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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Mike Perucca was heading to a medical call Sunday night in the town of St. Joseph when another emergency caught his attention before he got out of his North Hudson neighborhood. "I noticed an abnormal amount of smoke in the area," he said. It didn't take long for the St. Joe first responder — who also works as a Hudson firefighter — to determine the smoke was coming from a garage fire at 700 Fourth St. N. Perucca, who's also the city of Hudson's fire inspector, noticed an orange glow in the garage as he approached the house just before 10:30 p.m. Nov. 12.
The most serious charge levied against a Minnesota woman accused in a 2016 crash that killed a Beldenville teenager was dismissed last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham accepted prosecution's motion to dismiss one count of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle Friday, Nov. 10, against 22-year-old Makellia S. Jensen. The Faribault woman was accused of causing 16-year-old Ellsworth High School student Kyra Hayes to swerve off the road, leading to the Oct. 21, 2016, crash.
A punishing second quarter of UW-La Crosse dominance spoiled Senior Day for the Falcons in their final game of the season. The Eagles ran off 42 unanswered points until UW-River Falls got on the board in the third quarter when senior running back Michael Diggins hauled in a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Beckman. The touchdown, backed by a Dylan Swerig extra point, represented the sole score in the 56-7 loss Saturday, Nov. 11, at Ramer Field.
St. Croix County Medical Examiner Patty Schachtner on Tuesday became the first Democrat to announce her bid in the special election for state Senate District 10. Schachtner, a Somerset School Board member, said in a statement that she aims to tackle “Milwaukee-area-first school funding” and other issues as part of an effort to boost western Wisconsin’s priority among Madison lawmakers.
A second western Wisconsin lawmaker has thrown his hat in the ring to succeed Sheila Harsdorf in the state Senate’s 10th district. Rep. Shannon Zimmerman was the latest to announce his candidacy for the seat, vacated Friday, Nov. 10, when Harsdorf resigned to become the next secretary of the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. She was appointed to the post earlier Friday by Gov. Scott Walker.
The first candidate to seek Sheila Harsdorf's soon-to-be-vacated state Senate seat emerged Friday. Republican Adam Jarchow, a second-term Assembly member from Balsam Lake, announced his intention to run in a special election to fill Harsdorf’s District 10 Senate seat. Gov. Scott Walker earlier on Friday appointed Harsdorf to become secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Gov. Scott Walker on Friday appointed Sen. Sheila Harsdorf to be the state’s Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection secretary — an announcement that will trigger a special election in her western Wisconsin district. “Sheila’s experience as a highly respected, dedicated legislator and dairy farmer make her an excellent fit to lead DATCP,” Walker said in a news release.
A Somerset man convicted of assaulting a woman who let him live with her family was sentenced last week to jail and probation.
A New Richmond man made his first court appearance last week on allegations he sold a police informant a quarter-pound of marijuana. Billy L. Alexander Jr. was released on a signature bond after the Nov. 2 hearing in St. Croix County Circuit Court. The 38-year-old faces active drug charges in multiple cases stretching back to 2014. According to the latest felony charge, Alexander is accused of selling pot to an informant during a May 18 controlled drug buy.
A Hudson woman arrived home from a late-night flight last month to find a homeless man with a lengthy criminal history allegedly squatting in her house. According to documents filed in court last week, the woman went into her Birkmose Park Street home at about 2 a.m. Oct. 28 and spotted things out of place in the kitchen and heard music playing. She went outside and flagged down a Hudson police officer who, along with another officer, went into the house and found a man inside.