Weather Forecast


New Richmond, Wis., man charged with kidnapping two women in Afton

Afternoon State News Briefs - Wisconsin Senate Democrat John Lehman back on the job.

MADISON - Wisconsin Senate Democrat John Lehman officially took his old job back today. He was sworn in, after he defeated the man who beat him in the 2010 election, Republican Van Wanggaard.

Wanggaard was the only incumbent to lose in the June fifth recall contests but Lehman's victory was not official until Wanggaard was awarded a recount. And after that, he considered challenging the results in court until he decided against the idea last Tuesday. Democrats now have a 17-16 majority in the Senate, at least until the November elections when about half the 33 Senate seats are up. Democrats are trying to use their newfound power to pass some job bills. But Republican Governor Scott Walker says he won't call a session unless both parties agree to something. The Senate will meet tomorrow, where the new majority will elect a president and a president pro tem. Madison Democrat Fred Risser is expected to be elected the Senate's president again. Milwaukee's Tim Carpenter will be the president pro tem.


The Wisconsin Department of Health is confirming eight people died from the extreme temperatures in the heat wave which hit the state the first week of this month. There are another 11 deaths which could be heat related. With more heat blanketing Wisconsin today and tomorrow, officials are urging people to take precautions once again, and check on elderly and infirm relatives and neighbors. Four of the eight confirmed deaths were in southern Wisconsin, but two were actually recorded in Barron County, in the far northwest part of the state. Cooling centers have been set up all across Wisconsin.


The Water Street Bridge over the Milwaukee River will close for repairs tomorrow night. State Department crews report it will be shut down to traffic from 8 p.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Wednesday. The bridge will remain in the open position while those repairs are completed, with the warning lights and bells disabled to keep from annoying people who live nearby all night. Repair crews will be replacing some of the centerlock system to make sure it can operate smoothly and reliably.


The state Justice Department says those who get permits to carry concealed weapons should get lessons on the use of deadly force, and how to avoid such violent situations. Officials began holding public hearings today on a set of rules it will ask the Legislature to approve. The concealed carry law took effect last November, but politicians left it to the Justice Department to propose ground rules. Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen originally pushed for a four hour training requirement, have the instructors sign certificates to prove the training took place. But the National Rifle Association and GOP lawmakers balked, and as a result, the state has been operation under temporary rules that require training but don't include specific details. The new rules require training on deadly force, avoiding violence, and the safe use and handling of firearms and bullets. Each class could only have up to 50 students and their certificates would need at least a signature from the applicant that all of the training requirements have been met. An instructor can still sign the form, but it's not mandatory. The current emergency rules are due to expire in August, but the state is seeking a 60 day extension in order to get the new rules in place. Other hearings are set for a week from tomorrow in Green Bay, and a week from Wednesday in Pewaukee.


An incoming senior at Westby High School has died, after she drove her car into a tree. Vernon County sheriff's officials said 17 year old Kylie Von Ruden was going west on a rural road yesterday afternoon when her vehicle hit a soft shoulder before striking the tree. Von Ruden was taken to a La Crosse hospital, where she died a short time later. Meanwhile, a boy killed in a one car crash in northwest Wisconsin has been identified as 15 year old Triston Sager of Birchwood. Barron County authorities said a modified SUV without a top on the back drove through a stop sign, went into a ditch, and hit an embankment. The driver, a 22 year old Spooner man, was later taken to a hospital with undisclosed injuries. He told officers the vehicle malfunctioned, causing the incident. A 14 year old Birchwood boy was transferred to a Saint Paul hospital with serious injuries. Barron County deputies continue to investigate.


Governor Scott Walker is moving up within the ranks of the National Governors Association. The group has elected the Republican Walker to its nine member executive committee. The panel sets priorities for the governors' association, and determines its activities. Walker says the group provides quote, "an important forum for governors of both political parties to work together, to help grow our nation's economy and create jobs."


An autopsy is being performed this afternoon on a 13 year old boy who was accidentally shot and killed by a 12 year old near Reedsville in Manitowoc County. Sheriff Rob Hermann said the boys were shooting blackbirds when the mishap took place around 12:30 yesterday afternoon. First responders from Valders and Reedsville went to the scene, along with sheriff's deputies and the Manitowoc County coroner's office.