Mike Longaecker is a regional/enterprise reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage includes St. Croix County government, higher education and state politics in Wisconsin.
- Member for
- 6 years 2 months
Polk County authorities said a man was critically injured Tuesday after an explosion at a house where suspicious chemicals were found. The man, whose identity was not released, was airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul for severe injuries to his hand and burns to other body parts, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
A convicted Minnesota sex offender was back in custody this week after allegations surfaced that he sexually assaulted a woman in St. Croix County. Chisago (Minn.) County authorities said Tyler J. Tillman, 28, was being held without bond pending a Dec. 10 probation violation hearing in that county. Tillman, a Wyoming, Minn., resident, is charged in St. Croix County Circuit Court with one count of second-degree sexual assault stemming from a Nov. 20 incident in the town of Kinnickinnic.
A Menomonie woman was killed Monday in a two-car crash that involved a Plum City driver. The Wisconsin State Patrol said the crash, reported at 6:45 a.m. Dec. 3 on Highway 25 near 420th Street in Dunn County, left 44-year-old Amy L. Kahl dead. According to troopers, Kahl's southbound Ford Mustang crossed into oncoming traffic and was struck by a northbound pickup truck driven by 33-year-old Jessica M. Bauer of Plum City. Bauer was not injured.
A North Carolina man was ordered to post $5,000 cash bond last week after allegedly arranging a sexual encounter in New Richmond with a teenager who turned out to be an undercover sheriff's deputy. St. Croix County prosecutors on Nov. 28 charged 52-year-old Steven B. Bettinger with attempted second-degree child sexual assault, attempted child enticement and using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. Bettinger posted bond Monday, Dec. 3. According to a criminal complaint:
Gov. Scott Walker's office announced last week that the longest-serving judge in St. Croix County is resigning. Circuit Court Judge Eric Lundell is resigning his Branch I post on Jan. 1. A copy of Lundell's one-sentence resignation letter provided by Walker's office did not elaborate on his reasons. Lundell's judicial assistant said Monday, Dec. 3 he is not holding court and will not be returning to the bench before his resignation goes through. Attempts to reach Lundell by phone at his town of Hudson home were unsuccessful.
A Baldwin man accused of defrauding his customers of more than $1.1 million was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday in Madison. The U.S. Attorney's Office said 41-year-old Jamie Smith faces 23 counts including wire fraud, mail fraud and making a false statement on a loan application. Each of the 22 fraud-related charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, while the allegations related to the loan application pack a 30-year maximum penalty.
Rep. Shannon Zimmerman was tapped Wednesday to serve on the Legislature's budget-writing committee. The River Falls Republican was appointed to the Joint Committee on Finance by John Nygren, the Assembly member who co-chairs the committee. The 16-member panel serves a key role in the legislative budget process by approving all state appropriations and revenues. The process calls for the budget to be submitted by the governor, which for the first time since 2010 will be a Democrat after Tony Evers defeated Gov. Scott Walker.
A warrant was issued this month for a St. Croix County man who authorities allege made good on a threat to burn down a friend's living quarters last spring. St. Croix County prosecutors charged 35-year-old Nathan T. Richter with one count of arson, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. The Emerald man also faces one count of manufacturing or delivering narcotics stemming from a separate St. Croix County incident.
An Eau Claire man left a New Richmond business holding the bag after selling it more than $16,000 worth of stolen lawn mowers, according to charges filed in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Prosecutors charged 36-year-old Ryan M. Sturz with one count of felony theft by false representation Nov. 16. According to a criminal complaint:
Prescott police are seeking the public's help in locating a missing teenager. Nineteen-year-old Rachel Elizabeth Hutcheson has been missing since late October when she didn't show up for work at Target in Cottage Grove, Prescott Police Office Chief Doug Ducklow said. He said she was last seen at her Prescott home, where she lives with her mother. Ducklow said there was nothing unusual that precipitated her disappearance and that it was "out of character for her to leave."