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 Hudson woman was killed last week while snowmobiling in Michigan. The Gogebic County Sheriff's Office said 51-year-old Michele M. Megard died Friday, Dec. 29, after her snowmobile crashed and was struck by another rider in the group.
Traffic trouble • An Elmwood man was arrested at 11:23 p.m. Dec. 22 at 330th Avenue and County Road S in Plum City after a traffic stop. The 23-year-old was arrested on suspicion of OWI and was cited for operating left of center. • Deputies were called at 4:13 a.m. Dec. 23 to W829 County Road G in Elmwood for an unwanted intoxicated person. A 31-year-old Red Wing man was arrested on warrants, including one from Clark County.
TOWN OF TRENTON -- A southeastern Minnesota woman was killed and an Ellsworth woman was airlifted Thursday after a head-on crash in Pierce County.
Authorities said there’s no indication of what claimed the life of an infant found dead last fall in Baldwin. The final autopsy on Aubree Long revealed “no anatomic cause of death,” nor any trauma to the 14-week-old’s body, according to Ramsey County Medical Examiner findings released Thursday by Baldwin police. Toxicology blood tests also turned up nothing out of the ordinary, according to the report.
St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack admonished a Kinnickinnic Town Board member who had told authorities he was within his rights to shoot a dog to death. "Sir, we have laws for a reason," the judge told David J. Nelson, before sentencing him to a fine for the misdemeanor offense of intentionally killing a dog. In sentencing Nelson Thursday Dec. 21, Vlack stopped at several points to remind the town official about the law and to add context to statements about the June 23 incident that left a neighbor's dog dead.
A New Richmond teenager pleaded guilty to a vehicular homicide charge last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Dalton R. Mundle, 19, entered the plea to homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle during a Dec. 20 hearing. Prosecutors allege Mundle was under the influence at the time of a Jan. 30 crash that left a passenger, 19-year-old New Richmond resident Jordan Tulgren, dead. An 18-year-old female passenger from Baldwin was also injured in the crash. Mundle also pleaded guilty to a third underage drinking offense at the hearing.
Editor's note: This story is part of a series recapping the top stories of 2017. Read the other top stories here. Two neighboring communities battled this year in court over land annexed outside River Falls. The city of River Falls came out on top in a November trial that sought to determine whether an annexed parcel in the town of Troy was close enough to the city without sharing a boundary. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Michael Waterman ruled that the 220-acre Mann Valley property is sufficiently near River Falls after a two-day trial.
There's not much left of the structure that had become one of Willow River State Park's most recognizable features. Water now flows unabated over what remains of the Little Falls Lake dam after it was breached in 2015 amid Department of Natural Resources concerns that it couldn't withstand a heavy flood.
PRESCOTT — Reports of a man missing in dangerous temperatures ended with him being found cold, but alive. Prescott Police Chief Rob Funk said the man was discovered "a little worse for the wear" during the Tuesday, Dec. 26, incident, though apparently free of serious injuries. He said a Prescott police officer found the man just south of town near St. Joseph's Cemetery along Monroe Street. The man had gone out to look for his dog — a trek that took him to the Mississippi River, where Funk said the man fell in.
A Minnesota National Guard helicopter was damaged this month while landing at Red Wing Regional Airport in Bay City. According to a Guard spokeswoman, the incident occurred the evening of Dec. 13 while a three-person crew was returning from a training exercise. The UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter “experienced technical difficulties” while attempting to land Guard Capt. Holly Rockow said.