WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Traditional Thanksgiving Day in store for many Wisconsinites
Wisconsinites will observe Thanksgiving today by going deer hunting, watching a Packer game, and sitting down for dinner with their families.
However, tonight, there will be a new element to the holiday. Stores and malls get an early jump on Black Friday by opening around 8 p.m and staying open all night. The pros-and-cons of the holiday shopping hours have been heavily debated. But security is one issue that's been under most people's radar. Brian Donow, a security expert at Waukesha County Technical College, says more people might be hitting stores after having alcohol at their Thanksgiving celebrations -- and it's a new concern that store-owners might have to deal with. Also, with shops open all night, Donow says there are added concerns about crime. He says he doesn't want to discourage anyone from shopping -- but they'll be safer if they go in groups of at least two, park in well-lighted areas, and make sure nothing of value can be seen through their car windows. At the Mayfair Mall near Milwaukee, general manager Steve Smith says its weekend admission policy will take effect at 12:01 tomorrow morning. It requires those 17-and-younger to be with supervising adults 21-and-older. Smith says security has not been an issue at Mayfair on Black Friday, and he hopes that continues.
A second deer hunter has died in Wisconsin's current gun season. Marathon County sheriff's deputies said yesterday that 47-year-old Richard Lepak was hunting alone on his property northwest of Wausau, when he apparently collapsed due to natural causes. A neighbor found Lepak dead near his tree stand on Tuesday evening in the town of Hamburg. Officials said he might have just shot a deer when he went unconscious. Hollywood actor and Tomahawk native Jay Leggett collapsed and died last Saturday while returning to his hunting cabin. There have been no reports of any hunters being shot to death so far. The nine-day deer season runs through Sunday.
An Ohio man has died in a farm accident in northwest Wisconsin. Barron County sheriff's deputies said 62-year-old John Easterly was trying to unload bales of hay at a farm near Barron on Tuesday, when one of the large bales fell on him. Easterly, who was from Wooster Ohio, died later at a hospital.
An 18-month-old girl was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Milwaukee's south side. Police said the toddler was in the arms of her 21-year-old mother when they were crossing Sixth Street late yesterday afternoon -- and they were hit by a rental truck turning south onto Sixth. The driver kept going, until officers stopped the truck almost 20 blocks away. A 26-year-old Milwaukee man was taken into custody. The girl's mother was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
A two-year-old girl who died in a northeast Wisconsin house fire has been identified as Lee Ann Arendt of Amberg in Marinette County. The blaze occurred on Tuesday afternoon. Sheriff's deputies and the state Fire Marshal's office are still trying to determine what started it. Officials said Lee Ann's mother and two of her sisters got out safely.
The president of the company that's pursuing a new iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin may be tied to alleged environmental violations at a mine in Spain. Bill Williams of Gogebic Taconite was previously a manager of Cobre Las Cruces, an open pit mine in Spain that's accused of breaking laws in the handling of the mine's groundwater. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said the Seville Justice Ministry in Spain rejected an appeal this month from the mine's owners -- and its managers now face criminal charges for allegedly exposing local groundwater to high levels of arsenic. Williams told the Journal Sentinel he has not been contacted by authorities in Spain, or by the company that employed him -- which has since been taken over by a Canadian firm. He said the mine built a treatment system to clean the groundwater before pumping it out, and returning it to an aquifer. He said he was aware of the legal issue while he worked in Spain, but he had not been keeping up with the matter since then.
A former deacon at a church in Madison will spend two-and-a-half years in prison for offering money to a 17-year-old girl to have sex with him. 55-year-old Dannie Carter must also spend three years under extended supervision after his prison term. He continues to maintain his innocence. In May, a jury found Carter guilty of soliciting a child for prostitution and disorderly conduct. He was found innocent on a third count of child enticement. Prosecutors said he went to a home in Sun Prairie early last year and told the girl -- who was a church member -- that he'd pay her if she performed a sex act on him. Officials said the girl locked herself in a bathroom and called her aunt, who called 911. Carter was a deacon a Christ-the-Solid Rock Baptist Church.
The light snowfall in Wisconsin this week helped Rhinelander Police catch an alleged burglar. On Tuesday, an officer heard an alarm at the Verizon Wireless store and found a broken window with a man standing inside. The officer ordered the man to stop, but officials said he ran out the back door. Police said the officer simply followed the man's footprints in the snow, and traced 34-year-old Siphahn Phongsavath of Cudahy to a cemetery where he gave up. An Oneida County circuit judge ordered a 125-thousand-dollar bond on five criminal charges -- burglary, theft, criminal, possessing burglar tools, and resisting an officer. Phongsavath is due back in court December 16th. He has a high bond despite not having a long criminal rap sheet. Online court records show a number of civil judgments. Phongsavath has only three misdemeanor criminal convictions in Wisconsin between 1996-and-2000.