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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St. Croix County Sheriff's Office Winners of the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office Stop Drugs Poster Contest were recently awarded. The grand prize winner was Hudson Middle School student Trista Oberle. Winners were awarded by grade.
A vulnerable teen was found safe and a man was arrested Saturday in River Falls after a search for the girl by authorities. According to a joint news release by the River Falls and Northfield (Minn.) police departments, the missing 16-year-old, identified in missing persons alerts as Naomi Bruestle, “is now safe, and with her family.” The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension had put out an alert earlier in the day after Bruestle was reported missing.
Losses estimated at about $190K St. Croix County authorities allege a Roberts woman and her husband embezzled about $190,000 from a rural church over the course of nearly 10 years. Kara K. Amundson-LaVenture and Michael LaVenture return to court next week on felony theft charges. LaVenture’s charges stipulate he was party to a crime. Amundson-LaVenture also faces one count of unauthorized identity use, a felony. A preliminary hearing in both cases is set for Tuesday, Jan. 3.
A pole shed and a pickup truck were destroyed by fire Wednesday morning in the town of St. Joseph. Firefighters said no one was hurt in the fire at 445 Old County Road E. No one, including homeowner Duane Lyon, was not home at the time of the fire, authorities said. St. Joseph Fire Department First Assistant Chief Charles Barrette said all animals at the property — including two horses that were being cared for elsewhere — were accounted for.
A Roberts man convicted of a 2015 burglary to a storage unit containing his father-in-law’s guns was sentenced to prison. Jeffery K. Gleason, 28, will serve five years in prison and five years on extended supervision, according to the sentence issued Dec. 6 by St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham. Gleason, along with another man, were accused of burglarizing a storage unit containing a stash of guns over the Labor Day weekend in 2015.
A Deer Park man was seriously injured Wednesday evening in a head-on crash on Highway 46, after he swerved to avoid a deer in the road. According to the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office, 34-year-old Jeffrey Kobs was hospitalized after the crash, reported at 6:19 p.m.near 215th Avenue in the town of Cylon.
A Hudson woman was charged Tuesday with criminal vehicular homicide following a Twin Cities crash in May that left a woman dead. The charges were filed in Ramsey County District Court against Destiny Y. Xiong, 35, the driver in a May 1 rear-end crash in New Brighton, Minn.
A sex offender released from prison on Tuesday, originally set to move to Roberts, will be living out of his vehicle. St. Croix County Sheriff John Shilts said Gerald L. Heavner, 48, informed authorities he will be living in the “Roberts area” out of a black 2006 Chevrolet Equinox. Shilts said Heavner was originally slated to be living at a Burr Street apartment in Roberts, but that the landlord later determined Heavner was never on the lease.
Wisconsin authorities put out an alert Wednesday for suspects in a credit card scam that allegedly involves Walmart stores from Woodbury to Red Wing. According to a St. Croix Falls (Wis.) Police Department announcement, two suspects used cloned credit cards to buy gift cards on Sunday, Dec. 18, at a Walmart there. The suspects have been active in Pierce County and at Walmarts in Cottage Grove, Woodbury and Red Wing, according to police.
HUDSON - A St. Croix County jury on Tuesday convicted Cristian Daniel Nunez on all five counts, including two counts of first-degree intentionial homicide in the Sept. 1, 2015, deaths of Courtney and Jasmine Bradford.