Afternoon State News Briefs: Milwaukee area schools receive bomb threatsWisconsin News
-- The Milwaukee County bomb squad was called to Grafton High School this morning, to check out a bomb threat that was left in a first-floor restroom.
The Milwaukee County bomb squad was called to Grafton High School this morning, to check out a bomb threat that was left in a first-floor restroom.
Officials said a routine check of the building turned up the written bomb threat before classes began around 7:40 a.m. Students were taken to a church while officers searched the building – and found nothing. Classes then resumed around mid-morning.
Also, a suspicious device was discovered this morning at Racine Washington Park High School. Youngsters were temporarily evacuated to the school’s field house. The building was checked, and students returned about a half-hour later.
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will help U.S. Senate hopeful Tommy Thompson raise some more ad money for the final five weeks of the campaign. The Thompson camp said today that Ryan will appear with the former governor on October 14th at the Harley-Davidson museum in Milwaukee. Other details of the visit were not immediately released. The event should provide a financial boost for the Thompson campaign – which went broke after a hard-fought four-way primary just over a month-and-a-half ago. Polls show Thompson to be in a tight race with Madison House Democrat Tammy Baldwin for the Senate seat to be given up by retiring Democrat Herb Kohl. Ryan, the House Budget Chairman from Janesville, will also pay a visit to Milwaukee this Saturday night for a fund-raiser for the Romney-Ryan ticket.
An approaching cold front could make conditions wet and windy for President Obama’s campaign stop on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison Thursday. The National Weather Service is predicting a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Winds could gust up to 25 miles per hour. Umbrellas will not be allowed. The President will have left before that same cold front pushes temperatures down from the low 70s for a Thursday high to the 50s on Friday. The Obama rally on Bascom Hill is expected to mean big crowds, road closings and traffic at a standstill near the campus. Gates for the event will open at noon. The last time the President was in Madison two years ago more than 26,000 people showed up.
State election officials say they are confident nearly 100 military and overseas voters from Wisconsin will have their votes counted – even though their ballots were mailed to them a few days late. Almost 60 communities missed the deadline mandated by state law of sending those ballots at least 47 days before the election. About half of those communities also missed the 45-day federal deadline. Military and overseas ballots will be counted if they get back by Nov. 9, three days after the election. A spokesperson for the Government Accountability Board says that means those affected will have time to get their ballots back in time.
A former speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly is now urging his former colleagues to pass bills which favor unions. Democrat Mike Sheridan of Janesville recently registered as a State Capitol lobbyist on behalf of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. Sheridan ran the lower house when he was defeated in a Republican landslide two years ago. Joe Knilans now holds Sheridan’s seat. Sheridan has a union background as the president of the United Auto Workers at the former General Motors’ plant in Janesville. State law requires that former legislators and state officials wait for at least a year after leaving office before becoming a lobbyist. Former Republican Assembly Speaker John Gard is also making his living as a Capitol lobbyist. His clients include Marquette University, business interests, and a private school voucher group.
A 65-year-old man has pleaded innocent to causing a drunk driving crash that killed a central Wisconsin woman in Montana. Garry Lee Griffin of Newell, South Dakota is charged with drunken vehicular homicide in a crash near Bozeman, Montana in July that killed 49-year-old Corene Krubsack of Wisconsin Rapids. Authorities said Griffin’s vehicle drove through a stop-sign west of Bozeman, and collided with a pick-up truck coming from the right side. Investigators quoted Griffin as saying he thought he struck a hitch-hiker. Officials said his blood alcohol level was point-179, over twice the legal limit, about 40 minutes after the mishap.
Three University of Wisconsin students charged with substantial battery in the attack on Badger football player Montee Ball have all pleaded not guilty. They were bound over for trial today in Madison. Ball was assaulted as he walked home early in the morning of August 1st. The Dane County Court Commissioner has ruled probable cause had been established in the prosecutors’ case against Wendell Venerable, Deonte Wilson and Robert Wilks. Venerable’s attorney has filed a motion to suppress eyewitness identification in the assault case.
Two 13-year-old Sheboygan boys will find out this afternoon if they’ll be ordered to stand trial for allegedly killing a great-grandmother of one of the boys. This morning, a judge refused to delay the preliminary hearing for Nathan Paape and Antonio Barbeau – who are charged in the brutal death of 78-year-old Barbara Olsen in mid-September. The boys’ attorneys said prosecutors had not supplied the defense with all of its evidence yet. It’s not normally a required step for a preliminary hearing, but the defense says it needs the information to prepare for a later hearing to try-and-move the youngsters to juvenile court. That hearing could be a few months away. Attorney George Limbeck said today’s ruling is only a minor setback, because the defense would still review the evidence before the reverse-waiver hearing takes place. Prosecutors said the two boys killed Olsen with a hammer and a hatchet at her home in Sheboygan Falls. They also reportedly ransacked the house, and stole jewelry and a car as part of an effort to try-and-pin the slaying on somebody else. The boys are charged as adults with first-degree intentional homicide – which could keep them behind bars for up to life if they’re convicted. A juvenile conviction could give the boys a better chance to get treatment and rehabilitation, and they could be released by their 25th birthdays.
A former judge was named today as a special prosecutor, to determine whether charges should be filed in the death of a Milwaukee robbery suspect in police custody. John Franke will take over the district attorney’s investigation into the death of Derek Williams. Franke will also call witnesses for a public inquest, in which a jury will recommend to the DA’s office whether or not charges should be sought. The 22-year-old Williams died in July of last year in a police squad car, soon after he was arrested in a street hold-up. The medical examiner’s office initially blamed the death on natural causes. But the ruling was changed to homicide last week, after the Journal Sentinel published a video showing Williams gasping for air and pleading for help for almost eight minutes before he collapsed in the back seat of the police car. The chief circuit judge in Milwaukee County, Jeffrey Kremers, appointed Franke as the special prosecutor. Franke was a circuit judge in Milwaukee from 1987-to-2008. He’s now in private practice, and has agreed to serve in the case for free. District Attorney John Chisholm says Franke agreed to be the special prosecutor for four months. Chisholm says it has not been decided whether the ex-judge will have the final say on any charges. No dates have been set yet for the inquest.
A man who committed multiple sex offenses in Sheboygan County in the 1980’s will stay in custody. 52-year-old Scott McKeever has served his time for those crimes. But jurors recently agreed that McKeever should remain in custody until he’s no longer deemed to be sexually violent. He’s apparently not at that stage yet. Jurors ruled that McKeever still suffers from a mental condition that can cause him to commit sexually-violent acts. McKeever is currently at the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston. That’s after the state filed a petition in early April to keep the man in custody for treatment.