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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Wisconsin voters will decide next week whether to do away with the state treasurer position. The question of whether to eliminate the office will be put to all voters on the April 3 ballot. The position, currently held by Matt Adamczyk, pays an annual salary of $69,701, according to 2017 figures.
The Pierce County Herald sent questionnaires to candidates in all contested and non-contested Bay City, Elmwood, Ellsworth Plum City, and Spring Valley village board races in the April 3 election. The only contested race is taking place in Elmwood, where three candidates will vie for two open trustee seats. In the other races, the number of candidates for each seat doesn't exceed the number of open slots on the boards. The Herald asked them to also participate in order to refresh voters' minds on their elected and potential elected officials.
A former western Wisconsin lawmaker is seeking a return to office. Democrat Jeff Smith, a former 93rd District Assembly member from Eau Claire, announced Thursday he will be running for Kathleen Vinehout's Senate seat. "Since the senator is running for governor, the 31st Senate District will be in need of a strong and experienced leader who can step right in," Smith said in the March 15 news release.
Deputies responded at 9:25 p.m. March 15 to W4731 County Road G in Ellsworth for a domestic assault in progress. Deputies searched for the suspect, who returned home later. He was arrested on suspicion of substantial battery and for a probation hold. Traffic trouble
An Ellsworth Middle School student who allegedly referenced bringing a gun to school was taken into custody Wednesday morning. An automated voice message from Ellsworth School District Superintendent Barry Cain went out the morning of Wednesday, March 21, alerting families to the situation. Cain said in the message the student did not make any threats toward others and that it didn't occur at the school. The text did, however, "mention thoughts of bringing a weapon to school," Cain told families.
The River Falls school community was shaken Monday by two separate events, one involving a student's death at Meyer Middle School. Superintendent Jamie Benson sent an automated voice message March 19 to families in the district confirming the death of a sixth-grade student. "The death of any young person is a loss that, in one way or another, affects us all," he said in the recorded message.
Officers took a fraud complaint March 7 in Bay City. A complainant reported false checks had been written to businesses in Red Wing and Hastings. The caller suspected the checking account information was accessed in a post-office box theft. Deputies later investigated the PO box incident after more fraud victims came forward. Traffic trouble
A 72-year-old Somerset man was convicted late last month in Minnesota of child rape. According to an Albert Lea Tribune News story, Joel M. Radjenovich pleaded guilty Feb. 28 to second-degree criminal sexual conduct on the third day of a jury trial. The victim in the case was younger than 13, according to the charges. The news story states Radjenovich entered what's known as an Alford plea, which allows a defendant to concede enough evidence exists to find him guilty without pleading guilty.
After almost five hours, a Pierce County jury convicted a River Falls man accused of rape. Jurors in the case against 28-year-old Ryan H. Mulhern returned a guilty verdict on one count of second-degree sexual assault just after 8 p.m. Thursday, March, 8. Mulhern was acquitted of a second felony — strangulation and suffocation. The verdict followed a two-day trial.
A Hudson student was issued a citation Thursday after a school-bus conversation that concerned at least one other classmate. Hudson School District Superintendent Nick Ouellette emailed district families Thursday evening to say the incident was investigated by police and deemed not to be a threat. "However, because of the fear and anxiety statements like this make, the student was issued a citation," Ouellette wrote. He said there is a heightened police presence in the district on Friday.