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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A teenage girl died Wednesday after the off-road vehicle she was in crashed along Highway 35 in Pepin County. The Pepin County Sheriff's Office said a utility vehicle crash was reported at 5:54 p.m. July 18 at W9557 Highway 35 in the town of Pepin. The victim was described as a 14-year-old girl. Her name was withheld pending family notification. Deputies said the girl was found with life-threatening injuries and was taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Wabasha, where she was pronounced dead.
NEW RICHMOND — There is little doubt time is running out on the Lowrey Hotel. The inn, which caters to low-income renters whose struggles often involve addiction and criminal activity, is facing an Aug. 31 expiration on its lease. After that, the tenants, whose legal and financial status often create barriers to affordable housing, will be left with few options. Lowrey owner Stacy Wright said she has worked for years to earn the trust — not just of community leaders, but also of her tenants — and is saddened to see what Sept. 1 will bring.
A St. Croix County judge told a chronic drunk driver this week that decisions made during his next prison stint will likely determine how much longer he'll continue wearing a jail uniform. "If you don't change, sir, you're going to be in orange for the rest of your life," Judge Edward Vlack said Tuesday, July 17, while sentencing Roberts resident Shawn A. Harstad.
Mahlon Mitchell isn't fazed by the fact he's never held public office. In fact, the Fitchburg resident said he sees it as an advantage as he makes his bid to be Wisconsin's next governor. "We have had enough political pundits" and career politicians in Madison, the 41-year-old said last week in a RiverTown Multimedia interview.
NEW RICHMOND — There are no frills at the Lowrey Hotel. For $350 a month, you get a bed, a desk, a chair and a dresser. Cheap plastic racks provide a makeshift food pantry if you like. The hotel has one microwave for its 50 guests to share. Television, cable or internet? Try somewhere else. Lowrey owner Stacy Wright outfits guests with linens, towels and pillows that they can bring downstairs weekly to be laundered. She said she's not there to pamper her guests.
Officers on alert following a $25,000 fireworks theft in Somerset arrested a group of Twin Cities men in June after they arrived in the middle of the night outside a St. Croix County fireworks store in trucks allegedly packed with tools to commit a burglary.
A Minnesota man had gotten off with a fireworks warning on the Fourth of July in Hudson until he allegedly went after the people who called to complain about him and launched a firework at their car. According to a criminal complaint, an officer responding to the scene had to slam the brakes of his police cruiser “as firecrackers began exploding under the front of my squad” moments before getting out to arrest the suspect.
A St. Croix County man allegedly used a drug investigator's name to create a fake Facebook account and needle a woman about drug dealing. Investigators learned about the incident through the woman's father — a Boyceville police officer. According to a criminal complaint, the impersonator asked the woman, "Hey so do you sell drugs like your brother does too then???."
A Red Wing man was recovering Thursday after riding a motorcycle into a barbed-wire fence Wednesday outside a rural Ellsworth home. A spokeswoman said the rider, Anthony J. Pirri, 45, was listed in good condition Friday at Regions Hospital. Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputies were called at 2:18 p.m. July 4 to W5774 Highway 10 in the town of Ellsworth for a motorcycle crash. Deputies determined Pirri was driving an off-road motorcycle on private property when he lost control and struck the fence.
State and local officials scooped ceremonial dirt piles June 26 during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Little Falls Lake dam, a $20 million project that will rebuild the existing structure and restore the lake above it at Willow River State Park. Mike Longaecker / RiverTown Multimedia