WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Legislator will not reimburse taxpayer after driving to and from Madison with a suspendend license
A state legislator says she will not reimburse Wisconsin taxpayers who covered her costs while she was driving to and from Madison with a suspended license. Assembly Democrat Christine Sinicki of Milwaukee said she was not aware at the time that she was driving illegally during part of the current legislative session. She said she won't return her travel reimbursement, because the Assembly's rules don't require it. According to the conservative Media Trackers, Sinicki was stopped in October for her fourth offense of driving under a suspended license. She did not appear in court, and she was fined 200-dollars under a default judgment. Reports said Sinicki never paid the fine until she realized her mistake two weeks later. Her license was reinstated after she paid it. Lawmakers are entitled to get reimbursed for one round trip each week from their home districts to the Capitol. They get 51-cents a mile. Sinicki filed for 49 trips last year, in which she got paid over four-thousand dollars.
Milwaukee Police said two teenagers were shot and killed by a maintenance man whom the teens were assaulting with a baseball bat. It happened early yesterday afternoon in a stairwell at a west side apartment building. Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said the two teens and a 21-year-old man got into an argument with the 39-year-old maintenance man. That led to a physical altercation, in which the maintenance man was being held while one of the three beat him with the baseball bat. The man then pulled a gun and killed a 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl. The 21-year-old survivor was arrested. The maintenance man was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Flynn said the two teenagers killed did not live in the building, but they knew people who lived there. He said there was no indication that a robbery was taking place.
The end of winter is creating a mess at the Marathon County sheriff's office in Wausau. A drain froze on the roof -- where water from the melting snow backed up and leaked into the basement of the jail. That's where the sheriff's department has several storage rooms and offices. Investigators said the water damage did not hurt any evidence they had collected. The drain has been thawed out and repaired. A contractor has been removing the water inside, and drying out walls and carpeting that were soaked.
John Doe investigators have asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit which seeks to halt a secret Doe probe into Wisconsin's recall elections -- and to punish those who filed the suit. The probe is secretly gathering evidence on alleged illegal campaign coordination between conservative groups and Republican candidates in the 2011-and-'12 recall elections. That includes the failed recall attempt against Governor Scott Walker. Prosecutors and investigator Dean Nickel were sued last month by the Wisconsin Club for Growth. The group said the probe violates its constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection. The defendants in that suit have asked Milwaukee Federal Judge Rudolph Randa to throw it out. As prosecutors, Francis Schmitz and Milwaukee D-A John Chisholm said they're immune from such lawsuits. Also, Nickel's lawyer said the plaintiffs should be sanctioned -- because they should know that federal judges are generally barred from stopping state attempts at criminal prosecution. Also, the Journal Sentinel says State Farm Insurance has gotten involved. It wants the judge to decide whether it should have to pay some of prosecutor Bruce Landgraf's legal bills under his personal homeowner's and liability policies. The state normally picks up prosecutors' legal bills, and it's not clear why Landgraf wants his personal insurance to cover some of it. Landgraf would not elaborate.
A gunman who busted into a house in Eau Claire and held five people hostage was arrested after a seven-hour stand-off. Police said they convinced the gunman to release two adults and three children one at a time. They later arrested the 31-year-old man around eight last evening. Authorities said the man fled from a gas station to the west in Dunn County without paying for his fuel. An Eau Claire police officer later spotted the vehicle, and it sped away. Officials said the suspect fled on foot, and broke into the house where the hostages were taken. Police told nearby businesses to lock themselves down. W-Q-O-W T-V said the suspect has a long criminal record, including armed robberies.
Yes, it's getting warmer -- but there's still a massive amount of snow on the ground. La Crosse has had at least ten inches of snow cover for 58 straight days and counting. The National Weather Service says it's the third-longest streak on record. If it continues through Sunday, La Crosse will have broken its all-time mark of 60 consecutive days with at least ten inches of snow on the ground. That came in 1929, and again from December of '68 through late February of '69. Meanwhile, you can expect at least a little more snow to disappear over the next two days. Forecasters call for highs near 40 today, and in the 40's tomorrow, with light snow possible both days. A major cool-down is expected for the weekend, with highs only in the 20's and lows below-zero in the north once again.
A new lawsuit said the D-N-R acted illegally, by not ordering Gogebic Taconite to get a storm-water permit for an exploratory dig last month at its proposed iron ore mining site. Four mining opponents from the Bad River Indian tribe are among a group of residents who filed suit in Iron County this week. They want a judge to make the D-N-R order the permit, and for Gogebic Taconite to clean up any environmental damage from the excavations in conducted. The company had applied for a storm-water permit in December for its plan to test 24-hundred tons of rock from three sites on its property near Mellen. Last month, the company changed its plans, saying it wanted to dig now, while the ground is still frozen -- and a proposed access road would no longer be needed. The D-N-R said a permit would not be required under those circumstances. An official said the excavation began February 17th and ended 10 days later. Gogebic is now doing reclamation work, covering the topsoil it disturbed. Former Midwest Environmental Advocates' attorney Dennis Grzezinski is representing the plaintiffs. He says the group wants the D-N-R to impose safeguards to avoid damage at the site once the snow melts. The state Justice Department, which is defending the lawsuit, has not commented.