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 warrant was issued this month for a St. Croix County man who authorities allege made good on a threat to burn down a friend's living quarters last spring. St. Croix County prosecutors charged 35-year-old Nathan T. Richter with one count of arson, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. The Emerald man also faces one count of manufacturing or delivering narcotics stemming from a separate St. Croix County incident.
An Eau Claire man left a New Richmond business holding the bag after selling it more than $16,000 worth of stolen lawn mowers, according to charges filed in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Prosecutors charged 36-year-old Ryan M. Sturz with one count of felony theft by false representation Nov. 16. According to a criminal complaint:
Prescott police are seeking the public's help in locating a missing teenager. Nineteen-year-old Rachel Elizabeth Hutcheson has been missing since late October when she didn't show up for work at Target in Cottage Grove, Prescott Police Office Chief Doug Ducklow said. He said she was last seen at her Prescott home, where she lives with her mother. Ducklow said there was nothing unusual that precipitated her disappearance and that it was "out of character for her to leave."
Authorities on Monday identified the Red Wing man killed in a two-vehicle crash in rural Hager City. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said 42-year-old Matthew Parker died in the crash, reported at 12:13 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23. He was pronounced dead on the scene by the Pierce County medical examiner.
A nationwide warrant was issued last week for a St. Paul man accused of running an operation that took marijuana grown in Oregon and transported it to western Wisconsin, where more than 280 pounds of it were found earlier this year. The extradition warrant was signed Nov. 15 for 51-year-old Pheng Lee, who is charged with felony marijuana possession with intent to distribute and maintaining a drug trafficking place.
HUDSON — The passage of time is hardly detectable as Mark Gherty discusses the case of Jane Neumann's death. Distances, times of day, pieces of evidence — the Hudson attorney rattles them off with a passion and recollection about the case that suggests it's something he's arguing tomorrow in court, not events from 25 years ago.
Ken Phillips' bike had cranked its last spin. The River Falls man was riding home from work last summer when the once-trusty bike's crank system conked out. He contemplated putting his backup road bike into action, but that was a short-term solution. The backup's tires were thin and slick — not viable for the four-season workload Phillips knew he'd need to put on the bike. "Rain, sleet, snow, ice," he said. "I'm serious. I do ride in the blizzards, too." Bicycling, after all, is Phillips' sole mode of transportation.
HUDSON — Attorneys on both sides of a high-profile St. Croix County threats case shook hands in late September after delivering impassioned closing arguments. The case was now out of their hands and into a jury's. Jurors deliberated until deep into the evening, when the deadlocked panel was sent home with orders to resume discussion the next morning. Morning arrived with the revelation that a juror had brought in a printout from home that he shared with other jurors — a violation of rules governing juror conduct during deliberations.
Hudson police weren't unfamiliar with the arrival of a White House dignitary — President George W. Bush made a campaign stop there in 2004. What authorities weren't familiar with was how to plan for it. "There was no blueprint that we could just start plugging people into," Hudson Police Chief Geoff Willems said of Vice President Mike Pence's stop on Nov. 3 at Valley Cartage, where he campaigned for Gov. Scott Walker.
The attorney for a New Richmond man accused of murdering his son cited new evidence and alleged false testimony last week in outlining grounds for exonerating the charges against his client. Kayle Fleischauer, 42, faces one count of first-degree intentional homicide in the April 14 shooting death of his son, 19-year-old Chase Fleischauer. Kayle Fleischauer pleaded not guilty to that charge and a second count — possession of a firearm by a convicted out-of-state felon — at a June hearing in St. Croix County Circuit Court.