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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St. Croix County authorities said one person is in custody following a suspicious death early Saturday in rural New Richmond. According to a news release, sheriff’s deputies were called at 4:11 a.m. to a home in the town of Richmond. Officers found a 19-year-old man there dead “under suspicious circumstances,” the news release states.
A River Falls man with a history of criminal convictions is back in jail and charged with multiple felonies after a string of incidents Saturday in Pierce County. The Pierce County District Attorney's Office charged Chase G. Kohl, 33, with five felonies — operating without consent while carrying a weapon, burglary, second-degree recklessly endangering safety, taking and driving a vehicle without consent, criminal property damage and being a convicted felon in possession of firearm.
HUDSON — A recount of votes for a St. Croix County Board seat that ended in a dead heat didn't yield different totals, but a winner was declared — challenger Ryan Sherley. The New Richmond man was declared the winner over incumbent Scottie Ard in an all-day process Wednesday, April 12, that represented a rollercoaster ride for the candidates.
Prosecutors say a curbside assault on a gay man late last month in Hudson represents a hate crime. The March 31 incident left the man with a black eye and other minor injuries after he was allegedly pushed to the ground and punched. The suspect, Hudson resident Christopher J. Salmon, was charged with battery involving a hate crime, a felony. The 37-year-old was released from St. Croix County jail on a signature bond after his initial hearing April 2.
Gov. Scott Walker said he was making good on his promise to deliver welfare reform when he signed three bills this week in River Falls. The bills were part of a package of legislation the Republican governor signed during various stops around the state Tuesday, April 10. "We looked at it in the fact that at 2.9 percent unemployment, we can't afford to have anybody on the sidelines," Walker said to a group of supporters and curious shoppers at Dick's Fresh Market. "We need everybody in the game."
An exact tie in the polling numbers for a St. Croix County Board seat triggered a recount to be held this week. Ballots for the District 13 race between incumbent Scottie Ard and challenger Ryan Sherley will be recounted at 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 11, at the St. Croix County Government Center. Both candidates received 213 votes during the April 3 election, according to preliminary results.
Incidents on bridges connecting St. Croix County with Minnesota left two people dead over the past week. Both deaths were believed to be suicides. The most recent incident occurred the morning of Monday, April 9, when a motorist witnessed a man jump from the St. Croix River Crossing. Authorities recovered his body in the St. Croix River. Washington (Minn.) County Sheriff's Office Cmdr. confirmed the man, a Stillwater resident in his 60s, was found dead on the north side of the bridge.
A St. Croix County man convicted of his seventh drunken-driving offense was sentenced last week to prison. Woodville resident Joseph A. Lynum was sentenced March 29 to three years and six months in prison, with an additional five years to be spent on extended supervision. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham issued the sentence, which also prohibits him from entering taverns, revokes his driving privileges for two years and levies $1,744 in fines. Two other charges stemming from the Dec. 18, 2017, incident were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
St. Croix County law enforcement officials are mourning the loss of a key member while simultaneously working to fill the void. The St. Croix County Sheriff's Office announced March 23 that Roky, the K-9 partner of deputy Dustin Geisness, died from complications stemming from a twisted intestine. The German shepherd was 4 years old. Sheriff Scott Knudson, a former K-9 handler, said dogs of Roky's size and breed are more susceptible to the intestinal complication. Still, he said "it was a shock when it happened."
Authorities on Thursday arrested a Glenwood City School District faculty member amid allegations he had an online sexual relationship with a Missouri child.