Wisconsin roundup: Trooper killed in crash might have been pursuing offender; 11 more state news stories
MADISON — The state trooper killed in a traffic crash near Wisconsin Dells might have been trying to catch up to an offending driver when his patrol car slammed into a tree.
Thirty-four-year-old Anthony Borostowski of Tomah died in the mishap early Tuesday on eastbound Interstate 90/94. Sauk County Sheriff Chip Meister says the officer was driving at a high speed when the car veered into a ditch and overturned before hitting the tree — and his emergency lights were not on at the time.
Borostowski served three tours of duty in the Middle East as a National Guardsman, and he graduated from the State Patrol academy in the same 2014 class as Trevor Casper — who was killed in March of 2015 in a shootout with a killer and bank robber in Fond du Lac. Borostowski also received the patrol's Lifesaving Award in 2015 when he performed CPR. Gov. Scott Walker has ordered state government flags at half staff in the trooper's honor.
Jakubowski charged in gun store burglary
JANESVILLE — Rock County prosecutors have filed three criminal charges for last Tuesday night's gun store burglary that triggered a nationwide manhunt which continues.
A criminal complaint says 18 guns and two silencers were missing from Armageddon Supplies in Janesville. Officials say 32-year-old Joseph Jakubowski of Janesville has threatened to use the weapons at a school or against public officials — and he sent a 161-page manifesto to President Donald Trump. The FBI increased its reward Tuesday to $20,000 for information leading to Jakubowski's arrest.
WISC-TV in Madison says Gov. Scott Walker's office is taking precautions by phoning news media about Walker's upcoming appearances instead of sending them out as press releases until Jakubowski is found.
Canada: Don't blame us for Wisconsin dairy problems
A Canadian farm group says Wisconsin producers have only themselves to blame for a sudden milk surplus that caused two large dairies to decide to stop buying milk from 100 farm suppliers.
Isabelle Bouchard of the Dairy Farmers of Canada tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel it's America's responsibility to manage its production — and Canadians should not be expected to consume excess American milk supplies when they're making their own milk. But Chris Galen of the National Milk Producers Federation says Canadian provinces have reduced their farmers' prices for Canadian made ingredients, thus undercutting sales previously made by Grassland of Greenwood and Nasonville Dairy near Marshfield.
Meanwhile, officials of those dairies met in Madison Tuesday with state officials to discuss their options — and state Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel told farm broadcaster Pam Jahnke it was a productive session that did not provide answers.
Gas seem pricier? You're right
MADISON — Wisconsin motorists are paying six cents more for a gallon of gas than they did just one week ago.
The Wisconsin AAA automotive group says the average price is almost $2.39 Wednesday morning for regular unleaded. That's 12 cents more than this time last month, and 35 cents higher than one year ago. The state's current average is close to what the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts for an average gas price from April through September, which is $2.46 — an increase of 23 cents from last year. Officials say the price hikes are due to a change to summer fuel blends, more vacation travelers, and rises in crude oil prices.
Bill to cut off food stamps to deadbeat parents draws criticism
MADISON — A Wisconsin bill that would take away food stamp benefits for those behind on their child support has drawn criticism at the State Capitol.
An Assembly panel held a public hearing Tuesday on a GOP measure to cut off Food Share benefits to fathers who refuse to admit their paternity — and those at least three months late on their child support payments. The requirements were repealed in 2007, and Assembly Democrat Lisa Subeck of Madison wanted to know how much more support was collected.
State officials say it would cost $412,000 just to provide the technology to keep track of the aid recipients. But the bill's chief sponsor, Assembly Republican Joe Sanfelippo of West Allis, says the cost figure is too high — and he says the bill is needed to remind parents they need to care for those they "brought into this world."
More charges expected in Marinette County crime spree
MARINETTE — Prosecutors say they expect charges for more burglaries against two Marinette residents — one of whom allegedly shot at deputies following a break-in.
Bond was set at $1 million Tuesday against the alleged shooter, 27-year-old Chad Setunsky. Ashley Niewierowski, also 27, has a $250,000 bond after both appeared in court on identical counts of burglary, reckless endangerment, and eluding officers. Sheriff's officials say the two broke into a convenience store last Saturday near Stephenson, and a chase and shooting ensued before the suspects' pickup truck hit a utility pole and the two ran off. Both were caught Sunday, and deputies recovered several items including a stolen ATV, car and weapon.
Assembly bill would help landowners clean up contaminated wells
MADISON — State Assembly Republicans propose more grants and loans to help rural residents with contaminated water wells and broken septic systems.
Sturgeon Bay Republican Joel Kitchens is the lead author of a bill which seeks to provide more help in providing clean drinking water. Kitchens represents parts of Kewaunee County where 30 percent of wells were found to have E-Coli and other bacteria at some point in the past decade. The Wisconsin State Journal says the bill is heading to the Assembly's environmental committee — and among other things, it would raise a limit on state grants from $9,000 to $12,000 for fixing a landowner's wells and drinking water. Also, local governments could offer loans with little or no interest to fix those water problems, and recover costs through special assessments.
Homicide charges expected in dispute over $20
MILWAUKEE — Prosecutors expect to file homicide charges against three people in the death of a Milwaukee man who was said to be falsely accused of stealing $20.
Police say 45-year-old Jamie Greer and a friend were in line, waiting to pay for beer on April 1, when an 18-year-old man also in line accused the two of stealing money he claimed to drop. After Greer and a friend denied it, police said the teen, Javerious Walton Smith, called others to help him.
Officials say they got into a brawl in which 35-year-old Tony McCaskill Johnson fired a shot that wounded Greer. He died last Saturday. Walton Smith, McCaskill Johnson, and 19-year-old Melvin Aldridge were all charged with reckless injury. Now that Greer has died, officials say the counts will soon be upgraded.
More than 1,000 cloned gift cards recovered in Waukesha
WAUKESHA — The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department is investigating after deputies seized 1,300 cloned Walmart gift cards.
The cards were found in February by a business owner who noticed a suspicious bag in the snow and frozen to the ground. Police say they scanned the magnetic strips on 777 of the cards and found they all contained stolen credit card information, but because the gift cards hadn't been activated, they haven't been able to determine where they came from. The cards are being analyzed for fingerprints.
Most state farm fields too muddy for fieldwork
MADISON — Wisconsin farmers are starting to get behind on their spring field work, as many wait for muddy conditions to dry up.
The Wisconsin Ag Statistics Service says spring tillage is 2 percent finished, same as last year but three points behind the average for the past five years. Thirty-percent of Wisconsin farm fields have surplus moisture, with only 1 percent reporting a shortage.
Forty-five percent of pastures are rated good to excellent, 3 percent fewer than last year at this time. Four percent of the state's oats have been planted, 3 percent behind the norm.
Dylan, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell slated for Summerfest
MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee's 50th annual Summerfest will close with a one night festival with some big names.
Willie Nelson will have Nobel Prize recipient Bob Dylan as part of the "Outlaw Music Festival" that closes the 50th annual Summerfest on July 9 on Milwaukee's lakefront. Sheryl Crow will also be there along with Jason Isbell, Nathaniel Rateliff, Margo Price, and the "Promise of the Real" band led by Willie Nelson's son Lukas.
Willie started the Outlaw Music Festival last fall as a one time showcase for both new and legendary American talent. It has grown into a mini-tour with six concerts, with Dylan performing on just two of the stops.
Small-town bank chain plans to expand
ELROY — A chain of small town banks in southwest Wisconsin is about to get bigger.
Royal Bank of Elroy has announced plans to acquire the State Bank of Cazenovia. Terms have not been disclosed. Officials say the deal is expected to be wrapped up this summer.
Royal Bank has 17 locations throughout southwest Wisconsin, while the 110-year-old State Bank of Cazenovia has one branch in La Valle. The La Crosse Tribune says Royal Bank has $368 million in assets, with a net income of almost $4 million last year and $2 million in past due loan payments. The Cazenovia bank has $37 million in assets and a 2016 net income of $133,000 with no delinquent loans.