Authorities look for relatives of man found dead in Pepin; Walker campaign opens office in Iowa; 17 more state news stories
Authorities in western Wisconsin are trying to find the family of a 35-year-old Minnesota man found dead near a set of railroad tracks.
Pepin County sheriff's deputies said the body of Steven Joui Glaze of the St. Paul area has been taken to the Ramsey County medical examiner's office in St. Paul for an autopsy.
Sheriff Joel Wener said his deputies and the medical examiner have tried contacting Glaze's family but they have not been successful.
Pepin County deputies are asking relatives of Glaze -- as well as those who know about his actions from last Monday through Thursday -- to contact them.
--Brian Winnekins, WRDN, Durand
Walker campaign opens office in Iowa
Gov. Scott Walker has become the first potential White House candidate to rent office space in Iowa where the first-in-the-nation caucuses are less than a year away.
The Des Moines Register broke the story, and Walker spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski confirmed it later. She said the tax-exempt group "Our American Revival" has leased space in suburban Des Moines, and it's in the process of opening other offices in the Hawkeye State.
The first Walker office is in a strip mall, but shoppers may hardly notice, considering the other political activity which has been conducted in that same storefront in the past. Republican Mitt Romney leased the site in his 2012 General Election bid for the White House. Others using it were Michele Bachmann in early 2012 and John McCain in 2008.
One dies, one injured in crash near Stanley
One driver was killed, and another was injured in a crash near Stanley in western Wisconsin Tuesday afternoon.
The State Patrol said preliminary evidence indicates a Dodge Stratus, which was traveling west on County Road MM, failed to stop for a Ford Focus traveling north on County G.
The Ford struck the Dodge directly in the driver’s door resulting in fatal injuries to the driver. The driver of the Ford Focus also received injuries and was transported from the scene.
The crash happened just after 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, and it's still being investigated. The victims' names were not immediately released.
Upset over breakup, 17-year-old allegedly kills two
A 17-year-old boy is under arrest for shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend's sister and a 39-year-old man at a home in Mazomanie where the victims lived.
Dane County sheriff's officials said today that the suspect was arrested at the crime scene and was upset about a breakup with his 15-year-old ex-girlfriend. She was not home when the shootings took place.
Two boys, ages 14 and 16, were home, but they were not hurt.
All of the teens mentioned here have been students at Wisconsin Heights High School.
The 17-year-old suspect has a tentative court appearance set for Thursday. Sheriff's officials are seeking two counts of first-degree intentional homicide.
Third car hits Eau Claire house
A car struck a house in Eau Claire yesterday -- and it's not the first time it happened.
Jessica Stanton, a daughter of the homeowners, told WQOW TV it's the third time in the last 10 to 15 years that somebody crashed in their front yard.
Police said a car rolled through a stop sign, collided with an SUV and then went on to strike the front stairs and the front of the house located along the side of the stairs.
Ambulance personnel checked out both drivers, and neither was seriously hurt.
Eau Claire had light snow yesterday, but police said they're not sure if the weather had anything to do with the mishap. They said it should serve as a reminder than even a little snow can send a car sliding, and drivers should remember that and be more careful.
Supreme Court race: Bradley raises $375,000; Daley raises $139,000
State Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley continues to lead the money race for her April election against Rock County Circuit Judge James Daley.
As of the end of January, Bradley had just over $350,000 in the bank, compared to $88,000 for Daley.
New reports show that Bradley, a 20-year incumbent, raised $110,000 last month and $375,000 for her campaign so far. Daley took in $65,000 last month and $139,000 for his total campaign.
So far, we haven't seen the type of spending from outside groups that has dwarfed the Supreme Court candidates' spending in some elections in recent years.
Governor’s office says no to tribe’s offer of funds for Bucks arena
The head of the Walker administration said no today to an offer from the Menominee Tribe and Hard Rock International to help pay for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena in exchange for getting the casino they want in Kenosha.
Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Gov. Scott Walker will not change his mind about rejecting the casino.
The tribe and the casino's proposed developer, Hard Rock, said they could help take political heat off the Republican Walker.
The governor's proposed state budget would borrow $220 million for the new Bucks' arena and make NBA players pay it back with income taxes from the higher salaries in an upcoming league TV package.
At a news conference, Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen and Menominee Tribal Chairman Gary Besaw said they hoped to meet with Walker after he returns on Friday from his current trade mission to the United Kingdom.
The governor's office repeated concerns that a Kenosha casino would leave the state open to hundreds of millions in payments to the Potawatomi tribe, due to language in that tribe's gaming compact for its Milwaukee casino.
Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca called the arena-casino package a "double bonanza," and he urged Walker to approve it.
City council OKs Milwaukee streetcar system
Milwaukee aldermen have approved a controversial streetcar system which connects the downtown Intermodal Station with the city's lower east side.
The Common Council approved the project last month. Opponents submitted petitions against the new streetcar, saying the city has better uses for its tax dollars than a system which runs only several miles on a fixed route.
Tuesday the Council rejected a motion to reconsider its January approval. On a 9-6 vote, Milwaukee aldermen approved a $124 million capital budget for the line.
Mayor Tom Barrett said the routes will most likely be expanded once the streetcar gets going. Business supporters said it would spur the economy and create jobs.
The streetcar will run for about 2 1/2 miles with a spur to a new 44-unit apartment tower.
The aldermen also voted to create a tax incremental financing district to generate $31 million for the project and amend another TIF to bring in $18 million. Another $10 million come from an existing TIF district. Federal funds would cover the rest of the building costs plus 80% of operating costs for the streetcar's first 18 months.
Groundbreaking is planned for later this year. The new system is due to start fully operating in 2018.
More snow, but not enough as snowmobile trails remain closed
Up to 3 1/2 inches of snow have fallen since yesterday in northern and central Wisconsin -- but it's not enough for good winter recreation in many places.
Travelwisconsin.com says most snowmobile trails are closed in the southern two-thirds of the state. Trails in the north are generally in fair to good shape between Superior and Oconto County.
The National Weather Service says Rhinelander has 14 inches of snow on the ground after a topping of almost an inch overnight. Superior picked up 3 1/2 inches of new snow. Almost three inches fell at Friendship, Neenah and Green Bay. However, the Weather Service says Green Bay only has five inches of snow cover.
Forecasters expect patchy freezing drizzle and lingering flurries today in much of the state as stronger northwest winds move in. Subzero wind chills are in the forecast for tonight with actual lows of zero to four below statewide and highs in the single digits tomorrow. It's supposed to be warmer on Friday, when more scattered snow showers are expected.
Company will reopen manufactured home plants
Two manufactured home-building plants will reopen in central Wisconsin after being shut down for two years.
Canadian American Homes Inc. has bought the former Liberty Homes of Dorchester in Clark County. The new owner expects to reopen two plants in Dorchester and create about 150 jobs.
The state Economic Development Corporation is providing a low-interest loan to help with the effort.
Canadian American President Alan Emery says demand is increasing in the modular and manufactured home industry, and his firm believes it will be a key player.
Liberty Homes was founded in 1941. Its Dorchester plants were the last of nine plants in six states to close in 2013 -- victims of the downturn in the housing industry in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
Bar owner accused of planning to sell marijuana
A Wausau bar and restaurant has lost its liquor license after its owner and another man were accused of trying to buy and resell large amounts of marijuana.
Scott Kurzynski is charged in Marathon County Circuit Court with conspiracy to deliver or produce marijuana and misdemeanor bail jumping. Authorities said he tried buying 100 pounds of marijuana from an undercover police officer. Officials said his plan was to distribute it through Kurzynski's Paradox Bar.
Kurzynski told the Wausau City Council last night he did not get a fair hearing on the liquor license revocation in late January, saying the allegations against him were never proven.
An assistant city attorney noted that the owner had a conversation at the bar about a possible large drug transaction, and he either didn't know what was going on in the establishment or had misled officials about it.
A judge has entered not guilty pleas to Kurzynski's criminal charges. His co-defendant, Timothy Kleinschmidt, faces four felony counts that include marijuana conspiracy and possessing other drugs with the intent to deliver. Both men are due back in court March 2 when status of their cases will be reviewed.
--Larry Lee, WSAU, Wausau
Oak Creek officers receive Medal of Valor
The national accolades continue for two Oak Creek police officers for their heroism at the Sikh Temple shooting massacre in 2012.
Today (Wednesday) Officer Sam Lenda and retired lieutenant Brian Murphy will receive the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor during a ceremony in Washington. Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder will be on hand to present the award, which is given to officers who show "exceptional courage" in their efforts to save or protect lives.
Last August, Lenda and Murphy both received the Congressional Badge of Bravery. Earlier they were among eight officers honored at the White House by President Obama.
Six worshippers were killed in August of 2012 when white supremacist gunman Wade Michael Page stormed the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin just before its Sunday service.
Murphy was the first officer on the scene. He suffered over a dozen wounds in a gunfight with Page. Lenda shot Page just as the gunman had killed himself.
The White House said Murphy and Lenda both committed "selfless actions" which helped save many other lives.
Bail set for Milwaukee man accused of shooting at police
A $150,000 cash bond was set Tuesday for a suburban Milwaukee man accused of trying to kill two police officers who interrupted a domestic shooting incident.
Joseph Damrow, 31 of Grafton is charged in Ozaukee County with two counts of attempted homicide and four other felonies including reckless injury, possessing cocaine and throwing bodily fluids at officers.
According to prosecutors, three Grafton officers responded to a report of domestic violence at a home last Saturday. They ordered Damrow to go outside, but he didn't, and one officer reportedly heard gunshots just before the police busted in. Damrow's fiancée told police she was shot.
Officials said Damrow fired up to three more shots as he ordered the police to leave. Officers said they found Damrow lying on the kitchen floor. He allegedly resisted arrest, and spat at an officer in a squad car.
He was taken to a hospital to be checked out while his fiancée had surgery for a gunshot wound to a leg.
Damrow is due back in court March 4 when the status of his case will be reviewed.
Emerald ash borer found for first time in Outagamie County
The tree-killing emerald ash borer has turned up in Outagamie County for the first time.
State agriculture officials say the green beetle was confirmed on private land in Appleton. A tree-trimming crew found heavy damage from woodpeckers and reported it to city officials.
Larva and wood samples were collected, and a USDA lab confirmed the presence of the ash borer during the past week.
Outagamie County was already under quarantine for the bug because it's close to a previous infestation at Sherwood in Calumet County. Thirty-five other Wisconsin counties have similar quarantines. They prohibit folks from moving firewood to places without quarantines. Businesses cannot ship ash-wood products to non-quarantined counties until they get state certifications that their items are pest-free.
Racine lawmakers propose allowing tech schools to run charter high schools
The 16 Wisconsin technical colleges could operate independent charter high schools under a proposal from two GOP lawmakers.
Sen. Van Wanggaard and Rep. Tom Weatherston, both of Racine, are asking their colleagues to co-sponsor a bill to let students go to a tech school's charter facility for four years. The students could then obtain an associate degree after just one year at the corresponding tech college.
Weatherston said the vocational charter high schools could attract youngsters who would probably not otherwise go to college, and they could get the more finely tuned skills that Wisconsin employers are looking for.
The state already has options for high school students to take technical college courses, but Weatherston said not all K-12 districts let their students participate.
Gov. Scott Walker's proposed state budget also encourages independent charter schools by creating a new state board that would let nonprofit groups run them.
The Republican governor made a similar proposal two years ago, but it didn't make into the final budget.
Supporters say independent charter schools can be more innovative since they have less government bureaucracy. Opponents say it takes vital state aid and students away from public schools.
Independent charter schools now operate in the Milwaukee and Kenosha regions.
Democracy fund files complaint against Walker group
A liberal group says Gov. Scott Walker's new tax-exempt political organization is overstepping its bounds when the American Democracy Legal Fund filed a complaint yesterday with the Federal Elections Commission.
Walker formed the group "Our American Revival" to raise his national profile as he considers a run for the White House in 2016.
The complaint said the group is acting like a presidential exploratory committee, raising and spending money at levels that exceed federal limits. The Legal Fund cited media reports that said Walker's group took donations above the $2,700 allowed for exploratory committees. A spokeswoman for "Our American Revival" says the complaint is frivolous.
Two accused of killing man during attempted robbery in Milwaukee
Two men have been charged with killing a 40-year-old man on his porch in Milwaukee last spring.
Kelsea Smith, 22, was charged yesterday with first-degree reckless homicide, and Calvin Clayton, 21, was charged with felony murder.
Prosecutors said Smith fired the gun that killed Eduardo Vital-Cazares last May 17 during an attempted robbery outside his home. Smith was arrested last June, and police said he was caught with a handgun. Officials said they used surveillance video, ballistic evidence, and public tips to identify the suspects.
Clayton is being held under a $100,000 cash bond. He has a preliminary hearing set for Feb. 18.
Online court records did not list an initial court date for Smith.
Sen. Johnson: U.S. must cut incentives for immigrants to enter illegally
U.S. Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson says the nation must reduce incentives for immigrants to enter the country illegally.
If it doesn't, the Wisconsin Republican says the border security issues will never be fully resolved.
Johnson made his first fact-finding trip to the Mexican border at Texas last weekend in his new role as the Homeland Security Committee chair.
He and other Republicans say President Obama's executive orders on immigration have made it more lucrative to enter the U.S. illegally. As a result, the GOP is in a standoff with Senate Democrats over funding to carry out Obama's White House orders, including the one that gives legal protections to several million undocumented immigrants.
Funding for the Homeland Security agency expires Feb. 27. Senate Democrats have blocked a GOP bill for continued funding as long as it prohibits spending on the presidential orders.
Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin defended the Obama orders. She called it "irresponsible" for Republicans to play politics with the agency that fights terrorism.
Schofield Taco John’s destroyed by fire
A fire near Wausau has destroyed a Taco John's restaurant. Four employees and two customers escaped unharmed.
Firefighters were called around 9 p.m. Tuesday to the restaurant, located on Business Hwy. 51 in Schofield. Taco John's owner Kelly Kleine said her workers smelled smoke, and they thought at first that a neighbor was burning trash. They then saw flames from ceiling.
Fire Chief Steve Meilahn said part of the roof collapsed. Business 51 was closed for several hours so firefighters could put out hot spots. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
--Raymond Neupert, WSAU, Wausau