WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Milwaukee man arrested by U.S. Marshals
MILWAUKEE - U.S. Marshals arrested a man in Milwaukee today, after he was wanted for a series of car-jackings last weekend which led to a young boy's death.
Spokesman Ed Farrell said agents learned that 34-year-old Rockie Douglas was in Wisconsin's largest city. They saw his stolen vehicle in a McDonald's drive-through lane -- and Farrell said agents boxed him in, and he gave up without incident. A woman was in the car with him. Douglas is from Beach Park, Illinois. Douglas was the subject of a manhunt in Chicago. Among other things, authorities said he stole a van at gunpoint -- and as officers chased him, the van collided with another vehicle. 11-year-old Donovan Turnage, a Chicago fifth-grader, died in that vehicle. He was on his way to get a Christmas haircut at the time. Turnage's mother Annette tells the Chicago Sun-Times she's happy that her family has closure as the result of Douglas's arrest.
A protest group that stirred controversy in Madison last year has turned its efforts toward helping the homeless. Occupy Madison has announced a plan to build small houses for those in need. Over 50 volunteers helped build the first two houses this summer. The initial tenants moved in on Christmas Eve. Residents will be expected to help build and decorate their houses. The city of Madison allows the houses to be parked on the street, as long as they're moved at least every 48 hours. Bruce Wallbaum of Occupy Madison says the goal is to have local churches allow up to three units on their lots -- and they're talking with church officials about that. Occupy Madison's eventual goal is to create a village with about 30 houses for those who'd be otherwise homeless.
Wisconsin's public indoor smoking ban would not include electronic cigarettes, under a bill proposed by state Senate Republican Glenn Grothman of West Bend. The New York City Council has voted to extend its smoking ban to e-cigarettes -- and over 100 U.S. cities have joined the Big Apple, along with the states of New Jersey, North Dakota, and Utah. Wisconsin's indoor smoking ban does not say anything about e-cigarettes. Grothman believes they should be legalized. He says he wants lawmakers to step in before a Wisconsin ban builds steam. Green Bay respiratory specialist Richard Potts says the state would be taking a step backward by allowing e-cigarettes in indoor public places. He tells WLUK-TV that e-cigarettes still hurt air quality, even though it's only a small amount of chemicals that are emitted. Grothman's bill is currently in the state Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs.
A Rock County man has waived preliminary hearings on charges of killing a woman, burning her corpse, and trying to arrange a daring escape from jail. 29-year-old Nathan Middleton of Evansville is due back in court January seventh. Authorities said Middleton advertised on Craigslist for sex, and 19-year-old Aprina Paul of Fitchburg was killed after she answered that ad. Prosecutors said the man burned Paul's body in an open pit in his yard. About a month after he was arrested, officials said Middleton planned an escape attempt in which he asked his mother to blow up a wall of the county jail in Janesville. An assistant public defender withdrew from the case due to a conflict of interest. Steven Zaleski was named as Middleton's new lawyer.
Police said a harmless photo-bombing incident led to a shooting in Beloit. Officials said 23-year-old Marcus McKinnis and a few others were taking a group picture in the Beloit Eagles Club parking lot on Sunday, when 29-year-old Thamar Harper jumped into the frame. Authorities said Harper and the others started fighting, and security guards asked them to leave. Harper then allegedly followed McKinnis and at least two others to their cars -- and McKinnis and another person were shot-and-wounded. McKinnis was still being treated at a Madison hospital at last word. The other victim was treated at the crime scene. Harper is charged with attempted homicide. He's due to make his initial court appearance on Friday in Rock County Circuit Court.
Santa Claus is getting closer to Wisconsin, as Christmas is gradually ushered in around the world. The Wisconsin National Guard is coordinating its efforts with the North American Aerospace Defense Command to keep track of Santa and his reindeer as they make their travels. Governor Scott Walker has ordered the Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management to do whatever's required to help Saint Nick stay on his rounds. The guard's adjutant general, Donald Dunbar, calls it a "no-fail mission." You can track Santa's comings-and-goings online at NoradSanta.org. Also, Ready Wisconsin is posting updates on Twitter and Facebook. Santa should no trouble landing anywhere in Wisconsin. There are seven inches of snow on the ground at the very least, and a lot more in most places. Ashland had 31-and-a-half inches in a freak storm yesterday, and nearby Benoit in Bayfield County had 22 inches as the Chequamegon Bay region got hit with a lake-effect storm. Drivers appeared to take it in stride. No storm-related deaths have been reported, and Ashland County deputies only handled a half-dozen traffic accidents. More snow is in the forecast for tonight into Christmas morning. Most parts of Wisconsin expect 2-to-5 inches. Bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills are supposed to continue. It was still 11-below late this morning in Antigo and Lone Rock. By two o'clock, every place in Wisconsin was in the single-digits and teens above.