Mike Longaecker is a regional/enterprise reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage includes St. Croix County government, higher education and state politics in Wisconsin.
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Residents of the St. Croix River valley woke up to minus-30 temperatures Wednesday, with even harsher windchills. See the attached photo gallery for images of those who braved the cold.
A Prescott teenager was injured Saturday after the SUV she was driving crashed into a tree. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said 17-year-old Lauran Korfhage was taken by ambulance to Regina Hospital in Hastings for her injuries, the extent of which were not disclosed. The crash was reported at 1:39 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, on 1180th Street near 497th Avenue in the town of Oak Grove. Deputies concluded Korfhage was northbound on 1180th Street when she lost control of a 2009 Lincoln MKX, which went into a ditch and struck the tree.
TOWN OF HUDSON — Anyone who's explored the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness knows the value of a good map. Maps depicting waterways, portage routes and campsites help visitors navigate the massive northern Minnesota wilderness, where charging stations are nonexistent and manmade landmarks are intentionally sparse. "This," Hudson resident Joe Spadino, clutching a map, said, "is the lifeline up there." But the map he held in his hand last week is unlike any other depicting the Boundary Waters.
A Hastings man was prepared to plead guilty for his role in a fatal motorcycle crash that killed his girlfriend, but a judge said he needed more convincing before accepting the man's plea to a reduced charge. Joshua D. Sykora began proceedings to plead guilty Friday, Jan. 4, to one count of homicide by negligent use of a vehicle in the June 25, 2016, crash that left 38-year-old Brooke A. Ptacek-Baker dead. The joint plea agreement called for Sykora to serve one year in jail and five years on probation; a four-year prison term would be stayed.
Two southeastern Minnesota men suspected in a St. Croix County home invasion were indicted in Minnesota on federal robbery charges after a multi-jurisdictional investigation. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota announced Dec. 21 that brothers Lennie D. Brooks, 33, Zumbro Falls, and Randy L. Brooks, 23, Wabasha, were indicted on one count each of interference with commerce by robbery. A third person, 20-year-old St. Paul resident Autumn M. Nichols, is charged with the same count.
Prescott police are seeking the public's help in locating a missing teenager. Nineteen-year-old Rachel Elizabeth Hutcheson has been missing since late October when she didn't show up for work at Target in Cottage Grove, Prescott Police Office Chief Doug Ducklow said. He said she was last seen at her Prescott home, where she lives with her mother. Ducklow said there was nothing unusual that precipitated her disappearance and that it was "out of character for her to leave."
Authorities on Monday identified the Red Wing man killed in a two-vehicle crash in rural Hager City. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said 42-year-old Matthew Parker died in the crash, reported at 12:13 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23. He was pronounced dead on the scene by the Pierce County medical examiner.
An apparently random attack by a Minnesota motorist left a Wisconsin woman injured and a sheriff's deputy with injuries after he and three other officers battled to bring the man into custody. The incident was reported just after midnight Wednesday, Nov. 21, on Highway 64, where a woman reported being attacked by another motorist. "This was a random attack," St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said, adding that it appeared to be unprovoked. According to Knudson:
HUDSON — Attorneys on both sides of a high-profile St. Croix County threats case shook hands in late September after delivering impassioned closing arguments. The case was now out of their hands and into a jury's. Jurors deliberated until deep into the evening, when the deadlocked panel was sent home with orders to resume discussion the next morning. Morning arrived with the revelation that a juror had brought in a printout from home that he shared with other jurors — a violation of rules governing juror conduct during deliberations.
Rep. Warren Petryk captured a fifth term in office Tuesday in a comfortable win in Assembly District 93. The Eleva Republican topped Charlene “Charlie” Warner in all five counties in the district, most sizably in Pierce, where he won 6,912 to 4,788.