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 Plum City man was hospitalized after being injured Sunday, Jan. 15 in a snowmobile crash. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said 30-year-old Joshua Larson was taken by ambulance to Luther Hospital in Eau Claire after the crash, reported at 12:02 p.m. in the town of Union. According to deputies, Larson was on a snowmobile trail when he lost control and was thrown from the machine. He sustained injuries to his arm and leg, according to a news release.
Wisconsinites in homes and sports bars sweated through the Green Bay Packers 34-31 playoff victory at Dallas Sunday. Many fans expressed their emotions on social media during the game, as the Cowboys came back from an early 18-point deficit to tie the contest before Mason Crosby made a 51-yard field goal as time expired. It gave Green Bay what some analysts call its biggest playoff upset since beating the 49ers in San Francisco as an 11 point underdog 21 years ago.
HUDSON -- A pair of discarded shoes that contained the blood of a murder victim and a hidden audio recorder doomed Cristian Nunez in the eyes of a St. Croix County jury. The jury foreman said revelations surrounding those camouflage shoes helped convince fellow jurors that Nunez committed the murders of Courtney Bradford and her 10-year-old daughter, Jasmine. “If it weren’t for those shoes,” Roberts resident Dan Jacobs said, “it would have been tough.”
Presidential recount estimates far exceeded their actual costs in many Wisconsin counties, including several in western Wisconsin. With 71 of 72 counties’ results turned in, the recount costs tallied $1.86 million, according to Wisconsin Elections Commission data. Estimates provided by counties had braced the state for $3.9 million. As of Monday, Brown County had still yet to submit its final costs to the commission.
STAR PRAIRIE -- More than a pound of packaged pot, 20 marijuana plants and a handgun were seized over the weekend in Star Prairie, where a suspected drug dealer was arrested. The home of Nathan A. Boyer allegedly contained two separate grow rooms with pot plants, along with an assortment of marijuana-based products ranging from butter to candies, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
High carbon monoxide levels were detected at a town of River Falls house where a man was found dead Thursday, Jan. 12 The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as 80-year-old John Eisele. The news release did not list the address of the call, but authorities and firefighters were seen late Thursday afternoon investigating a home on 818th Avenue in the town of River Falls. The release doesn’t say whether Eisele lived at the house.
A St. Croix County judge set bail at $100,000 Thursday for a Somerset man accused of sexploitation and sexually assaulting a child. St. Croix Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham ordered bail for Richard A. Maness, who was charged with repeated sexual assault of a child, sexual exploitation of a child, possession of child pornography and child enticement.
An Ellsworth man was killed Thursday, Jan. 12 after the snowmobile he was on collided with an SUV in Prescott. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as 47-year-old Ronald W. Kirchner. According to deputies, the crash, reported at 8:29 p.m. on Highway 10 near Dexter Street, occurred while Kirchner was attempting to cross the highway when it collided with a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by 35-year old Ellsworth resident Dustin D. Paulson.
ELLSWORTH -- Three people, including a River Falls man, were accused of scamming a business out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a trucking scheme. Pierce County prosecutors charged River Falls resident Daniel W. Briese and two Trego, Wis., residents with one count each of racketeering — a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and $15,000 fine.
HUDSON -- A St. Croix County sheriff’s deputy likely consumed at least 15 shots of vodka before getting behind the wheel of his squad, where he was found passed out with the vehicle’s transmission in drive and his foot on the brake.