WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Weather Service predicts Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers could go over their banks the next few days
The Mississippi and Saint Croix rivers could go over their banks during the next few days on much of Wisconsin's western border. The National Weather Service said the two rivers had not reached their flood stages by late this morning -- but they were within a couple-feet at most places. Minor flooding is projected, as the rivers handle heavy rains from this week. Three other rivers in Wisconsin have similar flood warnings -- the Trempealeau River at Dodge, the Baraboo River in Baraboo, and the Fox River at New Munster in Kenosha County. Wisconsin had its first tornadoes of the year on Monday and Tuesday, along with damage from several rounds of heavy thunderstorms. The Weather Service said isolated storms could be severe through early this evening in west central Wisconsin. Forecasters also say there's a chance for severe weather in far northwest Wisconsin on Sunday. Most parts of the state have at least a chance of thunderstorms in their forecasts at least through next Wednesday. No severe weather is predicted for southern Wisconsin, which had millions of dollars worth of damage in the Platteville, Madison, and Verona areas early in the week.
Minnesota has made a new offer to Wisconsin, to try and restore income tax reciprocity between the two neighbors. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune says the amount Wisconsin pays each year to equalize the tax effects would be reduced by a million dollars, if the Badger State approves the new agreement by September 30th. Reciprocity allows Wisconsinites who work in Minnesota -- and vice versa -- to file one state income tax return in their home state, instead of filing separate returns to both states. About 80-thousand residents of both states have been in that pickle since 2009, when former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty cut off the 40-year-old agreement because Wisconsin was not paying its share. Minnesota says the Badger State must pay about 92-million dollars a year to equalize the tax figures, since many more Wisconsinites work in the Gopher State than the other way around. Wisconsin officials have said the amount should be four-to-six-million dollars less.
Kewaskum School Superintendent Jim Smasal says the community is "in a bit of shock," after a pair of 16-year-old high school students died in a car crash. Senior Travis Trapp and junior Brent Schultz were killed Wednesday morning. The State Patrol said their car crossed a center on a county road, and ran into an oncoming Washington County sheriff's car. Deputy Jesse Williams was treated for minor injuries. Counselors were available at Kewaskum High yesterday, and they're back today. Summer school continued as scheduled yesterday. Smasal said it was important, because people need a place where they can ask questions -- or just share what's on their minds.
U-W Platteville chancellor Dennis Shields promises that his campus will be ready for students by the time fall classes roll around in August. A half-dozen structures and Memorial Park were damaged when one of two tornadoes hit Platteville late Monday night. Damage estimates are still being tallied. For now, the affected structures on the southwest side of campus have been fenced in for security. Chancellor Shields said the recovery process would take time, but he assures that U-W-P will be ready to serve all its students by this fall. Things like student registration started up yesterday, after all campus activities were shut down for two days.
Janesville Police now say they have several pieces of evidence that link a 28-year-old man to the beating death of his 21-year-old girlfriend. Authorities first said that Clayton Courtney's pants had blood matching the D-N-A of Britney Cross. Today, the Janesville Gazette said police also had several items of Courtney's which links him to the slaying -- including a baseball, a T-shirt, and a pocket-sized Bible. Cross was found dead May fifth along a downtown riverbank in Janesville. That was a day after Courtney was arrested for the non-fatal stabbing of his roommate, Michael Clark. During that incident, police said Courtney claimed to have killed three people that night. So far, investigators have only found evidence of one such killing -- that of Courtney's girlfriend. He awaits a Rock County trial on six charges in the stabbing incident, including attempted homicide.
Milwaukee's police chief said a man who grazed an officer during a shoot-out was wanted for questioning for a murder two days earlier. Officers called the suspect a "person of interest" in the killing of 34-year-old Bryson Brown on Tuesday at a Milwaukee gas station. Yesterday, Police Chief Ed Flynn said detectives saw the suspect's vehicle and pulled it over -- and one of the people inside got out and started shooting. The officer was not seriously hurt, and managed to return fire along with another detective. Officials said the shooter then tried running away -- and he dropped his gun at a home's front yard before he was taken in.
A state appeals court says no to a new trial for a man convicted of killing his mother on a fishing trip in the Fox Valley. Thirty-seven year old Randal Rosenthal Junior of Brillion is serving a life prison term for shooting Kathleen Remter in July of 2011. Rosenthal claimed that Remter's lover actually killed her, but the judge at his trial would not let him introduce that evidence. The Third District Appeals Court in Wausau said there was no prior indication that the victim's boyfriend killed her. Also, the defendant claimed he was sleeping when Remter was shot -- but the appellate court said no witnesses could corroborate that. Remter's body was later found in the Fox River near Kaukauna. Prosecutors said her son wanted to collect on her 586-thousand dollar life insurance policy. Under his prison term, Rosenthal will first be eligible for a supervised release in 2061, when he's 84.
A 29-year-old man is under arrest for allegedly killing a man and wounding another with a Samurai sword in an apartment above a tavern in Watertown. Police said it happened late yesterday afternoon. A 27-year-old man suffered multiple stab wounds and died later at a Watertown hospital. A 24-year-old was treated at the hospital and later released with a hand injury -- and he was the one who called 9-1-1. Police confronted the suspect in a stairwell leading to the building's second floor -- and the alleged attacker refused to surrender at first. A police tactical team was then called, along with a police negotiator who convinced the man to give up. He was booked into the Jefferson County Jail on possible charges of first-degree intentional homicide and reckless injury. No names were released as of mid-morning.
Wisconsinites are less likely than other Americans to work for a foreign-owned outfit. That's according to the Brookings Institution, which says about three-point-seven percent of workers in the Badger State are employed by foreign-owned establishments. That's not even half of the percentage in New York State, where eight-and-a-half percent of employees work for foreign-owned firms. Brookings gathered the data to get a handle on how much direct foreign investment is taking place in the U-S. The study is part of the Brookings' Global Cities Initiative, which is jointly run by the institute and J-P Morgan Chase.
A memorial service will be held today in Pewaukee for a former state official who helped create the automated teller machine network as we now know it. Frederic "Fritz" Ruf suffered a stroke a few weeks ago, but officials said he died from natural causes last Friday while watching the moon rise at his Pewaukee home. He was 77. Ruf turned down a job offer as an attorney because he could make more money in Chicago's banking industry. He moved to Wisconsin in 1969 to become a vice president at the former M-and-I Bank, now B-M-O Harris. While there, he created a consortium of banks which made remote A-T-M's a unified network. That resulted in the formation of the TYME (time) Corporation, of which Ruf served as president. He served two stints in state government under former Governor Tommy Thompson in the 1990's -- first as a deputy secretary of the former Department of Development, and later as head of the state's Housing and Economic Development agency. Later, Ruf served on the Pewaukee City Council and the Waukesha County Board -- which he left just two months ago.
Want police to arrest the guys who robbed you? There's an app for that. Milwaukee Police used the "Find My I-Phone" app on a man's stolen cell phone to track the two suspects who robbed him. A 31-year-old man was just leaving his car when a man pointed a gun and demanded the car and everything else he had. He called police, who tapped into his cell phone app and traced the phone to a north side parking lot around four a-m yesterday -- almost a half-hour after the holdup occurred. Two teens, ages 16 and 17, were arrested after a short chase -- and they had the victim's cell phone. Earlier this year, Milwaukee Police used the same I-Phone app to find a man who allegedly held his ex-girlfriend at gunpoint. Last September, Apple added a "kill switch" that prevents thieves from using stolen cell phones once they're remotely activated. Apple added the "kill switch" last fall, and Google and Microsoft plan to do the same on the next versions of their smart-phone systems.