WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: All of southern Wisconsin under Winter Storm Warning
Winter storms will likely throw a wrench into some holiday travelplans in the state. The National Weather Service in Sullivan has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the entire southern portion of Wisconsin, for tonight and into tomorrow evening.
The weather service says a low pressure system will strengthen rapidly, bringing heavy snowfall with it. Six to nine inches of snow is expected. Roads will likely be icy and snow-covered. Officials say commuters should take extra caution while driving.
Freezing rain caused folks to slip-and-slide today in southern Wisconsin yesterday, while Bayfield County in the far north was dumped with a half-foot of snow. In Milwaukee, there were long back-ups on the Highway 45 freeway during the morning rush hour, when a disabled truck closed three lanes. Dozens of schools closed in the southern third of the Badger State. Power outages were not a big problem, as only a few dozen customers were in the dark just before the lunch hour. The National Weather Service said a complex weather system in the Upper Mississippi Valle was giving the Badger State a mixed bag of precipitation. Sinsinawa in Grant County had 13-hundredths of an inch of freezing rain by mid-morning. The state's mid-section had light snow, mixed with sleet in some areas. Friendship in Adams County has had the most with one-and-a-half inches. In the far north, Lake Superior brought higher snow amounts to Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, and Iron counties.
Milwaukee Police now say they know who shot-and-killed a cook at a George Webb's restaurant early Friday. At a news conference, Police Chief Ed Flynn said his officers had promising leads about the suspect, who was still at large as of early this afternoon. The chief said extra officers would patrol the area around the restaurant, which is close to the U-W Milwaukee campus. Flynn did not immediately identify the suspect or the 21-year-old Milwaukee man who was killed. The chief did describe the shooter as as a "career criminal" with a long record. Flynn said the cook was trying to help waitresses deal with the unruly suspect. He said the person left the restaurant, came back in, and then shot the cook with a handgun. The chief said the shooter was among a group of people who had been drinking, and were throwing things around the east side George Webb restaurant when the waitresses tried to intervene. Mayor Tom Barrett said he wanted to know how a suspect with such a long criminal record could have a gun.
A new Facebook video appears to show Green Bay police officer allegedly punching and kicking two men to the pavement. The attorney of 21-year-old NeeGee Cloud posted the video, saying the whole community can see it first-hand without a “spin on it”. Cloud and another man were arrested and charged on November 6 with resisting arrest and possession of a marijuana pipe. A spokesperson for the police department says they cannot comment on the video because it’s a pending criminal case but says the officers acted within policy and procedure. During his arrest, Cloud was allegedly carrying a BB pistol.
The brother of Julie Jensen, a Wisconsin woman killed 15 years ago, says he is shocked that a judge overturned the case against her husband. Mark Jensen was accused of killing his wife in 1998 with antifreeze. A judge overturned his 2008 conviction, saying a letter written by the victim to a neighbor about suspicion of her husband were insufficient. Paul Griffin, the victim’s brother, says he’s certain Jensen would be convicted a second time with other evidence. Prosecutors have the option to retry the case, a judge has ordered Jensen be released from jail within 90 days.
Officials say a 48-year-old patient at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex has died, following an altercation with police and security guards. Milwaukee police say the man was brought in early Friday morning after he threatened his wife with a hammer. A news release reports the unidentified man was in “a mental crisis” and brought to the complex. Authorities say the man became very combative, was restrained and medicated. The man became unresponsive and lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful. Authorities say autopsy results will help determine a cause of death.
Governor Scott Walker signed a bill allowing a three-month delay in Medicaid coverage changes for about 72,000 Wisconsinites. The move comes in response to the technical issues marring the federal health insurance exchange website. With the delay, those people who would lose coverage have another three months to find insurance. In order to pay for the extended coverage, today’s bill also delays expansion of coverage to thousands of people. Health care advocates are critical of the delay, saying it creates confusion and leaves the needy without coverage. State officials say letters and phone calls will go out to people affected by the new change.
Ashland police say a 14-year-old homicide suspect fired shots at officers who arrived at the scene. Details into Monday night’s incident were revealed today at a news conference. Authorities say an officer fired back, forcing the teen to retreat back in the home. The suspect was shot in the abdomen, but investigators believe it was self-inflicted. He was hospitalized and later transferred to jail, where he is being held on 250-thousand dollar bond. The victim in the crime has been identified as 52-year-old William Saari… authorities say he suffered several gunshot and stab wounds.
When it comes to volunteer work in the community, a surveyreleased today shows Wisconsinites are doing a great job. The annual survey from the Corporation for National and Community Service shows the state ranked eighth among all state for volunteer work and social engagement, with almost 36-percent of Wisconsinites volunteering in 2012. Milwaukee and Madison also earned top rankings. Nearly 34-percent of Milwaukee residents volunteered, ranking third among large cities in the U.S. Madison ranked fifth in the U.S for mid-size cities. Executive Director of Serve Wisconsin Tom Devine says the ranking is a testament to the people of Wisconsin. Anyone interested in serving their community can visit either SERVEWISCONSIN.WI.gov (servewisconsin.wi.gov), or VOLUNTEERWISCONSIN-dot-ORG (volunteerwisconsin.org) for more information.
A new report shows that children under 10 are more likely to be injured in farm accidents -- even though the total numbers of child injuries are down. That's according to the National Children's Center for Rural-and-Agricultural Health and Safety, located at Marshfield Clinic. A report compiled by the children's center shows that about 14,000 youngsters under 20 years old were injured on farms last year -- about two-thousand less than in 2009, when the last report was issued. However, among kids under 10, the rate of injuries rose from six-point-six for every thousand children in 2009 to 11.3 a year ago. Barbara Lee, the center's principal investigator, says young kids are being struck by falls, livestock and vehicles -- and the safest thing is to keep them away from work areas.
A five-thousand-dollar bond is set for a Wood County Jail inmate accused of beating officers while he was on his way to a court appearance on other charges. 18-hundred Elijuwon Clawson of Nekoosa was originally jailed for trashing a house and causing eight-thousand dollars in damage. Authorities said he was heading toward a courtroom to hear charges in that case on Wednesday, when Clawson suddenly punched an officer in the chest, pushed another into a wall, and hit a third officer in a leg. A stun gun settled him down -- but when he was being treated at a hospital, he allegedly pulled an I-V cord out of his arm and kicked a female officer twice. Officials wouldn't let him make the same walk yesterday, when he appeared in court on a TV hookup from his jail cell in Wisconsin Rapids. A judge entered innocent pleas to his original misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and criminal damage, plus two new misdemeanors for disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer. A preliminary hearing is set for next Friday on the felony charges -- criminal damage in the original case, plus four counts of battery by a prisoner.
A Civil War hero from Wisconsin is one step closer to getting the nation's highest military honor. Descendants of Army First Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing of Delafield have tried for three decades to award him the Medal-of-Honor, even though it must normally be presented within two years of an act of heroism. Wisconsin lawmakers have previously failed to get Congress to approve an exception to the policy. Now, the award was quietly added to a defense spending bill that both houses have approved, and is heading to President Obama for his signature. If he signs it, the Pentagon will have the choice of recommending the award, and Obama can then decide the matter on its merits. Cushing was 22 when he died in the Civil War. He was wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg, but he still managed to defend a Union post to try and keep it away from Confederate forces. Cushing fell into the arms of one of his subordinates, First Sergeant Fredrick Fuger -- who received the Medal of Honor in 1897.
The head of Wisconsin's police union said today he will not run for state attorney general next fall. Jim Palmer of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association said he didn't want to run under the Republican or Democratic party banners. He said he got support for running as an independent but quote, "That support appears out-weighed by the pragmatic consideration that I need to choose a party if I have any hope of winning." Palmer called it a personal concession he's not prepared to make. At least three people are running for the state's top law enforcement office, after Republican J.B. Van Hollen said two months ago he would step down after eight years in office. Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel is running as a Republican. Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne is running as a Democrat, along with State Representative Jon Richards of Milwaukee. Jefferson County DA Susan Happ says she's also thinking about running as a Democrat.
A 20-year-old man has been charged for a hit-and-run traffic death in Appleton. James Erdmann Junior of Poy Sippi is under arrest, after a warrant in Outagamie County charged him with fatal hit-and-run. Erdmann is being held on a $100,000 bond, pending his first court appearance. Prosecutors said his father's pick-up truck hit-and-killed 61-year-old Robert Joosten of Little Chute, while the victim was riding his bicycle in Appleton on November ninth. Officers identified Erdmann after video surveillance cameras recorded the truck. According to the criminal complaint, Erdmann was in the process of picking up his girlfriend. She told authorities that he called her and said he hit somebody, but he couldn't see the person. When he got to his girlfriend's house, she quoted Erdmann as saying they needed to hurry and leave because he didn't want the police involved.
The opposing quarterback for Sunday's Packer game has already scored some points in Wausau. Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers donated $13,000 dollars to the Wausau Police Department, so it could get another K-9 officer. Roethlisberger has a foundation that's part of the "Giving Back Fund." It has awarded a police-or-fire K-9 grant for every place the Steelers have visited this season -- eight in all. Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel said his agency learned about the grants after the Packer schedule was announced back in April. He figured that the funding might go to Green Bay or someplace close to there -- but Wausau applied anyway and won. The department already has three K-9 officers, but the chief says he has four shifts -- and they'll all have their own dog to sniff out things like drug dealing. Chief Hardel says it's not cheap to train a police dog. The total cost is around $17,000. That includes the officers' travel to training sessions, and squad car modifications. It does not cover the dogs' food-and veterinary costs.
A foundation created by the founder of Walmart is putting up six-million dollars, with the goal of doubling the number of students getting tax-funded vouchers to attend private schools. The Walton Family Foundation says some of the money will go to Wisconsin -- but it's not known how much. The Alliance for School Choice will get the funding. A foundation spokeswoman says the goal for the Badger State is to further expand the state's private school choice program, and improve its quality. The overall goal is to double the numbers of students in voucher schools by 2017. Wisconsin's 20-year-old voucher program was expanded this fall beyond Milwaukee County and Racine. Over 500 students were given the chance to attend 25 private schools around the state.
Nine state parks and forests will offer special hiking events on New Year's day. Rangers and volunteers will lead walkers and snow-shoe enthusiasts. Folks in other states will be doing the same, as part of the "First Day Hikes" national program. Each state park will have different events that include cross-country skiing, craft-making, story-telling, and more. Some of Wisconsin's most popular state parks will be participating -- including Devil's Lake and Peninsula, along with three units of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. More information is available on the state DNR's Web site, accessible at Wisconsin-Dot-Gov.