Wisconsin roundup: Walker announces plan to close Lincoln Hills, reform juvenile corrections; more state news stories
MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker says he has a plan to reform the state's juvenile corrections system by closing the troubled Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake youth facility in northern Wisconsin and moving juveniles to five smaller, regional facilities across the state.
The governor's plan requires the Department of Corrections and Department of Health Services to include the cost of building the new facilities in their upcoming budgets. It's estimated construction costs would be around $80 million. Walker says, "By moving from one facility to several facilities across the state, and placing a focus on mental health and trauma-informed care, we believe this plan will improve long-term outcomes for both juveniles and our staff working at these facilities.”
Milwaukee Red Cross rescinds controversial policy
MILWAUKEE — Responding to a fierce backlash, the Milwaukee Red Cross has officially rescinded a new policy preventing volunteers from going to fire scenes in 10 zip codes.
Fire victims had been asked to meet volunteers in police stations or the Red Cross headquarters. A spokesperson says the organization understands it was "insensitive" to the communities it serves. The Red Cross denies accusations the policy was brought about by safety concerns. Discrimination was alleged because the zip codes singled out were populated primarily by minorities.
Disaster loans available in Wis. after flooding
Federal Disaster Declaration Loans are now available for several western Wisconsin counties affected by last year's flooding.
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Wednesday that economic injury disaster loans will include Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Chippewa, Douglas, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, and Washburn counties. The SBA says the loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and private nonprofit organizations. Loan applications related to the excessive rainfall and flooding between April 15 and Oct. 28 last year are due on Aug. 21.
Cold blamed in 60-year-old woman’s death
GREEN BAY — Green Bay police are investigating the death of a 60-year-old woman, but they don't consider it suspicious.
Her name hasn't been released. The woman had taken a taxi cab to her home. After she was dropped off, police say it appears she fell while trying to retrieve a key she'd dropped, then hit her head. Her body was found by a relative.
Bitter cold temperatures have blanketed northeastern Wisconsin for several weeks. Police say the case emphasizes the importance of drivers waiting to make sure a rider gets inside their home before leaving.
Wausau woman dies in Wood County jail cell
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Deputies at the Wood County Jail say a 28-year-old Wausau woman was serving a 45-day sentence for retail theft when she apparently killed herself.
The woman's name hasn't been released. Jail officials say they found her hanging in the shower area Dec. 22. She died seven days later at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. Three inmates have died at the jail in Wisconsin Rapids last month — two of them were suicides and the other death is still being investigated.
Madison homicide suspect found incompetent to stand trial
MADISON — The homicide case against a 27-year-old Madison man is on hold after a psychiatrist found he isn't competent to stand trial.
Ronald Redeaux is accused of stabbing his roommate to death last June. He is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of 52-year-old Gerald Moore. The court-ordered psychiatrist says Redeaux is likely to regain competence with treatment. Investigators say he stabbed Moore more than 70 times. The two men had been in a romantic relationship for about six years and had been smoking crack cocaine.
Farmer fails to heed warnings, charged with animal-related crimes
ELAND — Shawano County authorities say a farmer failed to take action after several warnings — now, he faces six charges of mistreating dozens of cattle, horses and chickens.
Lance Rogalla could face up to nine months behind bars. Authorities warned Rogalla and a woman with him to clean up his barn and make sure his animals had food and water in November. An anonymous complaint brought deputies back out to the farm near Eland Dec. 28. Two horses, 28 chickens and 18 cattle were found with little or no food, water or shelter in sub-zero temperatures.