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 teenage girl died Wednesday after the off-road vehicle she was in crashed along Highway 35 in Pepin County. The Pepin County Sheriff's Office said a utility vehicle crash was reported at 5:54 p.m. July 18 at W9557 Highway 35 in the town of Pepin. The victim was described as a 14-year-old girl. Her name was withheld pending family notification. Deputies said the girl was found with life-threatening injuries and was taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Wabasha, where she was pronounced dead.
NEW RICHMOND — There is little doubt time is running out on the Lowrey Hotel. The inn, which caters to low-income renters whose struggles often involve addiction and criminal activity, is facing an Aug. 31 expiration on its lease. After that, the tenants, whose legal and financial status often create barriers to affordable housing, will be left with few options. Lowrey owner Stacy Wright said she has worked for years to earn the trust — not just of community leaders, but also of her tenants — and is saddened to see what Sept. 1 will bring.
A St. Croix County judge told a chronic drunk driver this week that decisions made during his next prison stint will likely determine how much longer he'll continue wearing a jail uniform. "If you don't change, sir, you're going to be in orange for the rest of your life," Judge Edward Vlack said Tuesday, July 17, while sentencing Roberts resident Shawn A. Harstad.
Mahlon Mitchell isn't fazed by the fact he's never held public office. In fact, the Fitchburg resident said he sees it as an advantage as he makes his bid to be Wisconsin's next governor. "We have had enough political pundits" and career politicians in Madison, the 41-year-old said last week in a RiverTown Multimedia interview.
NEW RICHMOND — There are no frills at the Lowrey Hotel. For $350 a month, you get a bed, a desk, a chair and a dresser. Cheap plastic racks provide a makeshift food pantry if you like. The hotel has one microwave for its 50 guests to share. Television, cable or internet? Try somewhere else. Lowrey owner Stacy Wright outfits guests with linens, towels and pillows that they can bring downstairs weekly to be laundered. She said she's not there to pamper her guests.
Officers on alert following a $25,000 fireworks theft in Somerset arrested a group of Twin Cities men in June after they arrived in the middle of the night outside a St. Croix County fireworks store in trucks allegedly packed with tools to commit a burglary.
A Red Wing man was recovering Thursday after riding a motorcycle into a barbed-wire fence Wednesday outside a rural Ellsworth home. A spokeswoman said the rider, Anthony J. Pirri, 45, was listed in good condition Friday at Regions Hospital. Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputies were called at 2:18 p.m. July 4 to W5774 Highway 10 in the town of Ellsworth for a motorcycle crash. Deputies determined Pirri was driving an off-road motorcycle on private property when he lost control and struck the fence.
NEW RICHMOND — A stride past a puff of cigarette smoke and children playing on the sidewalk leads to the entrance of the Lowrey Hotel, where visitors are greeted by a bulletin board in the foyer. An assortment of messages spell out hotel owner Stacy Wright's code of conduct for tenants. There are many edicts among "Stacy's Simple Rules," as they're listed, but Wright said one above all sums up her philosophy as owner of the inn. She can recite it from memory.
A 22-year-old Hastings man died last weekend after a trench collapse in Pierce County. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said 22-year-old Joseph T. Sanderson was airlifted Saturday, June 30, 2018, after the accident at N7155 690th St. in the town of Martell. Deputies said in a news release that Sanderson succumbed to his injuries later that day at Regions Hospital.
ELLSWORTH — The Prescott police officers fired by the city last year will not get their jobs back, a judge decided Tuesday. Buffalo-Pepin Circuit Court Judge James Duvall dismissed a lawsuit brought by former officers Bryan Massman and Ryan Most and denied motions from their attorney that sought to restore their jobs and provide them back-pay. The contract outlining the grievance process was ambiguous "at a minimum," the judge said, but concluded it was clear that, as probationary officers, they were not eligible for just-cause termination rights.