Morning State News Briefs: Two hospitalized in Madison after home explodedWisconsin News
-- Two brothers were hospitalized in critical condition at last word, while authorities try to find out why their house exploded in Madison.
Two brothers were hospitalized in critical condition at last word, while authorities try to find out why their house exploded in Madison.
Brian and Dillon Hansen, both in their 20’s, were taken to UW Hospital. The blast happened early yesterday morning on Madison’s west side. It knocked the home off its foundation, and it blew out the front door. Debris was scattered in every direction, as structural cracks accumulated in the ceiling and inside walls. Officials said the explosion also caused some small fires in the Hansens’ basement. Their parents were also in the house, but they escaped serious injury. Madison Gas-and-Electric checked the neighborhood for leaks – and they didn’t find any.
The Wisconsin State Senate will meet briefly today, so Republicans can hand over control to the Democrats – for a few months, if not longer. The Democrats now have a 17-16 majority, after Racine Republican Van Wanggaard was recalled last month. His replacement, John Lehman, was sworn in yesterday after a recount confirmed that he won his June fifth election. For now, Madison Democrat Fred Risser will become the Senate’s president. And Milwaukee’s Tim Carpenter will be the president pro tem. Not much is on the Legislature’s agenda until after November, when half the Senate’s 33 seats are up for election. Democrats hope to build momentum by then, to try and keep control of the upper house. But it won’t be easy, because Republicans used their control this past session to draw new Assembly and Senate districts loaded with more traditional GOP voters.
The only Democratic candidate for Wisconsin’s open U.S. Senate seat has raised more campaign money than her four Republican challengers combined. Madison Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin raised $2.2 million dollars from April-through-June in her bid to replace the retiring Herb Kohl in November. Former Governor Tommy Thompson has raised the most among the four Republicans who will square off in a primary four weeks from today. Thompson brought in almost $834,000 in the last quarter, and former Congressman Mark Neumann took in $733,000. Hedge fund manager Eric Hovde raised $237,000. But he has spent an estimated three-million dollars of his own money on TV ads over the last few months to get himself known. State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald took in $41,000 dollars, and he’s the only one who has not run a TV ad yet. Thompson has spent about $32,000 of his own money this year. The Neumann camp says their man has not spent any of his own cash. But Neumann has been helped by the national conservative Club-for-Growth, which recently spent $700,000 on ads that attacked both Thompson and Hovde. UW-La Crosse professor Joe Heim says the Republican fund-raising has been relatively low so far. He says it appears that the recall effort against Governor Scott Walker quote, “tapped out a lot of traditional Republican sources.”
A Fond du Lac County priest and school official has been put on administrative leave, after allegations surfaced that he molested a child in Montana over 25 years ago. The Capuchin Province of Saint Joseph said yesterday that the Reverend Dennis Druggan has been suspended, while the church arranges for its own independent investigation. The case involved a minor at Saint Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana. There have been no accusations of improper activity in Wisconsin. A statute-of-limitations has expired in Montana, so there will not be criminal charges. Druggan has been the president of Saint Lawrence Seminary High School at Mount Calvary in Fond du Lac County since 1997. He has worked at the school since 1992. It offers a college prep program for about 200 male students from around the world. For now, Father John Holly will be the school’s acting rector. Academic dean David Bartel will be the acting principal.
Wisconsin’s largest farm show begins today near New London. The 59th annual Wisconsin Farm Technology Days will run through Thursday at the Sugar Creek and Heideman Farms in Outagamie County. The show features the latest in agricultural equipment and practices. It includes numerous demonstrations, workshops, a tractor safety contest, and more. The state’s Alice in Dairyland, Rochelle Ripp, will be among a host of speakers at a family living tent – and Packers’ legend Leroy Butler will sign autographs there today. A tent city features more than 600 commercial and educational exhibitors. Around 60,000 people visited the show last year, when it was held near Marshfield in Marathon County. The forecast calls for a high of 88-to-93 at New London today, with partly sunny skies and a chance of afternoon rain. Organizers say they’ll have plenty of free water and misting areas for folks to deal with the heat. The tents should help, too, and officials urge visitors to dress accordingly.
A Milwaukee man will spend seven-and-a-half years in prison for killing a woman in 1984, after another man was convicted of the same crime and was later exonerated. Robert Stinson served 23 years for the beating-and-raping of his former neighbor, Ione Cychosz. But the Wisconsin Innocence Project at UW-Madison dug up DNA evidence in 2009 which showed that Moses Price actually committed the murder. Stinson was freed, and Price confessed in 2010. It took prosecutors almost two years to file charges against Price, and he pleaded guilty in June to second degree murder. He’s been doing time for another murder from 1991 – and he was due to be released in 2017. His new sentence adds seven-and-a-half years – and Circuit Judge Richard Sankowitz said it was appropriate, given the circumstances. Prosecutor Mark Williams said Price is a much better person now than he was in his 20’s, when he was abusing drugs. He has completed training for welding and plumbing while behind bars.
The first person to be convicted in the John Doe probe into Scott Walker’s ex-Milwaukee County aides is scheduled to be sentenced this afternoon. 61-year-old Darlene Wink pleaded guilty in February to a pair of misdemeanor misconduct charges. She was supposed to be sentenced in May, but a judge gave prosecutors an extension. Wink struck a plea deal with prosecutors that required her to cooperate in other parts of the John Doe probe. In exchange, the district attorney’s office said it would not recommend prison time. Wink admitted doing campaign work for Walker’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010 while she was working on Milwaukee County time. Five other aides and associates have also been charged in the John Doe probe, which is continuing. Walker has not been charged, and he does not expect to be.
Milwaukee Police have said little about a pair of murders since six o’clock last evening. Both took place on the city’s north side. The first slaying was reported just after six p.m., and the second happened around 12:05 this morning. That was one was listed as a shooting. Police have not released other details.
The victim of a boating accident on the Bay of Green Bay last weekend has been identified as 64-year-old Thomas Herlache of Oneida. Authorities said his 17-foot boat took on water, and he fell in the bay and went under. It happened late Friday – and his body was later found about two miles from a county park’s boat landing. Officials do not believe the death was suspicious.