Jason Schulte has been with the Herald since 2006. He covers County government and anything else that happens in Pierce County on a daily basis.
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It turned out the committee tasked in finding Neil Gulbranson's successor as Pierce County Sheriff's Chief Deputy didn't have to look far. Jason Matthys, who has an office four doors down from Gulbranson, was chosen from six candidates and will start this Saturday, the day after Gulbranson retires after 41 years with the department. Matthys has been a patrol lieutenant since 2010. "I've always had a vested interest in supervision and management, and being patrol lieutenant opened my eyes even more," he said.
On training runs, Pierce County Dive Team members couldn't help but notice the stuff floating in the rivers near Prescott. Wednesday, they decided to do something about it. In a span of two hours, members Josh Knutson and Crystal McDonnell pulled out batteries, jumper cables, wires, bicycles and even a safe along the St. Croix River, off the boat landing on the 100 block of Front Street. The dive team was established in 2000 with its primary goal of providing rescue for those who fell in the water.
A Hastings man was found guilty to two counts of battery to emergency rescue workers and one count of police battery Friday in Pierce County Circuit Court. Randy S. LaCoursiere, 28, entered an Alford plea on all three counts as part of the agreement. An Alford plea means the defendant does not admit the act, but admits the prosecution could likely prove the charges. He will be sentenced 11 a.m., May 29. According to the criminal complaint, Prescott police were advised of a possible domestic dispute last September, involving LaCoursiere, who already left the scene.
Monday, March 26, marked Glen Nelson's third surgery in a week following a motorcycle crash St. Patrick's Day that left him seriously injured. A family member said that Nelson's vitals are stable and doctors hope to start to take him off the ventilator by the middle of the week. "He's got fractures in both arms, a plate was inserted into his pelvis and his right femur is broken," the family member reported. "But the important thing is he's OK." The Hammond native was riding his motorcycle with wife Julie, 47, on 650th St.
A Spring Valley man will spend the next eight years in prison after Tuesday's sentencing hearing in Pierce County Circuit Court. John A. Landgraf, 64, was also ordered to be on extended supervision for eight more years upon his release after pleading guilty to one count of incest last year. "I can't emphasize how serious this offense was," Judge Joseph Boles said.
The new Pierce County personnel policy is one step away from reality. Tuesday, the board approved the first reading of the policy, meaning it'll be up for final approval at next Tuesday's board meeting. According to county documents, the changes are due to the passage of last year's Budget Repair Bill, as it required issues such as filling position vacancies, employee benefits, etc., be included in the personnel policy, as they are no longer addressed in collective bargaining.
Minutes before Gov. Scott Walker walked through the library doors Friday, an Elmwood third grader uttered, "I'm freaking out." The third grader had nothing to worry about as the Governor read "Oh the places you'll go" by Dr.
Andy Thoms believes variety is the key to being a good law enforcement officer. "I don't think I could be content with one thing," he said. "I believe it's beneficial to work in more than one different area because it keeps your skills up." Starting Sunday, Jan. 1, Thoms will add another position to his experience when he becomes the Pierce County Sheriff's Department K-9 Officer. "I'm excited about the chance to do something different," he said.
A young River Falls man pled guilty to a couple of third-degree sexual assaults Thursday, Dec. 15 in Pierce County Circuit Court. Bradley J. Hetchler, 20, 903 Orange St., was originally charged with second degree sexual assaults from a May incident and two counts of first degree sexual assaults from a July incident. He pled guilty to the amended third degree charges in each incident as part of last week's agreement. The third-degree sexual assaults are Class G felonies. Hetchler will be formally sentenced Feb.
A Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission arbitrator ruled earlier this month Pierce County had just cause to fire a Highway Department employee. In an eight-page ruling dated Nov. 10, arbitrator Matthew Greer said because of Roger Billeter's intentional misconduct, as well as the lengthy period of time during which the misconduct occurred and the large number of those instances, the county wasn't required to "follow progressive discipline" before terminating him. Billeter, Beldenville, was a foreman for the Highway Department when he was fired in January 2010.