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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Washington County's libraries would be closed for business two days a week under a budget proposal announced last week. The proposal calls for libraries to be closed on Sundays and Mondays - an option proposed Tuesday, Aug. 16, by county library officials looking to resolve a funding shortfall. Two key revenue streams that currently total about $500,000 are being cut off for 2012: funding from Lake Elmo, which is poised to secede from the county library system, and state aid for county programs. The plan also calls for 5.5 full-time equivalent positions to be eliminated.
District 833 residents would sustain school funding at current levels, but that support plummets as they consider emptying more from their pocketbooks, according to a survey released this week. The survey, conducted last month by polling firm Decision Resources, probed district residents' attitudes on everything from general likes and dislikes to job performance ratings among the district's elected officials and workers. However, the district - which formulated the questions for the pollster - spent the majority of the survey gauging residents' feelings on taxes and another levy referendum.
If you've found yourself wondering why mail isn't arriving until the sun goes down, you're not alone. Several routes were cut in recent weeks at the Woodbury U.S. Postal Service location. Postal service spokesman Pete Nowacki said the route reduction has resulted in delivery delays for some Woodbury residents. He confirmed that in some cases the change has meant residents not receiving mail until 7:30 p.m. "We do understand that it is taking a little longer in some places," Nowacki said.
A Woodbury teenager accused of peddling drugs at East Ridge High School faces two felony charges after police allegedly witnessed him selling marijuana on school grounds. Washington County prosecutors in May charged Erik Dunn Flanders, 19, with third-degree drug sales to a minor and fourth-degree marijuana sales in a school zone.
An Afton man pleaded guilty Monday to one felony charge in a case where he was accused of spreading child pornography. Prosecutors said Leif Iverson, 21, pleaded guilty in Washington County District Court to possessing a pornographic work. An Oct. 19 sentencing date is scheduled, said First Assistant Washington County Attorney Steve Povolny. Iverson was accused of accessing a peer-to-peer online network where he allegedly shared pornography. Prosecutors said an investigation of his computer revealed more than 30 child sex-abuse videos.
A man and his toddler son were hospitalized Friday afternoon after a sport-utility vehicle struck the bicycle they were on at a Woodbury intersection. Both father and son received minor injuries, Woodbury police officer Jeff Gort said. The driver, a Woodbury woman, appeared uninjured. Gort said she would "very likely" be cited for failure to yield. The crash occurred just before 5 p.m. at the corner of Lake Road and Devonshire Drive. Gort said the motorist struck the bicyclists as she began turning east onto Lake Road from Devonshire Drive.
The former Woodbury resident accused in 2008 of setting fire aboard an airplane is back in custody after being extradited by federal agents from Mexico. Eder Haron Rojas, 22, appeared in United States federal court Thursday in Fargo after being a fugitive for more than two years, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. Rojas was charged in 2008 with one count of setting fire aboard an aircraft - a charge stemming from a May 7, 2008, incident.
The awards keep piling up for Woodwinds Health Campus. The latest came last week, when the hospital was named a "Best Hospital" in the Twin Cities by U.S. News Media and World Report. The rankings selected 720 hospitals nationwide from a list of about 5,000, according to a press release.
Did the "Jersey Shore" wash up on streets of Woodbury? Perhaps so, according to a couple men who offered a unique description of their alleged assailants in an assault case. According to a Woodbury police report, a patron at Throwbacks said he was beat up July 23 by one of two men described as "Guidos" - a term popularized by the Italian-American members of the popular "Jersey Shore" cable television program. The report states that the two suspects were at the bar and became loud.
A Woodbury man appears in court today on charges that he threatened another man with a handgun. Thomas John McGillis, 47, was charged with terroristic threats - a felony - after a July 10 incident at a Woodbury home. The charges stemmed from an incident at McGillis' residence. A criminal complaint states the ex-husband of McGillis' wife came to the residence that day to pick up a child. According to the complaint, McGillis met the man at the door.