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Wisconsin roundup: Lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct removed from committees; more state news stories

MADISON — A Wisconsin state representative accused of sexual misconduct has been removed from all five of his committee assignments.

Democratic state Rep. Josh Zepnick has refused to resign, even though two women say he kissed them when they didn't welcome the attention. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos removed Zepnick from the Energy and Utilities, Family Law, Federalism and Interstate Relations, Financial Institutions and Mental Health committees. Minority Leader Gordon Hintz had asked Vos to take that action.


Dogs rescued from ‘meat farm’ arrive in Oshkosh

OSHKOSH — The director of the Oshkosh Area Humane Society says it will take some time for three dogs to learn to trust people.

Joni Geiger confirms the dogs were rescued from a South Korean "meat farm," with staff members picking them up Monday at Waukesha County Airport. Geiger says the dogs don't know what playing is and adds they've never lived outside their small cages. It could take some time, but the ultimate goal is to get them healthy and adopted. International agencies estimate 2.5 million are killed for their meat each year in South Korea.


Former dairy princess convicted of homicide up for parole hearing

WAUSAU — A former Wisconsin dairy princess goes before a parole board Wednesday after 27 years behind bars.

Forty-eight-year-old Lori Esker was found guilty in 1990 of killing her ex-boyfriend's fiancee. Lisa Cihaski was 21 years old when she was strangled with a belt in a car in a Rib Mountain motel parking lot. Witnesses in the case told the court Esker was obsessive and still wanted to have a relationship with the man, even though they had broken up. The NBC television movie "Beauty's Revenge" featured the case. The board's decision on her parole is expected to take several weeks.


Accused car thief lit up stogie while waiting to be arrested

MADISON — Madison police say an accused car thief was under the influence when he stole a woman's vehicle early Tuesday.

Witnesses say he was going an estimated 90 mph as he sideswiped one car and rear-ended another. Police say 28-year-old Jeramie D. McClain of Madison sat in the wrecked car and lit up a cigar while he was waiting to be arrested.

He had only traveled about two miles from the victim's house. No one was seriously injured in the brief crime spree. McClain was arrested, then taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. He faces several charges, including second-offense operating while impaired.


Police: Man tried to hire hitman to kill ex-girlfriend

MADISON — Madison police have arrested a 39-year-old Marshall man, accusing him of trying to hire a hitman to kill his ex-girlfriend.

Christopher A. Beierle was taken into custody Sunday night. He's charged with solicitation and cocaine possession. A second man tells investigators the offer was made as the two talked in a bar on Madison's north side. The name of the woman Beierle wanted dead hasn't been released, but police say she's a Dane County resident in her 20s.


Racine woman saved from burning room

RACINE — Police and firefighters helped save a Racine woman Tuesday afternoon from a fire in her home that started in her room.

The Racine Journal Times reports that firefighters responded to a report of a fire at the home at around 12:20 p.m. Emergency responders were first made aware of the fire after they received a call from the woman's Lifeline Alert system.

When they responded, they found the woman in the room with the fire, and was unable to move. Firefighters, along with a police officer, helped carry the woman out of the room to safety. She was taken to the hospital as a precaution. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The identity of the woman has not been released.