STATE NEWS ROUNDUP: Temperatures around the freezing level the next few days
It's almost like late summer in far northern Wisconsin, where temperatures rose into the low-40's overnight. Southerly winds returned to the Badger State, and clouds moved in -- and the north was the main beneficiary. It was 43 in Superior and Siren at six o'clock. Southern Wisconsin had readings 10-to-15 degrees colder. Burlington was the state's cold spot with 29. The National Weather Service said high pressure moved eastward through Wisconsin yesterday, with clear-to-partly cloudy skies and highs in the 30's -- about normal for this time of year. When the clouds and southerly winds moved in, it actually got warmer in many places overnight. Today, a weak storm system will move through, with light rain possible today and tonight, mixed with snow in the north. Another low-pressure system is expected to bring more rain-and-snow late tomorrow and into Friday. Many places could see light snow accumulations as temperatures get cooler. Daytime highs could cool to the freezing mark by Friday.
White supremacist Joseph Paul Franklin was put to death this morning at a state prison in Bonne Terre Missouri. He targeted blacks, Jews, and gays in a nationwide killing spree that began in Madison in 1977, and continued until 1980. The Missouri Corrections Department said the 63-year-old Franklin died at 6:17 this morning -- the first death row inmate in the Show-Me State to die from a single drug known as pento-barbital. The state was the only one where he was sentenced to death. Otherwise, he was given multiple life sentences for a total of eight murder convictions -- including the shooting deaths of a black man and his white female companion in Madison. He was tied to a total of 20 killings among other crimes. Franklin's fate was sealed overnight, when the U-S Supreme Court refused to overturn two stays-of-execution granted last night by federal district judges in Missouri. Franklin was a paranoid schizo-phrenic who started drifting across the country in 1977 and robbed 16 banks to pay for his travels. He bombed a synagogue in Tennessee before he began his killing spree. Franklin was in a federal prison when he admitted to a murder near Saint Louis -- and he was sentenced to death for it in 1997. In recent days, Franklin told reporters he was no longer a racist, after seeing in prison that blacks were quote, "just like us."
A Rhinelander High School English teacher has been fired, after he was charged with seven crimes in a drug-and-theft case. The School Board terminated Joshua Juergens this week on a 6-nothing vote, with one member abstaining. The 35-year-old Juergens is charged in Oneida County with six felonies for allegedly growing marijuana in his home, illegally getting prescription drugs, and stealing over nine-thousand dollars worth of computers and other equipment from Rhinelander schools. Police said he may have stolen other victims' computer equipment as well. School officials said other staffers and students did not help commit the crimes. Juergens was still in jail at last word under a 15-hundred dollar bond. He's due in back in court tomorrow to see if he'll be ordered to stand trial on the felony counts. A status conference will also be held tomorrow on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. Juergens was hired last fall at Rhinelander. The superintendent recently said school officials were never made aware of some of his past charges, driver license suspensions, and small claims judgments against him.
Wisconsin has 18 new wildlife biologists. The D-N-R said the new people began last month, and they're filling jobs that have been vacant for as long as two years. Among other things, the new biologists are involved in overseeing public construction projects and recreation on state land. They're stationed throughout the Badger State at places like Madison, Oshkosh, Mishicot, Green Bay, Wausaukee, Black River Falls, Eau Claire, Baldwin, and Merrill.
Milwaukee's 93rd murder victim of the year was killed in a gang-related shooting. Police identified her yesterday as 59-year-old Gloria Zuniga. She was slain when bullets sprayed her south side Milwaukee home on Monday night. Police said the shooters targeted the house -- but they do not believe they intended to kill Zuniga. Alderman Bob Donovan lives just two blocks away. He lashed out at what he called a "short-sighted approach to public safety," and he said Milwaukee needs a "definitive safety plan." Still, the alderman hesitated to put blame on the Police Department. Donovan said violence is not normal in his neighborhood but the current tension is quote, "so thick you could cut it with a knife." Milwaukee now has more murders in the first 10-and-a-half months of this year than in all of 2012. Ninety-people were killed in the city a year ago.