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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A Hudson woman was killed last week while snowmobiling in Michigan. The Gogebic County Sheriff's Office said 51-year-old Michele M. Megard died Friday, Dec. 29, after her snowmobile crashed and was struck by another rider in the group.
HUDSON – A trio of Green Bay-area teenagers was charged last month in St. Croix County Circuit Court after they allegedly lit a live chicken on fire in an incident that was recorded on camera and posted to social media. St. Croix County prosecutors charged 17-year-olds Hayden J. Lammers, Matthew M. Hrubesky and Ryan D. McElmurry Oct. 26 with one count each of intentionally mistreating animals, a misdemeanor. The teens, all from the Green Bay area, allegedly played different roles in the incident, which occurred Aug. 21 at a home in the town of St. Joseph.
Traffic trouble • An Elmwood man was arrested at 11:23 p.m. Dec. 22 at 330th Avenue and County Road S in Plum City after a traffic stop. The 23-year-old was arrested on suspicion of OWI and was cited for operating left of center. • Deputies were called at 4:13 a.m. Dec. 23 to W829 County Road G in Elmwood for an unwanted intoxicated person. A 31-year-old Red Wing man was arrested on warrants, including one from Clark County.
Authorities said there’s no indication of what claimed the life of an infant found dead last fall in Baldwin. The final autopsy on Aubree Long revealed “no anatomic cause of death,” nor any trauma to the 14-week-old’s body, according to Ramsey County Medical Examiner findings released Thursday by Baldwin police. Toxicology blood tests also turned up nothing out of the ordinary, according to the report.
St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack admonished a Kinnickinnic Town Board member who had told authorities he was within his rights to shoot a dog to death. "Sir, we have laws for a reason," the judge told David J. Nelson, before sentencing him to a fine for the misdemeanor offense of intentionally killing a dog. In sentencing Nelson Thursday Dec. 21, Vlack stopped at several points to remind the town official about the law and to add context to statements about the June 23 incident that left a neighbor's dog dead.
A New Richmond teenager pleaded guilty to a vehicular homicide charge last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Dalton R. Mundle, 19, entered the plea to homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle during a Dec. 20 hearing. Prosecutors allege Mundle was under the influence at the time of a Jan. 30 crash that left a passenger, 19-year-old New Richmond resident Jordan Tulgren, dead. An 18-year-old female passenger from Baldwin was also injured in the crash. Mundle also pleaded guilty to a third underage drinking offense at the hearing.
Editor's note: This story is part of a series recapping the top stories of 2017. Read the other top stories here. Two neighboring communities battled this year in court over land annexed outside River Falls. The city of River Falls came out on top in a November trial that sought to determine whether an annexed parcel in the town of Troy was close enough to the city without sharing a boundary. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Michael Waterman ruled that the 220-acre Mann Valley property is sufficiently near River Falls after a two-day trial.
PRESCOTT — Reports of a man missing in dangerous temperatures ended with him being found cold, but alive. Prescott Police Chief Rob Funk said the man was discovered "a little worse for the wear" during the Tuesday, Dec. 26, incident, though apparently free of serious injuries. He said a Prescott police officer found the man just south of town near St. Joseph's Cemetery along Monroe Street. The man had gone out to look for his dog — a trek that took him to the Mississippi River, where Funk said the man fell in.
The town of Kinnickinnic board member accused of shooting his neighbor's dog pleaded guilty last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. David J. Nelson, 55, entered the plea Dec. 14 to the lone charge he faces — intentional killing of dogs, a misdemeanor. The guilty plea averts a one-day trial originally set for Dec. 19.
The first returns signaled early support for Rep. Shannon Zimmerman and John Calabrese in primary races to determine Republican and Democratic candidates for the Senate District 10 race in western Wisconsin. Most votes were in from one of the five counties in the district — Dunn — where Zimmerman held a 217 to 138 edge in votes over fellow Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow.