Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts.
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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.
The same week Pierce County announced its new administrative coordinator, one of its past options to fill the position was declared illegal by Wisconsin's attorney general. AG J.B. Van Hollen issued a formal opinion to Pierce County Corporation Counsel Brad Lawrence concluding a sitting member of the county board of supervisors must resign before being hired as county administrative coordinator. Last November the Finance and Personnel Committee nominated fellow Supervisor Rod Rommel for the position on a part-time basis.
Pierce County's search is finally over. Tuesday night, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved JoAnn Miller as its new administrative coordinator. "She's a strong leader with over 25 years experience in municipal government," said Supervisor Rod Rommel, in nominating her.
ELLSWORTH -- At its February meeting, the Pierce County Board of Supervisors approved a zero-percent raise for its non-represented employees for 2011. In last month's meeting, board members reversed themselves and by a 16-1 vote, approved a 1.25% increase, retroactive to Jan.
Supervisor Rod Rommel might have said it best when describing county funding in today's economic climate. "Gentlemen," Rommel said when addressing his fellow Pierce County Supervisors during Tuesday's meeting, "the county spends about $9 million for public health and human services, $6 million equally for law enforcement and highway, yet we only spend $39,000 on jobs?" Rommel said this as he was highlighting findings from the Program Committee, which he chaired.
It's down to three for the vacant Pierce County Administrative Coordinator position. The Finance and Personnel committee selected the three finalists Wednesday from a pool of nine semifinalists. The three are: Tony Chladek, former City Administrator for the City of Merrill, Wis.,; Randy Eide, Director of Public Works for Menomonie; and, JoAnn Miller, former Village Administrator for the Village of DeForest, Wis. Chladek was city administrator for Merrill from April 2006 through April of this year. He was previously city administrator for Stewartville, Minn., from 2002-2005.
A Spring Valley man made a court appearance Monday on two counts of incest. A cash bond was set at $25,000 for John A. Landgraf, 63, N6955 County Road BB. Landgraf's next court appearance is a preliminary hearing set for 8:45 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 31. The criminal complaint alleges Landgraf came to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department Thursday and revealed to investigators he had "improper relations" with a family member, now a teenager, for the last eight years.
A 19-year-old River Falls man is facing four counts of sexual assault relating to two recent incidents. Bradley J. Hetchler, 19, 903 S. Orange St. # 5, is looking at two second-degree sexual assaults of a child plus sexual intercourse with a child from a May incident and two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child from a July incident.
ELLSWORTH -- A proposed federal change for farm vehicles caught the attention of the Pierce County Board of Supervisors and caused them to act July 26. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced it is considering new guidelines to regulate tractors and other farm vehicles more stringently, which would fall in line with commercial drivers.