WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Neenah police make $100,000 drug bust
NEENAH - Police in Neenah said they stopped a car for routine traffic violations -- and they found over $100,000 worth of methamphetamines in the trunk.
The officer just happened to have the city's new K-9 officer with him at the time, and the dog sniffed out the drugs. The traffic stop occurred late Sunday night. 29-year-old Angela Koerner of Neenah and 31-year-old Kong Lee of Appleton are charged with possessing meth with the intent to deliver, and possessing firearms as convicted felons. Both are due in Winnebago County Circuit Court this afternoon. Koerner is on probation for a federal meth distribution case from 2010. Lee spent two years in prison for possessing meth and resisting an officer.
Andy Pantzlaff has resigned from the Wisconsin Sporting Heritage Council. He's the head of the United Sportsmen, a group that won a controversial half-million dollar state grant which Governor Scott Walker later canceled. Pantzlaff was appointed in February to the state council that was created to advise Walker on hunting-and-fishing concerns. Pantzlaff e-mailed a one-sentence resignation notice yesterday, saying only that he's resigning "with much regret." Critics said Republicans tried to put the United Sportsmen in line for state funds to encourage more Wisconsinites to go hunting-and-fishing. A state budget measure created the grant and banned certain outdoor groups from applying for it. The Sporting Heritage Council approved the grant in August. Walker scrapped the funding, after confusing arose over the United Sportsmen's tax status -- and reports that Pantzlaff was fined in 2005 for shooting a bear without the proper state license.
New restrictions are being considered for hunting and trapping in Wisconsin state parks. The Natural Resources Board will be asked tomorrow to adopt emergency rules to ban the shooting of guns, bows, and cross-bows from recreation trails or across them. Also, trappers would have to use dog-proof snares in those areas. The Board will consider the changes when it meets at Pembine in northeast Wisconsin. If approved, they'll take effect November 15th. A state law adopted a year ago ended a general ban on hunting-and-trapping in state parks -- but under the law, the DNR could still restrict the activities in specific areas.
Wisconsin woman caught with a loaded gun at New York's 9-11 Memorial told officers she forgot she had it. 41-year-old Ursula Jerry of Milwaukee appeared in court yesterday, following her arrest at Ground Zero's security checkpoint on Sunday. A judge ordered a $30,000 bond on a preliminary charge of criminal weapons' possession. She's due back in court on Friday. Prosecutors say they'll take the case to a New York grand jury for formal charges. Jerry reportedly told security officers that she carried her .380 semi-automatic weapon on an Amtrak train from Milwaukee as she was about to visit the Big Apple - and she forgot having it. The weapon had two rounds in its magazine. Defense attorney Annie Constanzo said there were no indications that Jerry threatened any violence -- and she has no criminal history of violence. There have been conflicting reports about whether Jerry had a Wisconsin concealed weapons' permit. Even if she did, it would not have been legal for her to carry it in New York. The Empire State does not legally recognize concealed weapon permits from other states.
Last week's frost in Wisconsin killed at least some crops which never got a chance to fully grow. Officials said the frost damage ranged from superficial to killing, depending on their locations and maturity. Wisconsin did get some much-needed rain, but it was too late to help some of the corn. Fifty-five percent of topsoil and 69-percent of subsoil remains short to very short of moisture, although both percentages are improved from a week ago. Thirty-six percent of the corn for animal feed is harvested. Yields were said to be below normal, due to drought conditions in much of the state and a late planting. Seventy-percent of Wisconsin soybeans are turning color. There are scattered reports of plants being used for silage if they're not producing beans. The year's third-cutting of alfalfa is 95-percent finished, and the fourth-cutting is 46-percent complete. Some areas are not expected to see a fourth crop. Temperatures are well above freezing this morning, ranging from 36 in Superior to 56 in Milwaukee. Clear-and-dry weather is expected statewide for at least the next three days. Highs today should be about 70, with a slight warm-up tomorrow and Thursday.
A man who admits having an affair with Wausau area native Kira Steger has testified in her husband's murder trial in Minnesota. Prosecutors said Jeffrey Trevino murdered Kira because of the affair and her desire to end their marriage. Yesterday, Ryan Wendt testified that Steger sent him a text message just before midnight on February 21st -- he replied a short time later -- and he never heard from her again. Wendt was the district manager for Delia's, a clothing retailer with a store in the Mall of America which Steger managed. He said he became friends with Steger before they began a casual affair in January. Prosecutors are in their fourth day of presenting evidence which seeks to convict Jeffrey Trevino on two counts of second-degree murder. The trial is expected to last until about the end of next week.
A Milwaukee resident shot-and-wounded a pit bull that attacked a teenage girl and her friend. It happened last night in an alley in Milwaukee. According to police, a resident heard the girl scream, and used a shovel to try and stop the attack. That apparently didn't work, so the resident's son pulled a handgun and shot the dog while it was still on the attack. There was no word on the conditions of the two victims. Police said the dog survived, and was turned over to an animal control facility.
We're expected to learn more today about the status of the federal marketplace that Wisconsin will use to provide health insurance to those who need it. Enrollments in the new exchange begin a week from today. The Wisconsin Health News is holding a mid-day seminar in Madison with three health care leaders who will discuss issues connected with the exchange set-up that's part of the Affordable Care Act. Around a half-million Wisconsinites are expected to buy coverage from the state's exchange. That includes thousands of Badger-Care recipients who are being told that their current coverage will end when 2013 ends. State officials and health advocates expect a lot of confusion as people begin to sign up. Donna Friedsam of the U-W Madison Population Health Institute says many of the affected people have never bought health insurance -- and many don't have the bank accounts and credit cards they might need to pay monthly premiums. State Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades has acknowledged the challenge. She recently said quote, "We are in unchartered waters here."
Authorities in far northern Wisconsin are still trying to determine how a 55-year-old woman died, after her remains were found in the woods last week. Sandra Schinke of Sayner was reported missing 17 months ago in the Northern Highland State Forest. Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath said dental records helped identify Schinke. He says investigators are still waiting for test results from the State Crime Lab which could clarify how Schinke died. A hunter spotted a jacket and a shoe last Monday -- and that led to the discovery of Schinke's remains last Thursday.
The head of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission denies that it's violating a court order, by continuing to enforce the Act-10 public union bargaining limits. WERC chairman James Scott says his panel will proceed with annual recertification votes requested by 400 public unions. A union attorney said a Dane County court ruling does not allow for the elections, and he'll ask a judge today to hold the labor commission in contempt. Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled a year ago that Act-10 and its annual union election requirements do not apply to the Madison school teachers and a Milwaukee city employee group. Until now, it was not clear whether the ruling applied to all school and local government unions statewide. Last week, Colas ruled that it did apply -- but he stopped short of halting recertification votes for the two plaintiffs. Lester Pines, representing six other unions, has demanded that the state stop the elections. State officials have said that other court rulings allow them to keep administering Act-10. A federal judge in Madison and a federal appeals court have upheld the union law while ruling on other lawsuits against it.
Domestic abusers who don't give up their weapons as required could face more punishment under a bill proposed in the Wisconsin Legislature. Assembly Republican Garey Bies of Sister Bay is asking colleagues to co-sign his measure. It would create a process in which courts can verify whether people under restraining orders for domestic-or-child abuse comply with court orders to surrender their firearms. Bies says the idea is to prevent abusers from offending again when the situation arises. At the very least, he says they would have to look harder to find a weapon -- and by then, their heat-of-passion might have gone away. A similar bill was proposed a few years ago, but Milwaukee County Chief Judge Jeffrey Kremers said many judges thought the system would not work because the courts were already overburdened. The state tried a pilot program in four counties -- and UW-Milwaukee expert Steven Brandl found it to be effective. Milwaukee County adopted a gun-checking policy for abusers in April. Bies says many other counties still don't make those checks. He expects his measure to get final approval by the end of the year.