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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A Pierce County assistant district attorney was found guilty Friday of two traffic violations for his involvement in a motorcycle accident last month. Gregory Amann, 53, Ellsworth, pled guilty to driving too fast for conditions and failure to notify police from an accident which occurred Oct. 10. According to the accident report, Amann was southbound on County Road F, on his motorcycle, descending a steep hill and negotiating a sharp curve when he lost control because he was going too fast.
Some Pierce County departments will look a lot different when the calendar turns Jan. 1, 2011. At its June meeting, the County Board ordered departments to reduce their 2011 budgets by 3.4%. That figure resulted from reducing the 3% increase on the operating levy the state will allow by $190,000, Finance Director Julie Brickner told the board then. It would generate $240,000 in additional property taxes, she continued, but required the reduction. The board approved the 2011 tax levy budget Tuesday morning.
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 F&P committee Monday nominated Rod Rommel, who serves on that committee for the position. The full County Board will act on the request in a special County Board meeting 7 p.m., 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. Said Paul Barkla, County Board Chairman: "We are very lucky.
A River Falls teenager's attempt to pay off a drug debt will result in him spending the next five years in prison. Blake Halverson, 18, was charged with armed robbery of Dick's Hometown Liquor last November. After pleading guilty in July, he was sentenced Oct. 26 by Pepin County Judge James Duvall. Duvall highlighted numerous facts about the incident to hammer home the gravity of the offense. "It was an armed robbery with the use of a dangerous weapon and a gun pointed at a person," he said. "And for what? To get money for drugs.
The Pierce County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved an increase in hours from 28 to 40 for Linda Hoyt, drug court coordinator. The move was made due to the increased number of participants since the program started. It was also said the increase in Hoyt's hours could allow for even more participants, which has the potential to save the county money.
The cause of 31 freight cars derailing near Hager City will be made available next month. Amy McBeth, Public Information Officer for Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), said Thursday they will file their report with the Federal Railroad Administration by the end of October. "It gives us enough time to be thorough and complete with our investigation," she said. A BNSF westbound train, carrying freight items from Chicago to Seattle, derailed at 7:18 a.m. Sept. 13, behind the Ralston Purina facility, near County Highway VV, in the Town of Trenton.
A River Falls woman had her license suspended Monday for nine months and was ordered to pay nearly $1,400 in fines for her involvement in a fatal accident last April. Amy J. Raymo, 31, 1473 Riverside Drive, Apt. 109, pled guilty in Pierce County Circuit Court to the traffic citation of failure to yield right of way from stop sign resulting in a death. She was given six months to pay the fine by Pierce County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Boles. If she is unable, her driver's license will be suspended for up to two years or until the fine is paid.
ELLSWORTH -- The Pierce County Board was given three options to balance the 2011 county budget, but a theme in all three was cut, cut and cut. In the end, during the June 22 meeting, the board approved, by a 14-1 vote, the option of directing all county departments to cut 3.4% from their budgets. The state will allow the county to increase its operating levy by 3%, which will mean collecting $240,000 more in property taxes but require the 3.4% reduction in spending, according to a memo from Finance Director Julie Brickner.
When a class project called for coming up with solutions to help those that are less fortunate, Carlie Christensen didn't have to look far for ideas. The Meyer Middle School 8th grader had watched her mother Jody previously be a foster mother and saw that foster children had many hurdles to overcome. So, the 13-year-old wanted to do her part. She went around to businesses and people she knew around the River Falls area and asked for donations.
A felony second-degree reckless endangerment charge has been filed in Pierce County Court against a River Falls teenager. Joseph T. Kobs, 17, 1430 Cemetery Road, is looking at a maximum penalty of $25,000 and/or 10 years prison if found guilty. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance June 14. According to court records, River Falls police and a Pierce County child protection worker went to interview the victim, a 13-year-old girl, in March. The victim said three days earlier she smelled marijuana coming from Kobs' room.