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CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: Sheboygan newlywed accused of beating his wife twice on their wedding night

A newlywed from Sheboygan is accused of beating his wife twice on their wedding night.  Twenty-six year old Jeffrey Schuette pleaded innocent this week to two misdemeanor counts of domestic abuse-battery.  A 500-dollar bond was ordered, and a tentative trial date is set for October 8th.  Prosecutors said Schuette insisted on driving his 22-year-old bride to a hotel even though he was intoxicated.  She reportedly said no and got a ride from somebody else.  At the hotel, authorities said Schuette hit his new wife several times in the face after she said he ruined her wedding night.  Officials said he punched the bride again later while the two were in bed.  Police said one of the bride's eyes was swollen, and her face was numb.  She told officers that he was violent toward her several times in the past -- but she never reported it until now.


Consumer scams against Wisconsinites keep growing.  Sandy Chalmers of the state's consumer protection agency says there are new scams and variations of old ones -- but the one constant is that there's always somebody trying to scam folks by phone and online.  This year, Chalmers says the most prevalent scams involve callers claiming to be with the I-R-S -- either to con people into thinking they owe back taxes, or they can get refunds if they provide their bank account numbers.  Other common scams tell victims they missed court dates, and they need to pay their fines on the phone -- and they need to pay 85-dollars to someone to get property deeds which are much cheaper at the courthouse.  Chalmers says folks always have to be vigilent because there are so many scams right now.  She says those getting suspicious calls should hang-up, not open suspicious e-mails, and contact the state Ag, Trade, and Consumer Protection agency to report the scams.


A California woman who climbed into a giraffe exhibit at the Madison zoo, and then complained about getting ticketed, has paid her fine.  Twenty-four year old Amanda Hall of San Luis Obispo tells W-I-S-N T-V in Milwaukee she wanted to feed grass to the giraffe when she climbed in last Saturday at the Vilas Park Zoo.  The 12-foot-tall animal ate grass from her hand, licked her, and then kicked her in the chin.  Hall was cited for harassing zoo animals, which carries a 686-dollar fine.  She told the Los Angeles Times this week she didn't need something like this on her record.  Hall still believes getting kicked in the face should be punishment enough -- but she paid the fine anyway and apologized.  Zoo officials said it wasn't the smartest thing for Hall to touch a giraffe -- because those animals are killing lions if they're provoked enough.


Three people were killed when a vehicle struck a utility pole in southeast Wisconsin.  It was reported around 12:50 yesterday afternoon, east of Fort Atkinson on Jefferson County Trunk "D."  Officials said the vehicle was going south when it lost control on a curve and struck the power pole.  All three people in the vehicle died at the scene.  The victims' names were not immediately released.  The crash remains under investigation.


A Michigan man is accused of breaking into the home of Wausau's police chief, and stealing his pick-up truck.  A Marathon County judge set bond at 20-thousand dollars yesterday for 39-year-old Jason Warner.  He's charged with felony counts of burglary and vehicle theft, and misdemeanor counts of theft and criminal damage.  The break-in was reported Tuesday at Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel's home in the town of Maine.  Officials said Warner left another vehicle in the chief's yard before stealing the truck.  Later that day, officials said Warner left Hardel's vehicle at a truck stop and got a ride from somebody else.  State troopers later got a report that a man was walking along Interstate-94, and they arrested Warner -- who had been reported as missing and endangered by his Michigan family.  He's due back in court next Wednesday in Wausau for a preliminary hearing.


A Milwaukee County prosecutor said he allowed a pushy salesman to avoid an extortion charge, if he apologizes to his purported target.  Brian Larson wanted the Lake Express car ferry to advertise in the quarterly Outer Boundary publication, based in Menasha.  According to assistant D-A David Feiss, Larson told Lake Express his publication would put out a negative story about the Lake Michigan car ferry if it didn't buy ads.  That was after a previous critical story about the Milwaukee ferry's opposition to a federal agreement involving the dumping of coal ash by a competing car ferry, the S-S Badger of Manitowoc.  Feiss tells the Journal Sentinel that Larson left a trail of incriminating e-mails and voice mails -- and instead of pursing criminal action, Feiss offered a diversion agreement in which an extortion charge won't be filed if he apologizes, does 40 hours of community service, and does not break any laws for six months.  If that doesn't happen, Feiss says he'll proceed with the case in court.


Minority owners of five former Racine taverns are trying again to win a federal lawsuit which claims that a conspiracy drove them out of business.  The tavern owners filed suit in federal court in Milwaukee, alleging that city officials and the local tavern league violated their civil rights.  A similar suit was thrown out last month.  Federal Judge J-P Stadtmueller said the original claims were too broad and vague -- but he said the allegations might have merit, and he allowed the plaintiffs to enter a clarified complaint.  Among other things, the minority bar owners said the city "waged war" on them since 2006 over crime at their establishments -- while ignoring similar conduct at bars owned and patronized by whites.  The suit claimed that minority-owned taverns vanished from downtown Racine by the end of last year.  It also alleged that officials took bribes and filed false campaign reports.  The new lawsuit has fewer defendants.  They include Mayor John Dickert, ex-Mayor Gary Becker, a former police chief, City Council members, the Racine Tavern League, various business owners, and the head of the Downtown Racine Corporation.