WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Three-persons killed across state in traffic accidents
Three people were killed since midnight in transportation-related mishaps throughout Wisconsin -- two of them involving passing trains.
In Dane County, police said a 63-year-old Madison area man died after being hit by a train near McFarland. Police were called around midnight, and they do not suspect foul play. In Wauwatosa, a pedestrian was killed by a passing train around nine this morning. The Milwaukee County medical examiner's office was called. Other details were not immediately available. Also, a 58-year-old Racine man died this morning in a one-car crash near Wisconsin Dells. The State Patrol said the driver was ejected, and a passenger was also injured. It happened around 6:25 a.m. on westbound Interstate 90-94. Troopers said the vehicle drove into the median, over-corrected, went into the right ditch, and rolled over. The driver was thrown from the car. An investigation continues.
An apparent national effort to extort money from CVS pharmacies has come to northwest Wisconsin. Media reports said CVS outlets across the country have been targeted with false bomb threats to try and get money from the chain. In Superior, police were called to a bomb threat at that city's CVS Pharmacy around 2:30 yesterday afternoon. The store was closed for a short time while officers checked the building, and found nothing suspicious.
Prosecutors said a Beloit man killed his father with a hammer, because he would have no place to live after his parents move away. Thirty-year-old Peter Hemmy is charged in Rock County with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of 58-year-old Bruce Hemmy. Authorities said Peter turned himself in early Monday, and told officers he struck his father 3-or-4 times in the head. He also allegedly said he "kind of regretted" doing it. A judge set bond at $250,000 dollars. Hemmy is due back in court September 16th, when a judge will decide if there's enough evidence to order a trial.
____________________________A former Dane County sheriff's deputy is due in court tomorrow, on allegations that he murdered his wife and sister-in-law two months after being diagnosed with ALS. WIBA Radio in Madison said 39-year-old Andy Steele is being held in the Rock County Jail in Janesville. The reason is to avoid a conflict-of-interest with the Dane County jail staffers who used to be his co-workers. Steele's wife Ashlee and her sister Kacee Tollefsbol were found shot at the Steele family home last Friday. Authorities said Andy Steele apparently tried to take his own life during the incident. He was taken to a Milwaukee medical facility for treatment before he was transferred to jail. He'll make his first court appearance on closed circuit TV, on the same day the murder victims will be remembered at a memorial service in their hometown of Stillwater. Andy Steele was booked for homicide, but online court records did not show him being charged as of this morning. He was a deputy for 14 years before retiring in June once he learned he had Lou Gehrig's disease.
A jury in Milwaukee convicted a man today of running a sex trafficking ring that included child prostitution. Forty-five year old Roy Weatherall Jr. was found guilty on all 14 charges he was facing -- which included sex trafficking, sexual assault, and child abuse. One of the state's witnesses was a girl who moved in with Weatherall three years ago when she was 15. She said she gave him all the money she made from prostitution and strip club dancing -- and she helped him recruit others for prostitution. The girl said she left Weatherall for a short time after a vicious beating, but she told the jury that she still loved him. The defense lawyer noted that the girl used to be a prostitute for a different pimp and her decisions to pay and live with Weatherall were totally her own. Prosecutors also introduced other accusers' stories, testimony from relatives, and items recovered from Weatherall's home and cell phone. The trial ran for eight days. The state needed two hours to summarize its closing arguments. A sentencing date was not immediately set.
UW-Platteville will hold a "grand re-opening" tomorrow, after a tornado whipped through the campus on June 16th. University System President Ray Cross will join Chancellor Dennis Shields at a news conference and a ceremony on the rear patio of the Engineering Hall. The campus received an estimated ten-million dollars in damage, when a twister with winds up to 120-miles an hour damaged a school park and a half-dozen buildings. That includes Platteville's football stadium -- where new turf is expected to be fully installed by early-to-mid September. The Pioneers' first two home soccer games had to be relocated, but officials say all events after September 9th will go on as planned. Parts of Memorial Park remain closed, and the school is preparing an online map. Campus dining facilities are back in full swing, serving students who've arrived early for fall classes.
Paul Ryan's new book is not flying off the shelves, but its publisher is not complaining so far. CNN said "The Way Forward" sold just under 6,300 copies in its first week of publication. That's according to Nielsen Bookscan, which tallies about 85-percent of all retail book sales not including pre-orders and e-books. Ryan, the House Budget chairman from Janesville, did not sell as many books in the last week as two others from conservative authors -- "One Nation" by Ben Carson, and "America" by Dinesh D'Souza, both of which have been out longer. Paul Samuelson of Ryan's publishing firm told CNN his company was happy so far with sales of "The Way Forward." In that book, Ryan calls on the Republican Party to broaden its appeal in time for the 2016 presidential election -- in which Ryan is considered by many as a possible GOP candidate. Twelve Publishing put out the Ryan book. House rules prohibited Ryan from getting an advance payment for the book -- but he does get royalties from sales.
For the second time this summer, an invasive worm has been found in Wisconsin which has the potential to damage forests. The DNR confirms that the Asian crazy worm was spotted in Appleton, after it was first discovered last fall at the UW-Madison Arboretum. The agency is forming a team of experts to advice state officials on what to do about it. DNR forest specialist Linda Williams says the Asian crazy worm devours nutrients from soil and forest floors -- and that leaves no nutrients for other native species. The long worm is officially called the Amynthas Agrestis (a-min-thus uh-gres-tis). It's called a crazy worm because it wriggles heavily when it's handled. Although it's new to Wisconsin, the worm has been in the eastern and southern U.S. for the past half-century.
Governor Scott Walker's Democratic opponent says she will not appear on stage with President Obama on Monday in Milwaukee. Right after Mary Burke's campaign said that, Republicans accused her of ducking her party's president due to his 45-percent approval rating in Wisconsin. Burke campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki said that's not it at all -- and she has invited Obama to appear with her sometime before the Nov. 4 election. Later, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said it was told by a Democratic National Committee official that Obama will indeed appear with Burke this fall. Burke said she's not a state or Milwaukee elected official, so it makes no sense for her to speak at the same occasion with the president. State Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate said he agreed. He said it was appropriate for Walker's opponent to appear with Obama the last time he spoke at Labor-Fest in 2010. That's because Democrat Tom Barrett was the mayor of Milwaukee, and still is. Both Burke and Obama are attending Milwaukee's Labor-Fest on Monday -- and the two plan a private meeting at that time.
The federal appeals court in Chicago has approved the public release of more documents connected with the John Doe probe into the state's recall elections. However, it was not known whether any of the documents included those put online for a few hours by mistake last Friday. Before anything's released, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said lawyers for all affected parties must review them to make sure nothing gets out that's supposed to be sealed. That includes documents that would reveal the identities of two undisclosed targets of the John Doe. The probe was halted in May, pending an appeal from state prosecutors. It looked into allegations that Governor Scott Walker worked with outside groups on a coordinated campaign for Walker and GOP senators in the recall contests in 2011-and-'12. Last week's brief release showed that Walker asked donors to give to the Wisconsin Club for Growth. The public didn't know until last week that Gogebic Taconite secretly gave $700,000 to the Club for Growth. Walker said he had nothing to do with that.
State government tax collections fell $281-million short of what was projected for the fiscal year ending June 30th. Those are preliminary figures released today by the Revenue Department. Officials said the number might change due to outstanding expenses and revenues. For now, tax revenues are two-percent short for the first half of the two-year state budget -- and it might require lawmakers to cut spending and-or raise revenues to balance the budget. Final numbers for the shortfall won't be known until mid-October. The current budget year projects a $724-million general fund surplus, so the state might not be in hot fiscal water just yet.
_________________________________Two UW-Madison graduate students will compete for a million-dollars in the upcoming season of "The Amazing Race" on CBS. Maya Warren and Amy DeJong call their team "The Sweet Scientists." They're among 11 teams-of-two that will be seen traveling 26-thousand miles through eight countries and 20 cities, with the goal of performing numerous tasks in the shortest amount of time. Warren and DeJong are both PHD candidates at Madison, conducting research in the food science lab. They hope to follow in the footsteps of Dave and Rachel Brown of Madison, who won "The Amazing Race" in 2012. This is the 25th season of the Emmy-winning reality show. One of the contestants is Bethany Hamilton -- who lost one of her arms in a shark attack while surfing.