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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Seven candidates have filed paperwork to run in a special election to fill the state Senate seat vacated by newly appointed Agriculture Secretary Sheila Harsdorf. Voters will choose replacements Jan. 16 for the Senate District 10 seat, which has state Reps. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, and Shannon Zimmerman, of River Falls, vying to be the Republican candidate. That will be decided in a Dec. 19 primary. Hammond resident Kenneth Rimer has also filed to run as a Republican.
Pierce County Board members finalized the 2018 budget without adding money for an agricultural agent — but left the door open for that to change. Instead of amending the budget to flow funds from one department back into the open position, county supervisors let the vacancy remain while state funding for the UW-Extension program takes shape.
A Maiden Rock man was injured this week after tumbling down a hill on an ATV. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office responded at 9:14 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, to an area on 125th Avenue in the town of Maiden Rock for an ATV rollover. The victim, identified as 67-year-old Norman O. Hilleren, was transported by ambulance to Mayo Health System in Red Wing for his injuries, the extent of which were not disclosed. Deputies reported finding Hillern near the bottom of a hill. They later learned he had been traversing the hillside when he lost control of the vehicle and rolled down.
A land-use bill rerouting state law around a U.S. Supreme Court decision cleared its final legislative hurdle this month in Madison. The Wisconsin Senate passed the measure waiving land-use restrictions that prevented a family from selling a small parcel of their St. Croix River-side land. Lawmakers stepped in after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Murr family's claim that St. Croix County's laws governing the sale of the land were unconstitutional.
River Falls city officials took the witness stand this week in a trial seeking to determine the legality of an annexation that occurred more than a year ago.
A Hastings man is due in court next month on allegations he embezzled more than $70,000 from a Prescott-area golf course. Pierce County prosecutors allege Robert P. Magnuson pocketed cash after issuing fake golf club memberships at Clifton Highlands between September 2016 and March of this year. The 58-year-old is charged with one count of felony theft by false representation.
A New Richmond man was hospitalized and a Hudson teenager was checked for injuries after their cars collided Friday afternoon in the town of Troy.
St. Croix County’s district attorney will determine whether or not the shooting of a teenager by a sheriff’s deputy was justified. Michael Nieskes said Thursday he was asked by the Ashland County district attorney to review evidence gathered by agents investigating the Nov. 8 shooting death of 14-year-old Jason Pero by Ashland County Sheriff’s Office deputy Brock Mrdjenovich.
Two drivers were hospitalized in separate crashes Tuesday evening on Pierce County roads. The first crash, reported at 5:47 p.m. Nov. 14 on 410th Avenue in the town of Ellsworth, left Arkansaw resident Jordan Pittman with undisclosed injuries. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said the 28-year-old was taken by Ellsworth EMS to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Mike Perucca was heading to a medical call Sunday night in the town of St. Joseph when another emergency caught his attention before he got out of his North Hudson neighborhood. "I noticed an abnormal amount of smoke in the area," he said. It didn't take long for the St. Joe first responder — who also works as a Hudson firefighter — to determine the smoke was coming from a garage fire at 700 Fourth St. N. Perucca, who's also the city of Hudson's fire inspector, noticed an orange glow in the garage as he approached the house just before 10:30 p.m. Nov. 12.