Afternoon State News Briefs: Arrests nearly spark confrontation with crowd in heavily patrolled part of MadisonWisconsin News
-- When a 23 year old Sun Prairie man was arrested early Sunday morning, Madison police say a crowd which had gathered started yelling at police.
MADISON - When a 23 year old Sun Prairie man was arrested early Sunday morning, Madison police say a crowd which had gathered started yelling at police.
Taron Randle was arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting and obstructing and possession of marijuana. As Randle was getting to fight, an officer interceded. The office was working the area as part of a downtown safety initiative in a part of Madison which has seen several assaults and shootings. Police say Randle shouted gang slogans and tried to start a fight while threatening to injure the officers. No injuries were reported and the crowd didn’t engage officers on the scene. The incident happened at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the 400 block of North Frances Street, near the University of Wisconsin campus.
A second police officer has been put on paid administrative leave following a weekend shooting incident in the Madison area. A Town of Madison officer has joined a patrolman from nearby Fitchburg on leave, while officials try to determine what happened. A man who allegedly pointed a gun was shot by officers around midnight on Sunday at a corner in the Town of Madison, just south of the city of Madison. The officers responded to reports that a man was threatening motorists with a gun, and he might have been trying to rob them. When officers got there, the suspect ran off to a nightclub where the suspect apparently beat somebody up. After being confronted again, officials said the man returned to the original intersection where he pulled his gun – and a number of officers fired shots. Media reports did not indicate whether the suspect shot first. Local police continue to investigate the robbery attempts, while the state Justice Department looks into the officers’ shootings.
President Obama’s top health care adviser says Republican U.S. Senate nominee Tommy Thompson indeed supported the Obama version of health reform before he opposed it. Nancy Ann DeParle spoke with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel today at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Thompson has long insisted that he opposed the health reform package after Obama and congressional Democrats made their final changes to it. But DeParle said today that Thompson was quote, “very helpful” in getting the Obama version implemented – even though he did not agree with every point in the law. DeParle said Thompson actually expressed his support for so-called “Obama-care” during a meeting she attended two years with Thompson, former Senate Democrat Tom Daschle, and Obama’s health secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Also there was Mark McClellan, who ran Medicare-and-Medicaid when Thompson was the nation’s health secretary under George W. Bush. Thompson is running against Democrat Tammy Baldwin for the Senate seat to be given up by Democrat Herb Kohl. Baldwin has made a huge of Thompson’s stances on health reform. Today, Thompson spokesman Brian Nemoir immediately denied DeParle’s assertions. And he said the Democrats are simply trying to hide Baldwin’s previous support of a full government takeover of health care.
A Milwaukee man convicted of killing the owner of a scrap yard maintained his innocence this afternoon as he was being sent to prison for at least 40 years. 20-year-old David Byrd was given a life term for first-degree intentional homicide. But Circuit Judge David Borowski gave Byrd his first chance for a supervised release in 2052, depending on how he behaves behind bars. A jury found Byrd guilty of shooting 41-year-old Shawn Jenkins last October 27th at Midtown Auto-and-Metal Recycling on Milwaukee’s northwest side. An employee discovered the owner’s body at the plant that morning. Byrd’s 21-year-old uncle Derrick pleaded guilty in May to a reduced charge of second-degree homicide, after he agreed to testify against his nephew at David Byrd’s trial. Prosecutors say they’ll ask a judge for an 8-to-10-year prison sentence when Derrick is sentenced in October. A third defendant, 23-year-old Jimmy Williams, has a felony murder charge pending. Prosecutors said the three targeted Jenkins because they thought he kept two-thousand-dollars at his business. Police said Jenkins was confronted as he locked his business – but he ran back inside, insisting he was not going to be robbed. Officials said David Byrd chased Jenkins and shot him in the leg and the back-of-the-head.
A 76-year-old Sheboygan woman accused of killing her baby daughter in 1957 will have her trial pushed back, to see if she’s mentally able to help with her defense. A judge granted a defense request today to give Ruby Klokow a mental competency exam. District Attorney Joe DeCecco said Klokow’s memory is not a concern. He said the defense mainly concerned about her ability to focus on specific questions in the courtroom. She was charged with second-degree murder. That was after her son James went to police in 2008, and complained about extensive child abuse her mother had allegedly committed when he was growing up. Klokow is charged in the death of seven-month-old Jeaneen Klokow 55 years ago. A Monday trial date was scrapped. The trial will be re-scheduled once the results of the competency exam are reviewed.
The chairman of a new mining committee in the Wisconsin state Senate says he wants this month’s public hearings to be part of an effort to start from scratch on mining legislation. Janesville Democrat Tim Cullen has scheduled the Capitol meetings September 18th, 20th and 25th. Cullen says it’s also important to address a significant point he believes was ignored last legislative session – the fact that several entities have a role in the granting of a mining permit. The chairman says the effort to speed up passage of a mining bill last session was pushed hard by Republican lawmakers. He says the other entities involved weren’t discussed as the measure moved through the process. If Republicans regain control of the Senate in November’s general election, this month’s discussions would likely have no impact on the future of plans for an open-pit iron ore mine in Iron and Ashland counties.
People were buying a lot of cars last month in south-central Wisconsin. Reg-Trak of Waterloo reports August sales for the nine-county region increased more than 23 percent when compared to the same month last year. Year-to-date sales are up almost 14 and a half percent, boosted by the August activity. Sales figures increased by more than 10 percent in each of the nine counties, topped by a 47 and a half percent improvement in Iowa County.
A 34-year-old man was due in court this afternoon on 50 felony charges, for allegedly supplying illegal drugs that were eventually sold to teachers in Antigo and Merrill. John Hunter of Antigo is charged in Langlade County with 26 counts of manufacturing-and-delivering cocaine, and 24 counts of delivering marijuana. A criminal complaint said Hunter had sold drugs in Wausau and Bass Lake as well as Antigo – where he allegedly supplied former assistant football coach Scot Peterson. The 55-year-old Peterson told police he had sold marijuana to fellow school teachers and friends for years. He was sentenced earlier this year to six months in jail. Fifteen people have now been charged in connection with the Antigo-and-Merrill school drug ring, which authorities first uncovered last fall. Most defendants were teachers accused of using those drugs. It cost elementary school principal and high school football John Lund his job earlier this year. The 47-year-old Lund is scheduled to go on trial January 15th on seven felony counts of manufacturing and possessing pot with the intent to deliver, and maintaining a place for drug trafficking.
A man who caused a fatal traffic crash near Wisconsin Rapids while sending text messages to his girlfriend pleaded no contest today to a reduce homicide charge. 23-year-old John French, formerly of Stevens Point, struck a plea deal in Wood County Circuit Court. French was convicted of second-degree reckless homicide in a December 2010 crash that killed 32-year-old Robert Walker of the town of Saratoga, south of Rapids. French was texting-and-driving just six days after a much-heralded state law took effect banning that practice. Attorneys on both sides agreed to ask Circuit Judge Todd Wolf for nine years in prison and eight years of extended supervision. French is in prison on other charges, and he was hoping to be sentenced today to be done with the case. But Wolf ordered a pre-sentence investigation, and he scheduled the proceeding for November 12th. According to authorities, French blew past a stop-sign at Highways 73 and “Z” when another driver tried but failed to avoid French’s SUV. His vehicle then swung and hit another SUV driven by Walker, who was ejected despite wearing a seat-belt.
A 10-year-old boy killed in an all-terrain vehicle crash in Marinette County was identified today as Calvin Bauer from the town of Middle Inlet. His passenger, 10-year-old Christopher Gorman of Middle Inlet, was in critical condition at last word at a hospital in Green Bay. Authorities said the ATV drove through a stop sign on Sunday morning, and it slammed into a pick-up truck at an intersection in Middle Inlet. Calvin Bauer died at the scene from head-and-internal injuries. The driver of the pick-up truck and a passenger were not hurt.
New foreclosure cases dropped by 19-percent last month in Wisconsin’s most populated region – but for the year as a whole, they’re still up by seven-percent. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said there were 783 new court cases in August against those not keeping up with their home mortgages. That’s way down from the 970 foreclosure filings in August of the previous year in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties. For the first eight months, new foreclosure cases in the seven counties jumped from seven-thousand-80 the previous year to 75-hundred-80 in 2012. Experts had predicted that foreclosure cases would jump this year. That’s after lenders ended up a hold-up on such cases, once they settled state lawsuits over improper procedures for foreclosures.
A court hearing was delayed this morning for a former Milwaukee County Walker appointee accused of embezzling 42-thousand dollars. Kevin Kavanaugh’s final pre-trial hearing was moved to Friday. He’s charged with five felony counts for allegedly taking thousands from an annual program at the Milwaukee County Zoo which honors Wisconsin veterans. Kavanaugh is one of five former Scott Walker associates charged earlier this year in a John Doe probe connected with Walker’s days as the Milwaukee County executive. Walker has repeatedly said he’s not a target of the probe himself. Kavanaugh is scheduled to go on trial October eighth. Former Walker deputy chief-of-staff Tim Russell is due to stand trial December third, for allegedly stealing 21-thousand dollars from the veterans’ event.
If you think it’s too early to see fall colors in Wisconsin – think again. According to Travel Wisconsin.com, the Eau Claire area was already at 50-percent of its peak as of last Friday – and officials expect a full peak by the third week of September. At least one visitor to Hurley said she couldn’t believe the change in colors during the Labor Day weekend. In Mercer – which is close to Hurley – fall colors are at 30-percent of their peak, with a full peak due by the end of the month. Officials say a sudden change to cooler nights has caused a lot of foliage to turn colors. At Winter in northwest Wisconsin, trees have many gold-and-yellow hues. Colors in Oshkosh were at 25-percent of their peak – and even some trees close to Milwaukee started getting gold spots during the weekend. Eau Claire and Oshkosh were affected by the summer drought, but about the northern-third of the state was never in an official drought status. And some of those places already have noticeable color. Fall colors normally peak in late September in far northern Wisconsin, around mid-October in central areas, and late October in the south. The state’s tourist Web site, Travel Wisconsin.com, is preparing a new design to its fall color reports which show more photos and links to local visitor bureaus. The site’s still being constructed – but once it’s finished, it will have links to local fall activities, dining, and lodging.
Harley-Davidson dealers sold three-to-five percent fewer motorcycles in July-and-August than they did a year ago. Milwaukee’s Robert W. Baird-and-Company surveyed 47 dealers – and they cited the sluggish economy and a late release for next year’s Harleys as reasons for the sales drop. But the dealers said their inventories are relatively small. About 90-percent said their inventories were either “too low” or “about right.”
The State Patrol continues to investigate a motorcycle crash that killed a man in far western Wisconsin. Officials said 34-year-old David Boyce of Baldwin left County Trunk “E” in Saint Croix County late Sunday night, and his bike slammed into an embankment. Investigators said he was not wearing a helmet. The State Patrol says Boyce may have driven away from police officers earlier on Sunday – but he was not being pursued at the time of the crash.