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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The town of Kinnickinnic board member accused of shooting his neighbor's dog pleaded guilty last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. David J. Nelson, 55, entered the plea Dec. 14 to the lone charge he faces — intentional killing of dogs, a misdemeanor. The guilty plea averts a one-day trial originally set for Dec. 19.
The first returns signaled early support for Rep. Shannon Zimmerman and John Calabrese in primary races to determine Republican and Democratic candidates for the Senate District 10 race in western Wisconsin. Most votes were in from one of the five counties in the district — Dunn — where Zimmerman held a 217 to 138 edge in votes over fellow Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow.
A St. Croix County man who pleaded guilty to an OWI earlier this year faces new charges after allegedly driving a tractor drunk and crashing into traffic signs, a street light and a power pole. Emerald resident Justin M. Wink was charged with OWI-third offense, possession of drug paraphernalia and operating while revoked after the Dec. 1 incident. The 26-year-old posted $2,000 cash bond on Dec. 7 after pleading not guilty to the charges earlier that week. According to a criminal complaint:
ELLSWORTH — A former UW-River Falls student who crashed into two pedestrians will spend three months on house arrest and another year on probation after pleading no contest this week to two crimes in Pierce County Circuit Court. The sentence was issued at the same Tuesday, Dec. 12 hearing, where Jacob Zwiefelhofer pleaded no contest to two reckless driving charges, one a felony, the other a misdemeanor. Judge Joe Boles' sentence calls for the felony conviction to be dismissed after three years if Zwiefelhofer abides the terms of a deferred judgment agreement.
Cold temperatures didn't faze a host of bell-ringers volunteering for the Salvation Army last week in Hudson. The 30-hour event spanning Thursday Dec. 14 through Friday Dec. 15 at County Market raised $77,382. See the attached video for more from the event.
Two Hudson residents were involved in a crash that left the driver of a second vehicle dead last week in northern Minnesota. The Minnesota State Patrol said 75-year-old Park Rapids resident Dale A. Maves was killed in a head-on collision on Thursday, Dec. 14, on U.S. Highway 71 in Hubbard County.
A gunshot struck a River Falls business Thursday night after a round was accidentally fired during a domestic argument, according to authorities. That version of events was the most detailed yet in an incident that initially affected at least one UW-River Falls dormitory and shut down a portion of South Main Street late Dec. 14.
Dave Austin was captivated by media reports he saw about yellow Labradors rescued from an Elmwood-area man's kennel, so he and his wife knew exactly what they wanted when word spread that the dogs were being put up for adoption. The suburban Milwaukee couple figured there'd be a mad rush to adopt the puppies seized from Stuart West's town of El Paso home. "But the mamas that are 2 and 3 years old — people aren't looking so much to adopt them because of the babies," his wife, Cathie Austin, said.
I also recognize that health care is tied in with the workforce, the economy, and the available technological infrastructure. Gov. Walker's budget made a historic investment in broadband expansion. This helps rural hospitals who depend on having quick access to patient medical records and the ability to communicate with ambulances travelling on rural roads.
I would support educational programs for the young. I would support legislation to help fund treatment and substance abuse facilities. I would speak about the link between pharmaceutical companies who donate to politicians in return for lax regulation on frequency and quantity of prescription opioids. I would stress the lobbying power the pharmaceutical industry holds over legislators and use my platform to connect the dots, i.e.: Dr. Curtis Wright who served with the FDA and helped approve Oxycontin before leaving government to work for Purdue Pharma, the makers of Oxycontin. We must recognize the corruption if we ever hope to fix it.