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 New Richmond-area Boy Scout leader has resigned his post amid abuse allegations in St. Croix County. Conrad C. Botz II headed Troop 9464 until Friday, Aug. 25, according to Ted La Pean, who said he has assumed the role of scoutmaster. La Pean said Botz resigned all scouting activities. The resignation followed a meeting between a committee and a scout council, he said. Botz, 40, is charged in St. Croix County Circuit Court with one count of felony physical child abuse and two misdemeanors — disorderly conduct and bail jumping — stemming from a June 24 incident.
Two Texas men face robbery charges in St. Croix County after an allegedly violent incident outside a New Richmond bar. Prosecutors charged Billy Ray Salazar, 21, Edinburg, and Carlos Talamantes, 25, with robbery with use of force and substantial battery. Warrants were issued Aug. 11 for both men's arrest. According to a criminal complaint: A New Richmond police officer was waved down in High Street traffic Aug. 11 by two men saying someone needed help.
An assistant Hudson High School girls' basketball coach was placed on unpaid leave from the school district amid sex-related charges filed this week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Louis J. French, 42, was charged Tuesday, Aug. 29, with first-degree child sex assault, repeated sexual assault of a child, using a computer to aid in a sex crime and causing a child to view sexual activity.
HUDSON — Two alert dogs were credited for giving a Hudson couple time to escape their burning house last weekend. The black labs' barking allowed Hudson residents Scott and Michelle Such to get out of their house early Sunday, Aug. 27, though only one of the two dogs made it out alive. Hudson Fire Chief Scott St. Martin said one dog escaped with the Suches, while the second dog was trapped in the burning two-story home at 1220 Ninth St.
A St. Paul skydiving instructor had anything but a soft landing last month after allegedly attempting to parachute from atop a St. Croix County cellphone tower. Court documents filed this week state the man’s parachute got hung up on power lines on the way down, snagging him and causing him to receive an electrical shock. The 44-year-old survived the July 29 incident, but was later charged with two felonies stemming from the failed attempt, which left 127 customers without power for nearly two hours.
A St. Croix County prosecutor said a suspected drug dealer was armed and "setting up for a fight" with police before being arrested last week at a rural Somerset home. Authorities said suspected drugs, guns and a large amount of cash were discovered Wednesday, Aug. 16, after authorities from multiple agencies raided a home where 33-year-old Andover, Minn., resident James Lee Johnson was arrested.
Three former Prescott police employees are no longer with the department — including two officers who reportedly violated policy. City Administrator Jayne Brand confirmed Monday, Aug. 21, that former officers Bryan Massman and Ryan Most are no longer employed with the department. A third employee, former administrative assistant Erin Most — Ryan Most’s wife — is also gone from the police department, the city confirmed.
A Prescott man was arrested on suspicion of multiple felonies Tuesday after a stabbing at his apartment. Prescott Interim Police Chief Robert Funk identified the suspect in a news release as 66-year-old Dennis A. Frank, 66. The victim, a female, was not identified Wednesday pending family notification. She was hospitalized “and is receiving care,” the release states. According to the release:
St. Croix County’s investigative lieutenant was promoted Friday to second in command at the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Scott Knudson announced Cathy Borgschatz will serve as the department’s chief deputy. Knudson previously served in the role before being appointed sheriff by Gov. Scott Walker after Knudson's predecessor, John Shilts, retired in July.
A New Richmond woman faces arson charges after she allegedly set a fire in her apartment. St. Croix County prosecutors on Thursday, Aug. 17, charged Koianna J. Kelley, 28, with two counts of felony arson and one count of misdemeanor criminal property damage. Kelley made her initial court appearance Thursday, where St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Michael Waterman ordered her to post $5,000 cash bond.