STATE NEWS ROUNDUP: Gov. Walker has final say if casino near Kenosha gets built
The owners of the famous Hard Rock Café would build-and-manage the Menominee Indian casino-and-resort that's being proposed for Kenosha. Media reports say the Seminole tribe, which owns the Hard Rock, will enter into a management-and-development deal for the 800-million dollar project. More details are due out tonight. The Menominee Tribe, which would own the new casino, has previously offered 25-percent of its gaming revenues with a project manager. Governor Scott Walker has the final say on whether the casino gets built, after the U-S Bureau of Indian Affairs gave its blessing earlier this year. The Republican Walker has said that all 10 other Indian tribes in Wisconsin would have to approve it, knowing that the Potawatomi has fought it for years because it would cut into revenues for that tribe's casino in Milwaukee. The Ho-Chunk and Oneida tribes also say they're against the project.
A 34-year-old man was killed just before midnight, after his car was hit by a speeding drug suspect who was chased by a Milwaukee police officer. Authorities said the officer ended the chase only a few seconds after it began, before the fatal crash. Police said the 32-year-old officer saw what appeared to be a drug deal -- and when a vehicle drove away, the officer tried stopping the suspect but couldn't. After the crash, two of the three people in the vehicle that was being chased were arrested as they tried to flee on foot. One of them was on probation for robbery, and the other was on probation for a drug violation. The third person was still at large at last word. Officials did not release the name of the man who died in the crash. Milwaukee changed its policy on high-speed chases three years ago, after four innocent people were killed by drivers who were fleeing. Now, police chases are only allowed when there's cause that someone in the pursued cars had committed a violent crime, or is a threat to others.
University of Wisconsin campuses would have limits on how much money they could keep in reserve, under a new policy to be considered by the Board of Regents. It was learned this spring that campuses were sitting on a total of 650-million dollars. That was when U-W leaders were concerned about a lack of funding, and students were paying annual tuition hikes of five-and-a-half percent. State lawmakers were so angry at the revelation, that they ordered the first freeze in tuition since the U-W merged with the old Wisconsin State University system over 40 years ago. The new policy would require campuses to maintain reserves of 10-percent of their budgets -- but they'd have to justify keeping more than 15-percent. The Regents' business-and-finance committee will discuss the new policy today. The full board will act on it tomorrow. The Regents are meeting at U-W Parkside near Kenosha.
It was three years ago tonight when a Wausau woman disappeared. Now, police believe that Stephanie Low was murdered in her apartment, and was then taken away. Police say they've checked out almost 400 leads in the case, some as recently as last week. Kristopher "Spider" Torgerson has long been a person-of-interest in the case. Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel tells W-A-O-W T-V that Torgerson is now a suspect. Officials have not given a reason for that conclusion. Hardel says his investigators have made progress in the case, but not as much as they would like. In his words, "We're not quite there yet, but we're getting close." Low was 22 when she vanished after she abruptly hung up while talking to a friend on the phone. At the time, her mother said Stephanie was threatened before she disappeared – but she never said how. Torgerson was sentenced earlier this year to four years in prison on unrelated charges of battery and possession of meth-amphetamines. A release of balloons is planned today to mark the third anniversary of Low's disappearance.
A southwest Wisconsin man is scheduled to be sentenced January 23rd for killing a woman in a one-car crash. A Lafayette County jury found 24-year-old Kyle Monahan of Shullsburg guilty on two felony charges of drunken-and-negligent homicide, plus a felony count of driving with a prohibited alcohol level. The crash happened in August of 2011. 21-year-old passenger Rebecca Cushman of Dixfield Maine was killed. Authorities said Cushman was driving at a high rate of speed when his vehicle hit a creek embankment and rolled over several times. Both Monahan and Cushman were thrown from the vehicle.
Authorities are recommending a dozen criminal charges against a Kenosha man suspected of causing a drunk driving crash that killed a five-year-old boy. Seven of the 12 possible counts against 29-year-old Marcus Thornton are for bail jumping. Others include causing homicide-and-injury by drunk driving, causing injury while driving on a revoked license, and his fourth O-W-I charge. Online court records show that his third case is still pending -- and he was cited earlier this year for refusing to have his blood alcohol level checked. Kenosha County authorities said Thornton's mini-van drove through a stop sign in the town of Somers on Tuesday night, and collided with a car in which five-year-old Bailey McCollum was killed. Both drivers were taken to hospitals for treatment. Thornton is under a police guard while getting his treatment. Officials say he'll go directly to jail once he's released.