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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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. According to the release, 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.
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.
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.
Two women were due to appear in court this month after a June 3 shoplifting incident led to a car crash and an arrest in Woodbury. Jennifer Servedio, 34, Cottage Grove, was charged in Washington County District Court with aiding and abetting theft and fleeing police in a motor vehicle - both felonies. Prosecutors claim Servedio was the getaway driver for another woman accused of stealing a pair of sneakers from Sports Authority in Oakdale. That woman, St.
A Woodbury male who was allegedly shuttling thieves around Woodbury was arrested at gunpoint early Tuesday. Police were called at 4:14 a.m. Tuesday by a Woodbury resident who said he was following a vehicle that had been dropping juveniles off to break in to other vehicles, according to a preliminary Woodbury police report. Officers in two separate squad cars caught up with the suspect vehicle near East Ridge High School.
Two witnesses reported seeing a black bear roaming Wednesday near Woodbury Lakes. According to a police report, a Woodbury woman called at 5:18 a.m. to report seeing a bear "bounding" northbound through a wetland area west of Woodbury Lakes and east of the vacant State Farm Insurance Co. building property. The bear was last seen moving northwest in a wooded area north of a swamp. Police were unable to locate the bear, but encountered a man walking his dog who also reported seeing the bear.
A Woodbury bachelor party that began getting messy in St. Paul ended up with a felony charge for a 31-year-old man by night's end. Washington County prosecutors charged Jason Kelly Gordon, of New Hope, with one count of terroristic threats and one count of disorderly conduct following a May 1 disturbance outside a Woodbury residence. Police were called at 3:19 a.m. to the 10000 block of Grand Forest Lane for an unwanted male, later identified as Gordon.
HASTINGS -- The remaining bounty of last year's Minnesota Twins pitching was planted Wednesday at Afton State Park. Twins and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources notables gathered at the park to plant 25 trees as part of the joint "Break a Bat, Plant a Tree" program.
An Afton man was named the Republican Party of Minnesota's newest communications director. Craig Westover, 61, was selected by state GOP Chairman Tony Sutton to replace the party's outgoing communications director, according to a Monday news release. Westover, a former Pioneer Press columnist and conservative think tank member, joined party staff May 1. "As an op-ed writer and a think tank analyst, Craig has a solid reputation as a strong, principled voice for conservatism," Sutton said in the news release. Westover replaces Mark Drake, who departed for a private sector communications job,
A woman who thought she was connecting with a Facebook friend was actually being manipulated by a Woodbury man determined to mine her personal data, according to criminal charges filed last week. Timothy Peter Noirjean, 26, is accused of hacking women's Facebook accounts faces 13 counts of felony identity theft. He was charged April 13 in Washington County District Court and is set to make his first court appearance on the charges May 26. A 20-year-old woman called Oakdale police in February 2010 to report someone accessed her computer after posing as a Facebook friend.