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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A Hammond woman was killed and two other people involved in a Memorial Day weekend crash were seriously injured, according to Polk County authorities. The Polk County Sheriff's Office said 57-year-old Brenda Soderberg was killed in the May 27 crash, reported at 11:30 a.m. on Highway 46 just south of Amery. She was the passenger in a pickup driven by 63-year-old Keith Soderberg, who was airlifted to Regions Hospital. The Hammond man was listed in critical condition Tuesday.
A simple misinterpretation might well be the difference between justice being served and an unsolved murder that's vexed St. Croix County investigators for 25 years. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to solving the April 25, 1993, shooting death of William "Junior" Clapp came when it was reported as a medical call. St. Croix County Sheriff's Office investigator Cary Rose said the man who discovered Clapp in his town of Warren home told dispatchers what he observed at the time — that his friend had injured his head.
A Red Wing man and an Ellsworth woman were being sought by authorities Monday in connection with a western Wisconsin shooting. The Dunn County Sheriff’s Office said arrest warrants were issued for 34-year-old Shawn H. Goplen and 36-year-old Kari L. Blank. The sheriff’s office said Goplen and Blank were suspects in a shooting reported at 10:42 p.m. Sunday in Dunn County’s town of Tainter.
Kelda Roys isn't fazed by the parade of fellow Democrats also seeking to be Wisconsin's next governor. The Madison woman believes she stands apart from the 13 other Democrats in line to challenge Republican Gov. Scott Walker in November. She said her status as a Generation X parent who's a small-business owner with legislative experience separates her from the pack. "I'm deeply invested in the future of our state," said Roys, an attorney who served in the Assembly from 2009-2012.
A hunter's close encounter with two bears in St. Croix County has prompted a warning from Department of Natural Resources officials. The incident, which occurred May 13, involved a turkey hunter at Betterly Waterfowl Production Area, where he was approached by a yearling bear that came within 10 feet. The hunter first tried scaring the bear off by yelling at it — and then noticed a second, larger bear nearby. The hunter began walking away, but was pursued by the smaller bear. The hunter fired a warning shot into the air, which sent the yearling bear running.
Hudson High School's junior varsity girls soccer coach was placed on administrative leave after allegedly sending lewd images to a player on his team. St. Croix County prosecutors on Friday charged 23-year-old Hudson resident Benjamin J. Schrock with causing a child to view sexual activity and exposing a child to harmful material. He was ordered to post a $2,500 cash bond at his initial court appearance. Bond conditions require Schrock to be fitted with a GPS device and to surrender his passport.
With a nod to the struggles they had to endure along the way, Hudson’s seniors shoved off Saturday into the post-graduation world. Valedictorian Connor Hess reminded fellow Class of 2018 members that while they weren’t able to reap all the benefits from the massive construction project underway at Hudson High School, it made them more adaptable and resilient.
Hudson High School’s junior varsity girls soccer coach was placed on administrative leave after being charged with two felonies that involve showing graphic images to children. St. Croix County prosecutors on Friday charged 23-year-old Hudson resident Benjamin J. Schrock with causing a child to view sexual activity and exposing a child to harmful material. He was ordered to post a $2,500 cash bond at his initial court appearance.
PRESCOTT -- The Prescott man arrested after a standoff this week was charged with three felonies Thursday by prosecutors, who allege he raped his victim at knifepoint before stabbing her later at his home. The Pierce County District Attorney’s office charged Jason J. Kulla, 45, with first-degree sexual assault, aggravated battery with the use of a dangerous weapon and strangulation and suffocation. He’s also charged with misdemeanor battery.
A New Richmond woman accused of embezzlement pleaded guilty this week to federal charges. Stephanie M. Johnson, 40, was convicted Tuesday, May 15, in U.S. District Court of failing to pay payroll taxes from her employees' paychecks and defrauding her corporation and business partner.