Wisconsin roundup: Senate GOP leader calls for toll roads; IT vulnerability at universities; more state news stories
MADISON — The majority leader in the state Senate says the federal government is offering $1.5 trillion dollars for infrastructure — and, if Wisconsin is to get its share, toll roads might be the only answer.
Republican Sen. Scott Fitzgerald says that seems to be the only way the state can come up with the necessary matching funds. Gov. Scott Walker has indicated he's open to raising the fuel tax to pay for road needs, as long as there are matching cuts elsewhere. Fitzgerald says there's no support in the Senate for higher gas taxes or vehicle registration fees, but some lawmakers are willing to talk about open-road tolling.
Audit shows UW-System’s IT at risk for cyber attack
MADISON — A new state audit shows the University of Wisconsin System's IT infrastructure is at risk for a cyberattack.
The nonpartisan state Legislative Audit Bureau issued the audit Tuesday. The survey from the says the UW-System failed to develop a comprehensive IT security program as recommended in prior audits. The study identified security weaknesses that make the system vulnerable to unauthorized transactions or changes to accounting, payroll and student data. The audit recommends UW System officials report to lawmakers by August on their progress of improving IT security.
5 men charged with conspiracy to commit homicide
HURLEY — Five men are charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree intentional homicide in northern Wisconsin.
Witnesses say 25-year-old Wayne Valliere Jr. was last seen alive the morning of Dec. 22. His body was found New Year's Day in a rural area of Iron County. Authorities say Valliere had been shot eight times — twice in the head. Richard Allen, Evan Oungst, Joseph Lussier, James Lussier and Curtis Wolfe are charged with killing the Lac du Flambeau man. All of them are accused of beating him, but Allen was apparently the shooter.
La Crosse considering full-time boat harbor residency
LA CROSSE — The La Crosse Mayor is asking the city council to vote whether to let long-term residents live at the Municipal Board Harbor year-round.
It's not clear if anybody has already been doing that and there are no rules prohibiting it. Mayor Tim Kabat wants to head off legal issues while the city bolsters services for harbor residents. The city council meets Thursday. The attention comes at a time La Crosse is accepting bids for the re-construction of the harbor and docks. Those facilities were closed in December and is scheduled to re-open by May 1 for the fishing season.
Police: Wausau man tried using drugs to kill unborn child
WAUSAU — Wausau police have arrested a 33-year-old man, accusing him of trying to use a prescription drug to kill his unborn child.
Jeffery Smith was arrested last week after a brief investigation. Officers say a pregnant woman told them she thought the father of her child, Smith, had put something in her water bottle. She said he had tried to convince her to have an abortion. When she found residue in the bottom of the bottle she called police, they sent it to the State Crime Lab for testing and it was found to have a drug present which is used to terminate pregnancies. The mother and baby weren't hurt. Smith is in the Marathon County Jail.
Threats to DA earns man 2 more years in prison
JUNEAU — Threatening to kill Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney means a man who wasn't going to get out of prison until the year 2036, now gets to stay behind bars until 2038.
Two years have been added to 29-year-old James Luke's prison term. Luke claims to be a member of ISIS. His threats were made in retaliation for Toney's handling of an unrelated homicide case. Investigators haven't been able to find any connection between him and the Middle Eastern terrorist group. Luke was prosecuted in Dodge County for the threat to decapitate the Fond du Lac County prosecutor.
Major expansion set for Dane County airport
MADISON — Replacing aircraft boarding bridges will be the first phase of a $25 million expansion coming to Dane County Regional Airport.
The Madison facility handled more than 1.8 million passengers during a record-setting 2017. The project includes renovations to the seating at gates and in common areas, restroom updates and improved security. The money is in Dane County's capital budget this year. The regional airport is home to nearly 100 arrivals and departures every day. Non-stop service to Las Vegas was added last year, with non-stop flights to Philadelphia and San Francisco coming.
Volunteer coach accused of inappropriate contact with children
APPLETON — A volunteer wrestling coach at Bay Port High School has been arrested by Fox Valley Metro Police.
Twenty-three-year-old Garrett B. Heder is charged with having inappropriate contact with children. The Howard-Suamico School District says he's no longer a volunteer there and he isn't allowed to be on school grounds. He's being held in the Outagamie County Jail on six felony counts of representations of nudity and 11 counts of exposing a child to harmful material. Police say more charges are possible. The school district says there is no indication any of the alleged criminal activity took place on the high school campus and it may not have involved students in that district.