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CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: Bond set at one million for man accused of wounding sheriff's deputy

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

A one-million-dollar bond has been ordered for a northern Wisconsin man accused of shooting-and-wounding a sheriff's deputy during a standoff. Charges are still pending against 27-year-old Alexander Schneider of Westboro, who had a bond hearing yesterday before Taylor County Circuit Judge Ann Knox-Bauer. Authorities said they tried to take Schneider into custody on Sunday night for violating a previous court-ordered injunction. WSAU Radio in Wausau said Schneider was previously ordered not to have contact with an underage girl with whom he allegedly was having sex since she was 13. Officials said Schneider wounded Taylor County deputy Chad Kowalczyk, and then ran away. Schneider was arrested three hours later, after a regional manhunt. He's being held in the Lincoln County Jail in Merrill. Deputy Kowalczyk was shot in the abdomen, but his condition was not disclosed. On Facebook, Schneider posted late Sunday that he shot at officers -- and he was trying to tell a woman he was sorry for the person he had become. Online court records show he was charged this summer with two counts of child sex assault and reckless endangerment, and he was freed on a signature bond. Schneider was later charged in July with five other counts including threats, battery, reckless endangerment, and bail jumping. He had posted a five-thousand dollar cash bond in that case. 

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Foreign affairs' agencies in both the U-S and Canada are still reviewing a 2007 request to slow down the water flow at the main entry to the Great Lakes. Water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron have dropped an estimated two-feet since the last major dredging in the 1960's on the lakes' main entry-way at the Saint Clair River. At a meeting in Milwaukee yesterday, the International Joint Commission -- a U-S-Canadian panel which oversees the Great Lakes -- said it's still waiting for answers. The Great Lakes Commission asked the U-S and Canadian governments six years ago to look for ways to undo the effects of the dredging, slow down the flows, and keep the levels of Michigan and Huron higher. In January, the levels of the two lakes hit record lows -- raising new concerns about damage along shorelines, and commercial ships carrying lighter loads due to the low waters. Deborah Lee of the U-S Army Corps of Engineers says her agency believes it has congressional authorization to build a structure to slow the water flow at the Saint Clair. She said a study is needed, but Congress is not budgeting any money for it.

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Sue Sachdeva, a former Milwaukee executive who embezzled 34-million dollars, testified yesterday against a man accused of keeping some of the lavish items bought with that cash. Tony Chakonas is facing federal fraud charges, for allegedly trying to sell some of the jewelry Sachdeva bought with the money she stole from Milwaukee's Koss Corporation. All those items were supposed to be turned over to the federal government. Many were auctioned off to help repay the millions the Koss Corporation lost when Sachdeva was the firm's vice president of finance. At yesterday's hearing, the defense tried to show that Sachdeva authorized Chakonas and Adam Burback to keep some of the items from her former home -- including chandeliers, statues, and other furnishings. Burback was sentenced to six months in prison for his role. The 49-year-old Sachdeva testified against Chakonas for over two hours. She's expected to be released from a federal prison in 2020. On the witness stand, Sachdeva said she'd be taken care of by a trust fund which her ex-husband set up. She said she was not concerned about getting a job when she gets out. Sachdeva vows to start her own company.

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A logging company that started Wisconsin's largest forest fire in 33 years has been ordered to pay the costs of fighting the blaze. The D-N-R said yesterday it would bill Ray Duerr Logging of Rib Lake about 630-thousand-dollars. The fire began May 14th in Douglas County in far northwest Wisconsin. It burned 74-hundred acres, destroyed 17 homes, and caused dozens of people to evacuate before the blaze got under control the next day. Authorities found that a logging crew started the fire with sparks from a cutting machine. Later, investigators discovered that the machine had a fire suppression system with a hose -- and the crew tried using the system but it didn't work. The D-N-R said the pressure was set too low, and the agency ruled that Duerr Logging had not properly tested or maintained the system. At that point, D-N-R officials said they considered citations against the logging firm for withholding the information about the suppression system, thus obstructing the probe. But the agency said the case was not strong enough to take to prosecutors. Still, the D-N-R concluded that the firm was negligent in not maintaining the equipment. The company has not commented.

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A massage therapist near Green Bay is suspected of having sexual contact with at least a couple of his clients. Brown County sheriff's deputies said they arrested a 36-year-old man yesterday who works in the Bellevue area. Officials said they knew of two women being victimized in separate massage sessions -- and they're asking other victims to come forward. The therapist was booked on possible charges of third-and-fourth degree sexual assault.

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Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 
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