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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Gov. Scott Walker said he was making good on his promise to deliver welfare reform when he signed three bills this week in River Falls. The bills were part of a package of legislation the Republican governor signed during various stops around the state Tuesday, April 10. "We looked at it in the fact that at 2.9 percent unemployment, we can't afford to have anybody on the sidelines," Walker said to a group of supporters and curious shoppers at Dick's Fresh Market. "We need everybody in the game."
An exact tie in the polling numbers for a St. Croix County Board seat triggered a recount to be held this week. Ballots for the District 13 race between incumbent Scottie Ard and challenger Ryan Sherley will be recounted at 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 11, at the St. Croix County Government Center. Both candidates received 213 votes during the April 3 election, according to preliminary results.
Incidents on bridges connecting St. Croix County with Minnesota left two people dead over the past week. Both deaths were believed to be suicides. The most recent incident occurred the morning of Monday, April 9, when a motorist witnessed a man jump from the St. Croix River Crossing. Authorities recovered his body in the St. Croix River. Washington (Minn.) County Sheriff's Office Cmdr. confirmed the man, a Stillwater resident in his 60s, was found dead on the north side of the bridge.
A St. Croix County man convicted of his seventh drunken-driving offense was sentenced last week to prison. Woodville resident Joseph A. Lynum was sentenced March 29 to three years and six months in prison, with an additional five years to be spent on extended supervision. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham issued the sentence, which also prohibits him from entering taverns, revokes his driving privileges for two years and levies $1,744 in fines. Two other charges stemming from the Dec. 18, 2017, incident were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
St. Croix County law enforcement officials are mourning the loss of a key member while simultaneously working to fill the void. The St. Croix County Sheriff's Office announced March 23 that Roky, the K-9 partner of deputy Dustin Geisness, died from complications stemming from a twisted intestine. The German shepherd was 4 years old. Sheriff Scott Knudson, a former K-9 handler, said dogs of Roky's size and breed are more susceptible to the intestinal complication. Still, he said "it was a shock when it happened."
Authorities on Thursday arrested a Glenwood City School District faculty member amid allegations he had an online sexual relationship with a Missouri child.
Five people were hospitalized Saturday following two separate crashes on Pierce County roads. The first crash, at 1:15 p.m. March 31, sent a Prescott woman and two children to a hospital after an incident on Highway 10 near 620th Avenue in the town of Oak Grove. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said investigation revealed that a 2002 Ford Explorer driven by 34-year-old Prescott resident Analicia K. Frandrup was struck in traffic after a 2007 GMC Envoy driven by Keith W. Shonkwiler crossed the centerline.
A Minnesota man was injured last week after a vehicle left the road, crashed and burst into flames in Beldenville. Pierce County deputies and Wisconsin State Patrol troopers responded to the crash at 4:34 p.m. Thursday, March 29, at W7768 Highway 65. Troopers said the driver, 21-year-old Clayton Elkins, was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul for his injuries.
A New Richmond-area teenager who carried an AR-15 rifle in his car raised concerns among coworkers after saying he was going "to shoot kids," according to charges filed this week in St. Croix County Circuit Court St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said investigators found an unloaded AR-15 rifle Friday, March 30, in Nicholas H. Cherrier's car and a prosecutor said the 18-year-old had about 3,500 rounds of ammunition in the bedroom of his town of Somerset home.
MADISON — A southern Wisconsin man could permanently lose his driver's license under a new state law aimed at keeping repeat drunken drivers off the roads.