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Wisconsin roundup: Manhunt suspect captured; longer license plates on their way; 10 more state news stories

Joseph Jakubowski

RICHLAND COUNTY — The man who was been the focus of a manhunt for more than a week after he allegedly stole guns, penned a manifesto to President Donald Trump and issued threats has been captured.

The FBI announced Friday morning that an alert for Joseph Jakubowski had been canceled. The Richland County Sheriff's Department said officers formed a perimeter Thursday night on private property in the village of Viola — a community about halfway between La Crosse and Prairie Du Chien — after a property owner reported Jakubowski was there. The Janesville man was taken into custody just after 6 a.m. Friday in a multi-agency operation.

“This is a perfect example of agencies working together to keep the public safe,” Richland County Sheriff James Bindl said. “A group effort that made for a successful outcome to a potentially dangerous situation.”

A manhunt for Jakubowski had been ongoing since he allegedly stole 18 guns, then threatened to use them on public officials.


DOT: Longer license plate numbers to roll out soon

MADISON — Wisconsin motorists and law enforcement will soon start seeing longer license plate numbers on vehicles.

The DOT says the first standard plates with seven numbers and letters will be put on cars this month. Local motor vehicle offices and third party outlets will keep putting out six characters until they run out. The DOT first said a few weeks ago it would add an extra digit to the standard plates, because all 20 million letter and number combinations have been snapped up since the system began in 1986 and the letters "I," "O," and "Q" are not used because they look like digits from a distance.

The extra number will create about 100 million separate license numbers. The first one to be released will be "A-A-A 1-0-0-1."


No injuries reported in Rice Lake plant explosion

RICE LAKE — Rice Lake fire crews say foam and a plant's sprinkler system helped them put out a Wednesday fire, which followed an explosion.

Nobody at Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies was injured in the blast. Workers at the plant say the explosion happened in a chemical vault and the building was evacuated. There was acetone and resin in the products in that vault, but nothing was released into the environment.

The Barron County Emergency Management Office and a licensed hazardous materials team are conducting the cleanup of the containment basins.


Trump budget would slash legal services for poor

MILWAUKEE — Two large Wisconsin groups that provide legal services for the poor say the proposed federal budget would slash about half their total funding.

President Donald Trump's budget for this fall would stop funding the Legal Services Corporation, which provides about half the total budgets for Wisconsin Judicare and Legal Action of Wisconsin. They cover most of the state's low-income clients who are victims of consumer scams, wrongful evictions, loss of veterans' benefits, and child custody matters.

Deedee Peterson, an associate director of the Milwaukee based Legal Action, says her group has had up to 20 percent of its federal dollars threatened in the past, but nothing like Trump's total cutback. The groups have urged people to lean on their congressional representatives to preserve the government's aid.


Land argument for large-scale dairy operation could go to Wis. Supreme Court

MADISON — A dispute over land for a large-scale dairy operation in Wood County could wind up before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The Town of Saratoga is trying to stop plans by Golden Sands Dairy to start growing crops on 6,400 acres. The land was zoned unrestricted five years ago when the dairy filed for building permits. Four months later it was re-zoned for preservation. Wisconsin's 4th District Court of Appeals ruled Thursday against the dairy operation's claim of land-use rights. The dairy's attorney says he's considering an appeal.


State DOT gets extra $100M for projects

MADISON — It's like finding a $100 bill under a cushion on your couch.

Road project costs coming in lower than projected and an unexpected $38 million in state revenue work together provided a pleasant surprise for state officials. Fuel tax collections and vehicle registration fees were the sources of the additional revenue.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is quickly expediting 21 road and bridge maintenance jobs to be completed before the end of the fiscal year in June. Governor Scott Walker credits WisDot with showing fiscal prudence.


Roggensack retains chief justice mantle for Wis. Supreme Court

MADISON — Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack has been chosen by her fellow justices to remain in the leadership position for another two years.

Roggensack is a part of the state court's 5-2 conservative majority. In a prepared statement, she vows to maintain an "open-door policy to all people wishing to discuss the administration of Wisconsin courts." Roggensack was elected to the high court in 2003, after serving as a state appeals court judge. She assumed her current position two years ago.


Makeover for Wisconsin's first Walmart store

MONROE — The first Walmart store ever opened in Wisconsin has now completed a makeover.

The big box retailer in Monroe is holding a grand re-opening starting Friday morning. The new floor plan is designed to make it easier for customers to find the products they are looking for. It now offers a modern electronics department, a more convenient Money Services counter and an expanded section for ladies' intimates. The two-day event includes samples and giveaways to customers, plus five grants of one-thousand dollars each to local organizations like the Monroe School District.


Milwaukee man charged with sending drugs to his inmate son

JUNEAU — A 63-year-old Milwaukee man makes his first court appearance next month to face charges he tried to mail a narcotic pain reliever to his son serving time in Fox Lake Correctional Institution.

Calvin Brown Junior could face up to 3 ½ years in prison is he is convicted of delivering illegal articles to an inmate. A corrections officer was processing mail last December when he noticed raised spots where stamps were stuck to two envelopes. A drug called Suboxone was found under the stamps on the letters addressed to Brown's son.


Door County teen accused of setting fire to teacher's desk

FISH CREEK — A Door County teen is accused of setting a teacher's desk on fire and stealing money from a substitute teacher at Gibraltar High School.

The Door County Sheriff's Office says 18-year-old Michael J. Davis is facing numerous charges including arson, theft, making terrorist threats and obstructing an officer. Television station WBAY reports that deputies were called on April 4 to investigate a suspicious fire at the high school. A teacher's desk had been set on fire, and another teacher had used an extinguisher to put out the flames.

A substitute teacher was in for the regular English teacher that day. She told officers that cash was missing from her wallet, and that she had folded it a certain way. A student witness reported to school staff that Michael Davis had been in the teacher's classroom around the time of the fire. Investigators say the substitute teacher had turned off the lights and closed the door for lunch break.


Changes made to UW school calendar

MADISON — University of Wisconsin students can now look forward to longer vacations.

UW officials announced Wednesday that semesters will be shorter and breaks longer, beginning with the fall 2017 school year. A recent study conducted by the university showed that students had difficulty planning both academic and co-curricular activities under the previous school calendar.