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
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HUDSON—A River Falls man accused of plotting an attack on police received a mixed bag from a judge after a trial last week in St. Croix County. Kelly Kloss was found guilty Jan. 12 of two felony counts of soliciting — one involving recklessly endangering safety, the other involving reckless injury. The convictions were handed down by Washburn County Circuit Court Judge Eugene Harrington, who heard the case amid conflict of interest concerns surrounding alleged threats to St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack.
Investigation into a Somerset man accused of multiple child sex-related charges led to the discovery of a photo allegedly depicting his girlfriend committing a sexual assault. Details outlined in a criminal complaint against Somerset resident Jennifer M. Bowers allege she was pictured in a 2014 photo sexually assaulting a 2-year-old boy. Bowers, 43, was charged Tuesday with first-degree sexual assault of a child and sexual exploitation of a child.
A trio of Hastings, Minn., residents face multiple drug charges after a pound of psychedelic mushrooms and methamphetamines were allegedly found in a Hager City traffic stop. Pierce County prosecutors charged 25-year-old Brody D. Hamilton, Lynsey D. Poellinger, 22, and Bryan M. Penrose, 31, with intending to deliver methamphetamine and psilocybin. The charges in each case are enhanced with the "party to a crime" modifier, since a suspected dangerous weapon — a three-bladed brass-knuckle device — was also found in the vehicle.
Deputies were called at 3:13 a.m., Jan. 15, to N735 825th St. in Hager City for a woman who wouldn't leave the property. While officers were responding, the complainant fired a shotgun into the air to scare the woman off. The man was found with a 0.17 blood-alcohol content. He was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated use of a firearm.
A Plum City man was hospitalized after being injured Sunday, Jan. 15 in a snowmobile crash. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said 30-year-old Joshua Larson was taken by ambulance to Luther Hospital in Eau Claire after the crash, reported at 12:02 p.m. in the town of Union. According to deputies, Larson was on a snowmobile trail when he lost control and was thrown from the machine. He sustained injuries to his arm and leg, according to a news release.
Wisconsinites in homes and sports bars sweated through the Green Bay Packers 34-31 playoff victory at Dallas Sunday. Many fans expressed their emotions on social media during the game, as the Cowboys came back from an early 18-point deficit to tie the contest before Mason Crosby made a 51-yard field goal as time expired. It gave Green Bay what some analysts call its biggest playoff upset since beating the 49ers in San Francisco as an 11 point underdog 21 years ago.
High carbon monoxide levels were detected at a town of River Falls house where a man was found dead Thursday, Jan. 12 The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as 80-year-old John Eisele. The news release did not list the address of the call, but authorities and firefighters were seen late Thursday afternoon investigating a home on 818th Avenue in the town of River Falls. The release doesn’t say whether Eisele lived at the house.
A St. Croix County judge set bail at $100,000 Thursday for a Somerset man accused of sexploitation and sexually assaulting a child. St. Croix Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham ordered bail for Richard A. Maness, who was charged with repeated sexual assault of a child, sexual exploitation of a child, possession of child pornography and child enticement.
An Ellsworth man was killed Thursday, Jan. 12 after the snowmobile he was on collided with an SUV in Prescott. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as 47-year-old Ronald W. Kirchner. According to deputies, the crash, reported at 8:29 p.m. on Highway 10 near Dexter Street, occurred while Kirchner was attempting to cross the highway when it collided with a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by 35-year old Ellsworth resident Dustin D. Paulson.
St. Croix County residents were put on alert Thursday morning while authorities searched for a man who first led officers on a vehicle pursuit. St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Scott Knudson said a man was eventually arrested. The suspect’s name and booking charges were not immediately available, but it was noted that a gun was found during the search. The arrest came after the county issued a Code Red announcement to residents in a town of Somerset neighborhood.