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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Afton Alps is being purchased by the operators of one of North America's most well-known skiing destinations, officials announced today. According to a news release, Vail Resorts, Inc., has entered into agreements to buy Afton Alps and a ski resort in Michigan for a combined $20 million. The buyer plans to "upgrade and enhance" the skiing experience at Afton Alps and at Mount Brighton, Mich. Part of the acquisition strategy appears to be an effort to drive ski trips to Vail and other ski areas owned by the operator.
The Royals earned their first win of the season Friday night behind a strong second-half output and a powerful rushing performance from running back Junius Wilson. Woodbury (1-1 overall, 1-1 Suburban East Conference) defeated Hastings 29-23 at home, securing head coach Andy Hill's first win for the team. "We just threw down the gauntlet and said, 'Hey seniors, it's your year,'" Hill said after the game, his second for the Royals after losing last week to Stillwater. The Raiders jumped on the board in the first quarter after Woodbury failed to convert a fourth-and-one attempt.
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,