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 three-term St. Croix County judge announced he is seeking re-election. Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham is seeking his fourth term to the bench in 2018. In addition to serving as a sitting judge in St. Croix County, Needham also serves as chief judge of the 10th Judicial District and served from 2016-17 as chairman of the Committee of Chief Judges.
A 15-year legal battle ended in victory for a family of western Wisconsin property owners after a law was passed undoing barriers that sent the issue to the nation's highest court. Gov. Scott Walker on Monday, Nov. 27, signed a package of bills dubbed the "Homeowners Bill of Rights" that includes a provision lifting restrictions on shoreland zoning. The bill erases St. Croix County and state restrictions that kept the Murr family from selling one of two parcels of adjoining land it owns along the St. Croix River in the town of Troy.
ELMWOOD — Appeals directly to students seemed to make an impact in pushing his budget's education package, so Gov. Scott Walker went back to that well to draw support for a bill aimed at rural schools. Legislators balked at the Republican governor's sparsity aid request in his budget, so Walker is making a renewed push for the bill, which he said he convinced some lawmakers to reintroduce. "We can put a little more pressure on the Legislature to pass that," Walker told students Nov. 21 at Elmwood High School.
A Hammond man made his initial court appearance Wednesday on charges stemming from a suspected drunken driving crash. St. Croix County prosecutors charged Nicholas J. Hukriede, 29, with one count of felony OWI causing injury and a misdemeanor count of OWI-third offense. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge ordered Hukriede to post $1,000 cash bond at a Nov. 15 hearing. According to a criminal complaint:
Authorities allege a rural Hudson man on Tuesday attacked a sex offender for the second time since 2016 — this time going after a convict with an ax.
Authorities were working to identify human remains found this week by hunters walking along the St. Croix River. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, two hunters reported finding a body at 10:39 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21. The discovery was made near the river bottoms in Interstate State Park off County Road S near 113th Avenue.
Seven candidates have filed paperwork to run in a special election to fill the state Senate seat vacated by newly appointed Agriculture Secretary Sheila Harsdorf. Voters will choose replacements Jan. 16 for the Senate District 10 seat, which has state Reps. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, and Shannon Zimmerman, of River Falls, vying to be the Republican candidate. That will be decided in a Dec. 19 primary. Hammond resident Kenneth Rimer has also filed to run as a Republican.
A land-use bill rerouting state law around a U.S. Supreme Court decision cleared its final legislative hurdle this month in Madison. The Wisconsin Senate passed the measure waiving land-use restrictions that prevented a family from selling a small parcel of their St. Croix River-side land. Lawmakers stepped in after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Murr family's claim that St. Croix County's laws governing the sale of the land were unconstitutional.
A Hastings man is due in court next month on allegations he embezzled more than $70,000 from a Prescott-area golf course. Pierce County prosecutors allege Robert P. Magnuson pocketed cash after issuing fake golf club memberships at Clifton Highlands between September 2016 and March of this year. The 58-year-old is charged with one count of felony theft by false representation.
A New Richmond man was hospitalized and a Hudson teenager was checked for injuries after their cars collided Friday afternoon in the town of Troy.