Evening State News Briefs: Waushara County man's death being investigated as homicideWisconsin News
-- The death of a 50 year old Waushara County man is being investigated as a homicide.
WAUTOMA - The death of a 50 year old Waushara County man is being investigated as a homicide.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice says Robert Kasun was found at the Mt. Morris Motel yesterday. He had moved in last weekend. Kasun’s body was found by one of his friends when he came to check up on the man who had previously lived in a rural area near Wautoma. Authorities haven’t said how Kasun died, but his death is described as suspicious. An autopsy will be conducted in Madison.
An elderly woman was killed this morning in an apartment fire in Sauk County. It happened around eight o’clock on Main Street in Loganville. Authorities said a four-unit apartment building was engulfed in flames when fire-fighters arrived. Officials said it started in the victim’s apartment. Relatives told WISC-TV in Madison that the woman was 70, and she lived in her unit for about seven years.
Even though the governor’s budget plan would let state properties be sold, an official with the University of Wisconsin System there is essentially no UW-owned land to sell. David Miller of the Capital Planning and Budget department says selling property had been considered by the system in the past, when $20 million were sliced out of the budget. Miller says only two properties were found and their sale would have produced just $2.4 million dollars. He says most other properties include restrictions, meaning any state revenue would go to the original donor or a charitable fund.
The head of the Bad River Indian tribe says he’ll use quote, “every avenue of resistance” to try-and-stop the proposed iron ore mine from being built upstream from his reservation. Mike Wiggins told reporters at the State Capitol today that his tribe will be ready to use lawsuits, its federal water quality powers – and even what he called grassroots resistance to stop Gogebic Taconite. The firm was expected to get final legislative approval this afternoon for new state regulations making it easier to build the proposed mine in the Penokee range of Ashland and Iron counties. Majority Republicans in the state Assembly rejected almost 20 amendments today, and were in their final debate on the package at mid-afternoon. During the debate a man in the gallery was removed for interrupting the proceeding. He yelled an expletive when he said there are quote, “too many talkers and criminals in the world.” When two Capitol Police officers took him away, the man yelled “I’m not a criminal.” Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Bill Kramer replied, “You are now.”
A judge in central Wisconsin accepted a plea deal today for a Wisconsin Rapids area man accused of shooting his best friend to death while drunk. 22-year-old Tyler Enkro pleaded no contest in Wood County to a felony charge of homicide by intoxicated use of a firearm. A companion charge of homicide with a prohibited blood alcohol level was dropped. Enkro is scheduled to be sentenced May 13th. Prosecutors said he called 911 after he shot 31-year-old Nick Hoffman of Wisconsin Rapids in the neck in December of 2011. Hoffman died a short time later at a Marshfield hospital. Enkro’s blood alcohol level was .17 at the time – that was more than twice the legal intoxication limit.
State Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack says judges should stay elected – even as concerns grow over the impact of money-and-politics on the justice system. Roggensack tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial board that she would never have been appointed. She said she didn’t have enough connections with the governor when she was first elected to an appeals court 17 years ago. Also, Roggensack says people’s rights should not be taken away just because quote, “someone else is behaving badly.” Roggensack was elected 10 years ago to the Supreme Court, and she’s running against Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone in April for a second term. Roggensack also tries to shun her conservative label. She votes with a four-member conservative majority in most major cases, and outside conservative groups endorse her. But Roggensack says she gets endorsements from Democrats as well as Republicans – and she criticizes Fallone for saying he would represent working people on the Supreme Court. Roggensack says she doesn’t represent anyone but quote, “just the rule of law.”
A citizen of Russia who was charged in Milwaukee with running a major worldwide computer spamming network has avoided prison time in a plea deal. Newly-released documents show that 25-year-old Oleg Nikolaenko agreed last June to plead guilty to new charges that would have netted him nine years in prison. But eventually, prosecutors agreed to limit his jail time to the 27 months he served since his arrest. And he’ll spend the next three years on probation. Authorities said Nikolaenko’s network placed malicious codes on a half-million U.S. computers, and then sent out billions of e-mails selling things like fake Viagra and counterfeit Rolex watches. On some days, officials said the network accounted for a third of the world’s unwanted e-mails. A Milwaukee FBI agent cracked the case, after a Kansas City man complained of having to spend two-million dollars to advertise fake watches on the network. Nikolaenko was arrested in the fall of 2010 in Las Vegas, where he was attending a car show. But no others came forward to complain – and officials did not consider restitution.
President Obama hopes to soften up two of Wisconsin’s fiscal hard-liners in Congress. House Budget chairman Paul Ryan of Janesville and his committee’s ranking minority Democrat were having lunch with Obama at the White House today. Then tonight, Wisconsin Senate Republican Ron Johnson will be among 12 GOP senators dining with the Democratic president at the Jefferson Hotel in the nation’s capital. Last night, Obama dined with 12 other senators who are outside of their parties’ leadership. The president is looking for some type of common ground on the impending budget standoff between the two parties. And he has reportedly been making pitches for tax increases that he and other Democrats have been trying to get in a compromise package of spending cuts. Ryan met with the president not too long ago, but has not said what they talked about. He plans to submit a 2014 federal budget proposal next week that calls for tighter spending on entitlements, and converting Medicare to a lower-cost voucher program for those younger than 55. Before lunch today, Ryan said he hoped it would be the beginning of quote, “a serious discussion of the challenges we face.”
Madison Police have arrested a 35-year-old man in connection with the drug-related death of a 36-year-old man. Police said the victim from an apparent heroin overdose. Rescuers were called to a Madison home last night, and they said the victim was without a pulse. He was then taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead. The suspect faces possible charges of possessing heroin and drug paraphernalia. An investigation continues.
Not everybody can go online to do business with the government – and Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy says bureaucrats need to get that message. The second-term Republican from the Wausau area has introduced a resolution requiring federal agencies to let people keep using good-old-fashioned paper and postage if they want to. Social Security is moving toward a totally online system for applying for benefits – and the IRS has encouraged folks for years to file their taxes online. But Duffy says those policies leave a lot of people behind – especially seniors and poor families who either cannot afford Internet service, or are not comfortable throwing personal information into cyberspace. Duffy aide Andrew Fasoli says reliable Internet service is not always easy to find, especially in rural areas. The Census Bureau says seniors make up 16-and-a-half percent of Duffy’s constituents, compared to almost 13-percent in other House districts.
A Racine man faces five criminal charges, after he allegedly dragged two police officers with his car for up to 30-feet. Racine Police said they saw two cars stop in an area with high drug traffic on Tuesday – and when they drove away, officers stopped 27-year-old Edward Gamble Junior. Prosecutors said Gamble refused to get out of his vehicle, as requested -- and the driver pulled away as one of the officers grabbed him. That officer and another were dragged, but both fell off after moving 20-to-30 feet past oncoming traffic. Prosecutors said the officers then chased Gamble to a grocery store parking lot, where he fled his car, ran off, was caught later, and scuffled with officers before being arrested. Yesterday, a five-thousand dollar cash bond was ordered on two counts of reckless endangerment, two counts of causing soft tissue injuries to officers, and one charge of resisting police. Gamble is due back in court a week from today for a preliminary hearing.