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CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: Some scam stories have happy endings

As Wisconsinites fall victim to more-and-more scams, at least some horror stories have happy endings. That was the case in Lincoln County, where officials stopped an elderly Gleason woman from losing eight-thousand dollars. According to authorities, a scammer contacted the woman on a social media site, and they became friends. She then agreed to his request to open a new bank account, cash a check, and wire the money to Georgia where he claimed that she had relatives in trouble. This time, however, the scammer couldn't run off with the cash -- because a bank clerk called police last week after noticing that the woman's check was phony. A Wittenberg area couple was not as fortunate. They lost two-thousand dollars last week to the so-called "Grandparent Scam." It's been around for decades, with the scammer claiming that a grandchild needs money after getting in trouble in some faraway place. Today, authorities say scammers can go on social media and learn where younger people are vacationing -- which makes the phony pleas for help sound more real. Authorities say folks can help their elderly relatives by being careful in discussing their vacation plans on their public social media pages.


Journalism students at Fond du Lac High School say a new policy amounts to censorship -- and they plan to make their case to the School Board tonight. Last month, the student magazine "Cardinal Columns" published a story about a new prevalence of jokes at school about rape, with anonymous stories from victims. The principal and superintendent said the subject matter might too suggestive and inappropriate for immature youngsters. This month, the students were told about a new policy that allows the principal to oversee all student publications, and leave out items so they won't be published. That triggered opposition not only from the students -- but from 16 staffers in Fond du Lac High's English Department. They wrote a 22-page statement which called the rape-joke story responsible journalism. The teachers also said the new policy censors student expression, and breaks with 100 years of precedent. They urged the School Board to either throw out the new policy, or put it on hold and have a collaboration of interests draft new rules. Superintendent James Sebert tells the Fond du Lac Reporter the new guidelines are reasonable for a school-sponsored publication. School Board vice president Susan Jones said the issue should be revisited -- and she believes in free speech as long as it's not offensive.


Waupaca County authorities are learning more about two groups of animals found dead over the weekend. Officials now say they might have been killed by other animals in the wild, and somebody disposed of them improperly. Investigators are trying to determine who rounded up the animals, after the carcasses were discovered in the towns of Royalton and Lebanon. A group of dead geese and ducks was found near Royalton. At Lebanon, four dismembered chickens were found along a roadside together, along with a dead deer and a cat.


A fire that heavily damaged a home in Racine was caused by a youngster playing with fireworks. It happened late Saturday night. Crews quickly extinguished the blaze in a second floor bedroom -- and the cause came to light a short time later. No one was hurt in the blaze. The total damage was over 25-thousand dollars.