Tax Day looms but 1 million Wisconsinites haven't yet filed; most farmers still shed-bound; charges expected against bishop today, more state news
MADISON -- It's getting to be crunch time for thousands of Wisconsinites who have not yet filed their income tax returns. The deadline is midnight next Monday.
State Revenue Secretary Rick Chandler said 1.8 million returns have been filed and as of April 1st, over a million returns had not been turned in.
So far, 83 percent of Wisconsin tax filers have used the state's free Internet system and Chandler says it's the fastest way to get the job done and obtain a refund.
Those not able to meet Monday's filing deadline can file for an extension with the Internal Revenue Service and the federal extension will automatically be applied to a state return as well. Chandler says you still need to pay any taxes due by next Monday, or else you'll have interest charges of one percent a month.
State officials say people should ask for an online payment plan if they can't pay their full amounts by next week. The Revenue Department's Web site is at Revenue.wi.gov.
Critical comments forecast in 'State of the Tribe' address
MADISON -- Wisconsin lawmakers could get a real lecture Tuesday when a Chippewa Indian leader delivers the annual State of the Tribes address to both houses.
Lac Courte Oreilles tribal chairman Gordon Thayer will deliver the speech, at a time when relations are getting testy between the state and its 11 tribes.
The Bad River Indians are looking for donations to help them sue the state -- after new incentives were approved to help a new iron ore mine get built upstream from the tribe's reservation near Ashland.
Indians were also upset that Wisconsin adopted a wolf hunt last year, as they said the grey wolf was a sacred animal. In response, Indians killed an elk and tried to begin a night-time deer hunt in their ceded territory.
Also, the Department of Natural Resources was rankled when six Chippewa tribes dramatically increased their spear-fishing quotas. As a result, the state said it had to at least temporarily reduce daily walleye quotas for sport anglers.
Most farmers still shed-bound, awaiting warm-up
The final remnants of winter are holding up Wisconsin farmers, as they try to get ready to plant their crops.
The National Ag Statistics' Service issued the season's first crop report Monday. It said some fields still have a foot of snow or more - and farmers are concerned about a sheet of ice under some of that snow.
A little manure-hauling is taking place, but there's no field work being done yet.
The alfalfa and winter wheat crops are generally dormant, except for a little greening of the wheat in far southern Wisconsin.
It's also maple syrup season and the sap flow is much more normal than last year's warm spring that suddenly got cold and snowy in April. The sap run is said to be slow to excellent
Temperatures for last week averaged one to seven degrees below normal.
Meanwhile, a late season winter storm is expected to settle over a major portion of Minnesota Tuesday through Thursday.
The National Weather Service says a sleet and freezing rain mix will move into west central Minnesota this morning, and change over to snow by afternoon. The system is expected to move slowly, hitting the Twin Cities metro with freezing rain Tuesday afternoon and a transition to snow Tuesday night.
Eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin will see sleet and snow Wednesday. Final snowfall amounts will depend on how quickly the rain turns to snow, but meteorologists predict 6 to 12 inches across much of west central Minnesota.
A winter storm warning will continue until early Thursday afternoon.
Senate's moderate Republican says he won't change parties
State Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate extended the invitation Monday to 30-year legislative veteran Dale Schultz of Richland Center.
Assembly Republican Howard Marklein of Spring Green announced on Sunday that he would challenge Schultz in the G-O-P primary next year. Schultz told reporters Monday he wouldn't decide until this fall whether he'll run again.
He said a "level of intolerance for an independent voice" has developed in recent years and there's a Tea Party standard in which you have vote 100 percent their way or "you're not fit - it's a sign of the times."
Schultz said he voted with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald 98.7 percent of the time. But Schultz steered away from Republicans on some of the biggest issues of the past two sessions. He voted twice against mining incentive legislation, and he voted no to Act 10, the virtual ending of collective bargaining for most public unions in Wisconsin.
Tate said Democrats would target Schultz's Senate seat next year. They said Marklein could win the Republican primary, and then a Democrat would defeat him in November.
Marklein told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel it's possible, but he believes he can overcome that.
Kaukauna bullying incident now resolved; school makes changes
KAUKAUNA -- The school superintendent in Kaukauna said a bullying incident has been resolved, after the victim and his father placed an emotional story about it on Facebook.
Superintendent Mark Duerwaechter told his school board Monday night that the incident was indeed bullying and the instigators were held accountable.
The Facebook post featured a photo of the boy and his father - who wrote that his son was body-slammed three times by the same bully that's made his son's school year a "nightmare."
He wrote that he went to the police and school officials with no satisfaction. On Facebook, the father wrote "Tell school districts that protecting bullies by turning a blind eye is wrong!"
Duerwaechter said the incident will be a real lesson for Kaukauna school officials. He promises that the district will improve communication between parents and students, make its anti-bullying efforts stronger, and create a student assistance program to help students deal with a variety of barriers to learning - including bullies.
Four Wisconsin cities on Forbes 'Best Places To Raise A Family' list
Manitowoc, Marshfield, Stevens Point, and Fond du Lac all made the Forbes Magazine list of the 15 best places to raise a family.
Four small Wisconsin cities have earned a big honor, by making a Forbes Magazine list of the 15 best places to raise a family.
Manitowoc was ranked second behind only Dubuque, Iowa - which is just across the Highway 151 bridge from the Wisconsin border at Grant County. Marshfield was ranked fifth, Stevens Point sixth, and Fond du Lac 14th.
Only cities of 100,000 or less were ranked.
The Forbes survey was based on the shortness of work commutes, high school graduation rates, median household income, home ownership rates, and costs-of-living.
WW II vet wins France's highest military award
An Army Air Corps veteran from suburban Milwaukee has received the highest military honor in France.
Retired Lt. Col. Edward Tyre of Brookfield was given the French Legion of Honor award during a ceremony in Madison.
Tyre, who's now 88, flew more than 50 combat missions over France, Germany, and Italy during World War Two in 1944-and-'45.
French general consul Paul Graham thanked Tyre for helping liberate the French during that time. Tyre said he was accepting the award in the name of his comrades - most of whom have passed away.
Weekend violence claims 4 lives in Milwaukee
Milwaukee Police are still trying to sort out the details of a violent weekend. Four people died from shootings or stabbings - and eight others were wounded.
That includes a double-shooting incident Monday morning, in which a 41-year-old man and a 39-year-old woman were found dead. Police said both lived together on Milwaukee's south side - but they could not say whether domestic violence was the motive. Officials said they did not believe the two were married. There was no word on any possible suspects.
Also, police Monday identified a murder victim from Saturday. They said 58-year-old Carlos Diaz-Ruiz was stabbed to death, and his 18-year-old stepson has been arrested. Also, a 35-year-old Beloit man was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Police said it appeared to be a self-inflicted wound, but they're still waiting for autopsy results.
Milwaukee has now recorded 18 homicides so far this year. That's down one from the first three months of 2012.
Lutheran bishop expected to be charged in weekend hit & run death
SUN PRAIRIE -- Charges could be filed Tuesday against a Lutheran bishop suspected of driving drunk, and killing a woman who was training in Sun Prairie for a 20-mile run.
Bruce Burnside, 59, of Madison is being held without bond on possible charges of negligent or drunken homicide, and hit-and-run causing death.
Police said Burnside's car struck 52-year-old Maureen Mengelt on Sunday at the northbound exit ramp of Highway 151 at Windsor Street in Sun Prairie. Officials said Burnside knocked down a traffic light and kept going but his vehicle got stuck a block away, and that's where he was arrested.
Court records show that the bishop has had just four minor traffic tickets in the past.
Burnside has headed the South Central Wisconsin synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 2007. It includes almost 150 congregations and 110,000 baptized members.
Assistant Bishop Blake Rohrer said the synod's staff and executive committee are handling Burnside's duties for now.
Burnside is known in the religious community as an advocate for social justice. He's a previous head of the national ELCA's committee on Middle East concerns.
Mengelt's husband told a reporter that his wife was struck while preparing for the Syttende Mai 20-mile running race in Stoughton in May. Maureen Mengelt is a former teacher and Madison police officer. She became a full-time mother almost two decades ago, after her daughter was born.
Several Wisconsin Caribou Coffee outlets on "closing" list
Hundreds of people in southeast Wisconsin will have to find some other place to get their Morning Joe.
Caribou Coffee said Monday it would close 80 under performing stores throughout the U.S. next Sunday - and 88 other Caribou locations would be converted to Peet's Coffee-and-Tea shops over the next 12- to 18 months.
Some of those conversions would be in eastern Wisconsin, although Caribou did not say where. A customer service official said five Caribous in the Milwaukee area will be the only ones in Wisconsin to close on Sunday.
Two coffee-houses in Brookfield will shut down, along with shops in Glendale, Mequon, and Racine. A German investment firm bought Caribou Coffee in January for $340 million.
Before then, the Minneapolis-based Caribou had around 600 locations. After the closings, it will have 468 shops including more than a dozen in the Badger State.
HR manager charged with embezzling $1 million-plus
MILWAUKEE -- A human resources manager for a large Milwaukee scrap recycler is free on a signature bond, after being charged with embezzling over a million-dollars from her company.
Jacqueline Fox, 44, made her first appearance in Milwaukee County Circuit Court Monday on six felony embezzlement counts. She's due back in court April 18th, to determine if there's enough evidence to order a trial.
Prosecutors allege that Fox stole most of the money by authorizing direct deposits for seven former employees - and she allegedly made an unauthorized payment to herself of around $13,000. Officials said she got caught last summer when a worker received a wrong pay envelope by mistake.
The criminal complaint quoted Fox as saying she used the money to care for her paralyzed mother and pay school tuition for her daughter. Investigators also found that she made large ATM withdrawals from Milwaukee's Potawatomi Casino - although she denied having a gambling problem.