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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ELLSWORTH — A former UW-River Falls student who crashed into two pedestrians will spend three months on house arrest and another year on probation after pleading no contest this week to two crimes in Pierce County Circuit Court. The sentence was issued at the same Tuesday, Dec. 12 hearing, where Jacob Zwiefelhofer pleaded no contest to two reckless driving charges, one a felony, the other a misdemeanor. Judge Joe Boles' sentence calls for the felony conviction to be dismissed after three years if Zwiefelhofer abides the terms of a deferred judgment agreement.
A gunshot struck a River Falls business Thursday night after a round was accidentally fired during a domestic argument, according to authorities. That version of events was the most detailed yet in an incident that initially affected at least one UW-River Falls dormitory and shut down a portion of South Main Street late Dec. 14.
Dave Austin was captivated by media reports he saw about yellow Labradors rescued from an Elmwood-area man's kennel, so he and his wife knew exactly what they wanted when word spread that the dogs were being put up for adoption. The suburban Milwaukee couple figured there'd be a mad rush to adopt the puppies seized from Stuart West's town of El Paso home. "But the mamas that are 2 and 3 years old — people aren't looking so much to adopt them because of the babies," his wife, Cathie Austin, said.
I also recognize that health care is tied in with the workforce, the economy, and the available technological infrastructure. Gov. Walker's budget made a historic investment in broadband expansion. This helps rural hospitals who depend on having quick access to patient medical records and the ability to communicate with ambulances travelling on rural roads.
Each community needs to determine their preferred rate of growth based on input from residents, the capacity of their infrastructure, and balancing development with conservation of agricultural land and natural resources. The state should not dictate these decisions, as local residents need a strong voice in shaping their own futures. When the needs of growing communities intersect with state concerns, like roads and broadband infrastructure, I will always listen and will be a strong advocate for all of our communities in western Wisconsin.
It isn't just teachers that are in short supply. Employee shortages are being felt across many business sectors. The best way to remedy this is to attract talented individuals to Wisconsin and more importantly convince Wisconsinites to stay right here in Wisconsin. We do this by making Wisconsin an attractive place to live, work and raise a family. We can also make the barriers to entry in a given profession more reasonable. For example, make the process for individuals permitted to work in other states easier to become permitted in Wisconsin.
I would support educational programs for the young. I would support legislation to help fund treatment and substance abuse facilities. I would speak about the link between pharmaceutical companies who donate to politicians in return for lax regulation on frequency and quantity of prescription opioids. I would stress the lobbying power the pharmaceutical industry holds over legislators and use my platform to connect the dots, i.e.: Dr. Curtis Wright who served with the FDA and helped approve Oxycontin before leaving government to work for Purdue Pharma, the makers of Oxycontin. We must recognize the corruption if we ever hope to fix it.
We first need to stop the war on teachers unions. We need to properly fund our schools in a focused way, not just spend money on flashy technology. I would support partial student loan forgiveness for teachers that relocate to teach in certain areas where staffing is difficult.
The gloves came off last week and an old issue resurfaced in the race to see who will be the Republican to run for Sheila Harsdorf's former Senate seat.
An Ellsworth woman accused of embezzling more than $300,000 from a River Falls care facility was convicted this week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Elizabeth A. Palo, 50, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Dec. 5, to one count of felony theft as part of a plea agreement that calls for three other identical counts to be dismissed.