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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Pierce County Three people, including a River Falls man, were accused of scamming a business out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a trucking scheme. Pierce County prosecutors charged River Falls resident Daniel W. Briese and two Trego residents with one count each of racketeering—a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and $15,000 fine.
2016 Presidential Election Presidential recount estimates far exceeded their actual costs in many Wisconsin counties, including several in western Wisconsin. With 71 of 72 counties' results turned in, the recount costs tallied $1.86 million, according to Wisconsin Elections Commission data. Estimates provided by counties had braced the state for $3.9 million. As of Monday, Brown County had still yet to submit its final costs to the commission.
St. Croix County prosecutors charged the former New Richmond Cemetery treasurer with felony theft, alleging she overpaid herself for years from cemetery association coffers. Allegations outlined in a criminal complaint state Mary E. McGee, 73, authorized more than $15,000 in overpayment to herself between 2011 and 2016. The New Richmond resident is scheduled to make her first court appearance Feb. 23 on one count of felony theft.
Investigation into a Somerset man accused of multiple child sex-related charges led to the discovery of a photo allegedly depicting his girlfriend committing a sexual assault. Details outlined in a criminal complaint against Somerset resident Jennifer M. Bowers allege she was pictured in a 2014 photo sexually assaulting a 2-year-old boy. Bowers, 43, was charged Tuesday with first-degree sexual assault of a child and sexual exploitation of a child.
Wisconsinites in homes and sports bars sweated through the Green Bay Packers 34-31 playoff victory at Dallas Sunday. Many fans expressed their emotions on social media during the game, as the Cowboys came back from an early 18-point deficit to tie the contest before Mason Crosby made a 51-yard field goal as time expired. It gave Green Bay what some analysts call its biggest playoff upset since beating the 49ers in San Francisco as an 11 point underdog 21 years ago.
A St. Croix County judge set bail at $100,000 Thursday for a Somerset man accused of sexploitation and sexually assaulting a child. St. Croix Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham ordered bail for Richard A. Maness, who was charged with repeated sexual assault of a child, sexual exploitation of a child, possession of child pornography and child enticement.
St. Croix County residents were put on alert Thursday morning while authorities searched for a man who first led officers on a vehicle pursuit. St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Scott Knudson said a man was eventually arrested. The suspect’s name and booking charges were not immediately available, but it was noted that a gun was found during the search. The arrest came after the county issued a Code Red announcement to residents in a town of Somerset neighborhood.
A St. Croix County sheriff's deputy likely consumed at least 15 shots of vodka before getting behind the wheel of his squad, where he was found passed out with the vehicle's transmission in drive and his foot on the brake. Those findings were detailed in an internal investigation report on former deputy Ryan Fowler, who resigned his position Dec. 1, as part of a separation agreement with St. Croix County.
More than a pound of packaged pot, 20 marijuana plants and a handgun were seized over the weekend in Star Prairie, where a suspected drug dealer was arrested. The home of Nathan A. Boyer allegedly contained two separate grow rooms with pot plants, along with an assortment of marijuana-based products ranging from butter to candies, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
A death investigation was opened in Rusk County after the discovery of a Hudson man’s remains inside a burned building. The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to RiverTown Multimedia inquiries about the incident, reported Dec. 7, at a mink ranch property in the town of Stubbs near Bruce. According to multiple sources, the remains found in the building belonged to Jeffrey W. Putbrese, a 28-year-old from Hudson.