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 former Ellsworth man was arrested Friday in a stolen vehicle that contained evidence possibly connected to a nearby fire that was being investigated for arson, according to documents filed this week in St. Croix County. The incident began unfolding at 4:34 a.m. May 11, when firefighters were called to 404 County Road J in the town of Pleasant Valley — about 10 miles northeast of River Falls. The fire appeared to burn the structure to its foundation and River Falls Assistant Fire Chief Mike Moody said it destroyed three vehicles inside it.
HUDSON — One day before his trial was to begin, a Roberts man pleaded guilty in St. Croix County Circuit Court to his 10th drunken-driving offense. Shawn A. Harstad entered the plea Tuesday, May 8, at a hearing where he also pleaded guilty to obstructing an officer during the Feb. 4, 2017, incident. The OWI-10th offense charge carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of four years, though St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack could sentence Harstad to the maximum penalty — more than 12 years in prison.
Crews from Minnesota joined in a massive search Sunday for a missing child in Somerset. St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson, whose deputies were among those assisting Somerset police in the effort, said the child was found just before midnight. The discovery ended a search that lasted nearly five hours after the 14-year-old girl was reported missing at 7:08 p.m.
Crews from multiple agencies responded early Friday to a fire in rural St. Croix County. Firefighters were called at 4:34 a.m. May 11 to 404 County Road J in the town of Pleasant Valley — about 10 miles northeast of River Falls. No details were immediately available. Google Maps imagery indicates a house once stood on the property; charred remains seen from the road Friday included two vehicles among the debris.
Hudson's city leaders honored the late John Hoggatt before beginning the process to select his successor in office. The 53-year-old Hudson Common Council Alderman and business owner died April 18 while serving his second term in office. Mayor Rich O'Connor began Monday's meeting by presenting his widow, Sarah Atkins, with a bouquet of flowers and reading a proclamation of honor. Atkins spoke briefly to the audience and encouraged others to follow Hoggatt's example by pushing through the "courage door" and finding their way to happiness.
A Minnesota man was hospitalized Tuesday night after he jumped from the Arcola High Bridge in rural Somerset. St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said the man, a 22-year-old Roseville resident, survived the 165-foot fall, and was rescued by authorities before being airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
A state agency was investigating multiple cases involving a former Hudson pediatric dentist until he surrendered his license to practice last month. Documents obtained through a RiverTown Multimedia records request show Dr. Andy Mancini was being investigated in seven different cases by the state's Department of Safety and Professional Services. The allegations included multiple violations of unprofessional conduct under Wisconsin's administrative code.
Hudson's history and hidden treasures would be showcased for visitors in a proposed trolley operation outlined this week to city leaders. Town of Hudson resident Kim Bennewitz explained to Hudson Common Council how the business, which has not yet launched, would serve as a sightseeing tour that would clue visitors in to local features. She said it would be similar to Stillwater Trolley Co., which takes riders to historic buildings, landmarks and vistas.
The case of a Hudson man accused in a crash that killed a Hudson woman more than two years ago will go to trial next month in Minnesota. Assistant Washington County Attorney Tom Wedes said negotiations with attorneys did not yield progress in the case, which is now set for a June 18 jury trial. "We don't see eye to eye," Wedes said Monday, April 30, before a pretrial hearing.
Police are investigating an overnight break-in to one of North Hudson’s most popular establishments. North Hudson Police Chief Mark Richert confirmed Thursday that a burglary was reported at Kozy Korner. He said an ATM and a small safe were reported stolen. Video poker machines were found damaged in an apparent effort to take cash. There was evidence of forced entry during the burglary, which Richert said occurred between 2:10-6 a.m. Thursday.