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 criminal complaint issued last week against a Hudson man outlined more details from the police raid on his business.
Authorities allege a member of the reputed Mustafa crime family targeted a Hudson, Wis., store, where he allegedly made more than $12,000 in fraudulent cellphone purchases. Charges filed last week against Marcus P. Coleman allege he followed the crime family's blueprint by using stolen identities to open accounts that were used to charge 14 iPhones.
The state budget is slowly taking shape in Madison as lawmakers enter the session's home stretch. But not for Kathleen Vinehout. She's already finalized the state's budget. The Democratic senator from Alma spent last week in her district — which represents Pierce County — touting an alternative budget for Wisconsin that she drew up herself. With items like free two-year college, more money for local governments and the removal of various tax credits, it stands in contrast to Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal.
An Amery man has died of injuries sustained in a May 20 crash in rural St. Croix County, authorities confirmed on Wednesday. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as 28-year-old Nicholas J. Fellman, one of two drivers in a crash in the 2400 block of Highway 63/64 in the town of Cylon.
Four western Wisconsin residents will vie to become the next St. Croix County sheriff. Gov. Scott Walker's office released a list of the applicants for the position Tuesday, May 23, which is being vacated by John Shilts, who is retiring July 14. The applicants are Somerset residents Brian Erickson and Scott Knudson, Hudson resident Steven Mael and Baldwin resident Dan Van Someren.
Two men were hospitalized with stab wounds after an incident Monday, May 22, in Hudson. Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen said a man found at the scene of a stabbing complaint underwent surgery for his wounds but is expected to survive. The incident was reported at 11:34 p.m. at 1600 Pinewood Lane No. 2. Officers arrived to find a 23-year-old man bleeding from an abdominal stab wound, Jensen said.
The annual Memorial Day "Click It Or Ticket" campaign began Monday as officers throughout Wisconsin, including St. Croix and Pierce counties, stepped up seat belt enforcement laws. The two-week campaign running through June 4 is aimed at getting drivers to buckle up. In St. Croix County, that includes participation in a "Border to Border" operation where deputies here will join forces with agencies from Minnesota to provide heightened enforcement. That will mean tickets for offenders, according to a news release.
Flood warnings continue in central and northern Wisconsin after this week's heavy rains. The National Weather Service predicts major floods on the Trempealeau River at Dodge, while mostly minor flooding is expected on the Wisconsin, Yellow, Black, and Chippewa Rivers — and a general flood warning continues until Friday for parts of Iron and Ashland counties. There was an early flood damage estimate of $50,000 in Jackson County, but a final figure won't be known until a number of flooded out roads reopen.
Less than five months after pleading no contest to substantial battery to a child in St. Croix County, a 27-year-old man was charged with a similar crime in Minnesota. Washington County prosecutors allege Jonathon D. Wierstad assaulted a 16-month-old boy who was placed on life support after a May 11 incident in Willernie, Minn. Siv Yurichuk, an assistant Washington County attorney, said Thursday there have been “no significant changes” since the child was hospitalized.
Portions of Pierce and St. Croix counties saw upward of 2 inches of rain from storms that soaked the region on Wednesday. The National Weather Service said western Pierce County saw about 2.5 inches of rain over the past 24 hours. St. Croix County — from Hudson to Baldwin — received about 2 inches of rain during the same period. One River Falls report indicated 2.6 inches of rainfall there, according to the weather service. Amounts exceeding 1 inch were recorded in Somerset and New Richmond, a NWS spokeswoman said Thursday.