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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At least two students have been questioned about their role in a suspected shooting threat involving Prescott Middle School that unfolded late Tuesday. Prescott Interim Police Chief Rob Funk said officers intervened after receiving information about threats made during Tuesday night’s girls volleyball game. “The alleged threat has been thwarted,” he said.
Two Red Wing residents were injured Wednesday after the vehicle they were in struck a deer in Hager City. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said the crash, reported at 5:52 a.m. Oct. 18 at Highway 35 and 830th Street, left driver Pamela Stulc and passenger Selena Silva with undisclosed injuries. Stulc, 39, and Silva, 17, were taken by Red Wing ambulance to Mayo Health Systems-Red Wing.
Prescott city officials rebuked allegations of time-card discrepancies in the aftermath of three police department firings. City Administrator Jayne Brand and Interim Police Chief Rob Funk last week denied time card falsification, reported by Hastings radio station KDWA. The station aired reports questioning the timesheets of three Prescott police officers.
A Maiden Rock man told officers he had been out trapping gophers before being found asleep inside a vehicle parked in a field, where he was arrested on suspicion of his sixth drunken-driving offense. Tod C. Krogstad made his initial court appearance Oct. 2 in Pierce County Circuit Court on one count of OWI-sixth, a felony charge that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Krogstad, 53, was released from jail on a $5,000 signature bond set by Court Commissioner Jorv Gavic. According to a criminal complaint:
Bumps and bruises were reportedly the extent of injuries after an Ellsworth School District bus and a semi-trailer collided the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 11. According to an automated message sent to district families, the crash, which occurred near the Red Wing Regional Airport in Bay City, didn’t result in serious injuries for the 13 students on board bus No. 15 or its driver.
Wisconsin judges always get the final say in sentencing — including the power to override plea agreements between lawyers. A Pierce County judge demonstrated exactly that level of discretion this week in sentencing a drunken-driving offender on his ninth such conviction. The judge, Joe Boles, didn't believe the punishment fit the crime. "I cannot go along with the recommendation," Boles said at the Monday, Oct. 9, sentencing hearing for Mark B. Harmon, a homeless man who previously lived in Lake City, Minn.
TOWN OF CLIFTON -- A loose Great Dane running on a Pierce County road led to a weekend motorcycle crash that hospitalized two Minnesota residents. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said Randolph residents Jeffrey Thompson, 46, and Stacey Popp, 45, were southbound at 8:24 p.m. Oct. 7 on County Road F in the town of Clifton when the motorcycle they were on struck the dog.
A Pierce County man who faces 125 animal neglect charges returns to court Tuesday, Sept. 26 on allegations he was scouting land for a dog kennel when he violated terms of his bond. Prosecutors charged Elmwood resident Stuart E. West with misdemeanor bail jumping after an Aug. 7 incident in rural Pierce County. He makes his initial court appearance Sept. 26.
Hudson police opened a death investigation Wednesday after the discovery of a woman’s body along the St. Croix River. Police Chief Marty Jensen said the woman was a 74-year-old Hudson resident. Police were attempting to confirm her identity with relatives, he said. The death, he said, does not appear suspicious “at this point in time.” The chief said the woman had not been reported missing.
A St. Paul skydiving instructor had anything but a soft landing last month after allegedly attempting to parachute from atop a St. Croix County cellphone tower. Court documents filed this week state the man’s parachute got hung up on power lines on the way down, snagging him and causing him to receive an electrical shock. The 44-year-old survived the July 29 incident, but was later charged with two felonies stemming from the failed attempt, which left 127 customers without power for nearly two hours.