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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DENMARK TOWNSHIP -- Cody Fudally had just completed a three-mile foot race where he battled flames, long hills, mud puddles and high winds. "I'm actually kind of wanting to do it again right now," the Apple Valley man said. "Seriously." Indeed, there was madness of all kinds on display Sunday at Afton Alps Ski Area.
ST. PAUL -- A group of Republican lawmakers proposed legislation Thursday that they said would prevent Minnesota's government from coming to a screeching halt in the event of another political stalemate. "This cannot be allowed to happen again," Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Lake Elmo, said of the state government shutdown, which lasted 20 days. He proposed reviving a 2006 bill authored by Lt. Gov.
By Mike Longaecker Firefighters said a lightning strike was to blame this afternoon for a house fire that left a Woodbury home heavily damaged. The house, located at 2725 Leyland Trail, received major smoke and fire damage to its interior, Woodbury Fire Department Commander Greg Schlichting said. No one was home at the two-story house at the time of the fire.
Minnesota flags flew at half-staff Monday in honor of a 24-year-old Woodbury soldier who died earlier this month. Ian Williams McConnell, an active duty Marine and 2005 Hill-Murray School graduate, died July 4. According to a news release from Gov. Mark Dayton's office, McConnell served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, where he performed explosive ordinance disposal. "Sgt. McConnell was compassionate and selfless and had a good sense of humor," according to a proclamation issued by Dayton. His parents are Andy and Elizabeth McConnell.
A Washington County judge in June sentenced a man convicted of burglarizing a Woodbury house to prison time. Cameron Thomas Lloyd, no permanent address, was sentenced to 34 months in prison. He was convicted in March of first-degree burglary after entering a guilty plea in the case. According to Minnesota court records, the case represents the fourth felony guilty plea Lloyd - who formerly lived in Woodbury - has entered since August 2010. All four were burglary convictions, according to state records.
MINNEAP0LIS -- Gov. Mark Dayton says ending the state government shutdown is so important that he is willing to drop his long-held demand to increase taxes on Minnesota's top earners. His announcement this morning was convincing enough to Republicans who control the Legislature to agree to meet with him this afternoon.
A Maplewood man whose blood test revealed a litany of drugs and alcohol following a Woodbury crash was charged in Washington County District Court with a felony and two misdemeanor offenses. Jake Lee Michael Fremont was charged with one count of felony drug possession and two counts related to driving under the influence.
Police say a Cottage Grove man was working to benefit a gang when he allegedly served as the getaway driver in a theft operation targeting Woodbury houses. Washington County prosecutors in May charged 21-year-old Chee Yang with one count of committing a first-degree burglary for the benefit of a gang - a felony that calls for a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $35,000 fine.
A Minnesota woman whose alleged drunken auto rampage began with a crash in Woodbury must spend two months in jail and repay thousands in medical costs. Renae Tollefson, 55, was sentenced to 60 days in jail, up to three years on probation and was ordered to pay her victims $8,735. The Lino Lakes woman pleaded guilty Feb.