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 St. Croix County jury on Friday convicted a Hudson man accused of stealing thousands of dollars' worth of guns in a 2015 burglary. Alex James Kranz, 24, was convicted...
A Baldwin teenager faces multiple felonies after he allegedly ran from officers into a barn and later tangled with a police dog. St. Croix County prosecutors charged Christian C. Wagner, 18, with methamphetamine possession, five counts of felony bail jumping and misdemeanor charges of obstructing an officer, shoving a police animal and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Woman sentenced for eighth OWI A Wilson woman was sent to prison this month after pleading guilty to her eighth drunken-driving offense. Amanda J. Rogers was sentenced to three years in prison and three years on extended supervision during a Feb. 8 hearing in St. Croix County Circuit Court. The sentence, issued by St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Michael Waterman, also calls for Rogers to pay a $2,400 fine.
A man accused of biting two people at a New Richmond home before leading police on two separate pursuits was charged with multiple crimes last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Prosecutors charged Hudson resident David E. Toenjes, 28, with one count of felony attempting to flee a traffic officer, two counts of misdemeanor battery and one count each of criminal trespass, obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct. Toenjes was ordered to post a $500 cash bond during his initial court appearance Feb. 16.
Probation was ordered for a River Falls man who was found in possession of a pipe bomb when police went to check on two men scavenging for chips in Roberts. Mark W. Ellestad, 38, was sentenced to three years on probation Monday by St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Eric Lundell. He could be sent to prison for three years if he violates terms of his probation, which include maintaining absolute sobriety.
An errant bowling ball allegedly shot from a cannon during 2015 Fourth of July festivities led to criminal charges against a Spring Valley man. One ball blasted through the roof of a town of Richmond barn, leading to thousands of dollars’ in damages, according to a criminal complaint filed against 65-year-old Ricky A. Thorne. St. Croix County prosecutors charged the Spring Valley man with one count of felony second-degree recklessly endangering safety. He is also charged with misdemeanor negligent handling of a weapon.
A New Richmond man who suddenly appeared in the backseat of his ex-girlfriend’s car, then forced her to drive a loop through western Wisconsin with a gun to her head and a noose around her neck was sentenced Monday.
An active marijuana growing operation was uncovered by authorities this month in a Somerset man’s garage and home, according to charges filed in St. Croix County Circuit Court. An attached garage at 1909 Highway 35 contained 18 marijuana plants, while 12 more plants were found in bedrooms in the house, a criminal complaint filed against Cory T. Breault Feb. 12 states.
Paul Berning was prepared to enter elected office in 2016, but his plans were altered after a longtime lawmaker announced his retirement from the state Assembly. Berning -- originally poised to run for St. Croix County Board -- began fielding requests from supporters who encouraged him to run for Rep. Dean Knudson’s seat after the Hudson Republican announced in January he will not seek re-election to the Legislature.
Jim Madsen thinks the state can’t cut its way to success at its public universities. The UW-River Falls physics professor said he is concerned that last year’s cuts to the University of Wisconsin System could impact future opportunities as Wisconsin competes with neighboring states for students. Madsen made the comments Monday, Feb. 8, during a listening session held by Sen. Sheila Harsdorf at the River Falls Public Library. Asked if the Legislature will reinvest in higher education, the River Falls Republican said the short-term outlook doesn’t look rosy.