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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Fire crews from around St. Croix County responded Tuesday morning to a house fire in the town of Kinnickinnic. The fire was reported at about 9:20 a.m. Jan. 9 at 1237 County Road N — in between River Falls and Roberts. Initial scanner traffic suggested the home was not occupied at the time of the fire.
Two candidates for the 10th Senate District seat will appear next week in River Falls for a forum.
TOWN OF ST. JOSEPH — Ron Burton blames his dad. The town of St. Joseph fire chief recalls how his father, an assistant fire chief running a truck out of Burkhardt, would take him along on fire calls decades ago. Burton remembers the allure of the siren wails and light flashes as they responded to calls. "It was a pretty cool thing for a little boy," he said. That early exposure was all it took to spawn his own firefighting career. "I don't know that I had much choice in the matter," he said with a chuckle.
A Hudson man accused of putting a gun to his estranged wife’s head was arrested Thursday after an extensive search that prompted security measures at two schools. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office said the 45-year-old man, whose name was not immediately released, was arrested at 3:40 p.m. Jan. 4 without incident at a home on West Grove Road in the town of Troy.
A search is underway for a Somerset High School student last seen on Tuesday, Jan. 2. The family of Levi Iverson spread word on Facebook Thursday hoping to learn the 15-year-old's whereabouts after he went missing earlier in the week. Iverson's sister Melissa Beck said a missing person report was filed Wednesday night after the teen had been missing for more than 24 hours. She said he was last seen Tuesday night being dropped off at his house in Somerset after snowboarding.
A competency exam was ordered for a New Richmond man accused of trying to kill his mother. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack approved the order Dec. 21 at a brief hearing for 26-year-old Omar S. Martinez. The man, being held in St. Croix County jail on $25,000 cash bond, is charged with first-degree intentional attempted homicide, substantial battery and two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety — all felonies. Martinez pleaded not guilty on Nov. 15 to all charges, including a misdemeanor offense.
A Woodville man pleaded not guilty to a seventh OWI offense last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Joseph A. Lynum, 43, entered the plea to the offense and a misdemeanor charge of driving while revoked during his Friday, Dec. 29, arraignment hearing. He faces a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
A Hudson woman was killed last week while snowmobiling in Michigan. The Gogebic County Sheriff's Office said 51-year-old Michele M. Megard died Friday, Dec. 29, after her snowmobile crashed and was struck by another rider in the group.
The St. Croix County Sheriff's Office saw a significant leadership change in 2017. Chief among them was the resignation in July of Sheriff John Shilts and the subsequent appointment of his successor, Scott Knudson. Gov. Scott Walker appointed Knudson, a Somerset resident, who ascended from his No. 2 role as chief deputy to sheriff when he took the oath in August. Knudson will complete Shilts' remaining term, which expires after 2018; he said he will seek election in the fall.
Authorities said there’s no indication of what claimed the life of an infant found dead last fall in Baldwin. The final autopsy on Aubree Long revealed “no anatomic cause of death,” nor any trauma to the 14-week-old’s body, according to Ramsey County Medical Examiner findings released Thursday by Baldwin police. Toxicology blood tests also turned up nothing out of the ordinary, according to the report.