Wisconsin roundup: Almost 26,000 still without power after storms; sex offender release bill offered; 8 more state news stories
Thousands of electric customers in northern and central Wisconsin were still without power Monday in the wake of Sunday's thunderstorms.
The Wisconsin Public Service utility of Green Bay had the most outages — about 23,000 as of 6 a.m., including almost 3,000 in the Rhinelander area and 26 hundred around Crivitz. Two waves of storms brought up to 6.5 inches of rain with street floods, fallen trees, hail damage, and winds of up to 60 mph. T
he Chetek area in Barron County had its second storm death of the season, as police say a tree fell onto an unidentified man while he was cleaning up storm damage on Sunday afternoon — and that was almost four weeks after a tornado killed mobile home park resident Eric Gavin and injured 27 others. The National Weather Service says most of Wisconsin will have clear to partly cloudy skies Monday, with storms possible in the Madison area and highs ranging from the mid 70s in the north to near 90 in the south.
Lawmaker works on alternative sex offender release plan
MADISON — A Republican state lawmaker says he's working on an alternative plan to make sure that violent sex offenders are returned to the places where they committed their crimes.
Rep. Joel Kleefisch of Oconomowoc says his plan would keep some of the current limits on where those sex offenders can live. That's after the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee added a budget provision that would make communities work with the state to place offenders in the counties where their crimes took place — with approvals from judges. That measure would do away with the state's current law that keeps violent sex offenders at least 1,500 feet away from schools and other places where children congregate.
Trial begins in shooting that triggered Milwaukee violence
MILWAUKEE — A two week trial is scheduled to begin Monday for a fired Milwaukee police officer accused of killing a man which sparked two nights of violence last summer.
Twenty-five-year-old Dominique Heaggan Brown is charged with first degree reckless homicide in the death last August of 23-year-old Sylville Smith in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood — and a jury will be picked before the state begins to make its case. Police say Heaggan Brown and a partner stopped a suspicious vehicle, and Smith was armed after the officer shot him once in an arm but he threw a gun across a fence before he was shot a second time.
There are disagreements as to whether Smith had a second gun — and jurors could get their answer when a police body camera video is expected to be shown for the first time publicly. Meanwhile, Heaggan Brown also faces a second possible trial starting Aug. 21 on five unrelated sex charges soon after the shooting.
State bill would give property tax breaks to more veterans
MADISON — A new Wisconsin bill would give property tax breaks to more veterans who were disabled while serving their country.
Rep. Andre Jacque of De Pere says he would make the tax credit available to another 3,600 veterans and their surviving spouses, by giving it to veterans who are 70 percent disabled instead of the current 100 percent. It's granted regardless of whether a veteran has an income tax obligation, and Jacque says his bill would help more Wisconsin heroes who've "stepped up in service."
But Assembly finance Chairman John Nygren says the benefit has risen in the past decade — and it has some lawmakers concerned, even though lawmakers do want to help veterans. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the cost of the disabled veterans' tax credit has risen from $866,0000 in 2005 to $25 million 10 years later — partially due to an eligibility expansion in 2014.
Motorcyclist killed in Bayfield County
CORNUCOPIA — The State Patrol says alcohol is an apparent factor in a two vehicle crash that killed a motorcyclist in Wisconsin's northernmost community.
Bayfield County sheriff's deputies say a car was turning left from Highway 13 onto a street in Cornucopia when it struck the oncoming motorcycle on Saturday night. The biker who died was a 64-year-old Cornucopia man, and his name was not immediately released. The car driver, a 48-year-old Bayfield man, was treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Three injured as tractor crashes as parade
DARLINGTON — Three people have been injured after a tractor crashed into another float at the Darlington Canoe Festival's parade in southwest Wisconsin.
Police say 39-year-old Richard Corley of Darlington had just started the tractor at the beginning of the parade on Sunday afternoon — and he didn't know it was in gear as it rolled into him as he was standing close by. Officials say the tractor also hit 69-year-old Robert Schmid, who was taken to a Darlington hospital and later flown to a Madison hospital with serious injuries — and the tractor then struck a float, injuring a 64-year-old rider on that unit. Corley and the float rider were sent to the Darlington hospital for treatment.
Pence touts Trump's health plan in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE — Speaking at the Milwaukee offices of Direct Supply, a company that sells equipment and services for senior living communities, Vice President Mike Pence offered assurances to Wisconsin business leaders about health care.
The Republican told them Saturday that the Trump administration will replace Obamacare with a program that gives more flexibility of coverage. The vice president is touring the nation speaking on the topic at the same time the Senate is working on its own version of the bill. Legislation passed in the House hasn't been welcomed by senators. Pence told those business leaders: "help is on the way."
Burlington officer dies at 27
BURLINGTON — Burlington police say the death of 27-year-old officer Tanner Kitelinger was likely due to natural causes.
Kitelinger died Friday morning unexpectedly. He was Burlington's K-9 officer in just his second year with the department. Police Chief Mark Anderson says the death was likely the result of diabetes, a condition Kitelinger was diagnosed with when he was 12 years old.
He had started patrolling with his partner, the police dog Zander May 7. Kitelinger was a 2012 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, then graduated from the Blackhawk Technical College Police Academy in Janesville in 2014.
Two kayakers rescued from Lake Winnebago
OSHKOSH — The Oshkosh Fire Department reports efforts to rescue two distressed kayakers Saturday evening were successful.
Emergency responders from the Winnebago County Marine Unit were called to the west shore of Lake Winnebago near Monkey Island at about 5:30 p.m. A 34-year-old Oshkosh man was in the water after his kayak capsized. His companion, a 37-year-old Oshkosh woman, was able to call 911. A local resident used his personal boat to get them safely out of the water. They were evaluated on shore and declined medical transport.
State elections commission sending mailing to nonparticipating registered voters
MADISON — The Wisconsin Elections Commission wants to alert 380,000 voters that a post card coming their way is not a scam.
The mailing is going to registered voters who have not cast ballots in the past four years. It asks the voters if they want to remain active on the state's voter list. Those who do not respond within a month will be marked as inactive on the list. State law requires inactive voters to be removed from the voter list. Voters who get the post card but believe they have voted in the past four years are asked to contact their local municipal clerk.