Wisconsin roundup: Xcel customers to see bigger utility bills; more state news stories


MADISON — Xcel Energy's residential customers in Wisconsin are expected to pay an additional $2 a month for electrical service and $4.76 a month for gas.

The Public Service Commission authorized the utility to increase its revenue through rate hikes which were approved Thursday. Another $3 will be tacked onto the fixed charge, doubling it in less than two years. The Citizens Utility Board told the panel low-income residents are hit by flat fee increases disproportionately. The PSC disagreed while approving the changes.


Holiday lights stolen in Madison

MADISON — The Grinch has been busy in Madison, where holiday lights have been stolen from the trees lining University Avenue.

The holiday tradition was started more than 50 years ago by Jack Kammer. The spirit has been maintained by his son and the Kammer Family Foundation. Those lights are bought through donations from the community and Chris Kammer says he's hoping someone will speak up if they saw anyone messing with the display.

This isn't the first time a vandal tried to ruin the Christmas spirit. Kammer says the light wires have been tampered with in past season and, one time, somebody cut down one of the trees in the display.


La Crosse man indicted for wildlife crimes

MADISON — A federal grand jury has indicted a La Crosse man for a series of wildlife crimes involving the illegal transport of animals.

Federal prosecutors say 28-year-old Markos Diderrich is charged with transporting wildlife across state lines and knowing the wildlife was taken against state law. He is accused of taking several different animals, including eastern tiger salamanders, from Wisconsin to different states including California and Pennsylvania.


Armed man shot to death by cops in Marinette County

PESHTIGO — A call from a worker at a Marinette motel early Thursday started a chain of events resulting in an officer-involved fatal shooting.

Authorities were told about an incident shortly after midnight involving a man with a gun. Investigators say it isn't clear if the call was about a domestic situation or an attempted robbery. The suspect was tracked to a home in Peshtigo where officers saw him get into a vehicle and drive away.

When the car went out of control and rolled into a ditch, the man inside was holding a gun as he got out. That's when he was fatally wounded. Officials haven't released his name.


Rice Lake Catholic church official accused of taking more than $800K

BARRON — A 63-year-old Turtle Lake woman is charged with wire fraud and tax violations for allegedly stealing $800,000 from St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Rice Lake.

Deb Marcellus was indicted by a federal grand jury. Prosecutors say she took the money while serving as the director of development for the church over a six-year period ending last April. If she's convicted, she could be sentenced to up to 25 years in a federal prison without the possibility of parole. Investigators say she used the money for personal purchases and gambling.


Convicted killer says he feels no remorse

MADISON — A Dane County judge has sentenced a convicted killer to life in prison plus 40 years.

Thirty-seven-year-old Curtis Langlois learned his fate in a Madison courtroom Thursday afternoon. Kendrith Young and a second man were shot at a convenience store last August. Young was hit eight times and he died — the second man survived. Langlois apologized to his family in court, but told the judge he had no remorse for killing Young. At one point he was pulled out of the hearing after telling the surviving victim he wished he'd killed him, too.


Wis. man given 11-year federal sentence for sex crime

HOUSTON — A 42-year-old La Crosse man is going to federal prison after traveling to Texas intending to have sex with a preschool child.

Benjamin David Sherwood was caught by an online sting operation. Prosecutors say he thought he was chatting with a mother who was offering her daughter for sex. They say Sherwood traveled to Houston in May thinking he was going to have sex with a 4-year-old girl. He was sentenced in a Houston federal court Thursday after pleading guilty to charges of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and enticement of a minor.