WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: No injuries from natural gas additive leak in La Crosse
LA CROSSE - No injuries were reported after a natural gas additive leak was reported at a LaCrosse convenience store early this morning.
La Crosse Fire Department Division chief Jeff Murphy told WEAU-TV that crews received several calls from people reporting a strange smell in the area near the store. Murphy says a substance called Mercaptin was leaking at the store. It's added to natural gas so people know about a leak, although Murphy says no natural gas was released. He says the leak was fixed. Nobody was evacuated, and Murphy says there was no danger to the public.
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse ranked first in the nation for 2012 alcohol arrests, according to report released this week.The report comes from Rehabs.com, an addiction resource, and includes new rankings based on data from 2012. UW-La Crosse moved up from No. 9 the year before. Eight other UW institutions made the top 50. UW-Oshkosh topped the list in 2011 but moved to No. 9 in the latest report. UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow told the La Crosse Tribune he doesn't think the alcohol situation at his school is worse than anywhere else in the country, Gow also said the report illustrates what he calls a societal problem with alcohol.
The last of a once-larger group of Native American burial mounds, protected by state law since 1990, could be destroyed for the valuable rock beneath them, if a court allows a local stone manufacturer to have them removed from state protection. The Wisconsin State Journal reports the issue, according to Wingra Redi-Mix, is whether the effigy mounds that are part of the Ward Mound Group, located within its quarry in the town of Blooming Grove, actually contain any human remains, making them eligible for protection under state law. But the court case is not the only legal avenue Wingra is taking to try to mine the site. It is also pursuing a state permit to excavate the site, which is being heard by a state administrative law judge, said Chip Brown of the Wisconsin Historical Society.
A tobacco store owner has pleaded guilty of tax evasion and operating businesses without obtaining proper permits. According to criminal complaints filed in 2013, Mohammad Abdul Qadeer Siddiqui of West Allis failed to pay nearly $270,000 in excise tax on his products in 2010 and 2012, obtain a distributor's permit or keep proper records of his purchases. Siddiqui owns stores in Sheboygan and Milwaukee County. He pleaded guilty on Thursday to six counts, including three counts of distribution without a permit, two counts of tax evasion and one count of obstructing an officer.
A new state audit questions the handling of about $520,000 in federal aid received by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and the state Department of Public Instruction. The Legislative Audit Bureau report released today examined the $12.5 billion in federal financial assistance handled by state agencies in the prior fiscal year. Auditors questioned $365,000 in federal assistance given to students at UW-Whitewater who likely had withdrawn, requiring the return of all or some of that money. The university said in a response that it was calculating how much of the money needed to be returned by students or the school.
A 30-year-old Fond du Lac woman, whose eight-year-old son doused two puppies with bleach last month, has been bound over for trial. The woman was in Fond du Lac County Court Thursday for a preliminary hearing, where she plead not guilty to charges of being a party to the abuse of the dogs. She’s accused of knowing about, but doing nothing to prevent the incident at an apartment complex on February 22. According to the criminal complaint, one of the puppies was “biting” at the feet of the boy, so the boy poured bleach on him, splashing some on another puppy in the process. The boy then placed one of the dogs in a garbage bag and placed him in a dumpster. Both puppies were exposed to the bleach for about three hours. The puppies have since recovered from caustic burns, although the lungs of one of the animals are permanently scarred. They were adopted and sent to new homes this past weekend.
The cost of a probe into whether the state should allow the Menominee Tribe to open an $800 million casino has apparently escalated three fold. Gov. Scott Walker's administration has agreed to triple to $1.5 million the potential payment to a national law firm hired to help examine whether to allow the casino in Kenosha. The original contract signed in December capped payments to the Dykema Gossett law firm at $500,000. But an amended contract released Thursday by Walker's administration raises the cap to $1.5 million. Walker's Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch says raising the cap "ensures we will be able to provide accurate, relevant information about the viability of this project."
A plea agreement in a fatal heroin overdose case in Sheboygan County could lead to charges in a large drug distribution operation. Monica Sanchez pleaded no contest to first-degree reckless homicide and distributing heroin Thursday. Sanchez provided the heroin that killed William Widucki at his Sheboygan apartment last December. The Sheboygan Press Media reports Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco will recommend Sanchez serve nine months in jail and five years of probation if she testifies against her Chicago area drug supplier and 20 other people involved in a heroin distribution ring. The 26-year-old Sanchez could have faced 50 years in prison on the charges against her.
Gov. Scott Walker has quietly signed into law a measure that limits in-person absentee voting to no later than 7 p.m. during the week and no weekend hours. Walker vetoed a portion of the bill to nix language restricting early voting hours in Milwaukee and other cities to 45 hours a week while leaving in place a provision to prohibit early voting on weekends. Democrats strongly opposed the measure, saying it was targeted at tamping down turnout in heavily Democratic cities of Milwaukee and Madison which held extended hours during the 2012 presidential election. Scot Ross, director of liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, says the law is unconstitutional and likely will be challenged in court. Walker's spokeswoman Laurel Patrick says the bill is about ensuring uniform voting hours.
State lawmakers are expected to take a vote on a measure next Tuesday that would make available a cancer treatment drug at a lower price. The state Senate plans to vote on a bill designed to make chemotherapy drugs that can be taken at home in pill form more affordable. A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said the bill will be up for a vote April 1st. That is the Senate's last day in session for the year. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), called on the Senate to pass the bill as soon as possible. The state Assembly passed the bill after including a $100-dollar copayment cap. That was not a part of the bill when the Senate approved it last week. so the senate must approve the change.
The personal data of thousands of University of Wisconsin-Parkside students may have been compromised due to a hacker attack on the school's server. The university notified students Thursday. The Journal Times reports the total number of students affected could be as high as 15,000. Potentially at risk are the names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and Social Security numbers of students who were admitted or enrolled at the university since fall of 2010.
A plea agreement in a fatal heroin overdose case in Sheboygan County could lead to charges in a large drug distribution operation. Monica Sanchez pleaded no contest to first-degree reckless homicide and distributing heroin Thursday. Sanchez provided the heroin that killed William Widucki at his Sheboygan apartment last December. The Sheboygan Press Media reports Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco (deh-CHEK'-oh) will recommend Sanchez serve nine months in jail and five years of probation if she testifies against her Chicago area drug supplier and 20 other people involved in a heroin distribution ring. The 26-year-old Sanchez could have faced 50 years in prison on the charges against her.