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 Star Prairie man is set to be arraigned next month on allegations he sexually assaulted a child at his mother's former home day care facility. St. Croix County prosecutors charged 21-year-old Rodney W. Dionne with one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child, a crime that carries a mandatory 25-year prison sentence if convicted.
Two people from Minnesota were injured Sunday in a Pierce County crash that authorities said appeared to involve alcohol. Pierce County sheriff's deputies were alerted to the crash at 5:50 a.m. June 17 on Highway 35 in Diamond Bluff near County Road O. According to deputies, the vehicle, a 2003 Ford Expedition driven by 26-year-old Elk River resident Kyiyoo Vinson, crashed and overturned several times in a ditch.
A St. Croix County lawmaker and Hudson’s mayor will hold a public meeting next week to update residents on business and civic developments. The event, dubbed “What’s Happening in Hudson”, will be held Wednesday, June 20 at Agave Kitchen. Rep. Shannon Zimmerman, R-River Falls, and Mayor Rich O’Connor will lead the meeting, which, according to a news release, will provide “detailed updates” on projects including the former dog track site and Hudson’s downtown area.
St. Croix County jurors convicted a Hammond man last week of his eighth impaired driving offense. It took the jury less than three hours June 6 to convict Jeffrey A. Cormican of all four counts, including OWI-eighth offense, which calls for a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years. The 49-year-old was also convicted of operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration — a felony — and two misdemeanors, resisting an officer and operating while revoked.
The alarms were raised came when a Hudson police officer saw a truck that matched one reported stolen days earlier. The second red flag went up when he watched the truck roll through a stop sign.
HUDSON — The trial for a New Richmond teenager accused of telling others he planned “to shoot kids” was set last week in a hearing where the judge announced there was probable cause to move the case forward. The defendant, Nicholas H. Cherrier, also pleaded not guilty at the Friday, June 1, hearing to felony terroristic threats and disorderly conduct. A three-day trial is set to begin July 31.
The former owner of a Hudson craft brewery is suing the Twin Cities business that acquired it in 2015, alleging it’s not abiding an agreement reached during the sale. The case was filed May 29 in St. Croix County Circuit Court.
A Somerset man was killed and a Houlton man was injured Wednesday morning in a two-vehicle crash outside Hudson. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office said 35-year-old Pedro Luis Vera Cornier was pronounced dead at the scene. Sheriff’s deputies were called at 7:03 a.m. to county roads E and I in the town of St. Joseph for a two-vehicle crash. It was determined Vera Cornier was driving a 2004 Chevy Aveo that was found with severe driver’s-side damage.
Fire displaced two residents and destroyed a 19th-century home Saturday in Hudson. Hudson firefighters said the 481 Jacobs Lane home was left uninhabitable after the fire, which took eight agencies to battle. St. Croix County property records show the home is owned by Mary Ann Windolff. Hudson Assistant Fire Chief Jim Perucca said she and her adult son were forced to make housing arrangements. No one was injured in the fire, which Perucca said began in the basement. The cause was undetermined, but Perucca said it appeared "electrical in nature."
HUDSON — A Roberts man implicated in a church embezzlement scheme with his wife was convicted Monday of three criminal charges but avoided prison. Unlike his wife — a former St. Paul school administrator who was sentenced last year to two years in prison — Michael LaVenture will avoid time behind bars after pleading no contest to three misdemeanor theft counts. "I'm sorry for what happened between my wife and the church," a choked-up LaVenture said during his June 11 sentencing hearing.