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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ELLSWORTH -- As he begins his first full year on the bench, Pierce County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Boles offered his thoughts on the local judicial system to the County Board Feb. 1. "The transition from private practice to judge has been smooth," said Boles, a lawyer in River Falls before winning the election last April. "I feel very welcome here in the courthouse and throughout Ellsworth. "I feel very happy to have the job I have, which is serving the citizens of Pierce County." Boles talked about recent changes, both involving video conferencing.
An accomplice in the River Falls Econo Foods burglary last September pled guilty Tuesday to two counts of misdemeanor theft in Pierce County Circuit Court. Ashley M. Schuh, 21, Mondovi, pled guilty to the counts as part of an agreement. She was originally charged with four counts of credit card fraud, misdemeanor theft and two counts of burglary. According to the criminal complaint, Schuh caught the eye of law enforcement when she and Joleigha Johnson, 30, were found in a stalled vehicle on Interstate 94 in Eau Claire County the early morning hours of Sept. 20.
Expansion of departments in the Pierce County Courthouse will likely not happen in the foreseeable future for two reasons: Money, as evident by the budget cuts made last year, and space, as there is hardly any of that, either. That is the opinion of a recent building summary done by KKE Architects, the architectural firm specializing in interior design and architectural planning. The company, with locations in Minneapolis and throughout the United States, did an overview of the judicial portion of the courthouse.
The year is only 20 days old, but there have already been two notable animal cruelty cases in the county. On Saturday, Evelyn Halvorson of River Falls reported "Thunder", her 14-year-old Arabian gelding horse was shot and killed. According to the police report, Thunder was found next to six other horses enclosed in a pasture with woods and open land surrounding it. The Halvorsons, who live on County Highway W, believe the shooter was a coyote hunter as Thunder was shot right between the eyes with a rifle bullet. Thunder was a gelding raised from a colt, Halvorson explained.
A recent building summary of the Pierce County Courthouse has confirmed what those who work or visit have known all along: "Among many physical and operational problems with the facility, the most severe and immediate issues revolve around space needs, efficient operations, accessibility and security," representatives of KKE Architects said. The architectural firm, specializing in interior design and architectural planning, with locations in Minneapolis and throughout the United States, praised the complex for being attractive and well-maintained for being over 100 years old.
Mother Nature and the collapse of the U.S. economy forced Steve and Jennifer Koth out of their Ellsworth home. At the same time, the couple is determined not to join one of the nearly 150 homeowners in Pierce County foreclosed upon this year. "There are other options you can aggressively pursue," Steve Koth said. "You can stand up to these banks and fight them.
A Prescott man who allegedly struck a teenager several times in a dispute over the boy's housekeeping, faces a charge of felony child abuse. Mark H. Nelson, 53, 334 N. Dakota St., has been ordered to appear for a preliminary hearing at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 31. Prescott police were dispatched around 8 a.m. Dec. 21 for a possible domestic/battery to a child, according to the criminal complaint. Upon arrival, a 14-year-old alleged that earlier in the day, Nelson grabbed him by the back of the neck.
A River Falls man's "stupid" mistake has resulted in a felony conviction and jail time. Christopher D. Pixley, 20, 437 Kennedy St., pled guilty to arson Wednesday in Pierce County Circuit Court and was placed on three years probation. One of the probation conditions ordered by Judge Joseph Boles was four months jail. Pixley was charged with arson following a July 23 incident when a UW-River Falls storage shed full of hay rolls went up in flames. According to the criminal complaint, Pixley was allegedly drinking earlier in the night with two other local men who were also arrested.
The Pierce County Finance and Personnel Committee turned to one of its own in selecting the county's next administrative coordinator. In a surprise, the committee a week ago Monday nominated Rod Rommel, who serves on that committee, for the position. The full County Board will act on the request at a special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29. "I look at this as the one last great challenge in my life," the 61-year-old, who has served on the County Board since April, said. Paul Barkla, County Board chairman, said, "We are very lucky.
A Pierce County Board Supervisor was found guilty of county disorderly conduct earlier this month. Jeffrey A. Holst, 53, W10014 1005th St., Hager City, was cited by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department for his involvement in a fight Sept. 5 at the Nauti Hawg Bar and Grill, W9852 290th Ave., Hager City. He pled no contest in a court hearing Nov. 8. According to the police report, law enforcement was called to the Bar for excessive bar noise. Interviews were gathered and law enforcement learned a fight had taken place between four males. Holst and Corey J.