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WISCONSIN STATE NEWS BRIEFS: Milwaukee polka bar to reopen after robbery attempt

MILWAUKEE - A well-known polka bar in Milwaukee will be open for business tonight, after the owner shot-and-killed one of three people who tried to rob the place last night.

Police said three suspects held up the Concertina Beer Hall at gunpoint when two customers were inside. Owner Andy Kochanski grabbed his gun from behind the bar and killed a 23-year-old man. Police said the other two suspects ran away. Kochanski told reporters he did what he had to do – and he pleaded to people on Facebook not to stay away from his establishment because of what happened. Kochanski said the robbery attempt could have happened anywhere and quote, “You should always feel safe here.” Officials say Kochanski is cooperating with the investigation, and prosecutors will review the incident in the next few days. In 2008, Kochanski wounded a would-be robber when his place was hosting a Christmas party. Kochanski is a former arborist for the city of Milwaukee, and former paid-on-call firefighter in suburban Saint Francis. 


A teen has been arrested in connecting with a stabbing in Racine. Police say 17-year-old Emilio Delgado was charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Delgado is accused of stabbing another man several times, during a robbery on July 28. Racine Police issued an arrest warrant on August 9, he was arrested on Thursday. 


Two Marshfield teens have been arrested, accused of attempted robbery. Police accuse a 17-year-old of encouraging a 13-year-old to rob the man for gas money on July 15. The teens allegedly flashed a knife at the 96-year-old store owner – but were offered Tootsie Rolls instead. When the store owner, identified as Margarette Wolf, asked what would be a proper punishment for the younger teen – she says it would be cleaning the floors with a toothbrush.


If Glendon Gouker ever gets out of prison in Oklahoma, he’ll have to serve 25 more years in Wisconsin for raping a Waupaca County woman in 1990 when she was 20. The 42-year-old Gouker was sentenced today, after he struck a plea deal in March that convicted him of first-degree sexual assault. He was charged in late January, around the time when authorities said Gouker was a person-of-interest in the killings of Tanna Togstad and Tim Mumbrue in 1992 in Weyauwega. The sexual assault occurred two years before that at a park in Iola, where Gouker told the victim quote, “I’m just doing my job – I got paid to do this.” State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said officers were pursuing the double-murders as a cold case when they found new D-N-A evidence about the Iola rape. Gouker has lived in Oklahoma in recent years. He’s serving four life terms plus 70 years, with no chance for parole, for crimes he committed in that state.


A 32-year-old man has been found mentally-competent to stand trial on charges that he beat a homeless man to death with a table leg on Madison’s Capitol Square. Dane County Court Commissioner Todd Meurer has ordered that the case against Justin Brooks proceed. A preliminary hearing is set for August 29th, when a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to put Brooks on trial on a charge of first-degree intentional homicide. Authorities said Brooks beat 61-year-old Robert Kuntz on June 19th. Kuntz died the day after the attack. Public defender Jon Helland said Brooks has been getting medication in jail for a mental illness – and it has made a big difference in his ability to help with his defense.   


A former chief financial officer of Madison’s Anchor Bank will pay a $75,000 penalty, to settle federal fraud allegations. The U.S. Securities-and-Exchange Commission filed a civil suit against Dale Ringgenberg on Wednesday, two days after the bank’s parent company filed for bankruptcy protection. The SEC said Ringgenberg and Anchor Bank either intentionally or recklessly under-reported losses from bad loans in 2009, during the height of the Great Recession. The bank itself will not pay a penalty. Under the settlement, Ringgenberg and the bank do not have to admit or deny wrongdoing. Ringgenberg will not be able to serve as an officer or a director of a public company for the next five years. 


Authorities are starting to find out how a murder-suicide took place near La Crosse this week. Autopsies show that 18-year-old Dana Shefelbine of Holmen was beaten and stabbed to death, and 22-year-old Jesse Klukas of the town of Campbell shot himself. The incident occurred Tuesday morning at an apartment on French Island in the town of Campbell. Interim La Crosse County Medical Examiner Timothy Candahi said more tests are underway. Local police and sheriff’s deputies continue to investigate the incident. 


A federal magistrate says a T-shirt with the official portrait of Madison’s mayor does not violate copyright laws, because it’s political commentary. The T-shirt has Mayor Paul Soglin’s portrait with the phrase “Sorry for Partying.” The apparel company Sconnie Nation and Underground Printing-Wisconsin produced the shirts for sale at the Mifflin Street Block Party – where hundreds of UW-Madison students celebrate the end of the school year. Soglin has said he’d like to eliminate the event, because there’s too much outdoor drinking – and that spurred the “Sorry for Partying” T-shirts. Michael Kienitz, who photographed the mayor’s portrait, claimed the apparel company violated his copyright. But Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker rejected the argument, calling the shirt political criticism allowed under the First Amendment. About 160 of the shirts were sold. One other about the Mifflin Street Block Party – the Wisconsin State Journal said Soglin was arrested in 1969 at an early version of the event, when he was going to school at the UW.   


Governor Scott Walker appointed UW-Platteville student Chad Landes today as a student member of the university’s Board of Regents. Landes was named after another Platteville student – Josh Inglett – had his nomination withdrawn by the governor’s office in mid-June, when it was learned that he signed a petition for the recall election against Walker a year-and-a-half ago. Landes did no such thing. A check of a searchable database of recall signers did not turn up his name today. Landes majors in animal science at Platteville. He’s an agriculture ambassador for the school, traveling to high schools throughout the Midwest to recruit ag students to Platteville. If the Senate confirms Landes’ nomination, he’ll replace Katie Pointer as one of two students on the 18-member policy-setting body for the UW System. Her two-year term expired in May.


Wisconsinites can start signing up October first for health insurance from the online exchanges to be offered under the Affordable Care Act. But state officials have not disclosed the details of the new plans, or how much they’ll cost. Bobby Peterson of A-B-C for Health in Madison says people are most concerned about the cost factor, as the exchanges are about to take effect on January first. The Walker administration has announced the names of the companies to be part of the state government’s exchange – but there’s no announcement about the exact coverage or their rates. A deputy state insurance commissioner said this week that his department is still analyzing coverage-and-rate information. He did not say when it would be available. Donna Friedman of the U-W School of Medicine and Public Health said other states have already given rate data to their residents – including Ohio and Florida. Governor Scott Walker has long been an opponent of Obama-care. He refused to let the state set up its own exchange, deciding instead to use a federal template. He has also ordered those on Badger-Care who make more than the federal poverty income levels to use the state’s exchange instead of Badger-Care. 


The long-time editor of Madison’s Progressive Magazine is free on a $300, after he was arrested during yesterday’s State Capitol protest by the Solidarity Singers. Matt Rothschild was arrested for misdemeanor obstruction and resisting arrest. Officials said he did not comply with an order to move away after he photographed arrests of others who were cited. Rothschild did identify himself as a journalist who was working. A Walker administration spokeswoman said the Progressive editor interfered with an officer while he was detaining another person. Twenty-two non-criminal citations were given by Capitol Police yesterday, including one to Madison alderman Mark Clear. Over 220 arrests have been made since the administration began cracking down on the anti-Walker signing group that refuses to get required state permits for Capitol gatherings.   


Wisconsin’s Labor Day traffic safety campaign is getting underway. About 330 law enforcement agencies throughout the state are keeping a special eye out for drunk drivers. The campaign is called “Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over.” It starts today and runs for about two-and-a-half weeks through Labor Day. The state DOT said 37-percent of all traffic deaths in Wisconsin last year involved alcohol. State Patrol Major Sandra Huxtable says driving drunk is “entirely preventable … and it continues to devastate individuals, families and whole communities.” She said alcohol-related crashes killed 223 people last year in the Badger State, and another three-thousand were injured.