Mike Longaecker is a regional/enterprise reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage includes St. Croix County government, higher education and state politics in Wisconsin.
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A Somerset man accused of operating a drug house returned to court this week after officers raided his home while searching for a man sought by Nevada authorities. The Sept. 26 incident led to two arrests, the discovery of suspected methamphetamine, extensive drug paraphernalia, more than $2,800 in cash and a gun, according to court documents filed in the case. The resident, Justin J. Grobner, 40, was charged with maintaining a drug trafficking place, meth possession as a party to a crime — both felonies — and misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession.
Aging facilities and a growing demand for science-related studies are among factors UW-River Falls officials say warrant a new building on campus. University officials on Monday unveiled a $111 million proposal for a Science and Technology Innovation Center, slated to be built on the footprint of Hagestad Hall on East Cascade Avenue.
Authorities responded to the scene of a second collision Thursday within hours of a fatal crash at the same St. Croix County intersection. St. Croix County sheriff's deputies were called at 4:11 p.m. Oct. 4 to Highway 63 and County Road G in the town of Emerald for a two-vehicle crash. The intersection was the scene of a fatal crash at 7:28 a.m. the same day. Sheriff Scott Knudson said one person was injured in the afternoon crash, but that person's injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.
Authorities said the rising morning sun may have been a factor in a Thursday crash that killed a New Richmond man. The St. Croix County Sheriff's Office said 27-year-old Joshua J. Derrick was killed in the two-vehicle crash that left a second driver hospitalized. That man, 49-year-old Brian W. Holldorf of Baldwin, was take to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with undisclosed injuries.
A 33-year-old woman was critically injured Sunday after being shot on private hunting land in Polk County. The Polk County Sheriff's Office said the woman, of rural Clear Lake, was leaving a hunting stand at 7:15 p.m. when she was shot in a field by a 17-year-old boy from Star Prairie who was hunting on adjacent property.
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.