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Steele ordered to stay in institution; says 'I caused their death'

A judge has ruled that a former deputy found not guilty by reason of mental defect in a homicide case should remain in an institution. Andrew Steele pleaded insanity in the killings of his wife, Ashlee Steele, and sister-in-law, Kacee Tollefsbol, and will be committed to the Department of Health Services. A judge said he would pose a risk of bodily harm to himself or others if he was released. Steele was found not guilty by reason of mental defect on two homicide charges April 23. The judge said Steele's commitment order must be reconsidered from time to time. Steele told the court he doesn't object to institutionalization. He told the court, "Ashlee and Kacee are two of the greatest people to ever walk this earth." He said, "Kacee was among the best friends that I've ever had and they're both gone because I caused their death." "I do not know what happened that day," he said. Speaking to the victims' children, he said, "All I can do is pray for their resilience and pray that their pain eases as time goes on." "I pray that their pain eases as days go on and that they find peace," he said at the end of his remarks. Dr. Erik Knudson, a doctor at Mendota Health Institute, told the court that Steele, "told me that he could not do things that we later observed that he could do." A police sergeant testified that Steele would have the strength to pull the trigger on most firearms based on his demonstrated motor skills. The victims' brother, Brad Putnam, said Steele should go to an institution for life. "If he's capable of doing it once, he can do it again," he said. "Steele should not be shown sympathy for his ALS. He did not show any mercy to my sisters." Steele's father, Bill Steele, said Andrew Steele's two children were upset they were not called to testify in court.. He said there was no doubt in his mind that it was brain damage that caused the deaths in Steele's home last August, and he had shared that with Steele's children. "My opinion was it was ALS," Bill Steele said. "I said, 'You know your dad just like I knew your dad and is that something you'd ever expect your dad to do?' And the answer would be no. And I think if Andy didn't have ALS this would never have happened."

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 16:10:08 GMT

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Published: Tue, 10 May 2011 13:51:57 GMT

Milwaukee alderman killed in motorcycle crash

Milwaukee police say a motorcyclist killed in an overnight crash is a city alderman. Authorities said 56-year-old Joseph Dudzik's motorcycle hit some construction barricades with his Harley-Davidson on the city's southwest side at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday. He was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries. Dudzik was elected to the Milwaukee Common Council in 2002 and represented the 11th District. He worked for the city's public works department for more than 20 years. He's survived by his wife and two sons.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 12:32:58 GMT

Vet warns of dog flu dangers

An Ohio veterinarian is warning dog owners to watch out for canine influenza. The vet treated a puppy diagnosed in April with a new strain of the illness. Now there is concern that more animals could be infected. Jim and Linda Lucas bought Katie, a 13-week-old west highland terrier, in April. The couple purchased the dog to replace another dog that died that same month, stomped to death by deer. "We were just broken-hearted," Linda Lucas said. "She was such a part of our life." The couple combed the Internet looking for another dog. When she found one, she believed they were getting a healthy westie puppy from a responsible breeder. "She had just a little bit of a wheeze. … Nothing that triggered any real concern at the time," Linda Lucas said. "(We) mentioned it to the person we bought her from, and she said, 'Well, I think that will pass.'" Within days, the couple brought the dog to a local veterinarian. Dr. Jodi Houser believed the dog suffered from kennel cough. But the dog didn't respond to treatment. "Her cough had turned from that dry hacking cough to a moist cough," Houser said. "You could feel a little rattling in her chest." Houser ordered a series of the lab tests, which revealed the dog had the H3N2 strain of canine influenza, a contagious respiratory virus that can sicken and even kill dogs and cats. The disease made headlines in April after about 1,000 dogs in Chicago contracted the virus, USA Today reported. But now the virus is popping up in other states, including Alabama, California, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Jersey, Iowa and Indiana, according to a report by Cornell University's Animal Health Diagnostic Center. Houser said countless clients have asked about the illness after the outbreak in Chicago. "I never suspected that I would get a positive on that test, so when I did I kept looking at it to make sure that's what it was," she said. Turns out the woman the couple got their dog from is not a breeder. She had purchased the dog from an Amish breeder. Houser said she fears other dogs and puppies in Ohio could be infected. "This is … a large breeding facility, and we don't know where all these puppies have gone," Houser said. The Lucas' dog is slowly recovering, but they worry other dogs may not be so lucky. "Check the person you're buying the dog from," Linda Lucas said. "Pin them down and make them tell you, are they the breeder? Are they a broker? You know, where is this puppy coming from?" The H3N2 strain of canine flu emerged in Asia between 2006 and 2007. The virus can spread quickly among dogs and even cats. There is no vaccine, and many vets don't test for it.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 00:11:13 GMT

Teacher accused of allowing sex in classroom

An Atlanta-area teacher was arrested after a parent accused him of letting middle-school students have sex in his classroom. Quinton Wright is charged with four misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office said. He was booked into jail Tuesday and released after posting bond. The mother who made the complaint said she discovered a disturbing text message on her 14-year-old son's phone. "Basically he's allowing the students to have sex in a storage room of his classroom," the mother told CNN affiliate WSB. "He told my son, 'You can have it from 7:30 to like 8:30,' " the mother said, reading some of the messages. " 'Did you tell the girl what's going to happen? That she cannot tell anybody?' -- basically don't tell anyone I'm allowing you to use my room." Wright, 25, taught math and science at Champion Theme Middle School in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He also coached basketball at the school. The school district said he was removed from the school. Even before discovering the text messages, the mother said she was suspicious about the teacher. "He called me when the kids are at their eighth-grade prom and asked if he could come over and take pictures with the boys before the prom," the mother told WSB. "I said no."

Published: Thu, 21 May 2015 12:04:22 GMT

Pirate ship stops in La Crosse

Boaters on the Mississippi River may notice an unusual site over the next few days. A real-life pirate ship, being sailed by Daniel Kellogg, stopped at the La Crosse Municipal Boat Harbor on Thursday. Kellogg has been sailing pirate ships for 20 years after growing up in the Bahamas and developing an interest in pirate history. He picked up this ship in St. Louis and is sailing up to the Twin Cities where he'll meet up with his family. He said the ship has made a lot of fans during the journey. "It's been pretty fun. People will hop in their boats, jump out there, circle the boat a couple times, throw us beers, raise their Jolly Roger, you know, give us 'Arghs' all the time. It's a lot of fun. It turns out there's a lot of pirate in a lot of people,” Kellogg said. The ship is expected to finish its voyage to the Twin Cities sometime next week.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 14:17:40 GMT

Man pronounced dead, but then starts moving

A Milwaukee County medical examiner's report says a 46-year-old man was pronounced dead after collapsing at his Milwaukee apartment, but then started moving his limbs just as he was about to be taken to the morgue. The report said the man's girlfriend called police Tuesday because she had not heard from him in a couple days. A police officer entered Thomas Sancomb's apartment and found him at the foot of his bed. The report said both the officer and paramedics found he was cold, appeared pale and "in rigor" and did not attempt to resuscitate him. He was pronounced dead and his family was notified. The report said as his body was about to be removed, he began moving his limbs. Paramedics returned to the scene and rushed him to a local hospital.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 15:29:16 GMT

MPD to announce arrests related to gun violence

Madison police are holding a news conference at 1 p.m. to announce arrests made this week in connection to an increase in gun violence in the city. Police have responded to reports of shots fired almost daily over the past month, including multiple shots fired during a recent weekend. “The fact that we’ve had two people injured in the past two weeks amidst all of this gunfire is nothing short of miraculous, and frankly I think we’re on borrowed time,” MPD chief Koval said. Refresh this story for more details as they become available.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 15:26:29 GMT

3 women, 1 man arrested in Edgerton drug, prostitution sting

Three women and one man were arrested in connection with a drug and prostitution sting in Edgerton this week, officials said. The Rock County Sheriff's Office said the department's SWAT team, Special Investigations Unit and officers from Edgerton police searched several apartments and common areas at 5 1/2 N. Henry St. in Edgerton Wednesday in connection with a drug and prostitution ring investigation. The sheriff's office said the search warrants were specifically written to locate evidence of drug trafficking and prostitution alleged to have been taking place in apartments 1, 2 and 4. Edgerton officers working in conjunction with SIU began investigating suspected criminal activity at the apartments in April based on a tip, according to the news release.  Over the course of approximately one month, SIU and Edgerton officers conducted interviews and surveillance of the apartments. Law enforcement said the investigation substantiated the claims and resulted in the search Wednesday. Police said Katrell Tramaine Smith, 34, was arrested on suspicion of keeping a place of prostitution, soliciting prostitutes, maintaining a drug trafficking place, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of drug paraphernalia. Kayla Doris Raines, 30, was arrested on suspicion of prostitution, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of cocaine and a probation hold. Margaret Callie Wallace, 39, was arrested on suspicion of prostitution and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sommer Stone Dronso, 18, was arrested on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia. Smith is being held at the Rock County Sheriff’s Office and is scheduled to be in court Friday at 3 p.m. Raines, Wallace and Dronso were booked and released from Rock County Jail and scheduled to appear in court on June 15 at 1 p.m. Officials said the investigation is ongoing.

Published: Thu, 21 May 2015 22:22:04 GMT

Legislator preparing to unveil bill legalizing blaze pink

Real men could wear pink in the woods under a bill legislators are preparing to unveil next week that would legalize blaze pink for hunters. Rep. Nick Milroy, a Democrat from South Range in northwestern Wisconsin, plans to hold a news conference Tuesday to announce the measure. A Milroy aide said Friday that Milroy was vacationing in the Boundary Waters and couldn't be reached for comment on the bill's details. Sen. Terry Moulton, a Chippewa Falls Republican, wrote in a column for the Dunn County News this week that the bill is designed to encourage more women to try hunting. He said a University of Wisconsin-Madison textile expert performed experiments for the legislators and determined that blaze pink is just as visible as blaze orange in the wild.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 15:49:04 GMT

Car goes airborne in rollover crash

A Cottage Grove man was injured Friday morning in a single-vehicle rollover crash in the town of Sun Prairie, according to a release from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies were called to County Road TT just east of County Road H at 6:30 a.m. on a report of a crash. Investigators said the driver, Scott M. Andruss, 25, was traveling west on County Road T when he drifted off the road and struck a mailbox and then a driveway embankment. His car went airborne and rolled over, according to the release. Andruss was taken to UW Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He will be cited for operating after revocation and for not having insurance.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 15:06:41 GMT

County board votes to halt work on jail, look at reforms

The Dane County Board has decided to halt the idea of a nearly $160 million jail and to look at jail reforms. The board voted unanimously in favor of a resolution that would set up a work group which would spend the summer looking at issues involving the city's jail and provide incarceration alternatives, end solitary confinement and give black leaders a voice in community action. The resolution was supported by the Young Gifted and Black Coalition, which has been protesting the jail expansion proposal since it was introduced.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 12:05:28 GMT

Lawmakers nix Walker plan to eliminate higher ed board

Lawmakers on the Legislature's budget-writing committee have killed Gov. Scott Walker's plan to eliminate a small state agency that approves and regulates for-profit colleges. The Joint Finance Committee nixed the idea without debate on Thursday. David Dies, director of the Educational Approval Board, told the Wisconsin State Journal on Friday (http://tinyurl.com/m5rhna6) that it's better for the state and people who attend the for-profit colleges to keep the board operational. Walker had proposed doing away with the board in his budget released in February. He argued that it would lift unnecessary financial and regulatory burdens on the schools and that some of its consumer protection functions could be handled by other state agencies. But opponents argued it plays an important role in overseeing the schools.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 15:53:46 GMT

Deputy strikes pedestrian with squad car, police say

A Dane County sheriff’s deputy struck a pedestrian with a squad car on Madison’s north side Wednesday afternoon, according to a release from Madison police. Police said the pedestrian was crossing Aberg Avenue in a crosswalk on a walk signal when the light turned to a flashing warning sign before he made it to the other side of the street. As that happened, an SUV turned from North Sherman Avenue onto Aberg Avenue with the deputy directly behind it. Police said the deputy didn’t see the pedestrian. The 63-year-old pedestrian suffered bruises and road rash. The deputy will be cited for failure to yield.

Published: Thu, 21 May 2015 16:20:26 GMT

Republicans mulling possible bike tax

One of the leaders of the Legislature's finance committee says his colleagues are pondering imposing a new tax on new bike sales. Rep. John Nygren, a Marinette Republican, is co-chairman of the committee. He told reporters Thursday that Republicans on the panel are looking into inserting language in Gov. Scott Walker's two-year budget plan that would create a tax on the sales of new bikes with wheels larger than 20 inches. The money would fund bike path construction. He said the tax could generate as much as $1.8 million in the budget's first year and $3.8 million in the second. Nygren said it's just an idea right now and there's a less than 50 percent chance it will actually happen.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 00:36:37 GMT

Sheriff's dept. asks public help finding West Baraboo man

Authorities asked for the public's help Thursday locating a West Baraboo man who hasn't been heard from for 10 days. The Sauk County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to a welfare check request on May 11 for 30-year-old Nicholas Moen after a disciplinary action at his workplace in the village of Lake Delton. Law enforcement officers were not able to contact Moen and additional attempts to locate him since have been unsuccessful, according to a release. Investigators believe that he has not returned to his apartment since May 11. Moen's cellphone and other personal items he would need if leaving for an extended period of time are not in his possession. Moen has not been heard from by his family since May 11, according to the release. Officials said he is known to frequent the casinos near Lake Delton and Black River Falls, and is described as having a gambling problem. Moen is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds, the sheriff's office said. He has blonde hair and blue eyes and may be driving a gray 1997 Toyota Camry four-door with Wisconsin license plate 967-FUD. Citizens are asked to report any information they may have to Detective Justin Hannagan of the Sauk County Sheriff's Office at 608-355-3233. Information can also be shared through Sauk County Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-888-847-7285, on Twitter @CrimeSauk or through the Sauk County Crime Stoppers or the Sauk County Sheriff's Office Facebook pages.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 04:19:38 GMT

Korean War vet from La Crosse buried at Arlington National Cemetery

La Crosse native Francis Knobel was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday. Knobel was a corporal in the U.S. Army who went missing 65 years ago during the Korean War. Last year, the Department of Defense was able to identify his remains and began the process of providing him an official burial at Arlington. Congressman Ron Kind attended Knobel’s burial service. “Mr. Knobel paid the ultimate sacrifice while bravely serving our country as a member of the United States Army. It is my honor to join Mr. Knobel’s family for the burial he has long deserved,” Rep. Kind stated. “Sixty-five years after Mr. Knobel went missing his story serves as an important reminder about the need to honor our fallen heroes with a proper military burial. It’s what a great nation should do and I was honored to attend the service.” The burial coincides with the start of Memorial Day Weekend, when the nation takes time to honor our fallen soldiers and remember the sacrifice they have made for our country.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 13:02:25 GMT

Stoughton man faces 7th OWI charge

Janesville Police said a Stoughton man faces his seventh charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicate after he was pulled over early Friday morning. The incident happened near the corner of North Wright Road and Randolph Road just after 2:30 a.m. Friday. According to police, Jonathan Seeliger, 35, was driving on North Wright Road when an officer observed him running into the bike lane. He also noticed that Seeliger’s car had expired registration tags. Police said the officer pulled Seeliger over and he showed signs of impairment. Police said Seeliger admitted to using marijuana earlier in the day, and marijuana was also found in his possession. Police arrested Seeliger and took him to Mercy Hospital in Janesville for a blood draw, before taking him to the Rock County Jail.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 12:29:43 GMT

Zoo owners believe stolen baby kangaroo, goats won't survive

The owners of a northeastern Wisconsin zoo say they do not believe a 5-month-old kangaroo and four baby goats that were taken will be found alive. The animals from Special Memories Zoo in Outagamie County were reported stolen May 7. Dona Wheeler, who owns the zoo with her husband, told Post-Crescent Media that the animals require special care in the early stage of their lives. The mother kangaroo was also injured when her joey was taken, and the Wheelers aren't sure if the mother will be able to have another joey. Dona Wheeler has said the shelter the animals were in wasn't locked, and that they haven't had issues before. They're now installing a chain-link fence, a security gate and cameras at the facility.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 11:27:55 GMT

UW Colleges face significant cuts under Walker?s budget

UW Rock County is quiet in the days between commencement and summer classes, but Joel Frat still keeps an eye on campus. "Being that it's our full-time job, we're here every day, you could said it's a home away from home, and we take pride in that," Frat said. But for a custodian who goes beyond his job description and looks to protect students, he’s not feeling good about his job security. “There are definitely going to be some cuts, some deep cuts. And how deep? We just don't know,” Frat said. “And that's the thing that bothers me the most and I'm sure a lot of people who are employed for the UW campuses.” UW Rock County Dean Carmen Wilson said in her 20 years with the UW Colleges system, this cut is the most challenging yet. According to Wilson, the entire system of 13 campuses and an online program faces a $6.5 million cut. The Rock County campus’s budget alone: $6.5 million. "This cut takes us back to funding levels that we got in 1998, so we are running a 21st-century institution on a 20th-century budget,” Wilson said. The two-year institutions that make up the UW Colleges system are under the same guidance for how to deal with the budget cuts. “This cut is so large and it comes on the heels of other cuts, we have no other option but to take an institutionalized approach,” Wilson said. Wilson said 92 percent of UW Rock County’s budget is for personnel, so there is nowhere else to cut back on expenses. She’s bracing for a 10-percent cut to her workforce, with up to 10 positions on the chopping block. In addition, the campus cannot take more students to increase revenue since admissions already accepts whoever wants to come. Wilson said the colleges in the UW System have also endured eight years of tuition freezes over the last decade, making it more difficult to boost revenue. “I feel sad for the students and our ability to give them what they need to be successful, and I worry about those students who need the most support,” Wilson said. One of the options put before the system is regionalizing administration. In other words, the 13 campuses would be divided into regions, each with its own dean and leadership team. That would take the place of individual deans at each campus. “I think it's just challenging to lead institutions that are in such different locations,” Wilson said. More than anything, Wilson said she’s concerned about the 1,100 or so students who attend UW Rock County. She said the majority of them are the first in their families to attend college, and a number of them need help accessing aid so they can finish their degrees. Without staffing, and advisers, Wilson fears there will be fewer graduates. “If there's one student who drops out of college because the adviser that they had isn't here to help them, that's one student too many,” Wilson said. The biennial budget, which dictates the UW System funding, is scheduled to be finalized in June.

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 03:37:35 GMT