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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The Stillwater man accused of stashing more than 130 pounds of pot in a St. Croix County storage unit could avoid prison, according to statements made last week in court. The attorney for Karl R. Heinrichs said Oct. 25 that a recommendation in a related Minnesota case calls for the 45-year-old to receive a combination of probation and jail. The St. Croix County Circuit Court hearing was originally set for a plea and sentencing, but that was called off after defense attorney Eric Johnson announced a surprise development in the Minnesota case.
Among the statements jurors heard last week in the trial of a suspected puppy mill operator was that the defendant was breeding dogs for the United States government. That wasn't the case, said the former leader of a federal dog-breeding operation, but it's true that there was contact between the federal government and Stuart Earl West, who ran the Alma Bottom Pointing Labradors facility out of his town of El Paso home.
Pierce County Board members will consider a plan to restore funding for a vacant agriculture agent position amid an outcry from local agriculture leaders and others. A portion of funds would be diverted from the Land Conservation Department's cost-sharing program to pay for a UW-Extension ag-agent, according to a proposal outlined Oct. 24 by County Board Supervisor Mel Pittman.
A settlement was approved last week in a lawsuit over a man who was killed after striking a cow on a Pierce County road. Pierce County Circuit Court Judge Joe Boles approved the settlement — the terms of which were sealed — at a Thursday, Oct. 19, hearing. "This is the best we can do under the circumstances," said Chuck Bye, attorney for the estate of David Alan Kelch.
A Minneapolis woman accused of stealing an Ellsworth-area dog pleaded not guilty to a criminal charge last week, arguing she rescued the animal. The Pierce County District Attorney's Office charged 58-year-old Holly L. Neff with one count of dognapping, a misdemeanor offense that carries a maximum penalty of nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine. Neff made her first appearance Oct. 23 in Pierce County Circuit Court, where she was released on a signature bond after entering the not-guilty plea.
Driver OK, but passenger takes off running A deputy stopped a vehicle at 1:36 a.m. Oct. 22 at Highway 63 and 810th Street in Hager City after it was spotted with a defective tail lamp. The driver was determined to be not impaired after undergoing field sobriety tests, but a passenger fled the vehicle on foot. The passenger was later arrested on suspicion of obstruction and probation violation. Arrests
An Elmwood woman sustained minor injuries Wednesday after striking a bear on a Pierce County roadway. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office responded to the crash at 11:09 p.m. Oct. 25 on Highway 29 west of 620th Street in the town of Martell.
PRESCOTT -- Police said a body recovered last week in Prescott was not the result of foul play. Prescott Interim Police Chief Rob Funk said an employee at Leo’s Landing (137 Front St.) discovered a woman’s body Thursday, Oct. 19 near the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. According to a Pierce County Sheriff’s Office log, numerous deputies were called at 11:58 a.m. to assist at the scene.
A rural Elmwood man might have used unconventional means to raise dogs, but it didn't amount to the dozens of crimes he's charged with, his attorney argued Monday in court. Stuart Earl West had research that backed up the diet of deer and cattle carcasses he fed the yellow labrador dogs he bred and sold, defense attorney Keith Belzer said during the first day of testimony in West's trial.
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.