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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Communities in Pierce and St. Croix counties were among municipalities that were awarded broadband funding grants from the state Thursday. The Public Service Commission (PSC) and Gov. Scott Walker announced the broadband grant awards, which total $7 million. The funds were distributed among 37 communities. The projects in Pierce and St. Croix counties represent build-outs of existing projects that have been developed in stages.
Lawmakers traveled this week to western Wisconsin to learn what residents think of a massive manufacturing project on the other side of the state. Foxconn was the only item on the agenda Monday, Oct. 1, at events in New Richmond and River Falls, where Somerset Sen. Patty Schachtner was joined by Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh and Sen. Janet Bewley of Mason.
Prosecutors on Friday charged a Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputy with multiple counts of child sexual assault. St. Croix County District Attorney Michael Nieskes, serving as special counsel in the case of Allen J. Wojcik, charged the 31-year-old with two counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child and two related counts. All four charges are felonies. The sheriff's office this week placed Wojcik on paid administrative leave. The allegations did not occur during the course of his work with the department.
A Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputy was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child sexual assault. According to the Pierce County Jail log, Allen J. Wojcik, 31, was booked at 5:32 p.m. Sept. 26 on suspicion of second-degree sexual assault of a child. He was transferred to the St. Croix County jail, where he was also listed on a Wednesday jail log.
Four days of trial testimony and nearly 11 hours of jury deliberation in the case of a teenager who allegedly threatened to "shoot kids" were all for naught Monday after a juror was held in contempt of court, prompting a judge to declare a mistrial. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack released all 12 jurors on Sept. 25 after learning one of them had brought in a document he had printed off the internet about the Parkland school massacre in Florida.
An investigation into drug activity at a Hager City strip club led to a felony charge against a dancer at the establishment. A criminal complaint filed Sept. 11 in Pierce County Circuit Court states the 32-year-old woman sold a bag of marijuana to an informant for the Pierce County Sheriff's Office. Prosecutors charged the woman, St. Paul resident Chantal A. Jenkins, with one count of THC delivery, a felony. Jenkins' initial court appearance is set for Nov. 5.
Whether a New Richmond teenager's remark about "shooting kids" was a true threat or a bad joke is in the hands of a St. Croix County jury. Judge Edward Vlack gave the case to the jury at 11:23 a.m. Friday, when they began deliberating the fate of Nicholas H. Cherrier. The 19-year-old is charged with making a terrorist threat, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of three-and-a-half years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The evidence portion of the trial wrapped on Thursday and lawyers presented closing remarks Friday morning before jurors received the case.
Jurors were shown a recording Tuesday of a New Richmond teenager explaining to an investigator what he said that raised alarms earlier this year at his workplace and around the community. The 19-year-old, who is on trial for making a terrorist threat, was interviewed March 30 by St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office investigator Cary Rose.
As UW-River Falls updates its mission statement for the first time in 30 years, it does so with a nod to connections far beyond the campus. University officials said the statement, which underwent a public hearing last week, will reflect a global perspective, updated offerings, vision and values representing the campus' evolution since 1988, the last time the mission statement was revised.
NEW RICHMOND — Volunteers have for years been logging heavy miles bringing veterans from St. Croix County to medical appointments in Minneapolis. Thanks to community donations, those drivers will no longer put wear and tear on their personal vehicles during those trips.