WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Storm causes flooding in La Crosse County
A massive October storm throughout the Midwest brought heavy rains to the middle third of Wisconsin -- and there's more on the way.
The National Weather Service issued an urban-and-small-stream flood advisory for La Crosse County until 7:30 this morning. A similar advisory for Wood and Marathon counties in central Wisconsin was to expire at 5:30. Marshfield reported an inch of rain around midnight. Forecasters said La Crosse would get an inch of rain per hour during the night. None of Wisconsin's five Weather Service stations reported storm damage. A mudslide closed part of Highway 61 near Winona Minnesota, not far from the Badger State border. The Public Service utility reported almost 325 customers without power in north central and northeast Wisconsin as of 4:30 this morning. That included 140 customers in the Green Bay area. Only scattered outages were reported elsewhere in the state.
The storm system is the same one that dumped 33 inches of snow in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Three people were killed in a snow-related crash in Nebraska. Tornadoes hit Wayne Nebraska, where 15 people were hurt. A twister also hit a rural area at Cherokee Iowa. In Wisconsin, dense morning fog is in today's forecast along with occasional rain and thunderstorms. There's a slim chance of severe weather in central and southern areas. In the far north, sustained winds of up to 45 miles an hour are expected to create strong waves on Lake Superior in the Bayfield area.
The federal government shutdown has closed a number of Wisconsin recreation areas. Now, a restaurant in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is feeling the pinch. The Mondeaux Dam Lodge is on forest property north of Medford, where Steve Kalmon has served pizza for over a decade. He tells WAOW-TV in Wausau that all his boat rentals have been canceled after the forest officially closed on Tuesday. And he's been told by the U.S. Forest Service that he'll soon get an order from Washington to close within seven days. Kalmon says it comes at a horrible time for his business, as more hunters normally visit the forest and frequent his business. He said he was offered a five-year extension to keep his restaurant going at the forest -- but he cannot finalize it with the government until after the shutdown ends.
Four people are under federal indictment, accused of defrauding a sub-prime mortgage pool of nine-and-a-quarter million dollars. They're accused of fraudulently transferring troubled mortgages to the now-defunct Central States Mortgage Company of suburban Milwaukee -- where they allegedly siphoned the money. Three of the defendants used to work at Central States. Its founder, 66-year-old Richard Jungen, is charged with three counts of fraud along his ex-wife Elaine Jaeger and former chief financial officer Jerome Poehnelt. The fourth person, David Chapman, is charged with three counts of fraud, obstruction, and lying to investigators. The indictments were handed down August 27th but were sealed until this week. They were handled so quietly, that the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said the defendants were surprised that an indictment was handed down. Central States Mortgage became Wisconsin's largest mortgage house until it went into receivership in 2009, when the foreclosure crisis was at its worst. None of the defendants are under arrest, and court dates have not been set. Central States suspended its operations after a federal racketeering suit was filed in 2009 accusing Jungen and his associates of defrauding 15-million dollars. That suit was later dropped.
There's still no word on where an escaped prisoner from northern Wisconsin might be. Authorities said 54-year-old Todd Brecht ran off from a work detail on Tuesday at the Saint Germain golf course near Woodruff. Bayfield County officials said he apparently drove to Bayfield on a stolen golf cart, and was apparently planning to escape to Canada. Brecht was an inmate at the minimum-security McNaughton Correctional Center near Tomahawk. He had been there since August of 2010. Brecht, who's from Owen, was sentenced to life for killing his brother in-law, Buffalo County District Attorney Roger Hartman, in 1985. It happened at the victim's home in Alma. Brecht was convicted of first-degree murder, which he appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices in Washington re-affirmed the conviction in 1993 on a 5-4 vote.
A Milwaukee police officer is free on a signature bond, after he allegedly slamming a suspect's head against a wall while making an arrest. 48-year-old Rodney Lloyd made his first court appearance yesterday on a felony charge of misconduct in public office. Prosecutors said Lloyd arrested a man for domestic violence in June -- and after he took the man to a booking room, Lloyd slammed his head into a concrete wall. An internal police investigation found that he used excessive force. Lloyd is due back in court October 16th for a preliminary hearing. He's been on the Milwaukee police force since 1993.
Wisconsin's latest million-dollar lottery winner cashed in her ticket yesterday. Paula Steffes of Kaukauna won the second prize in the September fourth Powerball drawing. Steffes said she hung onto the ticket for a month so she could make decisions on managing the prize. She received $672,500 after taxes. Steffes picked her own numbers, and did not let the computer do it. She matched all five regular numbers but not the Powerball to claim her million-dollar prize. Steffes bought her ticket at Crooks Express in Kaukauna. Crooks is getting a $20,000 commission for selling the ticket. She was the first of two million-dollar Powerball winners last month. The other ticket was sold in Antigo for the September 14th game, and has already been claimed. The current Powerball jackpot is $86-million for tonight's drawing. Nobody won the Mega Millions' jackpot last night, so it goes up to $14-million for Tuesday night.