Overnight State News Briefs: Large fire at food plant in BurlingtonWisconsin News
-- Several hundred firefighters have finally managed to contain a stubborn fire at a food processing plant in Burlington more than a dozen hours after it started.
BURLINGTON - Several hundred firefighters have finally managed to contain a stubborn fire at a food processing plant in Burlington more than a dozen hours after it started.
Second shift employees were able to evacuate the egg products processing facility safely after the fire broke out at about 6 p.m. yesterday. Another 50 people evacuated from surrounding houses and apartment buildings have been allowed to return home. The flames were isolated primarily to the production area, with no damage done to the warehouse. It was protected by fire walls. Echo Lakes Foods employs about 300 people at that plant.
Wisconsin Congressman James Sensenbrenner is one of several members of Congress calling for an investigation into a flawed sting operation conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel published a story about the 10-month storefront operation which was supposed to bust felons for breaking drug and gun laws. No major drug dealers or gang members were ever arrested and a robber took merchandise worth 35 thousand dollars from the location and a document listing the names of undercover agents was reportedly left behind.
There’s a good reason you haven’t heard much from the three candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. It’s because they haven’t raised much money, at least going into the New Year. Today is when the statewide candidates are supposed to report how much they’ve raised and spent through December. Justice Pat Roggensack’s campaign said she had $55,000 on hand, after raising almost $39,000 last year. Milwaukee attorney Vince Megna reported having seven-thousand on hand at the start of the year, after raising almost $11,000. A third candidate, Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone, had not disclosed his figures yet. The three are running in a February 19th primary. There’s also a statewide race this spring for Wisconsin public school superintendent, but it’s not until April. Challenger Don Pridemore, who’s running against incumbent Tony Evers, said he used $49,000 dollars of his own money for his campaign through the end of the year – and he raised another $13,000.
A state appeals court says a man cannot escape a criminal conviction in Walworth County, just because a person mistakenly served on the jury instead of his father with the same name. 33-year-old Jacob Turner of Oregon Illinois was found guilty of attempted strangulation, battery, and disorderly conduct back in 2011. And soon after that, Turner learned that one of the jurors heard the case by mistake, after the man assumed that a jury summons was for him instead of his dad with the identical name. Because the older man had served on a jury in recent years, he and his son both assumed the summons was for the younger man. Turner claimed that the younger juror’s presence violated his rights to due process and an impartial jury. But the Second District Appellate Court in Waukesha didn’t buy it. The court noted that the trial judge met with both the juror and his father, and was convinced it was simply an honest mistake which had no impact on the man’s guilty verdict.
Three people killed in a house fire near Wisconsin Rapids were identified today as 79-year-old William Heiser, his 71-year-old wife Janet, and their 38-year-old son William. Wood County Coroner Garry Kronstedt said all three died from smoke inhalation, at the home they shared about six miles northwest of Rapids in the town of Sigel. State and local investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the fire, which broke out early yesterday. Foul play is not suspected.
Minority Democrats in the state Legislature unveiled a package of job creation measures today. Leaders said Republicans and Governor Scott Walker should support them, because they’ve endorsed some of the same ideas in the past. The Democratic package includes competitive training grants to close the “skills gap” – the gap between thousands of vacant production jobs and the lack of trained people to fill those jobs. Democrats also want refundable tax credits for early-stage investments in new high-tech businesses – and making state-and-local governments give preference to American-made products when buying materials. The GOP had no immediate comment on the measures. Democrats have a three-vote minority in the Senate and a 20-vote minority in the Assembly, so they need Republican support to pass any of their ideas.
Five people charged in the death of a Milwaukee rap artist were ordered today to stand trial on charges of first-degree intentional homicide. Billy Griffin and Victor Stewart waived their rights to preliminary hearings in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Ashanti McAlister, Devin Seaberry, and Ron Allen were bound over after a police detective testified about comments made by Stewart during a four-hour police interview. All five are charged in the death of 22-year-old Emily Young, who was known as Evon Young before changing genders. According to the testimony, a disagreement was brewing among the group over a burglary of Griffin’s house last August – and the five accused Young of helping in the break-in. Some of the defendants told police that Young’s body was burned in a trash bin – and the remains were shipped to a landfill where police started searching for Young’s body this week. The defendants range in age from 19-to-37. They’re all due back in court February 19th, when trial dates are expected to be set. A court commissioner rejected the defendants’ requests to reduce their $200,000, and ordered that they be kept separate while in jail so they don’t have contact with each other.