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Wisconsin roundup: Illegal gun use targeted in legislation; court date set for suspected cop killer; 11 more state news stories

MADISON — A Senate bill proposes tougher penalties on criminals caught with guns or those who illegally buy guns for someone else.

State Sen. LaTonya Johnson, a Democrat from Milwaukee, is a co-sponsoring a bill that would make it a felony to buy a gun for someone who can't legally have one. The bill would also make it a felony for someone to have a gun if they have had three misdemeanor convictions within a three-year span.

An increase in the number of gun crimes in Milwaukee last year is sparking the push for tougher penalties. Johnson says she wants to keep guns out of the hands of people who act recklessly.


Alleged killer of sheriff's deputy due in court Feb. 7

LADYSMITH — A 44-year-old man is due in court Feb. 7 on charges of shooting and killing Rusk County deputy Dan Glaze in late October.

The state Justice Department filed 31 criminal charges Friday against Doug Nitek. Officials say he shot Glaze, who was in a car near the defendant's home -- and when other officers came to arrest him, Nitek allegedly shot at them, too.

Prosecutors said Glaze spoke with Nitek four days before the shootings, and the defendant said he vowed to shoot the next time he saw an officer on his land. His charges include 17 counts of reckless endangerment and three for attempted homicide. He's been at the state prison in Waupun for violating a probation in a drunken driving case.


Two arrested in Madison after being chased from home with a shovel

MADISON — Madison police say two people were arrested after they were chased from a home with a shovel following a fight.

The police report says Robin Roth and Justice Green were charged with burglary, substantial battery, and battery after getting into a fight with the unnamed residents of the home. Police say it was the continuation of an earlier incident at the house. Roth and Green's son, Caleb Roth, were arrested earlier at the same residence after fighting with the people who lived there.


Tax season arrives

MADISON — It's that time of year -- tax time.

The state revenue department says it will start accepting returns Monday on its online platform, Wisconsin E-File.

It has become the most popular option for filing state income tax returns. Revenue Secretary Rick Chandler says 85 percent of last year's 3 million individual returns were filed electronically. He says the agency's website walks people through the various filing elements, does the math, and helps taxpayers with questions and checking the status of their refunds. Due to a legal holiday in the nation's capital, the tax filing deadline will be on Tuesday, April 18.


UW-Stout: Dunn County leaders support campus raises

MENOMONIE — UW-Stout's chancellor is telling lawmakers in Madison that elected officials in Menomonie support his call for campus pay hikes.

Chancellor Bob Meyer on Thursday wrote a letter thanking Dunn County leaders for endorsing the raises earlier this week. Meyer says the vote of confidence from the county shows "there is popular support" for higher professor and administrative salaries. Lawmakers in the Assembly have said they'd rather focus on lower tuition for students.


Bill would end requirement for project-labor agreements

MADISON — A public hearing is scheduled for this week at the State Capitol on legislation that would ban government agencies from requiring labor agreements as part of construction contracts.

Under current state law, local governments can require those bidding on contracts to have project labor agreements (PLA) with local unions, which means there's collective bargaining with workers on issues like wages and benefits. State Rep. Rob Hutton, a Republican from Brookfield, says he proposed the bill because he believes requiring a PLA can exclude businesses from being able to bid on public works projects, while possibly inflating their overall costs.

Union leaders have said Project Labor Agreements can improve working conditions, salaries, and benefits for workers. The legislation is scheduled for a public hearing on Wednesday.


Wisconsin residents win on TV game show

EAU CLAIRE — Two Eau Claire women hit it big on the television game show "The Price is Right," in what has been a rare occurrence for Wisconsinites.

Twenty-two-year-old Kimmy Neve, a UW-Eau Claire student from DeForest, won $63,000 in prizes on a show aired this week on CBS that was taped in October. That's less than one month after viewers saw 59-year-old Deb Kidd win $60,000 in prizes in a show taped in November. Neve won two cars among other things, and Kidd's big prize was a Mediterranean cruise. Just six people from Wisconsin have played on the air in the 45 years of the game show.


Green Bay fans see season end with disappointing loss

ATLANTA — Green Bay fans who made the trip to Atlanta and those who watched from home were disappointed with the result Sunday in the NFC title game, as Atlanta won in a dominating fashion 44-21 in the Georgia Dome.

The Packers couldn't stop Atlanta's high-powered offense and mistakes of their own on offense -- a missed field goal and fumble in the red zone -- gave Pack fans little hope with the halftime score at 24-0. Quarterback Aaron Rogers has been able to work miracles late in games this season, but this was one time when even he couldn't turn things around.

Overall though, many Packer fans say they were pleased with the late run where the team went from 4-6 and made good on Rogers' statement that he believed they could "run the table" and make it into the playoffs.


Students use inauguration as learning event

WASHINGTON — While some people went to the inauguration in Washington, D.C., to support the new president and others went there to protest, some 30 Wisconsin 4-H students were there to learn.

The Wisconsin 4-H members were part of the "Citizenship Washington Focus" trip, which included 500 students from around the country. The group spent the week in Washington learning about government and the executive branch at the National 4-H Center. The national 4-H provided tickets for them to attend Donald Trump's inauguration. They also participated in their own mock election, and took tours of the White House and the U.S. Capitol.


Thousands turn out for Madison Women's March

MADISON — Police estimate between 75,000 and 100,000 people turned out for the Madison’s Women’s March on Saturday.

There were reports of huge crowds for similar marches in other U-S cities. The marches are said to be in protest of Donald Trump becoming president. The Madison crowd stretched at one point all the way from the Capitol to the Libary Mall. The crowds were the largest since the Act 10 protests of 2011. Police reported no significant problems or issues, and also tweeted “thanks all for being peaceful.”


Warm temps cause ice fishing concerns

MADISON — Warm weekend temperatures have led to concerns about ice conditions.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says the ice on Green Bay has been broken up with large cracks that have re-frozen -- making entry onto the Bay difficult in places. The DNR has received multiple reports of people who were fishing getting stranded as cracks are opening and there have also been reports of vehicles and ATVs going through the ice.

Dane County deputies also warned anglers of the potential for thin ice. Deputies say the lakes haven't made enough ice and conditions are too dangerous to risk. Foggy conditions added to the concern, as deputies say fog makes it difficult to find and rescue anyone who might fall through thin ice into the water. The issue isn't expected to go away soon as high temperatures were in the mid 40s Sunday and are forecast to be in the 40s Monday and Tuesday. Those high temperatures are forecast to be above freezing at least into Friday.


Officials: Scammer poses as sheriff's deputy

MADISON — Dane County sheriff's officials say a man who claims he's a deputy has been trying to scam people.

The sheriff's department says the person has been calling people, saying they missed jury selection for a federal court trial -- and the only way they can satisfy a warrant for that is to send in a money order. The man apparently tries to provide credibility to his call by mentioning the name of a U.S. attorney. Sheriff's Lt. Tony Fleres says there's no truth to the scammers' calls, and anyone who gets them should call the Dane County Sheriff's Department.


Wisconsin native rides horse in inaugural parade

WASHINGTON — A Wisconsin native took a ride on a horse in the nation's capitol that he will not soon forget.

Twenty-three-year-old Sam Ruzga rode with the Army's 1st Infantry Division in Friday's Inaugural Parade. Ruzga is a specialist who rode in an 1860's uniform with the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard unit from Fort Riley, Kansas, which honors the role the Calvary played in the Civil War. Ruzga joined the Army two years after graduating from Arrowhead High School in Hartland, Wisconsin.