MILWAUKEE - Authorities in Milwaukee hope they can provide answers to a number of unexplained deaths in recent years.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office has posted faces of unidentified dead people on its Web site. The hope is that somebody can identify them. The photos are graphic, and forensic investigator Michael Simley knows that some people will take offense. But he says it does not do justice to let them go unidentified, and everyone deserves to be remembered for who they were in life. Many investigators around the country use sketches or clay models -- but Simley and a few others are now posting actual faces online. The coroner's office in Las Vegas says it has identified dozens of people that way. The Milwaukee County site has been up for a month. It lists 17 cases of unidentified people, with facial pictures of six adults and a baby. Simley said a few photos were touched up so evidence of decomposition could not be seen. The Web site has warnings about the graphic nature of the photos before people can view them.
The process of nominating an opponent for President Obama begins tonight in neighboring Iowa. And for Wisconsinites, the question is whether any real choice will be left by the time Badger State residents vote on April third. Thirty-one states will have had their primaries-and-caucuses by then. Mitt Romney led the seven GOP candidates a few weeks ago in the state's most widely-reported poll from Wisconsin Public Radio and Saint Norbert College. If Romney gets a string of early wins, the race could be over by the time it gets here. That's because no Republican since 1980 has won contested races in both Iowa and the following week's primary in New Hampshire. But libertarian House member Ron Paul has joined Romney atop the Iowa polls. And there's also been a lot of buzz about ex-Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Fans who watched the Wisconsin-Iowa men's basketball game on Saturday got to see some of the Iowa commercials on the Big Ten Network. Paul, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich ran ads during that game. Wisconsin is not the only state which pushed back its primary -- which had been in mid-February since 2004. Both national parties wanted a less crowded early schedule. This year's Super Tuesday is set for March 6th. Ten states will vote that day.
A woman was shot-to-death while sitting in a car in Milwaukee. Police said the 42-year-old victim was shot several times around 2 a.m. yesterday, while the car was parked on a north side street. The woman died at a hospital. Other details were not immediately released.
A former Milwaukeean has started his new job as the national president of the Boys-and-Girls Clubs. Jim Clark met with club members yesterday in Hartford Connecticut. He told kids about the importance of staying in school, not bullying classmates, and staying physically fit. Clark spent the last eight years as the CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Boys-and-Girls Clubs. He said kids today face a "very fragile" economic system. Clark said he plans a national campaign on raising awareness of childrens' problems -- and how the Boys-and-Girls Clubs can help address them. The organization started in Hartford over 150 years ago.
A 17-year-old boy is due in court today for allegedly causing a drunk driving crash on Sunday that killed two people in Milwaukee. Police said the teen slammed into a car in which two residents from New Berlin were killed. It happened about six on New Year's morning at an intersection just west of Milwaukee's Potawatomi Casino.
The state Justice Department says it probably won't meet deadlines this month to approve permits to carry concealed weapons. Law enforcement administrator Brian O'Keefe says his agency will probably need one-or-two extra days beyond the deadlines for at least the few weeks. The government is not penalized for being late, but those who apply to carry hidden guns must wait a little longer. State law gives the agency 45 days to act on requests filed in November, when the concealed carry law took effect, and 21 days to process applications filed since December. O'Keefe says his department has received thousands of applications in a single day, and dozens of Justice Department employees have been pulled off other duties to keep up. As of last Wednesday, there were almost 65-thousand requests for concealed weapon permits. Thirty-six thousand were approved and about 800 were rejected -- mainly because the addresses on the applications didn't match those on driver's licenses. The law authorized 11 people to process applications at the start, but that wasn't nearly enough. O'Keefe said administrative employees have worked on their days-off and delayed vacations to help. About $30,000 in overtime had been spent thorugh mid-December. But criminal investigations have not been affected, and no special agents or crime lab specialists have been pulled from their duties.
The owners of empty buildings in Sheboygan have until January 15th to report their vacancies to the city -- or face fines of up to two-thousand-dollars a day. The Common Council passed the reporting mandate a month ago. It also requires owners to maintain their vacant properties and keep them secure -- and to provide access for city inspectors. Also, landlords who live outside Sheboygan County must name local residents whom city officials can contact if necessary. The city says it's trying to prevent a further deterioration of neighborhoods, and stop wasteful spending on city services.
A southwest Wisconsin man has died in a one-car crash near Lodi in Columbia County. 26-year-old Mark Moore of Lancaster lost control of his car about 12:30 yesterday morning on Highway 60. Sheriff's deputies said it went airborne, fell into a ditch, and overturned. Moore was the only person in the vehicle. He died at the scene. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Bond was set at $50,000 yesterday for a man charged in a hit-and-run crash that critically injured a Milwaukee police officer. 19-year-old Juan Alvarado is charged with reckless endangerment and reckless injury in a Christmas Day crash that injured 37-year-old officer Frank Vrtochnick (ver-toch'-nick). Alvarado was arrested three days later at a bus station in Chicago, where police said he was apparently trying to get a ride to Mexico. Investigators said Alvarado was driving on the wrong side of a street when he jumped a curb, hit Vrtochnick, and sent him airborne before he landed 30-to-40-feet away. The officer was standing outside his squad car, as he tried to avoid being hit by Alvarado's vehicle. The defendant is due back in court January 18th, when a judge will decide if there's enough evidence to order a trial.
The Merrimac Ferry is shut down for the winter. The state Transportation Department says there's too much ice on the ferry's crossing route along Highway 113. The Col-Sac Three carries traffic across the Wisconsin River for as much of the year as possible. It's the state's only free ferry, and it will resume service in the spring.