WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Memorial Day ceremonies throughout the state today
Hundreds of Wisconsin communities will hold Memorial Day ceremonies today, to remember their fallen military troops.
Governor Scott Walker will speak at Wood National Cemetery in Milwaukee. Gold Star mother Kay Castner will be the keynote speaker at the mid-morning program. This afternoon, the governor will attend the Fallen Warrior Memorial Ceremony in Madison. Meanwhile, over a-thousand photos of Wisconsinites who died in Vietnam have been collected for a new memorial in the nation's capital. But 230 photos are still needed. Wisconsin Public Broadcasting and the Wisconsin Newspaper Association has been rounding up the photos for a memorial that seeks to tell the stories of the war dead with names on the Vietnam Wall in Washington. Besides photos, organizers are looking for memories, tributes, and candid images of the 1,244 Wisconsinites who died in Vietnam.
The weather has been great so far this Memorial Day Weekend -- but that could change today, when a cold front moves in. Heavy thunderstorms are possible this afternoon and evening -- right when hundreds of thousands of travelers are heading home from their first mini-vacations of the season. The National Weather Service says the storms will move in this afternoon in virtually all of the Badger State. Small hail is possible in southwest Wisconsin, along with heavy rains and strong winds. Severe weather is possible throughout southern Wisconsin, with flash flooding possible. Forecasters in Green Bay say it's too early tell if northeast and north central Wisconsin will have severe storms. No official watches or warnings were issued anywhere in the state as of 5:30 this morning. Today's highs will again get close to the 80-degree mark in most of the state. More rains and thunderstorms are possible tonight, tomorrow, and into Wednesday.
A Ripon College official is free on a quarter-million dollar bond, after he was accused of stealing over $400,000 from the private school. Fifty-four year old Ronald Haefner of Mequon was charged Friday with 64 felonies and misdemeanors. They include ten charges of fraudulent credit card use, and 54 counts of embezzlement. Haefner was the school's director of information technology when he allegedly made unauthorized purchases of computer products and furniture. He was fired last November after school officials learned what happened. A criminal complaint said Haefner made purchases for himself and his family, and gave some of the items to a former Ripon College president who's now at a school in North Carolina. District Attorney Eric Toney said the thefts appeared to be for personal profit -- and the DA said he believed Haefner lied to the former Ripon president. Haefner is due back in court next Monday for a preliminary hearing. His attorney told a reporter that Haefner committed some wrongdoing, and they'll try to seek a settlement with restitution.
Three people escaped injury when their small plane crashed on Madeline Island near Bayfield in far northwest Wisconsin. Police in La Pointe said a 40-year-old Piper Cherokee was approaching from the north -- and it landed in a wooded area just east of a runway. The crash occurred early Saturday afternoon. The FAA is investigating.
A search resumes today for a 21-year-old man missing in the Saint Croix River on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border. Authorities said the man jumped in at Taylors Falls on the Minnesota side, to save his 11-year-old nephew who slipped and fell into the water. Chisago County sheriff's officials in Minnesota said the two were fishing when the incident happened late yesterday afternoon. A by-stander helped rescue the child, but his uncle went missing.
A 65-year-old man died after he was hit by a train in Oshkosh, close to a popular fishing spot at Lake Winnebago. Police said the man was fishing from the tracks late Saturday night, when he was hit by a Canadian National freight train that was going south. The tracks run directly next to the lake. Police said the train's operator blew a whistle to warn the fisherman -- but that effort failed. An investigation continues.
Wausau is not the only place where authorities are worried about teens playing war games with toy Nerf guns. Safety concerns are also being raised in the Duluth-Superior area -- and a game by Superior High School students was canceled so students don't violate the school activity code. That's what happened in April in Wausau, where police initially arrested six high school students after a neighborhood woman thought she saw the kids doing battle with real guns. The students were given 240-dollar tickets which were eventually dropped -- but those kids still had to be in a video explaining the consequences of the game they were playing. At Wausau, it was billed as a traditional "Senior Shoot-out." The Duluth News Tribune said over a-thousand Duluth-Superior area high school students learned about Nerf Wars on Twitter. Superior assistant principal Ray Kosey said a letter to parents warning about the game's consequences. He said a nice friendly game turned into trespassing and breaking traffic laws. In other parts of the Duluth-Superior area, students agree not to enter houses with their guns without permission. They're also reminded it's against the law to shoot their Nerf guns from vehicles. The newspaper said a few traffic accidents have been reported from the games.
The Powerball jackpot is the highest since mid-February. It's now at $152-million for Wednesday night, after nobody won the top prize on Saturday. Nobody from Wisconsin won any more than $200 during the weekend. Eight players did that by having the Power Play multiplier of two, and matching either four regular numbers of three-plus-the-Powerball. Just over 10,000 Wisconsin tickets won something. Saturday's numbers were 15, 16, 28, 49, and 55. The Powerball was 18. Wednesday night's cash option is just under $90-million. The jackpot is the highest since a ticket in California won 425-million dollars on February 19th. In Mega Millions, the top prize is at $20-million for tomorrow night.