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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HUDSON — One day before his trial was to begin, a Roberts man pleaded guilty in St. Croix County Circuit Court to his 10th drunken-driving offense. Shawn A. Harstad entered the plea Tuesday, May 8, at a hearing where he also pleaded guilty to obstructing an officer during the Feb. 4, 2017, incident. The OWI-10th offense charge carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of four years, though St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack could sentence Harstad to the maximum penalty — more than 12 years in prison.
Crews from Minnesota joined in a massive search Sunday for a missing child in Somerset. St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson, whose deputies were among those assisting Somerset police in the effort, said the child was found just before midnight. The discovery ended a search that lasted nearly five hours after the 14-year-old girl was reported missing at 7:08 p.m.
Crews from multiple agencies responded early Friday to a fire in rural St. Croix County. Firefighters were called at 4:34 a.m. May 11 to 404 County Road J in the town of Pleasant Valley — about 10 miles northeast of River Falls. No details were immediately available. Google Maps imagery indicates a house once stood on the property; charred remains seen from the road Friday included two vehicles among the debris.
A Minnesota man was hospitalized Tuesday night after he jumped from the Arcola High Bridge in rural Somerset. St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said the man, a 22-year-old Roseville resident, survived the 165-foot fall, and was rescued by authorities before being airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
A state agency was investigating multiple cases involving a former Hudson pediatric dentist until he surrendered his license to practice last month. Documents obtained through a RiverTown Multimedia records request show Dr. Andy Mancini was being investigated in seven different cases by the state's Department of Safety and Professional Services. The allegations included multiple violations of unprofessional conduct under Wisconsin's administrative code.
Police are investigating an overnight break-in to one of North Hudson’s most popular establishments. North Hudson Police Chief Mark Richert confirmed Thursday that a burglary was reported at Kozy Korner. He said an ATM and a small safe were reported stolen. Video poker machines were found damaged in an apparent effort to take cash. There was evidence of forced entry during the burglary, which Richert said occurred between 2:10-6 a.m. Thursday.
Court documents released last week outline what a St. Croix County Board candidate alleges allowed her to lose a deadlocked election. Scottie Ard, the St. Croix County Board member who lost after an election recount to fellow New Richmond resident Ryan Sherley, spelled out in a complaint where she believes the St. Croix County Board of Canvassers went awry in awarding Sherley the victory.
A Woodbury man who billed himself as Hudson's top-rated children's dentist has closed his practice while criminal and civil cases make their way through two Wisconsin counties. An outgoing voice message at La Petite Dentistry states the Carmichael Road office is "permanently closed." The practice was owned by Dr. Andy Mancini, a Woodbury resident who faces four misdemeanor charges and has sued his accuser for other allegations she has made against him.
A St. Croix County judge wasn't swayed by efforts to modify bond conditions for a New Richmond man accused of killing his son.
A New Richmond woman is appealing a St. Croix County Board of Canvassers decision that cost her a county board seat. The April 3 vote for St. Croix County Board's District 13 seat finished in an exact tie between incumbent Scottie Ard and challenger Ryan Sherley. Ard was declared the winner after a Board of Canvassers process where her name was drawn from a bowl. The result prompted Sherley to demand a recount, which yielded the same vote total, but turned up a three-vote difference between voters and ballots cast.