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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For the first time in 17 years, a Democrat claimed victory in the 10th Senate District when Patty Schachtner topped Rep. Adam Jarchow Tuesday in a special election to fill former Sen. Sheila Harsdorf's seat. The Somerset woman who serves as St. Croix County medical examiner is the first Democrat elected in the district since Alice Clausing, who held the seat from 1993 until Harsdorf was elected in 2000. Schachtner said Tuesday night that in spite of high expectations, even she was surprised by the results.
The three candidates seeking to become the next western Wisconsin senator outlined different visions for attracting employers to the area during a forum this week on Wisconsin Public Radio. Libertarian Brian Corriea said it's not the government's job to pick winners and losers through mechanisms like tax credits. Rather, the Wilson resident said, an overall "friendlier tax" system would have the biggest impact.
Western Wisconsin voters go to the polls Tuesday, Jan. 16, to decide the next 10th Senate District lawmaker. Check out the following profiles of each of the three candidates on the ballot: -- Rep. Adam Jarchow , R-Balsam Lake -- Brian Corriea , Libertarian-Wilson
Adam Jarchow believes government needs to get out of the way of citizens and businesses. The Balsam Lake Republican has targeted regulations and tax burdens as an Assembly member and now seeks to take that battle to the state Senate. "Government can't be the solution for everything," he said. "It can't be the cradle-to-grave government involvement that you see in western Europe. That's not who we are as Americans."
Patty Schachtner has a lot of questions. Why is incarceration seen by some as an investment while education is viewed as an expense, she wonders. When you base all your decisions on money, she asks, what are the unintended consequences? "I'm just a farm girl from St. Croix County," said Schachtner, the Democratic candidate seeking to succeed Sheila Harsdorf in the 10th Senate District. "I have questions!" The Somerset resident will face Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow of Balsam Lake and Wilson resident Brian Corriea, a Libertarian, in a Jan. 16 special election.
Whether or not to support a bill is not a difficult proposition for Brian Corriea. The Wilson man said he simply runs a test against his Libertarian values and makes the call: Is this in support of individual liberty and personal freedom? If the legislation abides those principles, he said he'll be on board. If not, he'll pass. "You will know the moment I violate my principles," Corriea said.
A Deer Park man convicted of sexually assaulting a child was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham sentenced Mark Allen Miller to 18 years, 10 of which must be spent in prison. The 66-year-old pleaded guilty in October to second-degree sexual assault of a child. Two other charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement that allowed Needham to consider the offenses in his sentence.
Two teenagers were charged with felonies after the window of a man's vehicle was shot out in a Somerset parking lot last week. St. Croix County prosecutors charged Bailey A. Huot, 18, and 17-year-old Israel Morua with one count each of first-degree recklessly endangering safety after the Thursday, Jan. 4, incident outside Subway on Parent Street.
Fire crews from around St. Croix County responded Tuesday morning to a house fire in the town of Kinnickinnic. The fire was reported at about 9:20 a.m. Jan. 9 at 1237 County Road N — in between River Falls and Roberts. The home, owned by Bradley and DK Bockus Kinkaid, was unoccupied at the time of the fire. According to River Falls firefighters, crews arrived to find the fire "had progressed rapidly," including heavy smoke and fire inside the home.
A man on bond for a sexploitation case was arrested last week on suspicion of drug charges after authorities raided his Houlton-area home. Brandon W. Brown, 23, was one of two men charged in connection with the Jan. 2 incident in the town of St. Joseph. He and 19-year-old Cameron A. Brown, were both charged with felony THC possession with intent to deliver. The elder Brown is also charged with felony heroin possession.