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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Policeman in Neillsville kills person in confrontation

NEILLSVILLE - A police officer in west-central Wisconsin shot a person to death during a confrontation early today.  

Neillsville Police were called to an apparent domestic disturbance at a home just after 2:30 this morning.  Police Chief Brad Lindner said one of his officers was confronted by an armed subject -- and the subject was then shot to death.  The person was flown to a Marshfield hospital and later died.  Other details were not immediately released.  Clark County sheriff's deputies and the state Justice Department have taken over an investigation of the incident.  


Another snowstorm is expected for most of the state this weekend.  The National Weather Service in Sullivan says most of the state will see three to five inches of snow, with counties along Lake Michigan seeing five to seven inches of snow. From northern Marinette to southern Kenosha, Counties along Lake Michigan are under a Lake Effect Snow Advisory tonight until 6 p.m. tomorrow night. Officials advise travelers to take extra time and slow down. Snow-covered roads will get slippery tonight


Following Sunday's deadly pileups, officials are stressing common sense on Wisconsin roadways. Wisconsin State Patrol advises motorists to stay inside their vehicles if at all possible after a wintertime crash or sliding off the road.  A spokesman says unless you absolutely have to get out of your vehicle… it’s best to stay inside, buckle up, call 911 and wait for law enforcement to arrive. The snowfall last weekend along with icy conditions and speed led to several pileups, road closures, traffic delays, several injuries, and three deaths. Several people could be seen on traffic video getting out of their vehicles and walking around in those dangerous conditions.


A Milwaukee couple will serve time for child neglect. 28-year-old Joseph Walker and 27-year-old Brenda McGee will serve three month in jail and five years of probation. The couple was accused of neglecting their infant daughter and not seeking proper treatment for malnourishment. The infant was hospitalized on April 19 after sharing an adult bed with her twin brother. Authorities say the boy was also malnourished and died during the night. The couple were also charged with neglecting the boy, but a stay in sentencing was granted, pending a medical investigation.


A former UW-Madison accountant is suspected of embezzling almost $145,000.  42-year-old Sonja Dedrick of Verona is facing possible criminal action, after revenues she was supposed to deposit turned up missing.  News releases indicate that she's been charged, but online court records did not list the case as of early afternoon.  UW officials said Dedrick was a senior accountant for the Swap Shop in Verona, which sold a variety of state government property that's no longer needed -- things like office furniture and computers.  The University said Dedrick claimed to have needed the money to keep her home out of foreclosure.  Online court records show that a foreclosure case was filed against Dedrick 23 months ago.  Police said the missing money has been recovered, and the Swap Shop is reviewing its accounting practices.


There's no evidence that a large fire in downtown Ripon was started on purpose.  Police Chief Dave Lukoski said today that the cause of Wednesday morning's blaze is still being investigated -- but federal, state, and local officers could find no evidence of arson. He said a number of accidental causes are not being ruled out.  Fire Chief Tim Saul said it's been hard to investigate, because large amounts of ice are coating the structures.  He said the stability of the old buildings is a concern, and walls are being taken down one piece at a time.  The fire destroyed three buildings that contained businesses and apartments.  About two dozen tenants were displaced.  Ripon's Chamber of Commerce said the remaining businesses on Watson Street remain open, although part of the street is closed.


The state DNR says Waukesha has not done enough to justify its request to tap into Lake Michigan for its drinking water.  State officials are questioning the city's forecast for water usage from now to 2050.  Waukesha's population is expected to grow by 36-percent over that time, but the city says it will need to use 45-percent more water each day.  City water utility officials expect industries to step up their water usage, now that the economy is improving.  Utility manager Dan Duchniak says he'll schedule a meeting with DNR officials next week to explain Waukesha's projections.  The city is under orders to improve the quality of its drinking water, and get rid of radium from the city's relatively low wells.  Waukesha is trying to become the first community outside the Great Lakes' natural basins to get a Great Lakes usage permit under the 2008 Great Lakes water protection compact.  It requires communities outside the basins to get approval from all eight Great Lakes states to tap in.  Before that can happen, the Wisconsin DNR must give its blessing. 


State health officials say they'll call-and-write all 83,000 childless adults who have to wait another three months to get on BadgerCare.  They'll also call another 80,000 childless adults who are on a waiting list to get BadgerCare. Plus, but will no longer be eligible due to changes in income limits.  Governor Scott Walker proposed the changes, so those having to sign up for Obamacare due to the state's actions will have an extra three months to sign up.  Republicans cited Internet problems with the federal government's purchasing exchange as the reason to delay the sign-up deadlines.  Those losing BadgerCare -- plus those in the state's high-risk insurance pool that's being phased out -- would have until March 31st instead of December 31st to get other coverage from the exchanges.  The state Assembly has approved the changes.  They're still pending in the Senate.


If Governor Scott Walker has his way, more logging activity would take place at Wisconsin's only national forest.  Gannett Wisconsin Media recently quoted forestry experts as saying the Chequamegon-Nicolet  forest in northern Wisconsin is underused.  They blamed short-sighted federal harvest goals -- something the U.S. Forest Service has blamed on a lack of federal funds.  Walker issued a statement about the subject yesterday, when he held a Forestry Economic summit in Madison.  He agreed that the Chequamegon-Nicolet is under-harvested -- and a more responsible plan would boost the state's economy.  Walker said millions-of-feet of timber are waiting to be harvested in sensitive, sustainable ways.  Gannett said the federal government had a plan which allowed for a harvest of one-point-three billion board feet over a decade -- but only 60-percent of that was actually taken in.  The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is getting a consultant to draft a stewardship plan for the forest, at a cost of almost $50,000 over the next six months.  The state agency says it could also include new ways to manage vegetation, improving habitat, maintaining forest roads and trails, and reducing fire hazards.


A possible candidate for Wisconsin governor was expected to be released from a hospital this week, after she had surgery following a snow-related traffic crash.  State Senate Democrat Kathleen Vinehout of Alma was injured last Sunday on a snow-covered stretch of Interstate-94 in Racine County.  Her Facebook page said Vinehout had an eight-hour operation on Wednesday to repair her broken right arm.  The post said metal plates and screws were used to re-construct bone fragments, and she expects to regain much of the mobility in her arm and elbow.  Vinehout has been traveling throughout the state to gauge support for a possible Democratic primary bid against Mary Burke.  Vinehout also run for governor a year ago in Scott Walker's recall contest.  


State officials say they're not surprised that Wisconsin led the nation in initial claims for unemployment benefits during the final week of November.  The U.S. Labor Department said yesterday that over 4,400 people in Wisconsin filed their first requests for jobless benefits in late November.  Ohio was a distant second with almost 26-hundred claims.  State workforce development officials told the Madison Capital Times that Wisconsin normally sees an uptick in benefit requests around Thanksgiving, partially due to deer hunting.  The agency said unemployment claims for the year were down by almost 17-and-a-half percent from this time in 2012, and they're the lowest since 2009.  Meanwhile, an estimated 24,000 Wisconsinites stand to lose their federally-funded unemployment benefits at the end of December.  The U.S. House left a proposed extension out of a federal budget compromise it passed yesterday.  Senate leaders promised to tackle the issue next month when they return from their holiday recess.  


The Minneapolis police union will not challenge the recent firings of two officers involved in a racially-charged incident in Green Bay.  The union also said it would not support Shawn Powell and Brian Thole if they decide to challenge the terminations on their own.  Both served in the military in the Iraq War, and KARE-TV of the Twin Cities said they can challenge the firings under their veterans' preference benefits.  Each will have 60 days to decide.  Powell and Thole were off-duty when they exchanged words with a group of African-American men and got into a fight outside a Green Bay night spot on June 29th.  A short time later, officials said the white officers went to the Green Bay police headquarters and made racial slurs.  Powell and Thole reportedly asked the city's officers not to include their names in any reports about the incident, saying their female police chief is a lesbian looking to fire people.


Eastbound boaters say there's a problem with the new decorative lighting on the Blatnik Bridge that connects Superior Wisconsin and Duluth Minnesota.  The Gopher State's transportation department has turned off the lights for several days, to find out why the mariners complained of glare.  DOT engineers and the lighting contractor will re-aim some of the lighting fixtures, so they don't interfere with marine traffic.  Navigational and roadway lights will stay on as usual.  Both states shared the initial cost of the decorative lighting, around $1.2 million dollars.  Wisconsin questioned the need for the lights at first.  But the state later agreed to pay its share at the request of Duluth-Superior residents and officials.  They said a lit-up Blatnik Bridge is an historic icon, and a sign of unity between the two cities.


Twenty-five million dollars was added today to the Mega Millions jackpot for tonight's drawing.  That brings the top prize to 425-million, the second-highest in the game's history.  The odds of winning the jackpot are one-in-176 million.  But if you luck out somehow, you could take a $228-million lump sum now, instead of getting the whole prize in annual installments.  Mega Millions used to be played in just 12 states until it reached a licensing agreement with Powerball in 2010.  That brought Wisconsin aboard, and 43 states now offer both games -- along with Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  In October, Mega Millions did what Powerball did -- readjust its number selections to make the jackpot tougher to win, but to make it easier to win smaller prizes. Unlike Powerball, though, the price of a Mega Millions ticket did not go up.  It's still one-dollar, whereas Powerball has been charging two-bucks a ticket for almost two years.  Mega Millions had the world's largest lottery prize back in March of 2012 -- $656-million dollars, split three ways.  With the October changes, the odds of winning any Mega Millions prize is down to 1-in-15.