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 hunter's close encounter with two bears in St. Croix County has prompted a warning from Department of Natural Resources officials. The incident, which occurred May 13, involved a turkey hunter at Betterly Waterfowl Production Area, where he was approached by a yearling bear that came within 10 feet. The hunter first tried scaring the bear off by yelling at it — and then noticed a second, larger bear nearby. The hunter began walking away, but was pursued by the smaller bear. The hunter fired a warning shot into the air, which sent the yearling bear running.
Hudson High School's junior varsity girls soccer coach was placed on administrative leave after allegedly sending lewd images to a player on his team. St. Croix County prosecutors on Friday charged 23-year-old Hudson resident Benjamin J. Schrock with causing a child to view sexual activity and exposing a child to harmful material. He was ordered to post a $2,500 cash bond at his initial court appearance. Bond conditions require Schrock to be fitted with a GPS device and to surrender his passport.
Hudson High School’s junior varsity girls soccer coach was placed on administrative leave after being charged with two felonies that involve showing graphic images to children. St. Croix County prosecutors on Friday charged 23-year-old Hudson resident Benjamin J. Schrock with causing a child to view sexual activity and exposing a child to harmful material. He was ordered to post a $2,500 cash bond at his initial court appearance.
A Red Wing woman was injured early Friday after the vehicle she was in crashed into a Pierce County ditch and flipped. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said the crash, reported at 12:14 a.m. May 18, occurred on Highway 35 east of 570th Street in the town of Isabelle. The driver was identified as 20-year-old Olivia Brown. She was taken by private vehicle to Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Wing with non-life threatening injuries.
PRESCOTT -- The Prescott man arrested after a standoff this week was charged with three felonies Thursday by prosecutors, who allege he raped his victim at knifepoint before stabbing her later at his home. The Pierce County District Attorney’s office charged Jason J. Kulla, 45, with first-degree sexual assault, aggravated battery with the use of a dangerous weapon and strangulation and suffocation. He’s also charged with misdemeanor battery.
HUDSON — Karl Heinrichs was arrested in 2016 with 40 pounds of marijuana products in his car near his Stillwater home — an offense that would ultimately trigger a mandatory prison sentence. But Heinrichs' problems weren't contained to Minnesota. That same day, authorities also turned up another 134 pounds of pot Heinrichs had been storing in Wisconsin at a Houlton storage unit. His criminal problems suddenly expanded from one state to two and exposed him to the possibility of penalties in both places.
Reports of a stabbing led to a heightened police presence Tuesday in Prescott, where an hours-long standoff concluded just before 3 p.m. Pierce County scanner traffic indicated a woman on Flora Street reported being stabbed in the abdomen after 10 a.m. Scanner reports indicated she was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Minutes later, officers rushed to an Ash Street house believed to be connected to the incident. A man at the house was in negotiations with officers for nearly three hours, according to scanner reports.
HUDSON — One day before his trial was to begin, a Roberts man pleaded guilty in St. Croix County Circuit Court to his 10th drunken-driving offense. Shawn A. Harstad entered the plea Tuesday, May 8, at a hearing where he also pleaded guilty to obstructing an officer during the Feb. 4, 2017, incident. The OWI-10th offense charge carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of four years, though St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack could sentence Harstad to the maximum penalty — more than 12 years in prison.
Crews from multiple agencies responded early Friday to a fire in rural St. Croix County. Firefighters were called at 4:34 a.m. May 11 to 404 County Road J in the town of Pleasant Valley — about 10 miles northeast of River Falls. No details were immediately available. Google Maps imagery indicates a house once stood on the property; charred remains seen from the road Friday included two vehicles among the debris.
A state agency was investigating multiple cases involving a former Hudson pediatric dentist until he surrendered his license to practice last month. Documents obtained through a RiverTown Multimedia records request show Dr. Andy Mancini was being investigated in seven different cases by the state's Department of Safety and Professional Services. The allegations included multiple violations of unprofessional conduct under Wisconsin's administrative code.