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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There's an elevator leading up the chimney at Xcel Energy's Allen S. King Generating Station outside Stillwater. It's the preferred mode of transportation for St. Croix County emergency communications technicians when they go to service radio equipment tucked inside the 786-foot "King Stack," as it's known, along the St. Croix River. But the elevator doesn't always work. "Then he has to hoof it," said St. Croix County Emergency Support Services Director Steve T'Kach.
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.
STILLWATER — Though the three-year anniversary of Megan Goeltz's death is nearing, the event remains a raw nerve for her survivors, who described her loss during an emotional hearing Monday in Washington County District Court. "Our hearts are forever broken," her sister, Melissa Goeltz Lewis, said at the Jan. 7 hearing. The hearing brought to an end the criminal case against the driver in the crash that killed Goeltz, North Hudson resident Drew Fleming. He pleaded guilty to one count of reckless driving, a gross misdemeanor.
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.
Awakened by a loud crash in the middle of the night, a rural River Falls woman went to the first floor of her house and found the front end of a car inside it. Authorities later determined the car vaulted out of a ditch, flew 110 feet in the air before punching a massive hole through the side of the town of Pleasant Valley house. "The driver, the residents and others on the road were fortunate that this was not worse than it was in regards to personal injury," St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said.
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."
HUDSON — The passage of time is hardly detectable as Mark Gherty discusses the case of Jane Neumann's death. Distances, times of day, pieces of evidence — the Hudson attorney rattles them off with a passion and recollection about the case that suggests it's something he's arguing tomorrow in court, not events from 25 years ago.
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.
Hudson police weren't unfamiliar with the arrival of a White House dignitary — President George W. Bush made a campaign stop there in 2004. What authorities weren't familiar with was how to plan for it. "There was no blueprint that we could just start plugging people into," Hudson Police Chief Geoff Willems said of Vice President Mike Pence's stop on Nov. 3 at Valley Cartage, where he campaigned for Gov. Scott Walker.
The woman living at the Pierce County property where more than 1,300 animals were removed amid dog- and cock-fighting suspicions tried sneaking a safe containing 5 pounds of methamphetamine out of the house, according to authorities.