Morning State News Briefs: Oconto County authorities believe church fire may be due to arsonWisconsin News
-- Authorities believe a church fire near Coleman in northeast Wisconsin was set on purpose.
COLEMAN - Authorities believe a church fire near Coleman in northeast Wisconsin was set on purpose.
It occurred March 19th at the Klondike Community Church in Oconto County. The worship area was heavily damaged, but the dollar-amount of the loss is still not known. An initial investigation by federal, state, and local authorities showed that the fire was not an accident. The Brazeau Fire Department responded. No one was hurt in battling the blaze, and nobody was in the church at the time. Oconto County sheriff’s deputies said a small, dark-colored car was in the church parking lot just before the fire was discovered. They’re looking for information about that vehicle, and other details about the fire.
A sign put up by grieving parents that warned of the consequences of drunk driving has been found in a ditch, after it was ripped off a tree near Madison. Fred and Sue Dohm attached the sign to the tree earlier this month. It had their son Davi’s picture on it, and the sign said he was quote, “Killed by drunk driver, April 15th, 2011 – Don’t drink and drive.” The sign was posted April fifth, and it was stolen a couple days later. Dane County sheriff’s deputies said it was found about a mile away in a ditch. Officers returned the sign today, and the Dohms planned to post it again. Their son was a passenger in an SUV that slammed into a tree almost a year ago. The driver, 36-year-old Chad Spurley of Verona, will be sentenced on April 30th. He was convicted in late February of homicide by drunk driving.
A jury in Madison could decide today whether a man is guilty of stalking, for posting altered pictures and comments about a prosecutor who helped convict him of child abuse. 54-year-old Michel Moller faces a felony conviction and possible prison time. His trial began yesterday in Dane County Circuit Court. Former Assistant District Attorney Karie Cattanach testified that Moller’s Internet blogs crossed the line when a picture of her daughter appeared with a blood-shot eye that made it look like she was abused. She also said Moller posted Cattanach’s address and photos of her house – which she tried to keep private due to her job as a prosecutor. She said Moller also gained access to her private Facebook page by getting two of her cousins to become his friends on the site. But his attorney, Aaron Nelson, said Cattanach’s address is listed several places online – he never made direct threats – and there’s no evidence that he tried to get in contact with her after his conviction. But special prosecutor Jon Neuleib of Milwaukee said Muller’s blog postings were enough to paint a picture and quote, “The power of the threat is that you don’t have to carry it out.”
Two men have been charged with providing the heroin that killed a man in Waukesha County. 25-year-old Coleon Gallion of Milwaukee and 25-year-old Brandon Ward of Waukesha both face reckless homicide counts in the death of 26-year-old Justin Schulthess. Prosecutors said Ward bought the heroin from Gallion in Milwaukee. An arrest warrant was issued yesterday for Gallion which carries a bond of 75-thousand dollars. Ward was due in court today in Waukesha for a preliminary on other drug charges filed just over a month ago. Those charges are for delivering cocaine, manufacturing drugs, and bail jumping.
Home sales in Metro Milwaukee jumped by 23-percent in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same time in 2011. The area’s Multiple Listing Service said real estate agents sold 2,861 homes from January-through-March in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington counties. That’s up from 2,328 home sales in the first quarter of 2011. Mike Ruzicka of the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors said there’s a firm pattern of recovery. He said jobless rates have fallen, and it’s creating more consumer confidence – which he called the missing link in the housing industry since the Great Recession. Ruzicka said the market could not function properly due to the lack of consumer confidence – even as home inventories rose and prices fell. Home prices are down in some parts of southeast Wisconsin, and experts say it’s due mainly to large discounts for foreclosed and distressed properties.