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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Man gets 145 years prison for molesting six children and making videos of the assaults

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A judge in Racine sentenced a man to 145 years in prison for molesting six children and making videos of the assaults. 30-year-old Alexander Richter smirked-and-smiled as Circuit Judge Timothy Boyle admonished him, and said the prosecution's recommendation for 80 years in prison was not long enough. Richter did apologize, saying his words could do nothing to undo the damage he caused to his victims -- boys and girls ages 2-to-12. Boyle said the depravity of the crimes deserved a longer sentence than what the state proposed. Richter struck a plea deal, and was convicted on four related child sex assault charges. Forty-five other counts were dropped. Richter called one of his videos "Monster Unleashed." Authorities said he volunteered to baby-sit children of his fellow classmates at Gateway Technical College. When he had sex with the youngsters on camera, the kids begged him to stop. Police seized almost 200 pornographic photos and 23 videos from his apartment.

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Former Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls says he'll never leave his house unlocked again after a thief broke in and his son -- a new deputy -- caught him red-handed. Charges are expected as early as today against a 45-year-old Beaver Dam man. Nehls said the suspect entered through an open door in the garage on Wednesday, and claimed he was there to install a surround-sound music system. Nehls' son Taylor was off-duty when he stopped at his dad's house in Fox Lake and caught the man inside. If that didn't happen, the former sheriff said the crime might not have been noticed right away. Nehls said it's common for daytime burglars to take only small amounts of things in their first visits, when they know that nobody would be home and the thefts may not be noticed. They could return days or weeks later to steal some more. Nehls says you should take it seriously if you have an "eerie feeling" that someone's been in your house. Ironically, he said a tenant of one of his rental properties in Fox Lake was also burglarized, a couple hours before his house was hit. The former sheriff said it appears to be a coincidence, but he'll be anxious to hear the details of the investigation.

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A west central Wisconsin man has been ordered to stand trial for allegedly killing a woman who lived with him. 37-year-old Michael Harmon of Black River Falls is charged in Jackson County with first-degree intentional homicide as a repeat offender. He's accused of shooting 34-year-old Angela Harmon, who was found dead in the bathtub of their apartment on June ninth. Yesterday, a judge ruled that there was enough evidence to order a trial. Harmon told police that Angela took his gun from him, and waved it in his face. He said a struggle then took place, when the gun went off and she died. A medical examiner said there's no way Angela Harmon was shot at close range, based on the area of the bullet wound. Authorities said Michael Harmon left the area after the shooting, and was later arrested in Milwaukee. He's scheduled to enter a plea at his next court appearance. A date for that has not been set. Harmon remains jailed under a half-million-dollar bond.

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Two air quality engineers will help the state D-N-R enforce environmental laws for frac-sand mines. Tanner Connors is working out of the agency's office in Eau Claire. He's keeping an eye on silica-sand mining concerns in Eau Claire, Jackson, Clark, and Wood counties. Frederick Smith is headquartered in La Crosse, handling concerns in Crawford, Juneau, and Monroe counties. Both engineers also have parts of Trempealeau County in their territories. They started their new jobs earlier this month.

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Ceremonies will be held tomorrow at nine places in Wisconsin, where wreaths will be laid at the graves of those who died while serving their country. It's part of a program called "Wreaths Across America." It started 11 years ago when a company in Maine had wreaths left over after the holidays -- and its owner wanted to place them on graves at Arlington National Cemetery as an additional way to honor our fallen troops. By 2008, every state had at least one wreath-laying ceremony. Tomorrow, the cemetery at the State Veterans' Home in Waupaca County will have one of Wisconsin's largest events. Jim Campbell of the American Legion Riders' group said over 12-hundred wreaths will be laid at King tomorrow -- and their goal is to have a wreath for all of the nearly seven-thousand veterans buried there. The Wisconsin Korean War Memorial at Plover will also have a ceremony at the same time tomorrow. So will state-and-local cemeteries at Madison, Milwaukee, Union Grove, Spooner, La Crosse, Saukville, and Barneveld.

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Parts of eastern Wisconsin could get a half-foot of new snow from this evening through tomorrow. The National Weather Service says a low-pressure system to the southeast will bring lake-effect snow to about the eastern-fifth of the state. Those folks will be under lake-effect snow watches or advisories. Kewaunee and Manitowoc counties, next to Lake Michigan, can expect 2-to-6 inches. The Milwaukee area might get up to five-inches. Most other parts of Wisconsin could get one-inch or less from this system. This is the warmest morning of the week in most of the state. Temperatures at five a-m were generally in the teens throughout Wisconsin, except in the far north where it's in the single-digits above zero. Winds are light to non-existent, so wind chills are generally not a problem. As the snow leaves tomorrow, colder temperatures are due in -- but warmer conditions are predicted for Sunday night and into next week, along with more chances of light snow.

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Almost 300 students in Rhinelander are getting a three-day weekend, after about 30-percent of them came down with illnesses. Some staff members at Pelican Elementary are also sick, so officials decided to close the school until Monday. A variety of illnesses are being reported. The two main ones are gastro-intestinal, and upper respiratory conditions with fevers. The Oneida County Health Department recommended that Pelican be closed today. They said parents should keep sick children at home until at least 48 hours after their symptoms go away. 

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Eastbound boaters say there's a problem with the new decorative lighting on the Blatnik Bridge that connects Superior Wisconsin and Duluth Minnesota. The Gopher State's transportation department has turned off the lights for several days, to find out why the mariners complained of glare. D-O-T engineers and the lighting contractor will re-aim some of the lighting fixtures, so they don't interfere with marine traffic. Navigational and roadway lights will stay on as usual. Both states shared the initial cost of the decorative lighting, around one-point-two million dollars. Wisconsin questioned the need for the lights at first. But the state later agreed to pay its share at the request of Duluth-Superior residents and officials. They said a lit-up Blatnik Bridge is an historic icon, and a sign of unity between the two cities.

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