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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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.
The National Guard reported a helicopter involved in a crash was being left at Red Wing Regional Airport on Dec. 13. A deputy taped off the damaged aircraft and provided extra patrol overnight. Elmwood speeding dispute draws disorderly ticket Deputies responded Dec. 17 to Project Drive and Winter Avenue in Elmwood for an argument between two men about speeding. One of the men was sent a ticket for disorderly conduct. Late night driver
A former New Richmond woman faces felony drug charges after allegedly selling pot to a police informant. Authorities allegedly confiscated more than a quarter-pound of marijuana during the Dec. 13 bust on Highway 65 south of Richmond Way in New Richmond. The suspect, Marie T. Allen, 56, was charged in St. Croix County Circuit Court with two felonies — delivering THC and THC possession with intent to deliver. She's also charged with possessing drug paraphernalia.
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.
A Pierce County Jail inmate faces new charges for allegedly attacking a man in his cell after an argument over television programming. Pierce County prosecutors allege 25-year-old Raymond N. Evans wrapped his legs around the inmate and began strangling him during a Nov. 19 incident in the jail. Evans, a Menomonie resident being housed on Dunn County sexual assault charges, has been in the Pierce County Jail since July 10. The alleged victim, St. Paul resident Ivan E. Shapiro, has been in jail since Oct. 19 on a Pierce County conviction for misdemeanor theft.
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.