WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: At least seven people killed in accidents over the weekend
At least seven people were killed in Wisconsin traffic accidents during the weekend. The latest report comes from La Crosse County, where a motorcyclist died after colliding with a car in Brice Prairie. Authorities said a 27-year-old Onalaska man was on County Trunk "Z" approaching a turn to get to Highway 35, when he crossed the center and skidded into the path of an oncoming car. The car driver was an 18-year-old Onalaska area woman. Officials said alcohol did not appear to be a factor. Six other people were killed in five crashes in Portage, Wood, Lincoln, Dane, and Green counties.
Crews will begin stabilizing the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge in Green Bay today, to keep it from sagging further before support piers can be checked and reinforced. The 51 concrete support piers were not anchored on limestone bedrock underground -- and some outside engineers say it might be why the bridge sank two-feet on September 25th. D-O-T project manager Tom Buchholz tells the Green Bay Press-Gazette that designers do not always require support beams to touch the bedrock if the soil conditions are right. The bridge was built in 1980, and U-W Green Bay geologist John Luczaj said conditions that were safe then might have gotten worse. He said soil samples at the bridge uncovered loose sand and wet clay. The D-O-T points to another problem as a possible cause -- corrosion around the pier that sank, which may have caused uncorroded beams to buckle. D-O-T regional bridge engineer Dale Weber says his engineers are confident that corrosion is the main cause. Still, he said soil conditions would also be studied -- and nothing will be left unexamined. The Leo Frigo bridge in located north of downtown Green Bay on Interstate-43 over the Fox River. It's expected to be closed for at least a few more months.
A potentially-violent man who escaped from a state mental institution in early July is back in custody. U-S Marshals and Fond du Lac Police arrested 30-year-old Graham Stowe during the weekend. He was taken to the Fond du Lac County Jail on Saturday. Stowe left the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison on July second, and officials said he had a history of violent behavior. He was found innocent-by-insanity for an incident in the Green Bay area in 2004. Authorities said he tried kidnapping his ex-girlfriend, held her brother hostage, and tried burning her father with gasoline.
In Wisconsin, you get a tougher penalty for soliciting sex online with a minor, than for actually having that sex. A lawyer for a suburban Milwaukee defendant says that's unfair -- and he'll challenge the stronger penalty if he's convicted. 55-year-old James Heidke worked as a contracted food service director at the Whitnall School District, when he allegedly texted and e-mailed whom he thought was a 15-year-old boy to arrange sex. When they met, the teen was actually a Milwaukee police officer who arrested Heidke for using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. State lawmakers said they were tired of seeing defendants get probation for those crimes -- so last year, they required a mandatory five-year prison term as a penalty enhancer for soliciting child sex online. Heidke's lawyer, Michael Hart, says that if his client actually had sex with the youngster, there was a good chance he'd stay out of prison. Therefore, Hart says the penalty for planning sex is higher than for actually doing it -- and he wants the penalty enhancer dropped. Prosecutors justify the higher penalty. They say that soliciting sex is a more calculated and predatory act -- while the actual sex could come from a moment of human weakness. Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Borowski will decide the issue of the penalty-enhancer next month.
A 12-year-old boy from suburban Milwaukee has become the youngest African-American ever to be named an Eagle Scout in the U-S. James Hightower-the-Third, a seventh grader from Glendale, was honored during a weekend ceremony in Milwaukee. He achieved the Eagle Scout rank by starting up a service project to rebuild deteriorated bleachers at a baseball diamond. He raised money for the work, and recruited other scouts to help build the bleachers. Hightower is among the youngest to receive the Eagle Scout ranking. The average age of an honoree is 17. Only seven-percent of Boy Scouts achieve the ranking. Hightower's parents said they're impressed by his drive. He says he hopes to become a lawyer someday.
Police in Muskego have arrested a man who allegedly struck his mother with a car and then drove off. Officers were called to a domestic dispute around four yesterday morning. Officials said a 29-year-old man was trying to leave a house when his vehicle struck his mother. She was treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The man fled on foot, and was arrested later