Season's first big snowstorm on the way; Two men die after falling through ice; Nine more state news stories
Winter storm warnings are posted in all of Wisconsin as most of the state braces for its first major snow of the season.
Two to 10 inches are in the forecast with the highest totals expected in western and central areas from mid-day today (Monday) through tomorrow afternoon.
The National Weather Service says we'll also have strong wind gusts of up to 45 mph as a strong low-pressure system goes through Wisconsin, and some places could see up to one inch of snow each hour during the storm's peak.
Heavy snow is expected in west-central Wisconsin this afternoon through Tuesday.
Two rounds of snow are expected with this system. The first will impact the region between 3 p.m. this afternoon and diminish after midnight tonight.
A second area of snow is expected to develop tonight over southwest Minnesota and push across central Minnesota toward northwest Wisconsin during the day Tuesday.
Storm total accumulations of 9-12 inches are expected from south central Minnesota toward Eau Claire. Six to nine inches are forecast from Redwood Falls, Minn., across the Twin Cities Metro over to Ladysmith.
The Milwaukee metro is expected to get sleet -- up to two-inches of it for Ozaukee County. There's also a lakeshore flood advisory through midnight tonight as the strong winds create waves of up to 13 feet along Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties.
Two men die after falling through ice
CHIPPEWA FALLS -- Two men have died after falling through thin ice on a northwest Wisconsin lake.
Chippewa County sheriff's officials say at least one of the men was ice fishing. It appeared that one man fell through the ice and the other tried saving him before falling in.
The incident occurred about 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon on Glen Loch Lake in Chippewa Falls.
A 33-year-old Bloomer man and a 76-year-old Chippewa Falls man died later at a hospital.
The incident remains under investigation, and sheriff's officials warns people that the ice remains dangerous due to the warmer than normal winter.
‘Lucky llama’ to be featured in New Year's Eve event
GREEN BAY -- The mayor of Green Bay hopes a decorated llama will attract folks downtown for New Year's Eve.
Jim Schmitt plans to have the llama cross the Ray Nitschke bridge around 8:45 p.m. Thursday, just before a fireworks show.
KeLe Alpacas of Kewaunee is providing the animal, which appears in parades and other events in northeast Wisconsin.
The mayor says he's convinced that everyone who sees the llama will have good fortune going into the New Year. He calls it “The Legend of the Lucky Llama.”
Authorities ID three people found dead last Thursday in Ashland
ASHLAND -- Authorities in Ashland on Saturday identified the three people found dead Thursday in what police say was a double murder-suicide.
The Ashland Police Department reported that Zhara Parent, 23, and her mother-in-law, Patricia Parent, 84, were found deceased with multiple gunshot wounds in a home in the 300 block of Willis Avenue.
Daniel Parent, the 54-year-old son of Patricia Parent, also was found dead inside the home and is the suspected shooter, police said in a news release. Authorities did not disclose how Zhara Parent and Daniel Parent were related.
Ashland is a town of about 8,000 on the shores of Lake Superior.
Ashland police received a call at noon Thursday saying that there might be a deceased person with multiple gunshot wounds at an address on Willis Avenue. Police responded and found the three people deceased, Ashland police Capt. Jim Gregoire said. There were at least 12 shots fired and the gun was recovered, Gregoire said.
Lawmaker seeks to close loophole for naked baby pix
MADISON -- Lots of families keep naked photos of their babies as keepsakes, but a Wisconsin lawmaker says some of those pictures are made for the wrong reasons.
Assemblyman John Jagler (R-Watertown) is proposing a bill to ban nude-baby photos for those intending to use them for sexual gratification.
Jagler said a law enforcement officer told him about a registered sex offender who secretly recorded his young daughter while naked, but prosecutors refused to charge the man under the state's child pornography law. Jagler said many such cases have cropped up throughout Wisconsin.
The law has an exception for parents who engage in the long tradition of keeping cute nude baby pictures. Jagler said a narrower exemption would stay.
Man shot while trying to foil robbery
MILWAUKEE -- A man is hospitalized after he was shot while trying to foil a robbery attempt.
It happened around 6 p.m. last Sunday night at a Popeye's restaurant on Milwaukee’s southwest side.
Police say a 28-year-old man tried to physically intervene in the holdup when he suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.
The suspect ran off. Police were still looking for that person at last word.
Land sale guarantees public access to Hurley waterfall
A waterfall near Hurley will stay open to visitors after its owners sold the site to the Northwoods Land Trust.
The group bought 38 acres along the Montreal River on Wisconsin's border with Upper Michigan.
Donald and Nancy Siebert agreed a year ago to sell the site for $188,000. But the Land Trust just recently completed its financing with the help of donations and a Wisconsin Stewardship grant.
Land Trust director Bryan Pierce said the land includes a variety of trees for hikers to enjoy plus a pair of trout streams for anglers and places for hunting, snow-shoeing and viewing wildlife.
Lincoln Hills: Inmate numbers grow faster than guards
The numbers of guards and other staffers have not kept pace with the rise in offenders at Wisconsin's embattled juvenile institution.
State figures show that the combined Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake schools had a 69% rise in inmates since 2011, while staffing grew just 44%.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel dug up the numbers as a state and federal investigation continues into reported staffer abuses of teen offenders.
The state has consolidated its juvenile facilities by shutting down boys’ and girls’ schools in southeast Wisconsin in recent years while combining the two northern centers into one site at Irma where 270 offenders now live.
Former juvenile official Jim Moeser hoped the consolidation would result in Milwaukee County keeping its youth offenders closer to home with more aggressive sentences. He believes that can still happen.
Assembly considers $1.1 million for reading program
MILWAUKEE -- A state lawmaker wants to see if a summer reading program at Milwaukee's Marquette University can benefit youngsters statewide.
A bill from Assemblyman Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) would give $1.1 million to the Marquette program over the next two years as a pilot project.
School reform leader and former Milwaukee superintendent Howard Fuller heads the six-week summer program, which started after officials discovered that Wisconsin's black kids had the nation's fourth-lowest reading scores in 2010.
Up to 97% in each year's program have improved their skills in things like phonics and vocabulary.
The Assembly Education Committee has endorsed Sanfelippo's bill, but Milwaukee Democrat Mandela Barnes said the state should take competitive bids for the program.
Pilot injured in plane crash
WATERTOWN -- A pilot is recovering from an ankle injury after his single-engine plane crashed near Watertown around 5 p.m. Sunday.
The SR-22 craft went down in a cornfield in the Jefferson County town of Watertown.
Sheriff's deputies say the 67-year-old pilot from Lake Forest, Ill., reported engine trouble soon after he took off from the Watertown airport while heading to Kenosha. Officials say the man escaped the aircraft on his own and was taken to a Waukesha hospital for treatment.
The FAA is investigating the cause of the crash.
Warm winter wipes out ice fishing for now
LA CROSSE -- Ice fishing enthusiasts are getting anxious about driving onto Wisconsin lakes and setting up shanties, but it's way too warm for that.
The state is due to get its first major snowstorm of the season this week, but the long-range forecast calls for temperatures which are not nearly cold enough to walk on the ice much less drive on it.
In La Crosse, fishing guide Anthony Larson said he's often out with ice fishing lovers by mid-November when the gun deer hunt begins.
However, Larson told WXOW TV in La Crosse that he has been sending potential customers elsewhere.
There is lots of open water around the state. The Department of Natural Resources suggests that people not walk on the ice until it's at least two to four inches thick.