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Thursday statewide news roundup

OWI convict who used fish-fry defense gets seven years in prison

FRIENDSHIP -- A 76-year-old man will spend up to seven years in prison for trying to get out of a drunk driving arrest by claiming that the alcohol on his breath was from beer-battered fish.

John Przybyla of Friendship has also been sentenced to four years of extended supervision for his tenth OWI conviction.

Judge Alan White said Przybyla failed to recognize he has a problem, and that's what made the case more aggravating.

Przybyla was stopped on Hwy. 13 north of Wisconsin Dells in 2014 for having a broken tail light and an expired license. His blood alcohol level was point .06, above the limit of .02 for those with three or more OWI convictions.


La Crosse man charged with 46 calls to 9-1-1 in two hours

A 50-year-old La Crosse man is due in court June 24 after he allegedly called 9-1-1 a total of 46 times in two hourswithout an apparent emergency.

Andrew Griswold is charged with making false 9-1-1 calls and obstructing law enforcement.

Police say they were called to Griswold's apartment on Saturday. He allegedly refused to let them inside without a warrant.

Prosecutors say he then made numerous calls to 9-1-1, claiming his wife was trying to kill him, his ex-wife was waiting outside the apartment, and there was some kind of dispute at a local restaurant.

Officers say they returned later to Griswold's apartment, where they placed him under arrest.


State begins defense of photo ID, other GOP voter laws

MADISON -- Election clerks in the highly Republican Milwaukee suburbs say the GOP's new voter laws have worked well for their residents.

That's what city clerks from Cedarburg and Port Washington testified as the state has begun its defense at a trial in which liberal and voter advocacy groups are challenging voter ID, limits on early voting, the end of straight ticket voting, and other changes adopted since 2011.

The plaintiffs are trying to convince U.S. District Judge James Peterson that the laws make it harder for certain groups to vote.

Cedarburg Clerk Constance McHugh said her voters were “glad or relieved” when the photo ID mandate took effect. But she admitted that what works well in her city may not work in nearby Milwaukee.

Testimony in the two-week trial is due to end in a couple of days. Peterson is expected to announce his verdict later.


Walker may wait until next summer to announce 2018 plans

MILWAUKEE – Gov. Scott Walker now says he'll probably wait until next summer to announce whether he'll run for a third term in 2018.

Walker told reporters in Milwaukee he wants to stay focused on the next two-year state budget he'll introduce next February. He said he'll need “time and energy” to devote to the budget, but a decision on his reelection bid would not come long after that.

Walker has been hinting toward running again. If he does, an early July announcement would give him about 16 months to campaign before the next governor's election in November 2018.


State, Democrats argue legality of 2011 redistricting

MADISON -- Three federal judges in Madison are entering the second day of a trial challenging the Republicans’ 2011 redistricting.

Democrats are trying to get the court to support a new way of determining whether state and federal districts are too partisan by considering so-called “wasted votes” -- votes for the minority party or votes for majority candidates in excess of what the party in power needs to win.

University of Chicago law professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos -- who's representing the Democrats -- said the Wisconsin Assembly map stands out from other state maps that have been challenged, saying it seeks to withstand the political pendulum and ensure Republican majorities until the next decade.

Assistant state attorney general Brian Keenan said lawmakers are allowed to seek partisan advantage, and they've done nothing illegal.

The trial is expected to run through Friday.


Man accused of killing girlfriend due in court

GREEN BAY -- A man suspected of killing his live-in girlfriend near Green Bay is expected to appear in Brown County Circuit Court today (Wednesday).

Douglass Detrie, 34, was arrested Monday after Nicole Vanderheyden, 31, of Ledgeview was found deadSaturday in a farm field about three miles from the couple's home.

Media reports indicate Detrie will be charged at or before his court appearance, but online court records did not list any criminal counts as of this (Wednesday) morning against Detrie for offenses now or in the past.

State and local investigators finished gathering evidenceTuesday at the couple's home.


Missing Lake Geneva woman charged for taking sons to Georgia

ELKHORN -- A Lake Geneva woman who was reported missing now faces seven criminal charges after she and her three sons were found in Georgia.

Michalene Melges, 40, faces extradition to Walworth County where she's charged with three felony counts of interfering with child custody, three misdemeanors for contributing to truancy and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Lake Geneva police asked the public Monday to help them find Melges and her sons Hans, Kristian and Maverik, ages ten to 14.

The boys were taken into protective custody Tuesday in Savannah, Ga., by local police and the FBI.

Melges reportedly told officers she had no “rhyme or reason” for why she was in Georgia.

Michalene Melges divorced her husband earlier this year. She's a former daughter-in-law of Olympic and America's Cup sailor Harry “Buddy” Melges.


Milwaukee police warn about new ‘hostage scam’

If a caller tells you that a relative is being held hostage, and you're ordered to pay a ransom, don't buy it.

That's what Milwaukee police are saying about the latest telephone scam to hit the state.

Police say they've received a number of calls about scammers telling people that their loved ones have been captured, and they need to wire money to assure the person's release.

Officials say the calls are often from the 631 area code. Investigators have found no one actually taken hostage. If you get such a call, you're asked to contact law enforcement.


Walker revisits Skyward

STEVENS POINT -- Three years after a software maker lost a state contract that threatened its future in Wisconsin, Skyward has opened its new $32 million headquarters in Stevens Point.

Gov. Scott Walker attended a grand opening ceremonyTuesday, where he credited the company's 400 employees for convincing the state to give them a chance.

In 2013, a Minnesota firm won a contract to become the sole provider of software for student information in Wisconsin public schools. Skyward challenged the way the contract was awarded, and after losing an appeal, the firm convinced lawmakers to allow two software vendors instead of one.

Skyward says it plans to have 900 total employees by 2025.


Court reinstates right-to-work law during appeal

WAUSAU -- Wisconsin's right to work law is back in effect while higher courts decide whether the measure is constitutional.

Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust struck down the law in April, and he did not keep it in place while the state Department of Justice appeals it.

But the Third District appellate court in Wausau ruled lateTuesday that the judge overstepped his bounds by not putting his ruling on hold.

The right-to-work law ends the requirement that workers pay union dues as a condition of employment.

Foust said the government was wrong to take away dues’ revenues without fair compensation. But appellate Judge Lisa Stark said unions will not be substantially harmed during the court process. She said there's “sufficient likelihood” the right to work measure will end up being legal.


Police: Two Madison deaths appear to be murder/suicide

Police say the deaths of a man and his daughter at a home in Madison appear to be a murder/suicide.

Officers suspect that a 39-year-old man shot his 19-year-old daughter to death before turning the gun on himself.

Family members found the two bodies when they arrived home around 6 p.m. Tuesday.

WKOW TV reported more than 100 friends, relatives and neighbors stood by as police investigated. A city bus was brought in to take relatives to a nearby church for prayers and reflection.


U.S. Supreme Court to hear secret John Doe arguments

The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing secret arguments over whether the state should be allowed to continue secret investigations.

The high court Monday approved sealed arguments in the latest John Doe appeal.

The Supreme Court is being asked to review a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision to end the secret John Doe investigations into Gov. Scott Walker. The investigations didn't find any wrong doing on the governor's part.


Funeral is Saturday for oldest lifelong Wisconsinite on record

WAUWATOSA -- A funeral will be held Saturday for 112-year-old Viola Jacobi of suburban Milwaukee.

She died in her sleep last Sunday at the Lutheran Home in Wauwatosa.

The Gerontology Research Group says she was the fourth oldest current U.S. resident and the 21st oldest in the world.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says she was also the longest living Wisconsinite on record for those who spent their entire lives in the state.

Viola Jacobi was born on July 25, 1903, on a family farm that's now a very urban corner at 76th and Hampton on Milwaukee's northwest side.


Carjacked baby left curbside in Milwaukee

A Milwaukee mother whose car was stolen with her infant strapped in the back seat is thankful that her baby is safe and sound with her.

Authorities say the vehicle stopped about a block away and one of the two carjackers got out, removed the one-month-old baby, still in his car seat, and left him at the curb.

Surveillance video from a nearby house shows the mother running to retrieve her baby, who wasn't hurt. Police are looking for the carjackers and the vehicle.


Two deputies on leave in hiring of alleged rapist

NEILLSVILLE -- Two central Wisconsin sheriff's deputies are on paid leave in the hiring of a reserve deputy suspected of sexual assault.

In a statement, Clark County Sheriff Greg Herrick did not identify the officers on administrative leave, and while he promised to cooperate with outside investigations, he did not say if any were started.

This comes amid reports that part-time officer Lee Lech was hired despite being accused in the sexual assault of a woman in 2011 while both were at a training seminar in Milwaukee.

Lech was with the Oneida County Sheriff's Department at the time, but that sheriff said he never learned about the incident until 2014. His investigation ended when Lech resigned, and Lech reportedly applied for a job with Clark County the next month.

There are conflicting reports on whether a background checker was warned about Lech.