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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Whether a New Richmond teenager's remark about "shooting kids" was a true threat or a bad joke is in the hands of a St. Croix County jury. Judge Edward Vlack gave the case to the jury at 11:23 a.m. Friday, when they began deliberating the fate of Nicholas H. Cherrier. The 19-year-old is charged with making a terrorist threat, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of three-and-a-half years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The evidence portion of the trial wrapped on Thursday and lawyers presented closing remarks Friday morning before jurors received the case.
A Beldenville man was injured Wednesday after the car he was driving crashed in a rural Pierce County ditch. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said 20-year-old Cole Hayes was southbound on County Road J near County Road N at 7:51 a.m. in the town of Martell when the 2015 Fiat 500 he was driving missed a curve and entered the ditch, where it overturned. Hayes was taken by Ellsworth Area Ambulance to River Falls Area Hospital for his injuries, the extent of which were not disclosed. Ellsworth firefighters assisted deputies on the scene.
Jurors were shown a recording Tuesday of a New Richmond teenager explaining to an investigator what he said that raised alarms earlier this year at his workplace and around the community. The 19-year-old, who is on trial for making a terrorist threat, was interviewed March 30 by St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office investigator Cary Rose.
As UW-River Falls updates its mission statement for the first time in 30 years, it does so with a nod to connections far beyond the campus. University officials said the statement, which underwent a public hearing last week, will reflect a global perspective, updated offerings, vision and values representing the campus' evolution since 1988, the last time the mission statement was revised.
HUDSON — Online predator investigations in St. Croix County didn't start and stop with the Super Bowl. A joint operation among state officials and local law enforcement agencies made headlines and netted multiple arrests when the massive sporting event descended on the Twin Cities earlier this year. As it turned out, it was just the beginning of such investigations in the area. "The officers cut their teeth during the Super Bowl operation," said St. Croix County Sheriff Office Lt. Brent Standaert.
A St. Croix County jury will decide this week whether a New Richmond teenager's comments represented a threat that put a business and a school district on high alert — or whether it was all a bad joke. Attorneys on Monday, Sept. 17 laid out competing descriptions of how the events surrounding a March 29 comment by 19-year-old Nicholas Cherrier should be interpreted. The New Richmond man is charged in St. Croix County Circuit Court with one count of making terrorist threats, a felony to which he pleaded not guilty.
More than three-dozen felony charges were filed Monday against a Pierce County woman accused of housing an animal-fighting operation on her farm.
HUDSON — Charles "Charlie" Grant was a multi-tasker long before the term was en vogue. He demonstrated that ability in the early 1970s when, as St. Croix County's sheriff and operator of the department's lone squad, he used the vehicle for double duty on a prisoner transport. Grant needed to drive a convict from Hudson to prison in Waupun. But he also needed to bring his family to Green Bay for a Packers game. His solution: Put the three kids in the back of the car with the convict.
Plans to restore part-time UW-Extension agriculture agent services were among personnel proposals that moved forward at Monday's Pierce County Finance and Personnel Committee meeting.
A Twin Cities man who told authorities he fell asleep at the wheel was hospitalized Sunday after a rural Hager City crash. The crash, reported at 1:20 a.m. Sept. 9 on County Road D in the town of Trenton, resulted in Burnsville resident Austin Smith being transported to Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Wing. Smith, 29, told Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputies he fell asleep while driving before crashing into a culvert, which sent his 2016 Nissan Versa airborne and into a ditch. Deputies were assisted by Red Wing ambulance and Wisconsin State Patrol.