Saturday State News Briefs: Woman dies in New Holstein fire after saving livesWisconsin News
-- People who escape an apartment fire in New Holstein say the 42-year old woman killed was a hero for helping them get clear.
NEW HOLSTEIN - People who escape an apartment fire in New Holstein say the 42-year old woman killed was a hero for helping them get clear.
The fire in downtown New Holstein was reported at about 6:45 a.m. yesterday morning. Four people managed to get out, but they had to seek treatment at a hospital. New Holstein police say Nicole Masucci died in the first and her neighbors say that happened because Masucci was making sure they got out. Fire crews don’t know what started the fire, but they say it began in a kitchen area on the lower level. The State Fire Marshal’s office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating. The four residents taken to the hospital were treated and released.
A Madison man is given a 10-year sentence for physically abusing his former girlfriend’s four year old son. A jury convicted 27 year old Jerry Ehrett of child abuse causing great bodily harm Ehrett had claimed the boy fell while riding his bicycle, but prosecutors said he pushed the victim into a kitchen counter in August 2011. That incident nearly killed the boy, but he survived with severe brain damage. He will require care for the rest of his life.
A hearing centered on Wisconsin’s lemon law will be continued in a Milwaukee courtroom in three weeks. A Fond du Lac couple which bought a new 2010 Ford Escape XLT had repeated mechanical problems with the vehicle and returned it to the dealer. Ford offered a 2012 model with the same equipment package and trim level, but a different color. David and Mary Porter rejected the replacement SUV and sued. If they win, they would get twice the 25 thousand dollars they paid in the first place, plus attorney fees. Ford asked the judge for a summary judgment in Milwaukee County Circuit Court yesterday. No matter which side wins in the final decision, both sides say it’s a good bet this case will wind up being argued before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy says there will be another stock sale, but it may not come for 10 to 15 years. The fifth stock sale last year produced $67 million in revenue which was applied toward the $143 million dollar Lambeau Field renovation project. Seven thousand additional seats are expected to be ready for next season. Murphy told Packer fans in a first-ever phone chat yesterday a plan will be announced soon about updating the Lambeau Field Atrium. The Football Stadium District is holding a special meeting next Tuesday to discuss that plan.
Milwaukee police say they are looking for two “persons of interest” in connection with the suspect arson at the El Rey grocery store. Damages were estimated at $300,000-400,000. Surveillance video shows two white men in coats and hoods loitering outside the store on West Oklahoma Avenue, then they run away shortly before flames start shooting out of a place outside the store where grocery carts are kept. The arson fire was reported at about 11 p.m. Thursday. Owners Ernesto and Olivia Villarreal say they are offering a five thousand dollar reward for information leading to the conviction of the people responsible. About 100 employees will be out of work until the store can re-open, possibly by next Wednesday.
Occupy Madison wants to buy an office building on Fordem Avenue and turn it into housing for 20 to 25 homeless people. The group which started as a political movement about wealth inequities has redefined itself into a voice for the homeless. Occupy is seeking a $275,000 for the project. A spokesperson estimates up to 400 people may be sleeping outside each night in the Madison area. The Community Development Block Grant Committee will consider a funding request January 17th. Final funding and land use decisions would be made by the Madison City Council after that.
The case of a high school student who was restrained for allegedly trying to shoplift alcohol at a Milwaukee-area convenience store because even more complicated by his death. Sixteen year old Corey Stingley died last weekend. Now, charges could be filed against the three customers at VJ’s Food Mart who restrained him Stingley December 14th. Stingley was a running back on the football team at Nathan Hale High School last season. He also ran track. West Allis police responded to the call at about 4 p.m. that afternoon, arriving to find Stingley being held down. Officially put him in handcuffs at first, but removed the cuffs and began CPR when they realized he wasn’t breathing. Stingley was on life support at Froedtert Hospital until he died a week ago today. Funeral services will be held today at Parklawn Assembly of God Church, 3725 North Sherman Boulevard in Milwaukee. Visitation starts at 10 a.m.
Governor Scott Walker has distanced himself from the criticism of Kwanzaa from one of Walker’s fellow Republicans. West Bend Senator Glenn Grothman recently called the African-American cultural holiday observance fake and fraudulent. And he said the only people who care about Kwanzaa are quote, “white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people’s throats in an effort to divide America.” Walker tells WKOW-TV in Madison that it didn’t make any sense for Grothman to quote, “alienate people over something that some people support.” And Walker said the controversy takes away from the state government’s business. Meanwhile, the State Democratic Party says Walker should have gone further, and joined the party’s black caucus in denouncing Grothman’s comments. But party spokesman Graeme Zielinski says Walker seems to have little interest in denouncing the remarks. Grothman appeared on CNN this week after his criticism of Kwanzaa made national news. The founder of the observance, Cal State-Long Beach professor Ron Karenga, said Grothman is discrediting the rights of black people to choose their own special culture.
The national gay-and-lesbian news magazine “The Advocate” has named Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin as its person-of-the-year. Baldwin, a Democrat from Madison, became the first openly gay U.S. senator when she was sworn in yesterday. That was after she served for 14 years in the House, representing south central Wisconsin. Baldwin told the magazine that she believes that gays-and-lesbians do not have to limit their aspirations in society anymore, and quote, “At every glass ceiling I’ve broken, I’ve hoped that’s the message that goes out so loudly and clearly.”
The Milwaukee County Zoo is putting up a commemorative wall to honor a very special orangutan that unexpectedly died last Saturday. Five-year-old Mahal appears to have died from pneumonia, but the cause of death will not be confirmed until a necropsy is completed. In the meantime, people are being invited to send cards, photos, and memories of Mahal for a commemorative wall which will start being displayed tomorrow in the Primates of the World building where Mahal lived. The red-headed Mahal was born in Colorado, but his mother rejected her. So he was sent to the Milwaukee County Zoo, where he immediately bonded with his surrogate mother, M.J. – and he became one of the zoo’s most popular attractions.
Deaths on Wisconsin roads last year topped 600 for the first time since 2007. The 601 deaths on Wisconsin roads included 101 motorcycle riders, 44 pedestrians, 13 motorcycle passengers and 10 people on bicycles. The 114 people killed in motorcycle crashes was the most since the all-time record of 123 was set 33 years ago. A spokesperson for the Wisconsin State Patrol says the unseasonably warm and dry weather played a role, lengthening the typical motorcycle riding season. Passenger deaths in cars and light trucks increased by 37 percent.
Wisconsin Public Service Corporation reaches an agreement with the federal government to clean up its power plants. WPS has reportedly agreed to pay a $1.2 million fine and make what are called substantial investments in pollution controls. The settlement was filed in Milwaukee federal court. The utility has to cut emissions from its coal-fired plants in Green Bay and Weston as a part of the deal. A spokesman says WPS has until 2015 to decided whether to permanently shut down, refuel and re-power some of the units at those two plants.
An armed robbery conviction will send a Beloit man to prison for 39 years. Christopher Dawson was convicted last October of breaking into the home of an elderly couple in November 2010 along with three other suspects. Prosecutors say her and the others tied up the victims and pushed them down the stars, then Dawson covered the woman’s head and told her she and her husband were going to die. The suspects reportedly stole money, a coin collection and a Green Bay Packers ring. The 21 year old Dawson was convicted of armed robbery, armed burglary with a dangerous weapon, two counts of battery to an elderly person and intimidating a witness.
The cable TV provider for much of eastern Wisconsin plans to add 250 jobs in Milwaukee and Appleton. Time Warner Cable said today it would add 200 customer retention specialists in downtown Milwaukee – and it would bring the total employment to over 800 at that site. The first 70 jobs have been posted at Time Warner’s Web site, and the other openings are due to be filled from now through August. Also, 50 jobs are being added at Time Warner’s customer service center in Appleton.
Fire heavily damaged a grocery store on Milwaukee’s south side. A passerby called 911 after seeing flames at the El Rey Grocery Store just after 10:50 last night. Deputy Fire Chief Terry Lintonen said the blaze apparently started on the outside of the building, and it moved to the interior. Total damage was estimated at $300,000. Fire-fighters were on the scene for just over two hours. There were no reports of injuries. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
A Madison man will spend 10 years in prison for causing severe brain damage to his ex-girlfriend’s four-year-old son. 27-year-old Jerry Ehrett first claimed that the boy got hurt by falling off his bicycle. But a Dane County jury believed prosecutors who said Ehrett pushed the youngster into a kitchen counter. It happened in August of 2011. Dane County assistant DA Matthew Moeser said the boy almost died. But he survived with severe brain damage, and he’ll need care for the rest of his life. Ehrett was convicted of causing great bodily harm by child abuse. While in jail awaiting his trial, online court records indicated that Ehrett committed battery as a prisoner and pleaded no contest to a felony battery charge.
The most severe flu season in years continues unabated in Wisconsin. Over 700 people have been hospitalized over the past couple months. Tom Haupt of the state Health Services Department says the figure is already twice as many as for all of last winter. Several elderly nursing home patients have died from the flu, but it’s not just older people being afflicted. Haupt says there’s been one pediatric death reported so far. A 15-year-old died in northeast Wisconsin early in the flu season. And broadcast reports said a 17-year-old was visiting relatives in the state last weekend and died from flu complications. Doctor Jay McNeal at Mercy Hospital in Janesville says younger patients in their 30’s-and-40’s have been hospitalized with the flu over the past month. And it has helped driven up patient volumes by 30-percent at the hospital, and 50-percent at some of Mercy’s urgent care clinics. State officials say there’s still time to get vaccinated – and there’s plenty of vaccine available. Haupt says the peak of the flu season is still coming. Officials say it could be 3-to-4 weeks away.
A funeral director in central Wisconsin has pleaded innocent to dealing heroin from her business. 25-year-old Melissa Wachholz of Markesan waived her right to a preliminary hearing this week. And she was ordered to stand trial in Green Lake County Circuit Court on felony charges of possessing heroin with the intent to deliver, possessing narcotics, and maintaining a drug trafficking place. She’s also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Wachholz was arrested in late May, after a sheriff’s officer said he caught her with 3.4 grams of heroin, 13 morphine pills, and syringes. Deputies said she also had a large amount of paraphernalia inside the Wachholz Funeral Home, where she has worked with her sister for the last eight years. Authorities quoted Wachholz as saying that she went to Milwaukee every day to buy up to eight grams of heroin – half to use herself, and half to sell.