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Wisconsin roundup: Democrats cry foul over reported food stamp-change impact; more state news stories

Sen. Patty Schachtner, D-Somerset, was among critics of a federal farm bill that, according to an analysis, would end food stamp program benefits for 75,000 clients in Wisconsin. File photo

A report from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates changes to the food stamp program would end benefits for 75,000 clients in Wisconsin.

Democrats called a Tuesday news conference at the Capitol to criticize the SNAP plan being considered by Congress that would add new work and job training requirements for recipients. Critics included Sen. Patty Schachtner, a Somerset Democrat who said the proposal “fails struggling families and our children.”

“This bill removes support for the most basic of all needs: hunger,” she said in a news release.  “When people do not have access to nutritious food, it becomes much harder to overcome employment, housing, and health barriers.”

The state of Wisconsin would lose almost $24 million of the $867 million in food stamp benefits it received last year. The Bureau estimates more than 23,000 children would lose their automatic eligibility for free and reduced-cost school lunches. Parents would have to re-apply.

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Driver in triple-fatal Dunn County crash gets 75 years

A Russian immigrant will spend 75 years in prison for causing a crash on Interstate 94 in Dunn County last year that left three people dead.

Prosecutors told the court 36-year-old Serghei Kundilovski was driving the wrong way after huffing cans of aerosol to get high. Three people — 32-year-old Adam Kendhammer, 29-year-old Bryan Rudell, and 27-year-old Jeremy Berchem — were killed. Kundilovski entered a guilty plea to a charge of homicide by driving under the influence last November. He apologized to the victims' families through an interpreter during the sentencing phase.

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Walker declares state of emergency over wildfire threat

Gov. Scott Walker has declared a state of emergency over the threat of wildfires.

Walker made the declaration official Tuesday. He says the Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Emergency Management will work with the National Guard to help protect state residents.

The DNR reported 43 wildfires in Wisconsin Monday and Tuesday. Red flag warnings are in effect for several counties in central and western Wisconsin. The department listed the fire danger for Pierce and St. Croix counties as “very high” as of Wednesday morning. The DNR has prohibited all burning — even with issued permits — and is warning people to be careful with any and all outdoor activities.

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Marshals to Calumet County campers: Look out for fugitive

U.S. Marshals think a wanted man could be hiding in campgrounds located in northern Wisconsin.

Thirty-eight-year-old Dallas Christel is wanted for sexual assault, strangulation, suffocation and several other offenses. The federal agents are asking campers to be on the lookout for Christel this summer. He's been on the loose since March. Searchers say he raped and strangled a woman in New Holstein last year. He's been accused of narcotics violations on several occasions. The feds say he also has ties to Michigan and Colorado, but they think he is in this state.

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Robber killed during March stick-up suspected in other bank hold-ups

The Dane County prosecutor's office won't pursue criminal charges against a security guard who shot a man trying to rob a bank in March.

Investigators say they think 35-year-old Louis Marty Narvaez is responsible for a four-month string of bank robberies in the county. The security guard said he believed deadly force was needed to protect people in the Chase Bank in east Madison March 1. If that guard had only been protecting bank assets, that could have suggested criminal culpability. Madison and Middleton police have linked Narvaez to six other bank robberies by using DNA evidence and similar clothing, style of robbery, physical description and getaway vehicle.

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Woman accused of using meth to make juveniles commit crimes

Outagamie County authorities have charged a 28-year-old woman with 10 counts of getting young runaways high on meth, then making them commit crimes.

Investigators say Shawna Baxter of Nichols forced a "low-functioning adult" to perform sex acts for money. One of the victims says Baxton injected three juveniles with the drug several times a day last October. She would take them to retail stores where they would steal cell phones, then she would trade or sell the phones to get more meth. Several messages on Facebook corroborate the allegations of her involvement in prostitution.

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Wis. teen sentenced to 2 ½ years for bringing gun to school

A Marathon County judge has sentenced a former alternative high school student to two-and-a-half years in jail for bringing a loaded gun to school.

Nineteen-year-old Keanan Brown was found with a stolen gun in his jacket on the campus of North Central Technical College in February 2016. Police arrested him after receiving an anonymous tip. Brown was also involved in an armed robbery eight months after the incident at the school. He was found guilty of four felony and two misdemeanor charges. The judge ruled that he will get credit for the more than 400 days he has already spent behind bars while the charges were pending.

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EPA: No toxic material at Superior refinery explosion site

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has concluded its monitoring of the air at the site of a recent oil refinery explosion in Superior and discovered no elevated levels of anything toxic.

Thirteen people were injured in the explosion at the Husky Energy refinery in Superior last Thursday. Local authorities are continuing to work with federal agencies to determine what caused the explosion.

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Birdwatching enthusiasts excited by huge migration

A senior ecologist with the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center says bird enthusiasts will be able to watch more than 40 different species of birds as they fly into southeastern Wisconsin.

Those birds will be using southerly winds to make their migration north. This year is unique because the spring's weather patterns have prevented migration, says Don Qunitez. He says they have been "stacking up" as they wait for more favorable winds. Bird enthusiasts in Wisconsin can expect to see hummingbirds, orioles, and redstarts in big numbers the next two weeks. The nature center will host a birding event next Sunday.