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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HUDSON — Led by gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers, a slate of Democratic candidates met with supporters Thursday during a campaign stop in Hudson. The event represented Evers' first public visit to the Hudson area since he won the August primary, defeating seven other Democrats seeking to run on the November ballot against incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Evers told a packed house at Hudson Bagel & Coffee Co. that, in spite of the crowded field that split Democratic support, the party is energized.
Animal rescues and arrests followed the discovery of an alleged dog- and cock-fighting operation where suspected drugs were also found last week in rural Pierce County. Officials from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) — who spent days assisting law enforcement at a 7789 County Road BB farm — announced Thursday that 1,300 animals were found there. A news release said most of the animals were chickens, along with more than a dozen dogs allegedly bred for fighting.
St. Croix County authorities continued searching for two men suspected in an August home invasion at an elderly woman's home. Sheriff Scott Knudson said the woman wasn't physically injured in the Aug. 15 incident near Houlton, but belongings were stolen. He said Thursday, Aug. 30, the suspects remained at large. Investigators got information that the incident might not have been random, Knudson said. "However, there's always the suggestion that people lock their doors and windows," he said, adding that police should be called if suspicious activity is observed.
A motorcycle crash Sunday in rural Prescott left a 48-year-old Twin Cities woman dead. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office identified the deceased as Ramsey, Minn., resident Kelly Jo Imsande. According to a news release, deputies were called at 4:58 p.m. Sept. 2 to Highway 35 near 1240th Street in the town of Oak Grove for a single motorcycle crash. Investigation revealed Imsande was northbound on Highway 35 when she lost control of her 2016 Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King, crashed into a guardrail and was thrown from the bike.
NEW RICHMOND — Garbage bags filled with tenants' belongings were being lugged out of the Lowrey Hotel this week while community leaders met to discuss housing options for the remaining few who called the hardscrabble inn their home.
Fire destroyed a barn early Friday in rural Ellsworth. Ellsworth firefighters responded at about 4:30 a.m. to W6656 340th Ave. in the town of Hartland for a report of a barn on fire. Dan Jensen, an assistant Ellsworth fire chief, said a portion of the roof collapsed before firefighters arrived. He said the structure was mainly used for storage — there were no animals or people inside at the time. A vehicle parked inside the barn was also destroyed in the fire, Jensen said. No firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.
WOODBURY — A bust that began with man caught toting a mattress out of a JC Penney store opened a Pandora’s Box of stolen loot that two of Washington County’s most tenured prosecutors said was the largest such retail crime ring they’ve seen.
Almost 50 methamphetamine pipes, moldy food containers and bags of garbage packed a rural Ellsworth home where authorities removed a child and arrested two people who were later charged with multiple crimes.
One man was airlifted and two others were treated after separate motorcycle crashes between Wednesday and Sunday in Pierce County. The first incident was reported at 6:22 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, when Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a motorcycle crash near 1200th Street and Highway 35 in the town of Oak Grove. Motorcyclist Greg A. Capocasa, 60, was airlifted from the scene to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. Deputies said the Prescott man was southbound on 1200th Street when he lost control of the off-road motorcycle he was driving and crashed into a ditch.
A Prescott man was hospitalized last week after a two-vehicle crash in Pierce County. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said 49-year-old Mark D. Kulvich was taken to Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury after his car was rear-ended at 5:08 p.m. Aug. 16 on Highway 29 at 640th Avenue in the town of Clifton. Authorities said Kulvich's 1999 Buick LeSabre was struck from behind by a 1997 Ford F-150 driven by 24-year-old River Falls resident Dalton S. Boesel. He was later cited for failure to yield.