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CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: Wausau City Council votes to make sure bartenders don't get drunk as their customers

The Wausau City Council has voted for a second time to join a handful of other Wisconsin cities that make sure bartenders don't get as drunk as their customers. The council voted 8-to-2 last night to override a veto from Mayor Jim Tipple -- who claimed that the aldermen rammed through the measure without input from the affected bars. Unlike other cities which mandate absolute sobriety for bartenders, Wausau's ordinance lets bartenders join in on the drinking a little bit, up to a point-zero-four blood alcohol level. That's half the state's limit for drunk driving. Supporters said the measure's needed so bartenders can monitor their customers, and prevent them from driving away drunk. Council President Lisa Rasmussen took issue with the mayor's claim that the proposal didn't get public input. She said it went through the same process as other measures. Rasmussen also noted that neighboring Weston would have considered the same limit this week, but that meeting was called off due to the cold weather. Mayor Tipple says it's possible the measure could come back to the Wausau council for further review.


A 300-year-old Stradivarius violin was stolen in a robbery after it was played during a Monday night performance in Milwaukee. The Lipinski Stradivarius was on loan to Milwaukee Symphony concert-master Frank Almond, who performed with it at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Police Chief Ed Flynn said Almond was walking to his vehicle afterward when a robber knocked out the musician with a stun gun, took the violin, and fled in a maroon or burgundy mini-van with a separate get-away driver. Almond is still recovering, and he will not be on stage with the orchestra this weekend. Flynn told reporters yesterday that the F-B-I's art crimes' team is looking into the crime, along with the international police organization Interpol. An article in 2008 valued the instrument at three-point-six million dollars, but Flynn said only a very small number of people would appreciate its value -- and it could not easily be sold for even a fraction of its worth. The violin has a unique pattern on its back. It was crafted in 1715 in Cremona Italy. Its current owners are anonymous. Polish violinist Karol Lipinski owned it in the late 1790's and 1800's, and her name stayed with it. Officials said the instrument needs to be played to be preserved because of its wooden construction. Almond once said it's a "finicky" violin that responds differently to various temperatures and humidity levels.  


Hundreds of people filled a church in West Bend last night to mourn the death of Andrew Boldt, the Purdue University student murdered in a classroom last Tuesday. School president Mitch Daniels and Boldt's fellow engineering students traveled from the West Lafayette Indiana campus to attend the service, held at Saint Francis Cabrini Catholic Church. Daniels said that as he learned about the 21-year-old Boldt and his family, he realized that America does not have any finer people. The president of Milwaukee Marquette High School, where Boldt graduated in 2010, attended the service along with numerous teachers and friends. Purdue said yesterday it would bring in counselors and therapy dogs on Friday for a "Day of Healing" in the wake of Boldt's murder, allegedly committed by fellow student Cody Cousins. The therapy dogs will be from Indiana's K-9 Assisted Crisis Response Team. It was found that dogs helped comfort college students after the deadly campus shootings at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, and Alabama-Huntsville in recent years.


A central Wisconsin man is due back in court on Monday, after he skipped out of an earlier court appearance and was re-captured. 26-year-old Cody Phillips is accused of killing his dog with a hammer. Portage County authorities took Phillips into custody without incident yesterday at his Bancroft home. He was released later, after his 500-dollar cash bond was re-affirmed. He had posted the bond after he was charged last Friday. Prosecutors said Phillips was sick of his blue-tick coon-hound Clyde defecating in his home. He told officers his wife might come back if he got rid of the pet. Clyde was later found in a ditch with a broken jaw and several blows. Phillips is charged with a felony count of fatal animal mistreatment. A pre-trial conference and initial plea hearing in the case are scheduled for February 10th.


A trial is scheduled to begin today for a central Wisconsin man accused of cashing his missing mother-in-law's Social Security checks for 33 years. 72-year-old Ronald Disher of Almond is facing Portage County charges of identity theft, theft-by-fraud, forgery, and mail fraud for allegedly stealing 175-thousand dollars in benefits for Marie Jost. He's also charged with reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct for allegedly attacking a sheriff's deputy who searched his home. Disher also faces a count of battery by prisoners. His trial is scheduled to run through Friday in Stevens Point. Disher, his wife Delores, and her brother Charles Jost were all accused of cashing Social Security checks that kept coming for Marie Jost -- even though she's been missing since 1988 and is presumed dead. Charles Jost was found innocent-by-insanity in the case, and a judge is scheduled to decide February 17th where he'll be placed for mental health treatment. Delores Jost had four criminal charges dismissed last year, after she had a stroke and was found unfit to stand trial.