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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Raids on two St. Croix County homes last week yielded what authorities said was about 288 pounds of suspected marijuana. St. Croix County prosecutors said the drugs were found stashed in nearby homes in the town of Eau Galle while serving search warrants on Wednesday, Feb. 21. A resident of one home, 25-year-old Tom Lee, was charged with felony marijuana possession with intent to deliver and maintaining a drug residence. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Michael Waterman ordered Lee to post $50,000 during his initial court appearance Thursday.
HUDSON — A St. Croix County judge has sentenced a Somerset man to more than 30 years for an array of sex offenses, including crimes against children. Judge Scott Needham sentenced Richard Maness Wednesday, Feb. 28, to 12 years in prison and 20 years on extended supervision.
The son of Prescott's former police chief faces a felony drug charge after officers searched a house he was at last week. Pierce County prosecutors charged Joseph R. Krutke Friday, Feb. 23, with felony marijuana possession with intent to deliver and misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession. He was released from jail later that day on a signature bond. According to the complaint: Prescott police took a harassment report Feb. 22 from the late chief's fiancee. She reported Joseph Krutke, who lived with her, had been harassing her since Gary Krutke died in August 2017.
A high-intensity situation on the Apple River bridge in Somerset ended after more than an hour-and-a-half Wednesday with a man’s arrest. St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said the man was taken into custody after a lengthy stalemate on the Highway 64 bridge near the downtown corridor, where negotiators convinced the man not to jump. The man, a 30-year-old St. Croix Falls resident, was later jailed for a Department of Corrections hold.
Francis Johnson, 70, died shortly after collapsing while riding his bike early that morning on Second Street near Locust Street. A memorial service for Johnson will be 4-7 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at O’Connell-Benedict Funeral Home in River Falls. A prayer service begins at 3:30 p.m. Community members plan to wear orange on Friday, March 2, in honor of Johnson. Participating groups include Chartwells staff at UW-River Falls, campus University Center workers, CHILD Center staff and some River Falls School District staff.
Candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court and St. Croix County Board were narrowed to two apiece during last week's primary elections. All April 3 ballots in Wisconsin will see two names vying for Supreme Court — Rebecca Dallet and Michael Screnock. They were the top two vote getters in the Feb. 20 primary that eliminated Tim Burns from candidacy.
The Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce honored its top businesses with the community-voted "Best of" awards at its annual banquet Monday, Feb. 19 at Kilkarney Hills in River Falls.
A western Wisconsin man faces felony charges for alleged sexual abuse against two children in St. Croix County. Prosecutors charged Shane A. Kurtz, 37, with first-degree child sexual assault and exposing his genitals to a child. The St. Croix Falls man pleaded not guilty to the charges during a Friday, Feb. 16, arraignment before St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham, who held Kurtz on a $25,000 cash bond. A criminal complaint filed in the case alleges Kurtz abused two prepubescent children he knew between June and December 2017 in the town of Star Prairie.
HUDSON — A former girls basketball coach accused of molesting a babysitter erupted into uncontrollable sobs Friday after a judge sentenced him to prison. The 20-year sentence, issued by St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham, is five years longer than what was sought by prosecution for 43-year-old Louis J. French. The judge’s sentence calls for the Hudson man to spend 10 years in prison and 10 years on extended supervision.
Raids on two St. Croix County homes this week yielded what authorities said was about 275 pounds of suspected marijuana. St. Croix County prosecutors said the drugs were found stashed in nearby homes in the town of Eau Galle while serving search warrants on Wednesday, Feb. 21.