Tuesday State News Briefs: Spanish train-maker to sue stateWisconsin News
-- The state government is being sued by a train-maker which said it never got paid for two new trains it built from the existing Amtrak high-speed line from Milwaukee-to-Chicago. But a DOT official claims that Talgo of Spain never built the trains to meet federal standards, including the Americans with Disabilities Act – and the units were never tested properly.
The state government is being sued by a train-maker which said it never got paid for two new trains it built from the existing Amtrak high-speed line from Milwaukee-to-Chicago. But a DOT official claims that Talgo of Spain never built the trains to meet federal standards, including the Americans with Disabilities Act – and the units were never tested properly.
In March, the majority Republicans in the state legislature scrapped new borrowing for a maintenance base in Milwaukee for the two trains. And Governor Scott Walker said at the time that the new units would most likely not be put into service. Officials said the state could save $12-million dollars a year in operating costs by not using Talgo’s trains – something the company refuted. The state and Talgo held a mediation session last week, but it did not settle anything. Now, Talgo is asking Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas to approve Talgo’s decision to end its contract with the state – and to let the firm keep the trains so it can sell them to another state. Former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle convinced lawmakers to hire Talgo with a no-bid contract to build the new trains, with the possibility of more trains for a proposed Amtrak line from Milwaukee-to-Madison. But Walker scrapped that extension as part of a campaign promise.
A man beaten to death outside a Milwaukee night-club early Sunday has been identified as 45-year-old Mariano Lopez. Media reports said Lopez and a 37-year-old man were leaving a birthday party when they were mugged from behind on the way to their car – and a group of men assaulted them. The survivor’s wife told WTMJ-TV that he quote, “got in between his female cousin and an out-of-control male” – and he almost died because of it. The attack occurred about 2:30 Sunday morning outside the Tropical Latino club on Milwaukee’s south side. Police did not have any suspects at last word.
A medical team from Wisconsin is helping staff a makeshift hospital in New Jersey to treat patients and nursing home residents in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Jason Liu of the Medical College of Wisconsin is heading up the team – which includes three paramedics, two nurses, and a doctor. It’s the first official response for what’s known as the Wisconsin-One Disaster Medical Assistance Team. The federal government coordinates the system, to help provide adequate staffing at overworked hospitals during major disasters and emergencies. The Milwaukee area personnel will stay in New Jersey for two weeks – and another Wisconsin team could be sent if it’s still needed then.
Milwaukee authorities want to use Wisconsin’s sex offender confinement laws to keep holding a man whom they believe killed a nine-year-old neighbor girl in 1970. Prosecutors say they don’t have enough evidence to convict 73-year-old Robert Hill for the actual murder. But he just finished a prison term for molesting four young girls – and he’s being held at the Sand Ridge Treatment Center in Mauston because he’s still considered a threat to society. A court hearing will be held November 19th on whether Hill should be committed indefinitely for psychiatric care. Hill lived next to nine-year-old Donna Willing when she was raped and left underneath a car inside a garage on Milwaukee’s west side. The case remained unresolved for almost a quarter century before the victim’s sister asked police in 2004 to re-investigate. A new petition for the confinement said Hill confessed to raping and killing young Donna – and he gave details about the crime that only the police knew – before he recanted the confession a few years later.
A suburban Milwaukee teenager is due back in court today, after he allegedly slammed into a Waukesha County patrol car while driving drunk on Interstate-94. The defendant’s vehicle burst into flames upon impact – and his passenger was killed. 18-year-old Ihor Sahan of Saint Francis is being held on a $100,000 bond on a charge of drunken homicide and two counts of causing injury while under the influence. Authorities said Sahan’s blood alcohol level was point-135 when he lost control on the Interstate near Brookfield early last Thursday. Officials said the vehicle was speeding at 74-miles-an-hour when it slammed into a patrol car in the median in which two sheriff’s deputies were watching for speeders. The deputies suffered non-life-threatening injuries, but were able to pull the two teens from their burning car. Sahan’s passenger, 17-year-old Ryan Petri, died Saturday, two days after the crash. Sahan suffered minor injuries. He told officers they were returning home from a concert in Madison where he had six vodka-and-Gatorade drinks in a one-hour stretch.
A 19-year-old Campbellsport woman will go to jail for causing a “hill-jumping” vehicle crash that killed three of her friends. Prosecutors had only recommended probation for Carly Ottery. But Fond du Lac County Circuit Judge Dale English sentenced her to a year in jail, plus the five years’ probation that special prosecutor Christian Gossett sought. She can leave jail for work, school, and counseling – and she’ll have to perform 100 hours of community service during each year of her probation. Authorities said Ottery drove an SUV at 109-miles-an-hour over a hillcrest last February, after she and her friends had left a slumber party. The vehicle hit a bump before it flipped over in a field. Sabrina Stahl, Katie Berg, and Caitlin Scannell were killed. Six others, including Ottery, were hurt. All nine were soccer players. This summer, Ottery pleaded no contest to her three original charges of homicide by negligent driving.
The state DNR says it will do some controlled burning on public lands before winter sets in. Officials say it’s a good way to eliminate unwanted plants that interfere with native vegetation. It also encourages the growth of prairie grass – improves habitat for waterfowl and other game – and improves cover for nesting birds. Also, it creates sections of open water for waterfowl in low-lands.
A Shawano man pleaded innocent today to killing a woman and her brother in Oconto County. A judge set a trial date of May sixth for 29-year-old Daniel Schmidt on two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. Schmidt is accused of shooting-and-killing 22-year-old Leonard Marsh and 32-year-old Kimberly Rose on May 19th at their home near Gillett. Prosecutors said Schmidt had an affair with Rose – and he was upset when she allegedly tried to interfere with his effort to patch up his relationship with his wife. Authorities also said Rose loaned Schmidt a-thousand dollars so he could buy a motorcycle – and she was pressuring Schmidt and his wife to pay the money back. Schmidt remains in jail under a two-million-dollar bond.
Five drug suspects were in Marathon County Court yesterday after they were rounded up last week. Officers will several law enforcement agencies served search warrants at two Wausau addresses last Thursday. They report they seized heroin and crack cocaine with a street value of three to five thousand dollars. Will E. Conners, Keion F. Jives, Larry W. King, Victoria Espinoza and Bernard N. Welch were arrested after a month-long investigation. Conners and Jives are from Milwaukee, the other three from Wausau.
A poll by MissTravel.com ranks Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport as one of the better locations for a traveler to get stuck. Five thousand U.S. travelers were asked to pick the top airports where they would prefer to be stranded and Mitchell ranked fourth. Dallas-Fort Worth International topped the list, followed by Pittsburgh International. Ranked at the bottom of the list were Washington Dulles International, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta and JFK International in New York. The survey measured factors like cleanliness, aesthetics, amenities and selection of food and shopping.
A Milwaukee man and his girlfriend have both been ordered to stand trial for the death of her five-year-old son. At a preliminary hearing today, a police detective testified that Marcos Colin promised Alyssa Banda that both would go to prison if she took the child to a hospital for treatment. Both are charged with child neglect resulting in the death of young Jayden Banda just over two weeks ago. The 23-year-old Colin is also charged with reckless child abuse and bail jumping. The 20-year-old Banda waived her preliminary hearing, while Colin proceeded with his – and a court commissioner said he found enough evidence to put both on trial. Milwaukee authorities said the couple waited until the next day to report the child’s severe head and facial injuries – and they went from one hospital to another until the child urinated in the mother’s lap, and they finally went to Saint Francis Hospital. Police quoted Banda as saying the infant fell down a flight of stairs – and she denied having a boyfriend and gave several false addresses to officers. Doctors found that the child died from injuries much more severe than his mother had claimed. Both Banda and Colin are still in jail. Colin’s due back in court next Monday. Banda’s next court date is a week from Wednesday.
New home foreclosure cases are up 10-percent from a year ago in seven southeast Wisconsin counties. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 887 new foreclosure cases were filed in court last month in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties. That’s up from 806 cases in October of last year. For the first 10 months of the year, new foreclosure cases are up by five-percent from the previous year. The total is almost 9,200.