report, a Minneapolis man told police he had been watching the dog at his girlfriend's residence in the 200 block of Cambria Court when it broke free from a chain. The dog ran after one of the dogs on their walk, fatally injuring one and injuring the other.
If the Woodbury-East Ridge matchup hasn't developed into one of the area's premier rivalries, someone forgot to tell the players and fans at Friday's game. On the final play in the game's second overtime, crowds on both sides of Royals Stadium roared, waiting to see whether East Ridge's two point-conversion attempt would seal the win or end in defeat for the visiting Raptors after drawing the game to 34-35. The two-point attempt was stuffed by the Royals and returned the rivalry's the Golden Griffin Trophy back into Woodbury possession.
A Woodbury teenager's days in District 833 may be numbered, depending on the outcome of allegations that he attempted to bring two knives and bags of marijuana to a high school dance. Woodbury police said formal charges were pending against a 14-year-old boy who was stopped Sept. 16 at East Ridge High School during a school dance.
A Woodbury man accused of exposing himself and propositioning teenage girls near Woodbury High School pleaded guilty this month to one count of indecent exposure. Andrew Ream, 28, entered the plea Sept. 19 in Washington County District Court. He is scheduled to be sentenced in the misdemeanor case on Dec. 15. The case is one of three where Ream is accused of driving up alongside juvenile females in the area surrounding Woodbury High School. In the case to which he pleaded guilty, Ream allegedly approached a girl Dec. 13, 2010, while she was walking home from school through Ojibway Park.
New Life Academy is in mourning. One of its most beloved teachers, Cheri Thomas, died last week after a long bout with cancer. "It has a pretty big impact," NLA secondary principal Lynn Atkinson said. "Cheri just really brought her uniqueness here. It is a pretty big hole. It is a loss. "It's definitely changed around here a little bit." Known by her students as "Frau" - the German word for "Mrs." - Thomas was the school's German teacher for 11 years. Atkinson began at the school in 2000, the same year Thomas started teaching there.
A Woodbury woman whose home fell into bank ownership after foreclosure is accused of gutting the house and selling off tens of thousands of dollars in fixtures before she moved out. The suspect, Riana Bennerotte, was charged in July with one count of defeating securing on realty, a felony calling for a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. She made her first court appearance Sept. 14 in Stillwater. The 35-year-old is accused of stripping out $57,650 worth of property from her former Eagle View Terrace house after ownership transferred to US Bank.