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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RIVER FALLS — Sen. Kathleen Vinehout shared her vision for Wisconsin this week with members of the Pierce County community. About 30 people showed up for a town hall meeting the Alma Democrat held Monday, June 5, at River Falls Public Library, where Vinehout contrasted her "alternative budget" against Gov. Scott Walker's proposal. "Together, we can come up with choices that can help the common good," she said.
The woman sought by authorities for her alleged role in a St. Croix County homicide-by-vehicle case has been arrested. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Makellia S. Jensen, of Big Lake, Minn., was arrested early Wednesday. Chief Deputy Scott Knudson said Jensen was arrested at 1:20 a.m. at a Motel 6 on Cleveland Avenue in Roseville, Minn., after police were called there for a disturbance in a room.
A felony fleeing charge against a Red Wing man could be dropped in Pierce County if he's convicted of murder charges he faces in Goodhue County. Pierce County Assistant District Attorney Bill Thorie said that's the agreement with the attorney for Charles D. Jones, the 26-year-old charged in Goodhue County with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of third-degree murder in the April 18 shooting death of Dangelo Masterjohn. "If there is a significant conviction there, I don't intend to bring him back," Thorie said at a Friday, June 2, extradition hearing.
Authorities pulled one of two people from the St. Croix River Tuesday afternoon after they went underwater. Crews from St. Croix and Washington counties were searching the river as of 5:50 p.m. for a male who still had not been found, according to Washington County dispatch supervisor Bobbi Rindfleisch. She said life-saving measures were being performed on the female who was pulled from the water by authorities. Her condition wasn’t immediately available.
A Twin Cities man was airlifted after the motorcycle he was driving crashed last weekend in rural Pierce County. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as 37-year-old Nathan Blackbird of Shakopee. He was first taken to Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Wing before being airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. His condition was not immediately available Tuesday, May 30.
A Pierce County jury acquitted a Hager City man on trial last week for sexual assault of a child. The two-day trial for Christopher E. Kaeder ended Friday with his acquittal, according to Pierce County Circuit Court records. Charges against the 36-year-old included first-degree sexual assault of a child under 13 to which he pleaded not guilty in August 2016. A criminal complaint stated the mother of a child known to Kaeder came forward to Pierce County sheriff's deputies Aug. 1, 2016, saying the girl reported he may have molested her the previous weekend.
A semi-trailer crash limited travel to one lane on Highway 35 south of Maiden Rock, according to Pierce County authorities. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office Facebook page posted a photo at about 8:40 a.m. Thursday, May 25, that apparently depicts an overturned semi lying off the road. Severe damage to a guard rail is also depictd in the photo. "Please use caution of you are traveling on Hwy 35 south of Maiden Rock, WI," the Facebook post states. "Officers are currently working on a semi crash and the highway is down to one lane."
A Prescott man intentionally tore up an east metro lawn two hours before using a stolen credit card to buy beer and tobacco back in Wisconsin, according to documents filed last week in Pierce County Circuit Court. The alleged crime spree ended with the suspect, Justin M. Brennan, being shot with a stun gun outside his Prescott home, but not before he spit in a police officer's face, the documents state.
Less than five months after pleading no contest to substantial battery to a child in St. Croix County, a 27-year-old man was charged with a similar crime in Minnesota. Washington County prosecutors allege Jonathon D. Wierstad assaulted a 16-month-old boy who was placed on life support after a May 11 incident in Willernie, Minn. Siv Yurichuk, an assistant Washington County attorney, said Thursday there have been “no significant changes” since the child was hospitalized.
ELLSWORTH — Stolen cars from two states, one high-speed chase and a burglary led to a host of felony charges for a Beldenville man this week in Pierce County Circuit Court. Prosecutors allege 20-year-old Joshua J. Reeverts ditched a car stolen from Woodbury in a Pierce County field before burglarizing a rural River Falls home, where he allegedly swiped keys to a Cadillac. He then allegedly stole the Cadillac and drove it until it was spotted by authorities in Ellsworth.