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Wisconsin roundup: Naked carjacker killed by officers; 4-year-old fireworks victim ID'd; 8 more state news stories

WAUKESHA — Two officers in Waukesha County have shot and killed a naked carjacker, and deputies in neighboring Jefferson County will investigate.

Officials say a man stole an auto at gunpoint early Tuesday afternoon at a park and ride lot in Pewaukee — and that motorist was not hurt. A Delafield officer later saw the stolen car leave Interstate 94, and get back on — and then a 25 mile chase began westward into Jefferson County where officers used tire spikes to slow down the carjacked vehicle, which veered off the freeway at Johnson Creek. Sheriff's officials say the man ran toward a fast food restaurant when he ignored orders to stop, and was then shot by a Delafield officer and a Waukesha sheriff's deputy.


Girl killed in fireworks accident ID’d

CLINTONVILLE — A 4-year-old girl killed in a fireworks explosion in Clintonville has been identified as Alyssa Chmielewski.

Police continue to investigate the incident, which happened late Monday night outside the family's home. Officials say Alyssa's 42-year-old father placed a number of sparkler type fireworks into a metal tube and it exploded when it was lit.

Police say the youngster was about 10 feet away when she was hit with shrapnel in her neck and upper body. Her father was also hurt, but not seriously.


Report: Illinois’ budget pickle to cost Wisconsin $51M

MADISON — Illinois' budget problems will cost Wisconsin an extra $51 million in the next two years.

Illinois is raising an extra $5 billion in taxes to catch up on its pension obligations to government retirees — and the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau says the Badger State will have to give an extra $51 million to Illinois to maintain a long time income tax reciprocity agreement. It allows residents who live in one state and work in the other to file just one state tax return — and Wisconsin pays Illinois to equalize the tax rates, since more Wisconsinites work in Illinois than the other way around.

The extra tax obligation is the last thing Wisconsin Republicans wanted to hear as they struggle to agree on school and highway funding for a new state budget that was supposed to take effect July 1. Senate GOP leader Scott Fitzgerald says it will make that task harder.


Not-guilty pleas for newest sex charges for expelled UW student

MADISON — A judge in Madison has entered not guilty pleas for an expelled UW-Madison student accused of molesting and harassing eleven women on campus since 2014.

Twenty-one-year-old Alec Cook of Edina, Minnesota, stood mute at his arraignment on Tuesday on counts of false imprisonment and disorderly conduct — the newest of his 23 criminal charges, filed after an 11th reported victim came forward.

According to the latest complaint, Cook occasionally stared at a female student before trapping her in a dorm basement, seven months before alleged incidents that included sexual assaults against ten other Madison campus women. Cook remains free on a $100,000 bond, living with his parents in his hometown in the Twin Cities area.


Chief district judge to chair state advisory panel

MADISON — A judge from central Wisconsin will head a panel that helps improve the way trial courts are operated statewide.

Wood County Circuit Judge Greg Potter has been named the new chairman of the state's Committee of Chief Judges. Potter has been on the Wood County bench since 2001 — and for the last five years, he's been the chief judge of a district that includes ten counties in the middle of Wisconsin.

Now, Potter will join chief judges in the state's nine other districts to review administrative issues, solve problems, and look for ways to improve trial courts. The State Supreme Court makes the final decisions on how all Wisconsin courts are run.


Wisconsin’s largest farm show continues

ALGOMA — The state's largest annual farm show begins the second day of its three day run.

Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is being held at Ebert Enterprises in Algoma, where about 600 businesses and other groups are showing off the latest in farm related technology and other innovations. Gov. Scott Walker and state Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel helped kick off the show Tuesday, saying it represents the work of 415,000 Wisconsinites in the ag industry.

The show travels around the state each year — and Kewaunee County is hosting it for the first time. About 45,000 people are expected to attend the show by the time it ends late Thursday.


State home foreclosures lowest since at least 2001

WHITEWATER — Wisconsin homeowners are much better at keeping up with their mortgages, as shown by the lowest number of foreclosure cases in at least 17 years.

The UW-Whitewater Fiscal and Economic Research Center says lenders filed about 4,100 foreclosure cases in Wisconsin courts from January through June. That's 12 percent fewer than last year, and the lowest since the center began keeping track of the statewide situation since 2001.

This year's foreclosures are only about one third of what they were in 2009 during the peak of the Great Recession. Experts credit tighter lending standards, and more jobs that homeowners need to pay their mortgages each month.


State traffic deaths up in June, down for first half of 2017

MADISON — More people have died in Wisconsin traffic crashes in June, compared to the same month one year ago.

Preliminary numbers from the state Department of Transportation show 59 people died in June crashes statewide, three more than in the same month of 2016 and five more than the average for the past five years. The DOT says 271 people died in Wisconsin traffic mishaps from January through June, one fewer than last year.

Also, officials say there were eight Wisconsin traffic deaths during the five day July 4th weekend period from Friday through Independence Day. That's four fewer than in the same holiday period last year.


Court upholds $39M verdict in Milwaukee parking garage death

MADISON — The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has upheld a $39 million jury verdict against the builder of a Milwaukee parking garage where a 15-year-old boy was killed in 2010 when a concrete slab toppled on him.

But the court ruled Tuesday that Liberty Insurance is not responsible for the full amount levied against Advance Cast Stone. A lower court had said Liberty "breached its duty" to defend ACS and needed to pay the full award. The appeals court disagreed and said the insurer is responsible only for the limit in ACS's policy, which was $10 million at the time.

A 13-ton panel that fell in a city-owned parking garage killed Jared Kellner and injured two other people. Jurors awarded compensatory and punitive damages to Kellner, the people injured, and Milwaukee County.


State officials propose rules to limit farm animal waste

MADISON — Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have developed new standards to limit animal waste on farms in the eastern part of the state.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the proposed DNR regulations are focused on more than 87,000 acres of farmland in 15 eastern counties. The land lies over fractured bedrock, which can serve as a pathway for manure to get into aquifers and contaminate drinking water.

The rules include certain practices farmers must follow, such as avoiding certain areas to reduce the possibility of polluting groundwater. Currently, regulations are uniform across the state. DNR officials say special steps must be taken in eastern Wisconsin in order to meet the groundwater standard. The proposal is expected to go to the Legislature by January.