Weather Forecast


STATE NEWS ROUNDUP: Former Hazel Green police chief was working under the influence of alcohol

Investigators did not have to look far to confirm that the former police chief in Hazel Green was working under the influence of alcohol. The village attorney said Brian Klein had a blood alcohol level of point-zero-seven when he met with an investigator from nearby Platteville on September 19th. Village attorney Eileen Brownlee said a number of residents complained that Chief Klein had been working under the influence. The village asked Platteville Police to check it out. And while Klein was not legally drunk when he met with the investigator, Brownlee said it was the "catalyst" for Klein submitting his resignation. It took effect September 30th in Hazel Green, which is in Grant and Lafayette counties.


A Madison man appeared in court in La Crosse yesterday, on charges that he brutally beat a man at the home of his ex-girlfriend. Police said 31-year-old Thomas Beitlich fled after the attack -- and he turned himself in yesterday while accompanied by his attorney. Authorities said Beitlich busted into the woman's house early Sunday, and repeatedly struck the man who was there with an undisclosed blunt object. Police said the 33-year-old victim had up to 20 cuts to his head, plus a possible skull fracture. In court yesterday, District Attorney Tim Gruenke said the man had several skull fractures -- and there's a chance he might not survive, in which case Beitlich could face a full homicide charge with the possibility of life in prison. Right now, he's charged only with attempted homicide, and he's jailed under a quarter-million dollar bond. Gruenke said burglary and stalking charges could also be filed. Beitlich returns to court October 25th, to determine if there's enough evidence to put him on trial.


More people are being killed in all-terrain and ultra-terrain vehicle accidents in Wisconsin. D-N-R warden Todd Schaller said 18 people have died so far this year in A-T-V and U-T-V crashes in all parts of the Badger State. That's the same number of deaths as in all of 2009. Schaller says recreational vehicles are popular tools for hunting -- and with the height of the hunting seasons approaching, he says it's a big concern. The main concern is alcohol. Schaller said half of this year's deaths involved people who were drinking -- and staying sober while driving is a key to A-T-V safety. He says others include wearing helmets, driving at reasonable speeds for conditions and driver experience, and taking an A-T-V safety course. 


Kenosha County authorities said a driver might have been drunk when he caused a crash that killed a five-year-old boy. It happened just after six last evening at an intersection in the town of Somers. According to sheriff's deputies, a man was heading north on 72nd Avenue when he drove through a stop-sign on County Trunk "E" and collided with a van coming from his right. The boy was a passenger in the van, and his sister was the driver. She and the other driver were both taken a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Deputies continue to investigate.


Benzene has turned up in a village well in Jackson -- and a consultant blames a 2012 gasoline pipeline spill more than two miles away. The consulting firm of City Water said the village well attracted groundwater from broken rock underneath the spill -- which occurred 15 months ago in the town of Jackson. A gas distribution line owned by the West Shore Pipeline Company busted open and spill almost 55-thousand gallons of gas. Forty-four private wells have been contaminated with benzene and related chemicals. The consultant's finding marks the first time that a municipal well has been affected by the spill. Jackson officials say the water supply has not exceeded the federal safety standards for benzene levels. The well has not been used since the testing in July. Officials say it will have to re-open so another well in Jackson can be shut down for a routine inspection. The adjacent town has sought to use village water for the most affected residents. Meanwhile, the spill continues to be cleaned up. Just under 20-thousand gallons, or about a-third of the lost fuel, has been recovered as of last week.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

(715) 243-7767 x243