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 Minnesota National Guard helicopter was damaged this month while landing at Red Wing Regional Airport in Bay City. According to a Guard spokeswoman, the incident occurred the evening of Dec. 13 while a three-person crew was returning from a training exercise. The UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter “experienced technical difficulties” while attempting to land Guard Capt. Holly Rockow said.
A Hastings man is due in court next month on allegations he embezzled more than $70,000 from a Prescott-area golf course. Pierce County prosecutors allege Robert P. Magnuson pocketed cash after issuing fake golf club memberships at Clifton Highlands between September 2016 and March of this year. The 58-year-old is charged with one count of felony theft by false representation.
Mike Perucca was heading to a medical call Sunday night in the town of St. Joseph when another emergency caught his attention before he got out of his North Hudson neighborhood. "I noticed an abnormal amount of smoke in the area," he said. It didn't take long for the St. Joe first responder — who also works as a Hudson firefighter — to determine the smoke was coming from a garage fire at 700 Fourth St. N. Perucca, who's also the city of Hudson's fire inspector, noticed an orange glow in the garage as he approached the house just before 10:30 p.m. Nov. 12.
Two former Prescott police officers are suing the city in hopes of getting their jobs back. The suit, filed Oct. 16 in Pierce County Circuit Court, seeks a reversal of the decision that left former officers Bryan Massman and Ryan Most out of work with the city of Prescott. "The decision was arbitrary, unreasonable and oppressive," according to the lawsuit. City Administrator Jayne Brand said Monday, Nov. 6, that the city had been served that day with the lawsuit and had no comment.
The Stillwater man accused of stashing more than 130 pounds of pot in a St. Croix County storage unit could avoid prison, according to statements made last week in court. The attorney for Karl R. Heinrichs said Oct. 25 that a recommendation in a related Minnesota case calls for the 45-year-old to receive a combination of probation and jail. The St. Croix County Circuit Court hearing was originally set for a plea and sentencing, but that was called off after defense attorney Eric Johnson announced a surprise development in the Minnesota case.
PRESCOTT -- Police said a body recovered last week in Prescott was not the result of foul play. Prescott Interim Police Chief Rob Funk said an employee at Leo’s Landing (137 Front St.) discovered a woman’s body Thursday, Oct. 19 near the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. According to a Pierce County Sheriff’s Office log, numerous deputies were called at 11:58 a.m. to assist at the scene.
Two Red Wing residents were injured Wednesday after the vehicle they were in struck a deer in Hager City. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said the crash, reported at 5:52 a.m. Oct. 18 at Highway 35 and 830th Street, left driver Pamela Stulc and passenger Selena Silva with undisclosed injuries. Stulc, 39, and Silva, 17, were taken by Red Wing ambulance to Mayo Health Systems-Red Wing.
A loose Great Dane running on a Pierce County road led to a weekend motorcycle crash that hospitalized two Minnesota residents. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said Randolph residents Jeffrey Thompson, 46, and Stacey Popp, 45, were southbound at 8:24 p.m. Oct. 7 on County Road F in the town of Clifton when the motorcycle they were on struck the dog.
A St. Paul skydiving instructor had anything but a soft landing last month after allegedly attempting to parachute from atop a St. Croix County cellphone tower. Court documents filed this week state the man’s parachute got hung up on power lines on the way down, snagging him and causing him to receive an electrical shock. The 44-year-old survived the July 29 incident, but was later charged with two felonies stemming from the failed attempt, which left 127 customers without power for nearly two hours.
A popular east metro golf course must pay out $130,000 to former employees who were the targets of sexual harassment and reprisals by the owner, according to a Washington County District Court ruling. Judge Mary Hannon ruled Monday, Aug. 21, that William Doebler and Mississippi Dunes Golf Links violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) and allowed a hostile work environment for employees who faced sexual harassment and reprisal. Hannon admonished the golf course in her ruling, saying its failure to respond to sex discrimination allegations was "alarming."