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 -- What happened to dozens of confiscated dogs after being taken from a suspected puppy mill was a point of contention last week in Pierce County Circuit Court. The attorney for town of El Paso resident Stuart West said in court Feb. 14 that a 150-page report he received about the case wasn’t enough. Attorney Keith Belzer said he wanted the underlying records and examinations performed on the yellow labs taken last year from West’s home.
Town of Gilman Pierce County investigators continued searching for clues last week after a cache of stolen trailers, a skid steer and a truck were discovered in rural Spring Valley. No arrests have been made yet in the case, said Pierce County Sheriff's Office Lt. Wade Strain. He said investigators were trying to piece together clues without "a strong suspect pool" related to the find.
MADISON — Wisconsin veterans asked Gov. Scott Walker Wednesday to change his mind about eliminating the prevailing wage law for public projects. Last year, lawmakers scaled back the requirement that contractors pay construction workers a minimum wage similar to what union employees would get. Walker's state budget would get rid of what remains in the wage law.
Two Minnesota men decided the night after the Super Bowl was a prime time to strike poker machines inside a Hager City bar, according to court documents outlining how the men allegedly conspired to commit the burglary. Pierce County prosecutors charged the men, Hastings resident Mark A. Smith and Lakeville resident Robert S. Huber, with burglary and felony criminal property damage. Smith, 30, and Huber, 31, are also charged with misdemeanor theft.
MADISON — Charges of lewd and lascivious behavior have been filed against a 22-year-old man accused of running completely naked in the Capitol Rotunda a little over two weeks ago. Capitol police have looked at video evidence of the Feb. 4 incident. Investigators say a little girl can be heard on the video asking a question about what she was seeing while Russell C. Doupe was streaking.
TOWN OF TROY -- The family embroiled in a St. Croix County land dispute will present its case next month to the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorneys for the Murr family, which owns a small riverside parcel in the town of Troy, will make oral arguments March 20 to the high court.
A St. Croix County man stabbed his mother to death Saturday night in rural Hudson before shooting at police in an incident that led to a 50-mile pursuit into Minnesota, eventually ending with the suspect taking his own life, authorities said. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as Glenwood City resident Logan T. Reese. The 28-year-old allegedly killed his mother, identified as 49-year-old Charlene Wold, at 733 N. Meadow Drive in the town of Hudson.
HUDSON -- The man who burglarized several St. Croix County churches last year once had designs on becoming a youth pastor, but eventually became sidetracked and consumed by drugs — a divergence that delivered him a prison sentence last week.
Authorities responded Friday morning to a two-vehicle crash in rural Ellsworth. The crash, first reported at about 11:40 a.m., occurred on County Road O near 560th Avenue in the town of Trimbelle. Initial scanner reports indicated one occupant might have been injured, though the severity was unclear. Pierce County sheriff's deputies were among responding agencies, which included the Wisconsin State Patrol and Ellsworth ambulance. More information from the crash will be posted as it becomes available.
HUDSON — Cristian D. Nunez accepted a double-life sentence without the possibility of parole on Monday the same way he responded to a clean-sweep of guilty verdicts handed down last year by a St. Croix County jury: placid and emotionless. The reaction nagged at relatives of the two people prosecutors say he killed on Sept. 2, 2015, at a New Richmond home. "It made the decision more of an empty victory — that the person affected didn't seem to care," said Dain Bradford, the older brother of Courtney Bradford.