Sudden ice-out spurs river rescue; high winds damage Manitowoc school; 7 more state stories
MARINETTE -- Ten people were rescued in northeast Wisconsin last night, after four small fishing boats got stranded in the rising Menominee River at Marinette. Three children and two dogs were among those pulled in. None were hurt. Rescuers were called about 6:30 p-m.
Marinette fire lieutenant Steve Campbell said the boats got caught in swift currents and rapidly-rising waters, caused when ice broke apart up the river and came downward. Campbell says it's not safe to go on the river until all the ice is broken up.
Parts of eight rivers in Wisconsin remain under flood warnings, after heavy rains and thunderstorms pounded the southern half of the state this weekend. The Wisconsin River at Portage and the Chippewa River at Durand are both expected to stay above their banks until Thursday. Minor flooding has been reported.
The Fox River in Kenosha County will rise above its flood stage by early afternoon. Parts of the Kickapoo, Milwaukee, Sheboygan, and Root rivers are all projected to go above their banks Monday and Monday evening with minor-to-moderate floods possible.
The Mississippi River was one to three and one-half feet below its banks overnight at Wabasha and Prairie du Chien.
High winds, snow blamed for power outages, late school starts
More than 5,000 electric customers in Wisconsin were in the dark Monday morning following a weekend of high winds, heavy rains, and waterlogged snow.
We Energies had almost 2,400 customers out, mainly in the Jefferson and Campbellsport regions.
The Wisconsin Public Service utility reported just over 1,500 outages by 6:30 a.m., mostly in the Chilton, Crivitz, Green Bay, and Plainfield areas.
Wisconsin Power & Light reported almost 1,400 outages, mostly in Grant, Iowa, Adams, Wood, and Menominee counties.
Weather hadn't closed any schools in Wisconsin, but over three dozen districts were starting two hours late.
High winds and heavy rain damaged a roof and two classrooms at Cleveland Elementary School in Manitowoc County.
Cleveland Elementary has 166 students, and is part of the Sheboygan School District. The winds ripped up a canopy which covered the front of the school. Superintendent Joe Sheehan says it's fortunate that only two classrooms were damaged -- one that houses four-year-old kindergarten, and the other for the Northeast Wisconsin Montessori Charter School.
Winds up to 75 miles per hour knocked a tree onto the roof of a home in Cleveland. Trees and power lines went down, and a garage reportedly blew off its foundation. Valders in Manitowoc County has reported the most rain so far with more than five inches since Saturday.
Snow and ice were the problems in northern Wisconsin Monday morning. Rhinelander had four an one-half inches by 5:30 a.m.
The National Weather Service promised that the precipitation would clear out by Monday afternoon, leaving cloudy skies and highs in the 20's and 30's. It's expected to be a bit warmer Tuesday, with highs from 30 to 40.
Many motorcycle fatalities involve unlicensed riders
MADISON -- Over a third of Wisconsin motorcycle deaths involve bikers who are not supposed to be on the road.
Wisconsin Department of Transportation records show that 36 percent of motorcyclists who died in crashes over the last 10 years did not have the valid state cycle license. That means they never passed the required skills test or received proper training to ride a motorcycle safely.
The state and the ABATE biker group are trying to change that, with an education campaign that encourages bikers to be licensed before hitting the road.
Greg Patzer of WDOT told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that thousands of people have been riding for years without a license.
Five years ago, the state sent letters to the owners of 31,000 registered motorcycles who did not have licenses.
Last year, the state prosecuted over 850 people for riding without the necessary motorcycle endorsement. The normal fine is $200, plus three demerit points on a regular driver's license.
'Heartbleed' computer bug prompting password changes, banks say
There's no way of knowing how many Wisconsinites could be affected by the Heartbleed Bug but if nothing else, it's got lots of folks changing their passwords on things like their e-mail and online bank accounts. The state's largest homegrown bank, Associated, told its online customers that its systems did not reveal any susceptibility to the encryption flaw. Other firms are alerting their customers about the status of their software systems.
Many institutions have moved quickly to patch their codes over the last week but Nick Davis of UW Madison says companies that don't respond could be leaving their users' sensitive data at risk.
The Heartbleed Bug affects encrypted data on sites with "HTTPS" in their addresses. Experts say the bug's been around for up to three years but now that it's gotten heavy publicity, hackers might jump in.
Davis says there's no real evidence that the security hole has been exploited. Still, he says this is a good example of why you should change your passwords every month or so.
Associated Bank advises its customers to use passwords which are unique to other ones they have. Davis says it's also a good idea to check your online financial accounts daily for unusual activity.
Lincoln County homicide trial continues MERRILL -- The defense was expected to start making its case Monday in homicide trial of Mark Bucki. The state rested its case late last week in Lincoln County Circuit Court in Merrill.
The 50-year-old Bucki is accused of stabbing and strangling his 48-year-old wife Anita last April, and then dumping her remains in a swamp about 20 miles away in Taylor County.
The defense says there's no evidence which links Bucki to the crimes. Authorities said he was seeing another woman, and he stood to gain about $150,000 in his wife's insurance benefits.
Earlier testimony indicated that Anita was trying to get back together with her husband. It's now known whether Bucki will testify in his own defense.
The trial is scheduled to run through Thursday.
-- Larry Lee, WSAU, Wausau
Former Assembly leader to answer assault allegations
WAUKESHA -- Former Wisconsin Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer was expected in court Monday morning on charges that he groped a woman after a Republican fund raiser in 2011.
Kramer, a Waukesha Republican, was recently charged with two felony counts of second-degree sexual assault.
The woman said Kramer tried to kiss her, grabbed her breasts, and claimed he wanted to have sex with her. That was reportedly after a Republican event in Muskego.
Kramer told officers he kissed the woman good-night, but did not grope her. The new charges were filed after allegations that Kramer groped a woman and sexually harassed another during a GOP fund-raising trip to Washington a few weeks ago. He was removed from his majority leader's post after those reports came to light.
Lawmakers of both parties are urging him to resign now from his Assembly seat, but he won't do so.
Kramer plans to step down when his current term ends in early January.
Kremer, 49, who is single, is a certified financial planner, attorney, and certified public accountant. He served on the Waukesha County Board before he was elected to the Assembly 2006.
Lightning likely caused fire at Portage museum
PORTAGE -- A fire is being investigated at a museum in Portage where Pulitzer Prize-winning author Zona Gale once lived.
Lightning may have struck the brick building early Sunday, but officials were not certain. Damage was confined to the northeast corner of "The Museum at the Portage."
Board member Ted Rebholz told the Portage Daily Register that Gale's old bedroom was damaged -- and historic photos on the walls were charred.
It was the home of William and Zona Gale Breese, and was donated to the city of Portage in 1942.
Walker expected to sign bill permitting sworn officers at Marquette
MILWAUKEE -- Marquette University can have its own full-fledged police officers, under a bill expected to be signed into law Monday morning.
Gov. Scott Walker was to hold a ceremony at the private Milwaukee Jesuit school.
It allows Marquette to have officers who can enforce state-and-local laws on the campus groups and adjacent areas. The university officers would have the same arrest powers as Milwaukee Police.
Assembly Republican Dale Kooyenga of Brookfield and Senate Republican Alberta Darling of River Hills were the lead sponsors of the measure, and lawmakers of both parties co-sponsored it.
Last month, Marquette officials said they had not decided whether to hire its own sworn officers.
Marathon trivia contest ends
STEVENS POINT -- Thousands of trivia players in central Wisconsin are finally getting some sleep Monday.
The 45th annual edition of the World's Largest Trivia Contest ended at midnight at UW Stevens Point.
More than 370 teams with well over 11,000 players took part in the 54-hour contest, with a new question coming after two songs are played on the campus radio station, WWSP FM.
The team of "Dad's Computers, Never Say Die" won its second straight title, scoring 21,655 points. Teams also got points by finding "Trivia Stones" around Stevens Point. That encourages teams to actually be there, instead of trying to play online.
Many teams said it's the friendship and camaraderie that bring them back year after year. Seven teams managed to make it through the entire 54 hours without scoring a single point. Three others scored 50 or less.
-- Raymond Neupert, WSAU, Wausau