Morning State News Briefs: BRF fugative extradition form Florida held upWisconsin News
-- It might be awhile before two prison escapees return to Wisconsin to face charges in a two-county crime spree.
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - It might be awhile before two prison escapees return to Wisconsin to face charges in a two-county crime spree.
Officials say James Newman and James Misleveck will complete two court cases in Florida first. And then they’ll be returned to Wisconsin to face charges in Jackson and Monroe counties. Both men agreed to waive extradition to Wisconsin during a court hearing today. But Kim Fontana of the Broward County State Attorney’s office says both will remain in custody there until their charges are settled – and then they’ll face charges in Tampa for allegedly beating a 71-year-old convenience store clerk during a hold-up. Authorities said the 29-year-old Newman and 18-year-old Misleveck were just weeks away from being released from the Wisconsin prison boot camp at Black River Falls when they walked out on July 17th. Authorities said they then stole four vehicles and a shotgun, kidnapped a casino worker, and led officers on a chase and a manhunt. The two then went to Florida where authorities said they attacked the gas station clerk before going to a casino in Hollywood, where police had to chase them down before they were finally arrested on July 25th.
A 75-year-old Milwaukee man now expects to plead insanity to killing a 13-year-old neighbor over some missing guns. In court this morning, defense attorney Franklyn Gimbel said a mental health expert examined Spooner and believes he’s suffering from a mental disease. Circuit Judge Jeffrey Wagner gave Gimbel until August 16th to give the results of the mental exam to prosecutors – and then they’ll decide whether to arrange their own exam for Spooner. According to authorities, Spooner thought that young Darius Simmons broke into his home and stole his guns in late May. Darius was taking out garbage on May 31st when he was shot-to-death. Judge Wagner said today he has no plans to withdraw from the case – even though the judge’s son is married to the defense lawyer’s daughter. Prosecutor Denis Stingl says he’ll consult with others in the District Attorney’s office before deciding whether to ask the judge to withdraw.
Wisconsin’s largest mortgage insurer continues to bleed red ink. MGIC of Milwaukee reported a loss of $274-million from April through June – and that was a higher loss than the $151-million at the same time a year ago. It was MGIC’s eighth quarterly loss in a row – and the firm’s been losing money for five straight years due to large amounts of insurance claims from lenders who’ve suffered losses from defaulted mortgages. MGIC raised a billion dollars in new capital two years ago. And at the company’s annual meeting in April, stockholders authorized the sale of more stock if it’s necessary. CEO Curt Culver called it a tool for the future – but he could not say when MGIC would make a profit again. For the first six months of the year, MGIC lost $293-million, up from $185-million in the first half of 2011.
A band of thunderstorms caused some damage overnight in Wisconsin’s mid-section. Winds hit 58-miles-an-hour near Appleton and 54 at Wisconsin Rapids. The National Weather Service said the Rapids area had several reports of wind damage. Scattered trees fell in Jackson and Portage counties. Neillsville picked up one-inch of rain, and some parts of surrounding Clark County had golf-ball-sized hail. Forecasters say a slow-moving front will produce more showers and thunderstorms today in central and southern Wisconsin. They’ll clear out tonight. And a dry day is expected tomorrow before another storm system moves in on Saturday.
Several people are under arrest for the shooting death of a 15-year-old boy in Green Bay. Police were told that a home in nearby Oneida might have been connected with the incident – and officers executed a search warrant there last night. Jeremy Teller was killed near his aunt’s house late Tuesday night. His father Joseph said an unknown man asked Jeremy if someone named Chris lived upstairs – and when Jeremy said yes, the man shot him twice in the back. He died a short time later at a Green Bay hospital. Nobody else was hurt in the incident. Jeremy Teller would have been a freshman this fall at Green Bay Preble High School. And as part of a Native American ritual, a fire is burning in his honor in the back yard of his grandmother’s house. Joseph Teller says it represents the boy’s journey into the spiritual world – and his loved ones will watch the fire to make sure it stays lit for four days.
Wisconsin cheese production rose in June, on the heels of a banner month for milk. Cheese factories in the Badger State pumped out 227-million pounds – one-point-nine percent more than the same month a year ago. That’s more than twice as much as the national increase of nine-tenths-of-one-percent. Wisconsin leads the nation in cheese production – and in June, it extended its lead over second-place California. The Golden State had a decline of point-eight-percent, to almost 183-and-a-half million pounds. Third-place Idaho also had a drop in its cheese output, while Number-four producer New York had a big jump of almost 11-and-a-half percent. Wisconsin’s increase came as the state’s milk production went up by a robust two-and-a-half percent from the year before. That was despite a June heat wave that reportedly sapped energy from a number of animals as the heat and the drought continued into July.
A company that makes medical devices plans to close a factory in Madison by the fall of 2014. Hologic Incorporated of Bedford, Massachusetts told state officials about the shutdown yesterday – the same day it completed a nearly four-billion-dollar acquisition of Gen-Probe. That company makes diagnostic tests. About 130 jobs would be eliminated in the closing of Hologic’s Madison plant. Layoffs are scheduled to begin at the end of September, and continue for another two years.
The number of private water wells contaminated by a gasoline pipeline spill in Washington County has risen to 16. Officials said a dozen of those wells have excessive levels of benzene, a chemical in the gasoline that leaked when the pipeline broke near Jackson on July 17th. Over 50,000 gallons were spilled. The line’s owner, the West Shore Pipeline Company, has taken a number of steps to help the affected residents. They’re currently putting in wells that will extract contaminated groundwater over 100-feet below the surface. The polluted water will be sent to a disposal or treatment site. More than 40 residents of the town of Jackson have been urged not to use their water except for flushing toilets. West Shore is giving each of those wells a special filtration unit that can remove gasoline contaminants. Over two dozen systems were installed by yesterday, and the rest could be in by the weekend. West Shore is paying for the units – and for hotel accommodations for people in the flush-only area who don’t wish to stay. Residents also continue to get bottled drinking water.
Two people have died in a motorcycle crash near Waupaca. Authorities said the bike blew a tire and lost control on the Highway 10 expressway around one o’clock yesterday afternoon. One person died at the scene, and the other died later at a Waupaca hospital. Neither victim was wearing a helmet. Their names were not immediately released.
The Powerball jackpot is up to $181-million for Saturday night, after nobody won the top prize last night. Nobody from Wisconsin won the second-or-third prizes, either. The most anybody from the Badger State won was $200. Three players bought the Power Play option and matched either four regular numbers, or three-plus-the-Powerball. Almost 13,500 Wisconsin players won smaller prizes. Last night’s numbers were 3, 16, 48, 56, and 58. The Powerball was four. The jackpot has been building since June 27th, and has rolled over 11 times. The cash option for Saturday is 123-million dollars. In Mega Millions, the jackpot for tomorrow night’s drawing stands at $13-million.