Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
- Member for
- 4 years 5 months
Flood warnings continue in central and northern Wisconsin after this week's heavy rains. The National Weather Service predicts major floods on the Trempealeau River at Dodge, while mostly minor flooding is expected on the Wisconsin, Yellow, Black, and Chippewa Rivers — and a general flood warning continues until Friday for parts of Iron and Ashland counties. There was an early flood damage estimate of $50,000 in Jackson County, but a final figure won't be known until a number of flooded out roads reopen.
Less than five months after pleading no contest to substantial battery to a child in St. Croix County, a 27-year-old man was charged with a similar crime in Minnesota. Washington County prosecutors allege Jonathon D. Wierstad assaulted a 16-month-old boy who was placed on life support after a May 11 incident in Willernie, Minn. Siv Yurichuk, an assistant Washington County attorney, said Thursday there have been “no significant changes” since the child was hospitalized.
Portions of Pierce and St. Croix counties saw upward of 2 inches of rain from storms that soaked the region on Wednesday. The National Weather Service said western Pierce County saw about 2.5 inches of rain over the past 24 hours. St. Croix County — from Hudson to Baldwin — received about 2 inches of rain during the same period. One River Falls report indicated 2.6 inches of rainfall there, according to the weather service. Amounts exceeding 1 inch were recorded in Somerset and New Richmond, a NWS spokeswoman said Thursday.
RIVER FALLS — Law enforcement officers from three western Wisconsin counties gathered Tuesday to honor those killed in the line of duty. The ceremony, comprising law enforcement agencies from Pepin, Pierce and St. Croix counties, was anchored by a presentation from Wisconsin State Patrol Maj. Anthony Burrell.
Drug charges were filed Tuesday against a Hudson business owner arrested after authorities raided the business. Hudson police said Hilltop Service Center owner Howard J. Bennett was one of two people arrested after a search warrant was executed Monday, May 15, at the 1000 O'Keefe Road facility in Hudson. Hudson Sgt. Glen Hartman said "a sizable amount of drugs" was found during the search, conducted early Monday by Hudson police in partnership with the St. Croix Valley Drug Task Force.
A child was hospitalized Wednesday after falling 12 feet inside a rural St. Croix County barn. Authorities from several agencies responded at 10:30 p.m. to a home on 60th Avenue in the town of Pleasant Valley, a community about six miles east of Roberts, for a rescue call.
A Minnesota man caused an Interstate 94 crash that left a truck driver injured, and then drove away from the scene, according to charges filed this week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Prosecutors allege Inver Grove Heights resident Dylan M. Nelson was intoxicated at the time of the crash, reported early Saturday on the freeway in Hudson. Nelson, 23, made his initial court appearance Monday on one count of felony hit-and-run causing injury and a misdemeanor count of OWI causing injury. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham set cash bail at $1,500 at the hearing.
RIVER FALLS — One of the state's top lawmakers heard highlights and concerns from local school district leaders who shined a light on education issues in western Wisconsin. Officials from River Falls and Hudson school districts, along with UW-River Falls leaders, presented the state of affairs at their respective campuses to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos during a visit Monday to the university campus.
Three people were hospitalized Monday, May 8, after a chain-reaction crash on Highway 65 in the town of Kinnickinnic. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office said all three people sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries. They were identified Tuesday as 78-year-old Daniel Dennisen, 76-year-old Dorothy Denissen and 42-year-old Cheri Brenna.
St. Croix County's top cop will be retiring in July. Sheriff John Shilts confirmed Monday that he filed paperwork last month to retire on July 14. Shilts, whose term expires at the end of 2018, said the decision to retire this summer involved "the culmination" of several factors. "At this point because of circumstances in my life I am unable to fully commit the kind of effort needed to accomplish the mission," the 55-year-old said. "With that, I need to step aside and make way for someone who can devote the necessary time and effort to accomplish the mission."