Thunderstorms down power lines; Fugitive cop captured; DNR chastised for euthanizing fawn; eight more state news stories
Heavy thunderstorms overnight left almost 65,000 electric customers without power in the northern half of Wisconsin.
Appleton police said 90% of the city was in the dark at one point. Winds hit 86 mph in Appleton. Parts of Barron County had golf-ball-sized hail.
The National Weather Service said there was heavy damage to Trinity Lutheran Church in New London. That’s also where camper units flipped over at the Huckleberry Campground. No injuries were reported there, but the weather service said injuries were possible at the Apple Creek campground near Wrightstown in Brown County.
Trees and power lines fell throughout eastern and central Wisconsin as far west as Marshfield. Kaukauna had gas leaks. A semi-truck overturned on I-43 near Maribel in Manitowoc County.
As of 5 a.m. We Energies reported about 48,000 customers without power, mostly in the Appleton region. Wisconsin Public Service had 13,000 customers out, mostly in Brown and Manitowoc counties. Wisconsin Power and Light had over 1,400 customers out in rural Wood County. Xcel Energy had fewer than 500 customers out in Chippewa County.
The storms have cleared out, and a partly cloudy day is in store throughout Wisconsin with highs in the low to mid 70’s.
Fugitive cop captured
A Waupun police lieutenant was arrested late yesterday in far northwest Wisconsin after he allegedly broke into a restaurant and a cabin, stole two vehicles and led officers on a chase.
Bradley Young, 43, was taken to the Burnett County Jail without incident around 5:10 p.m. Eau Claire TV stations said Young was found at a cabin he allegedly burglarized about 10 miles west of Spooner, and he knew he was surrounded so he called 911 to turn himself in.
SWAT teams from Burnett, Douglas, Barron and Washburn counties helped with the arrest, as did the state Department of Natural Resources and Department of Justice. A car Young allegedly stole at Rice Lake was found nearby.
His alleged crime spree began early Monday with a break-in at the Walkers Kollerville Restaurant in Green Lake. A deputy saw a man in camouflage leave. The suspect was chased until he ran off in a cornfield. A vehicle said to be Young’s was found near the restaurant.
Officials said Young stole a pickup truck in Green Lake about two hours after the break-in. It was spotted in Barron County Monday night, where authorities said it got into a crash and Young ran off before stealing a car Tuesday morning near Rice Lake.
Young lives in Brandon. He’s a 22-year veteran of the Waupun police force. Deputy Chief Scott Louden said his department is shocked because there was no sign that Young was in trouble. He’s married with a child in college and another in high school.
DNR chastised for euthanizing fawn
Wisconsin Department of Natural officials confirm they’ve received threats after they took custody of a baby deer from a Kenosha County animal shelter and put it down.
Staff members of the Society of Saint Francis Shelter called the deer “Giggles.” They were planning to send it to a wildlife facility in Illinois, but armed DNR agents and county sheriff’s deputies went to the shelter two weeks ago, claiming the shelter did not comply with requests to hand the fawn over. Shelter personnel were reminded of a state law against possessing live wildlife – along with a DNR policy resulting in the animal’s death.
A Facebook page called “Justice for Giggles” has attracted national expressions of outrage.
Gov. Scott Walker said yesterday that the DNR’s policy should be re-examined.
“I don’t ever want to see something like that again,” said the governor.
Eau Claire church says Boy Scouts can’t meet there
A Boy Scout troop near Eau Claire has been told to find a new meeting place after a Catholic church objected to the scouts’ new policy of admitting openly gay youngsters.
Bob Thill, the scoutmaster of Troop 90, said St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Altoona is giving his group until the end of the year to leave. The troop has met there for over two decades.
The Rev. Derek Sakowski told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram that his church pastoral council strongly recommended ending ties with the scout troop. He said he’ll meet with the scouts’ parents before making a final decision.
Polk-Burnett gets $300,000 USDA grant for fire station
A grant from the U.S Department of Agriculture will help build a new fire station in northwest Wisconsin.
The Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative of Centuria was given $300,000 by the USDA’s Rural Development agency to build a new station for a firefighting association that covers six towns.
It’s part of a $12 million package designed to create new job opportunities in rural states. Seventeen states are sharing the new funds. Two groups in Missouri each received loans of a $1 million each to create revolving loan funds for small businesses.
Vet who shot wife to death asks for leniency
Ben Sebena has asked a judge to let him go free someday. The 30-year-old Iraq war veteran will be sentenced to life in prison on Friday for killing his wife Jennifer while she was on duty as a Wauwatosa police officer early last Christmas Eve.
Sebena pleaded guilty. In a document filed Tuesday, his lawyer asked for leniency by granting his client extended supervision at some point.
Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Borowski can set a minimum release date at least 20 years down the road.
The report also indicated that Sebena killed his wife so she could go to heaven. He was apparently worried that she would carry out a threat to kill herself if he committed suicide first, and he couldn’t bear the thought of Jennifer losing her access to heaven if she killed herself.
The filing also summarized the effects of Sebena’s combat experience in Iraq, where he claimed to have killed 68 people in combat.
Last December, Sebena waited outside the Wauwatosa Fire Station and killed his wife right after she took a break there during her shift. The defense sentencing document said Sebena went home right after the shooting and tried killing himself, but two weapons would not fire.
Police called Sebena’s home a short time later. He was questioned for six hours before he was arrested.
Johnson Controls battery will be used in new Chevy model
Another U.S. automaker will start using a new fuel-saving battery developed by Johnson Controls.
The suburban Milwaukee firm says the advanced battery will be sold in the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu starting this fall.
The system automatically shuts down a car’s engine when idles at places like stop and go lights, and the engine reactivates once the brake pedal is released. Johnson Controls says the new unit will increase the Malibu’s fuel efficiency by about 5%.
Earlier this year, Ford started using the same batteries in its Fusion model. Johnson Vice President Craig Rigby said the technology has been growing in popularity in Europe for the last several years.
DNR relaxes molybdenum advisory
A metal that’s found in rural drinking water in southeast Wisconsin is not as dangerous as originally thought, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR is relaxing its health advisory level for the metal molybdenum. As of today, limits for the metal are being raised from 40 micrograms per liter of groundwater to 90 micrograms.
The DNR’s Chuck Warzecha said people can drink water for their entire lives with 90 micrograms and not feel any negative health effects. Warzecha said the new limit will also protect the most sensitive people, including the young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
Tests within the last year turned up relatively high levels of the molybdenum in private wells in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine and Kenosha counties. Hundreds of well owners were told they might have to install expensive water treatment systems, but many will no longer need to do so.
However, 211 of 405 wells tested still have molybdenum levels above the new standard. They’ll be told to install a treatment system, get water from a safer source or used bottled water for drinking.
Escape artist frees himself -- falling at 130 mph
A Sheboygan escape artist pulled off one of his most daring stunts yesterday.
Anthony Martin shackled himself in a locked casket and fell out of a plane 14,000 feet in the air. The stunt took place at a farm near Serena, Ill., about 70 miles southwest of Chicago.
Martin was dropping at up to 130 mph while he picked the locks of his shackles and
then struggled to open the door of his casket just in time to parachute to the ground. He somersaulted out of the casket.
When he hit the ground, the 47-year-old Martin waved to the cameras and the crowd that looked on. The only injury was to a skydiver who scraped an arm and cut his lip while trying to make the box steady before it was pushed out.
Martin started teaching himself to pick locks when he was six years old. He’s been an escape artist ever since. He pulled off yesterday’s jump once before -- in 1988.
Martin chronicled numerous experiences in a recent book called “Escape or Die.”
Madison police chief announces plan to retire
Wisconsin’s second-largest city will soon look for a new police chief.
Madison Chief Noble Wray announced Tuesday that he’ll retire in late September or early October. He’s been with the Madison police force for 28 years and chief for the last nine.
Wray told reporters he wanted to retire at the beginning of this year, but he wanted to finish the investigation of a shooting death by an office, and make other investigations more manageable.
Wray has focused on what he calls “trust-based policing,” which involves the building of relationships between officers and their community.
Assistant chief Randy Gaber will be Madison’s interim chief until a permanent leader is named.
Power outage forces hospital to postpone surgeries
Surgeries were canceled this morning at an Appleton hospital where thunderstorms knocked out power during the night.
The Appleton Medical Center said it was running on a back-up generator after police said up to 90% of the city lost its electricity at the height of the storms.
Appleton had around 14,000 customers out.
The Apple Creek Campground near Wrightstown was heavily damaged. Fallen trees blocked the campground’s main entrance, but there were no reports of serious injuries.
In Greenleaf, a gas leak occurred at an auto body shop, and the building collapsed a short time later.