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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ELLSWORTH, Wis. — An Elmwood-area man who converted his home into a dog kennel, leading a state inspector to say it was "the worst I've seen," was sentenced Thursday, Nov. 30, to jail time and probation. Pierce County Circuit Court Judge Joe Boles sentenced Stuart E. West to 40 days in jail and three years on probation after the town of El Paso resident was convicted by a jury in October of 62 misdemeanor offenses. The 40 days will be reduced to 26 when accounting for time served and good time.
HUDSON, Wis. — A guilty plea was entered and two sexual assault charges were dismissed this week in the case of a former Hudson girls basketball coach. Under a plea agreement announced Tuesday, Oct. 31, Louis J. French pleaded guilty to using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. Three other charges — first-degree child sex assault, repeated sex assault of the same child and causing a child to view sexual activity — were dismissed as part of the agreement.
ELLSWORTH, Wis. — 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 claims. 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 Monday, Oct. 23, in West's trial.
RED WING, Minn. — Between dusk and the twilight hours of dawn, Minnesota State Patrol trooper Kendall LeMay works the graveyard shift covering a large swath of land stretching from the St. Paul to the St. Croix River dividing Wisconsin from Minnesota. His focus is mainly taking drunken and impaired drivers off the road. So far this year, he's arrested more than 60 drivers suspected of DWI, the second most of any trooper in the state. Last year, he logged more than 100.
HUDSON, Wis. — Words weren't enough for Alexis McKinley to describe what happened to a little boy who suffered a broken leg at the hands of a daycare worker. Though she tried. "This case is terrible," said McKinley, an assistant St. Croix County district attorney. "It's infuriating. It's sad. It's really hard to find the words to describe what happened to the victim." Instead, the prosecutor played a video of the Feb. 24, 2016, incident that led to a conviction against 27-year-old Ashley Garrity.
HUDSON, Wis. — A 64-year-old woman with a history of criminal convictions in St. Croix County faces new charges after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in collection offerings from a Hudson church. Authorities suspect Kathryn R. Burge likely pocketed money while passing through the St. Patrick's Catholic Church confessional on her way to a room where the funds were to be placed into cash bags, according to the charging document. St. Croix County prosecutors charged Burge July 11 with two counts of misdemeanor theft and one count of obstructing an officer.
ST. JOSEPH, Wis. — A St. Croix County woman died from an apparent carbon monoxide poisoning Sunday, June 25, after she and two others were found on a boat over the weekend on the St. Croix River. The St. Croix County Sheriff's Office identified the woman as 24-year-old Ashley G. Speer of Glenwood City. Two others on the boat, 25-year-old Justin M. Roskos of Hastings and 27-year-old River Falls resident Hayden L. Johnson, were found alive. They were transported to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.
HUDSON, Wis. — One teen died and another was rescued after both Twin Cities residents went underwater Tuesday on the St. Croix River at Hudson. Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen said the apparent drowning victim, a 19-year-old from St. Paul, was pronounced dead at about 6 p.m. at Hudson Hospital. A second teen was pulled from the water by friends and was saved by CPR, the chief said. Jensen that that person, an 18-year-old Maplewood resident was "doing well" and recovering at Hudson Hospital.
Hudson, Wis. -- One teen died and another was rescued after the Twin Cities residents went underwater Tuesday on the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wis. Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen said the apparent drowning victim was pronounced dead at about 6 p.m. at Hudson Hospital. A second male was pulled from the water by friends who performed CPR, the chief said. He was also taken to Hudson Hospital.
HUDSON, Wis. — St. Croix County prosecutors charged a Minnesota woman with homicide by vehicle in the aftermath of a 2016 crash that left a Beldenville teenager dead. In addition to the charge of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, Big Lake resident Makellia S. Jensen faces four more felonies stemming from the incident: methamphetamine possession and three counts of narcotic drug possession. The 22-year-old was charged by warrant Friday, June 2. No court dates has yet been set.