Wisconsin roundup: Vegas massacre has Wis. fests rethinking security; more state news stories
Music festivals throughout Wisconsin are taking a fresh look at their security efforts in the wake of last Sunday's shooting massacre in Las Vegas.
Madison officials are busy planning law enforcement strategies for Freakfest, the downtown music event that replaced years of raucous Halloween bashes. City police spokesman Joel DeSpain says what happened at the Vegas country music festival is being taken "into consideration" as they set policing strategies for the Oct. 28 Freakfest. The event's musical production company has more than 100 security officers lined up.
State records 2 West Nile deaths
MADISON — Wisconsin has recorded two human deaths from the West Nile virus in the past few weeks.
That includes both confirmed and probable cases, and the state's latest report says nine people statewide have been hospitalized from the mosquito borne virus. Calumet County in east central Wisconsin is the latest to report a human case. The state's latest weekly update, issued last Wednesday, said there have been four confirmed and eight probable West Nile cases in Calumet, Oconto, Brown, Fond du Lac, Wood, Juneau, Buffalo, Dane, Rock, and Racine counties. Birds and horses are normally infected with West Nile in late spring and early summer — and humans usually start to be infected in August.
Walker wants transparency for police body camera info
MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker agrees that Wisconsin should have clear rules how law enforcement deals with the public release of body camera footage.
The Republican Walker says people should be able to see what police agencies and criminals are doing. But he says it's also "realistic to assess" whether people who appear in the videos should have their faces or images released if they had nothing to do with a crime.
State lawmakers held a public hearing last week on a GOP bill to keep police body camera footage secret unless it involves injuries, deaths, arrests, or searches. Open records' supporters say the bill would make it harder to see body camera footage of crimes with public interest.
FEMA approves flood aid for western Wis. public facilities
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has approved federal disaster aid for public facilities damaged in the July floods in western Wisconsin.
Up to 8 inches of rain caused more than 15-million dollars of damage to roads, bridges, and other public amenities — and the Federal Emergency Management Agency normally funds 75 percent of the damage, while state and local governments pick up the rest. FEMA did not approve funds for the more than five dozen homes heavily damaged or destroyed in the storms.
But the Small Business Administration approved low interest loans last month for individual residents and businesses. FEMA's public disaster aid goes to La Crosse, Trempealeau, Buffalo, Crawford, Grant, Iowa, Jackson, Lafayette, Monroe, Richland, and Vernon counties.
La Crosse leaders attack childhood obesity
LA CROSSE — School and community leaders in La Crosse say they want to work with parents to curb rising obesity levels in their kids.
The most recent National Survey of Children's Health says three of every 10 Wisconsin youngsters age 10 to 17 are either obese or overweight. That's just one-percent below the state's adult rate. Gundersen Health dietitian Marisa Pruitt tells Wisconsin Public Radio it's alarming to see diseases normally found in middle age adults — like high cholesterol and blood pressure.
Former Congressman Kleczka dies
MILWAUKEE — Former Wisconsin Congressman Jerry Kleczka has died.
The Milwaukee County Democratic Party announced the death on Facebook Sunday night but did not say where or how he died. The 77-year-old Kleczka represented the Milwaukee area in Congress from 1984 to 2005 in the seat now held by Democrat Gwen Moore.
Kleczka also served in the Wisconsin Assembly from 1969-1974 and in the state Senate from 1975-1984 — and voters sent him to Washington in a special election after Clem Zablocki died from a heart attack in late 1983. The Milwaukee County Democrats called Kleczka a "champion for education, poverty relief, and housing improvements."
Rare October twister hits Madison
MADISON— A rare October tornado has been confirmed on the east side of Madison.
The National Weather Service says an EF-0 twister with winds up to 80 mph tore a facade off a convenience store and damaged the roof of a car wash — and it damaged a number of houses and garages while taking down power lines.
Officials blame wind shear and rotating showers for the tornado. The state climatology office says only 1.5 percent of Wisconsin tornadoes occur in October — while 30 percent take place in June.
State cheese production again lags behind national growth
MADISON — Wisconsin cheese factories continue to have a smaller increase in its production than the nation as a whole.
The USDA says the Badger State made 272 million pounds of cheese in August, 1.5 percent more than the same month last year — and that lagged behind the national increase of 2.3 percent. Wisconsin made almost 5 percent more mozzarella and other Italian cheeses last month, while cheddar production went down by almost 3 percent.
Wisconsin continues to be the national leader in cheese, with 2 percent of the nation's total production — same as this time last year. California is a distant second.
Milwaukee man apologizes for killing wife in front of son
MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee man has apologized for shooting his wife to death in front of their 5-year-old son, but her family members aren't forgiving him.
James Hutchins shot his wife, Tyvitta Dischler last April and fractured his son's skull by slamming him to the ground. The prosecutor told the court the child was lying on the kitchen floor, watching his mother gasp for her last breath.
Hutchins pleaded guilty. He was sentenced last week and won't be eligible for parole for 30 years. He asked that an order which prevents him from seeing his won to be lifted. The judge says he'll rule on that request at a December hearing.