Wisconsin roundup: Man arrested for threats to Glenwood City reunion; 9 more state news stories
GLENWOOD CITY — One man has been arrested for allegedly threatening to shoot people at a school reunion in western Wisconsin.
Police say they found a post on Facebook Thursday in which the unidentified suspect wrote that he would "shoot participants of the Glenwood City All School Reunion over the upcoming rustic Lore Day celebration. Police tracked the man down and arrested him in Altoona.
He was in the Eau Claire County Jail at last word, facing a possible charge of making terroristic threats. Meanwhile, WQOW-TV says both the reunion and the Rustic Lore Day will go on this weekend as scheduled and police are working with organizers to ensure safety.
Charges filed in caged girl case
RACINE — Two people who allegedly kept a nine-year-old girl in a dog kennel in Racine County are due in court Friday afternoon.
Prosecutors have filed four felony charges each against 46-year-old Gail LaLonde and 48-year-old Dale Deavers, both of Muskego — and there's new information that the two reportedly had a marijuana growing operation in the basement of Deavers' home. LaLonde is the girl's guardian, and both are accused of keeping the child in a locked cage for about 12 hours a day with a few blankets but no pillows.
Sheriff's deputies and social workers went to an elementary school Wednesday to check a report of child abuse, and officials say the case unraveled from there. Both LaLonde and Deavers are charged with false imprisonment, causing child mental harm, manufacturing marijuana, and maintaining a drug trafficking place.
Five more arrests in ongoing pipeline protests
SUPERIOR — Five more arrests have been made in protests against the replacement of a crude oil pipeline near Superior.
The five were booked into the Douglas County Jail Thursday on possible charges of trespassing and resisting arrest. Six people were arrested late last week for what Enbridge calls its fifth interruption of work on the new version of "Line Three" that will replace a 50-year-old pipeline from Canada to an Enbridge terminal at Superior.
Most of the line would go across northern Minnesota, but approvals are still pending in that state. Enbridge has gotten the OK to build in Canada and Wisconsin.
Two Dane County brothers saying put in Florida
MADISON — Two brothers from southern Wisconsin say they will not evacuate their Florida homes as Hurricane Irma gets closer.
Craig and Steven Madaus are from Marshall, east of Madison in rural Dane County. Craig has lived in Miami for the last seven years and he tells WKOW-TV it will give him a chance to use a "scrunchable" water bottle he developed to help people make it through severe weather, a product he calls the "Bubi Bottle." Craig Madaus says there's "not a whole lot" that makes him fearful — and his older brother Steven says he's been stocking up on food, water, and other things that will keep him alive at his Orlando home for at least a week. Both Madaus brothers say their relatives back in Wisconsin want them to evacuate but they will not change their minds and do so.
Man shot while washing newspaper’s windows in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE — A 30-year-old man is recovering after he was shot while washing windows outside the Journal Sentinel office building in downtown Milwaukee.
Reports say the suspect fired four shots from a passing vehicle — and police say the person was trying to shoot somebody in another car when the window washer was hit. Newspaper security personnel tended to the man before paramedics arrived about 1:40 p.m. Thursday and the unidentified victim worked for Al's Window Cleaning.
Shootings are said to be rare in downtown Milwaukee, but there have been two in the last three weeks. Twenty-six-year-old Kakuma Kennedy was shot and killed Aug. 21 outside a tavern on Water Street.
VA: Staff should have reported former Tomah dentist sooner
WASHINGTON — The VA's internal watchdog says staffers at the Tomah medical center should have reported problems with a former dentist earlier.
The VA Inspector General released its final report Thursday on the unnamed dentist, confirming that almost 600 veterans could have been exposed to HIV and other diseases because he reused his own equipment without properly sanitizing it. Center director Victoria Brahm said nobody was harmed, but officials say the activity went on for almost a year before a dental assistant reported it.
The report said the dentist left before speaking with VA investigators about it. U.S. Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin says she's "extremely troubled" by that, and she's says she's working on a bill to let the Inspector General subpoena former employees after they leave.
Former student in UW sex case to get 7 trials
MADISON — Expelled UW-Madison student Alec Cook can have seven trials on 23 sex related charges against him.
Dane County Circuit Judge Stephen Ehlke has ordered that 21 charges be broken down into six possible trials. The seventh trial was ordered earlier on two new allegations that the 21-year-old Cook cornered a woman in her UW dormitory in 2014. The other trials include alleged sexual assault, stalking, false imprisonment, strangulation and suffocation, and disorderly conduct. Judge Ehlke ruled that there was a lack of common characteristics in all the cases — and by having separate trials, he says jurors can hold prosecutors to their requirement of proving all the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Barca to resign as Assembly Democratic leader
MADISON — The leader of the minority party in the Wisconsin Assembly for the last six and a half years is leaving that post.
Peter Barca confirmed Thursday he would leave the position Sept. 30 but would stay in the Assembly and represent Kenosha. Reports say Barca resigned during a long private meeting with his fellow Democrats in the lower house amid longtime concerns that he could not add to the party's minority. Last November, voters increased the Republican majority to 64-35, the largest display of one party dominance since 1957. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says some Democrats were upset that Barca recently voted in favor of the GOP's $3 billion state incentive package for Foxconn to build a large high tech plant close to his district.
UW-Madison makes renewed push to boost research
MADISON — UW-Madison has announced a renewed effort to boost its research.
Chancellor Rebecca Blank says the state's largest public university will hire three to five groups of faculty members each year for the next five years. Instead of being assigned to individual departments, Blank says the research teams will work together around emerging fields of knowledge with a goal of creating deeper and stronger research into "critical" topics that she did not disclose.
There's been talk that the university might conduct more medical research for Foxconn, which is looking at other high tech plants beside the one it plans to build in Racine or Kenosha counties. The new research boost comes after Madison lost its Top Five ranking for U-S research schools for the first time since 1973.
Fall color show could start, end early
MADISON — Wisconsin's majestic fall colors may start and end earlier this year.
TravelWisconsin.com says trees in Superior and Hayward are already at 15 percent of their peaks for reds, yellows, and oranges. SmokyMountains.com predicts that northern Wisconsin could peak in the third week of September instead of the end of the month as normal — and peaks in southern Wisconsin might come at the start of October instead of the end.
Experts say Wisconsin's record rainfall from January through July has put more stress on trees, causing the earlier peaks of colors. But we could still be in for a great color show if we warm and sunny days and cool evenings.