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Multiple men stabbed on State Street

Madison officers responded to a fight on the State Street and Johnson Street early Saturday morning to find several people had been stabbed, police said. According to police, one man in his 20s, two men in their 30s and one man in his 40s, all from Madison, suffered stab wounds after an argument between two groups earlier Friday night. They were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening wounds. Police said the assailants are two black men in their 20s. According to police, the incident does not appear to be random, and there is no ongoing threat to the public. The investigation is ongoing.

Published: Sat, 04 Jul 2015 14:21:53 GMT

Gov. Walker says he will work with leaders on open records changes

Gov. Scott Walker says he will work with legislative leaders to make changes to open records laws included in the state budget by the Joint Finance Committee before it approved the budget proposal late Thursday night. Under the provisions, nearly all records created by state and local elected officials would not be subject to the Wisconsin open records law. The changes were part of a 24-page final motion to the budget passed by the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee on Thursday. In a statement released Friday afternoon, Walker said he would work with legislative leaders before the budget is put to a vote. Numerous new exemptions would be extended to the 132 members of the Legislature, their staff, support agencies, and all other state and local government officials, including Walker. Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, called the changes a "full-frontal assault on the open records law as it pertains to the state Legislature and other agencies of government." "I think a lot of people are shocked by what happened, and they should be. This a tremendous blow to open government in Wisconsin, which has served not just the people of the state but even our politicians well," Lueders said. Attorney General Brad Schimel released a statement Friday: "Transparency is the cornerstone of democracy, and the provisions in the budget bill limiting access to public records move Wisconsin in the wrong direction." Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy said the measure was likely drafted to help legislators avoid embarrassment. "We spent $73 billion last night in the budget, and the only thing we’re going to be known for in finance is that the legacy is secrecy," Sen. Jon Erpenbach said. Panel wants records test on officer-involved reports The Legislature's budget committee has voted to apply the open records balancing test to reports documenting officer-involved deaths. Wisconsin's open records law allows record custodians to determine whether the need to restrict access to a record outweighs the public's right to access. Current law doesn't specific that reports about officer-involved shootings released publicly are subject to the test. The Joint Finance Committee on Thursday voted to include language among their final revisions to the state budget that would specify investigators who lead probes into officer-involved deaths must delete any information from their reports that would be barred from release under the test. The full budget must be approved by the Senate and Assembly before becoming law. Loosening of teacher licensure requirements rejected Highly criticized teacher licensure changes that would have allowed some people without high school degrees to be licensed to teach in Wisconsin have been removed from the state budget. Republicans on the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee approved the changes in a late-night session last month. But they reversed course and removed them from the budget on Thursday. The committee had previously approved allowing anyone with a bachelor's degree to be licensed to teach in core subjects of English, math, social studies or science. Anyone with experience in other non-core subjects, including high school drop outs, could have been certified to teach under the previously adopted motion. That, too, was removed. Teachers and others had spoken out against the licensing changes when they were first added. Panel votes to add 7-day work week to budget The Legislature's budget committee has voted to allow factory and retail employees to work seven straight days without a day of rest. Under current state law, employers who own factories and retail stores must allow their workers at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in every seven consecutive days. The requirement doesn't apply to janitors, security guards, bakeries, restaurants, hotels and certain dairy and agricultural plants. The Joint Finance Committee voted Thursday to let an employee voluntarily work seven straight days. The language mirrors a Republican bill that's sitting in the Assembly labor committee. The budget must pass the Senate and Assembly and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker before becoming law. Public school sport participation rules scaled back An expansion of who can play sports and participate in extracurricular activities in public schools in Wisconsin is being scaled back. The Legislature's budget committee previously voted to allow home-schooled students, and those attending private, virtual or charter schools, to participate. But on Thursday the committee scaled that back by limiting participation only to students in home schools. The original proposal drew widespread opposition, including from advocates for home-schoolers who feared it would lead to additional regulation. The budget must be passed by both the Senate and Assembly, and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker, before becoming law.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:00:46 GMT

More haze in Wisconsin from Canadian wildfires

Skies in Wisconsin remain hazy because of wildfires in Canada that started more than a month ago, according to the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service said there are 168 uncontrolled burns and 273 controlled burns in Canada as of Monday. Unusually warm temperatures, dry forests, lightning and strong winds are blamed. The fires producing the most smoke are clustered over northern Alberta. A strong jet stream was sending smoke southward into the Great Plains in late June, but the band has now shifted east to include Wisconsin. The National Weather Service said the haze could make for some colorful sunrises and sunsets.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 17:29:04 GMT

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

MPD: Man exposes, touches himself near couple sleeping by lake

A Madison man faces charges after allegedly exposing himself while lying next to two people sleeping near Lake Mendota early Sunday morning, Madison police. Madison police officers responded to the 600 block of North Frances Street around 3:15 a.m. for reports of a disturbance and made contact with Brian Ducksworth, 37, according to a release. Ducksworth was sitting on a bench near State Street, and based on the description given to the emergency dispatcher, officers believed he was connected to the Frances Street incident, police said. The 28-year-old victim told police he and his wife were sleeping down by the lake when he was awakened by the sound of his wife yelling, according to the release. The victim’s wife said she saw Ducksworth lying behind her husband with his hand on her husband’s back and his other hand on his exposed genitalia. When police found Ducksworth near State Street he admitted to sleeping near other campers, but left when a woman got agitated with him, officials said. According to the release, Ducksworth and the 28-year-old victim got into a fight after the incident, and Ducksworth apparently fell backwards into the lake. Ducksworth faces a tentative charge of lewd and lascivious behavior.

Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:21:56 GMT

Area fireworks celebrations set for Fourth of July

Fireworks shows cap holiday traditions and celebrations in several area communities. July 3Edgerton: Racetrack Park - dusk Elkhorn: Sunset Park - duskJefferson: Jefferson Golf Course - 9:30 p.m. Land O' Lakes: Land O' Lakes Airport - 10 p.m. Madison: Madison Mallards/Warner Park - 9:30 p.m. Mayville: Mayville City Park - duskNeshkoro: River's Edge Park - dusk Portage: Pauquette Park - 9:30 p.m. Whitewater: Cravath Lake - 10 p.m.Watertown: Riverside Park - 9:30 p.m. July 4Beloit: Riverside Park - dusk Boscobel: Kronshage Park - 9 p.m.Brodhead: South end of Brodhead, Center Avenue - duskBrooklyn: Legion Park 1st Street - 9 p.m.Columbus: Fireman's Park - duskDeForest: Firemans Park - duskEvansville: Lake Leota Park - duskFort Atkinson: Fort Atkinson High School - 9:45 p.m.Green Lake: Dartford Bay - duskHarrisville: Firemans Park - dusk Janesville: Traxler Park - dusk Lake Mills: Lake Mills industrial park - dusk Lone Rock: Lock Rock - dusk Mauston: Mauston High School on Grayside Avenue - 9:45 p.m.Mazomanie: Lion's Park - duskMilton: Schilberg Park - duskMineral Point: Soldier Memorial Park - duskMonona: Winnequah Park - duskMonroe: Twining Park - 9:30 p.m.Montello: Montello City Park - duskOxford: Oxford Village Park - duskPlatteville: Legion Field - duskReedsburg: Nishan Park - dusk Rome: Lake Sherwood Lodge - dusk Sauk Prairie: Sauk City Riverwalk - duskShorewood Hills: Blackhawk Ctry Club - 9:30 p.m.Shullsburg: Badger Park - 9:45 p.m.Waterloo: Firemen's Park - duskWhitewater: Cravath Lake – 10 p.m.Wisconsin Dells: behind Municipal Building - dusk July 5Stoughton: Mandt Park – 9:30 p.m. July 11Beaver Dam: Tahoe Park 10 p.m. Dodgeville: Harris Park - duskNew Lisbon: Riverside Park - duskPrairie du Chien: St. Feriole Island - dusk July 18Poynette: Midsummer Nights in Dekorra, W8901 Hall Road - dusk Rewey: Rewey Ball Park - dusk July 25Highland: Highland Village Park - dusk

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:11:06 GMT

2 men die after falling into manure pit

Two Wisconsin men have died after falling into a manure pit and being overcome by the gases. The Chippewa County Sheriff's Office says it happened around 5 p.m. Thursday in the Town of Woodmohr. According to the sheriff's office, Jeremy Seibel and Rodney Seibel of Bloomer were trying to retrieve a piece of equipment that fell into the manure pit. They were overcome by the gas and became unresponsive. First responders pulled them from the pit, but efforts to revive them were unsuccessful.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:58:04 GMT

Man swings vodka bottle, chases man with knife, police say

A Madison man was arrested after he swung a vodka bottle at a woman and chased a man with a knife Tuesday, according to police. Madison police said 30-year-old Brandon D. Bradley Sr. was on the 100 block of State Street at 5:15 p.m. when he was involved in an argument over a cellphone charger with a 36-year-old Madison man. According to the report, witnesses told police Bradley had an issue with the 36-year-old and threatened to kill him. When the 36-year-old ran from Bradley, Bradley reportedly chased him with a knife in one hand and a bottle of vodka in the other. An officer on routine patrol in the area noticed broken glass on the ground on the 100 block of State Street. A witness told police Bradley struck someone with the liquor bottle before pulling his knife. Madison police spokesman Howard Payne said that when officers arrived, they found Bradley in the 100 block of West Mifflin Street, drinking from a bottle of vodka. "Bradley tried to aggressively walk away from officers, but based on the knife information, Bradley was stopped by police at gunpoint," Payne said in a news release. "He refused to comply with officer's commands to show his hands, and he attempted to break free from officers." Police found a 7 1/2 inch locked-blade knife in Bradley's pocket when he was arrested. Police said a 51-year-old Madison woman told police Bradley  swung his liquor bottle around nearly hitting her in the head before police arrived. Payne said that as officers were taking Bradley into custody, a crowd of about 50 "hostile" onlookers converged on the officers, taking cellphone pictures and videos. They also yelled derogatory statements at police. Officers had to ask people to move away in order to move Bradley to a secure area.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:14:41 GMT

Police issue warning about toy gun shaped cellphone cases

Law enforcement officers across the country are using social media to issue warning about a toy gun shaped cell phone case being sold online.  The concern is that responding police officers will mistake the case for a real gun. “For us, it is a huge safety issue and it is really a big concern,” says Marc Lovicott, public information officer for the University of Wisconsin Madison Police Department.  “This is about common sense and public safety.  If anybody sees what looks like a weapon coming out from somebody’s pocket or next to their ear, they are going to call us, and our officers have seconds to react, and they have seconds to figure out, does this person have a real gun?  What am I going to do to make sure I’m safe and the people around me are safe?” The UW Madison Police Department used their Twitter account to caution followers of the danger of carrying the toy gun cell phone case.  They were joined by law enforcement agencies in New York City, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California. “For us, it is dangerous.  I mean, you talk about a public safety issue when you’ve got somebody with a cellphone in their pocket with a gun handle hanging out, and you don’t know if that’s a real gun or not,” says Lovicott. The toy gun cell phone case is easily found online.  One site listed the product as sold out.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:40:39 GMT

Scam call steams coffee shop owner

It took Todd Allbaugh 15 years to realize his dream of opening up his own coffee shop, The Fifth Element, on Madison's University Avenue. He was not going to let a single phone call from his "power company" three weeks after he opened turn it into a nightmare. "They said I owed $900 in pastdue amounts and they had a disconnect team on the way to my business and I need to clear it up right away," he said about the call he received on Thursday. He said the craziness of the buildup to opening day and the next few weeks gave him a momentary belief that it was legitimate. "It's possible. It's feasible. You're human," he said. "Things can slip through the cracks, so your first thought is, 'Oh my gosh, I messed up.'" He told the person calling that he needed to get his MG&E paperwork and that he wanted to get his landlord on the phone to discuss the bill further. The caller hung up on him. "I was reaching for my wallet because I thought I'd have to pay it until I just stopped and thought for a second," he said. "If it sounds too weird to be true, it probably is. 'Take a minute,' as my old history teacher used to say, 'Pause and reflect.'" MG&E officials say they get calls about scams like this one every week. The key to not becoming a victim is to know how the utility company handles overdue payments. "We're never going to call and demand an instant payment over the phone," said Steve Schultz, MG&E's corporate communications manager. "We're not going to threaten you, 'Hey, we're coming in the hour to disconnect if you don't make this payment.' If an MG&E customer is facing disconnection for non-payment, they will have received several past-due notifications in writing. They will have had multiple legitimate contacts with MG&E or attempted contacts. Calls like (Albaugh received), it's not something that we do." Albaugh's caller ID showed the number calling him as 1-858-222-3899. The same number was linked to a scam alert issued by a Michigan police department with callers using that number, claiming to be with the electric company and demanding money from consumers. He filed a report with Madison Police and with MG&E. Allbaugh said if the amount the caller asked for had been smaller, maybe $200, he would have fallen for the scam. After all, he didn't want a few hundred dollars to stand in the way of the power being turned off. "Without power, we would pretty much be toast, not coffee," he said. "We'd be done." For more information, MG&E has a webpage designed to protect consumers.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:49:56 GMT

Police: Man found asleep at wheel arrested for 10th OWI

A Janesville man is facing his 10th OWI after being found asleep at the wheel early Saturday morning, according to Fitchburg police. Police said an officer found a vehicle stopped in traffic at Post and Fish Hatchery roads just before 3 a.m.. He found that the driver, Mark R. La Veen, 52, of Janesville, was sleeping and arrested him on charges of operating while intoxicated. La Veen is being held at the Dane County Jail.

Published: Sat, 04 Jul 2015 14:31:24 GMT

Madison man stabbed, struck with cane in Janesville

Janesville police are looking for two men after a Madison man was stabbed and struck with a cane Friday afternoon. According to police, officers responded to a disturbance near Janesville's 4th Ward park just after 4 p.m. The victim was taken to the hospital and released with non-life-threatening injuries. He is currently at the Rock County Jail on a hold. Police identified two men, Reggie Louis Smith, 46, of Janesville, and Javen Louis Smith, 19, of Janesville, as suspects. They ask anyone with information to contact the Janesville Police Department at 608-757-2244 or CrimeStoppers at 608-756-3636.

Published: Sat, 04 Jul 2015 14:06:56 GMT

Police put spit hood on man resisting arrest, report says

Police had to place a spit hood over a trespassing man who was resisting arrest Tuesday night, according to a report. The Madison Police Department said 29-year-old Kristopher R. Breister, of Madison, refused to leave the doorway of a restaurant in the 100 block of State Street at 11:17 p.m. Restaurant managers had asked Breister more than 10 times to leave. Employees called police. According to the report, Breister cursed at officers, pulled his shirt over his head and "continued to sleep." When Breister did not follow orders to leave the business, police physically removed him. Breister refused to be placed in handcuffs. He also attempted to bite, spit and kick at officers, according to the report. Officers put a spit hood over Breister's head to prevent police from coming into contact with Breister's saliva.  Police spokesman Howard Payne described Breister's resistance as "vigorous," and said it took five officers 5 minutes to take Breister into custody. Breister was charged with resisting or obstructing an officer and unlawful trespassing.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:13:29 GMT

Neighborhood fight causes traffic jam

A downtown fight between three Madison residents backed up traffic Tuesday night, police say. Police said officers responded to the 900 block of Jenifer Street after reports of a physical fight. They found that cars were backed up and there were several witnesses, who provided descriptions of the alleged combatants. Police contacted the individuals, Russell T. Johnson, 53, Dennis J. Nuzback, 65, and Ann M. Austin, 55, all of Madison. They all denied they had been fighting, but police said there was an 'argument at minimum." According to police, the three were cited for disorderly conduct and Johnson was taken to jail on a parole violation. Police said alcohol was likely involved.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:10:58 GMT

Police conduct probation check, find meth lab in Muscoda

A Muscoda man faces charges after officers conducting a probation and parole visit found materials associated with the production of methamphetamine Wednesday, according to a release from Muscoda police. The Richland-Iowa-Grant Drug Task force and Muscoda police assisted the Wisconsin Probation and Parole crews with a home visit at 1105 N. Wisconsin Ave. in Muscoda, officials said. Crews found methamphetamine paraphernalia and materials used to manufacture meth inside the residence, according to the release. A one-pot meth lab was also found. Crews ended the probation and parole search and obtained a search warrant, authorities said. Elijah R. Fisher faces tentative charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of materials for manufacturing methamphetamine and manufacturing methamphetamine in connection with what was found in the residence, according to the release.

Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:36:46 GMT

1 suspect shot and seriously injured in attempted burglary

Police say one man was shot and seriously injured during an attempted burglary at the Bouchard's shoe store on Milwaukee's north side. The incident happened around 4 a.m. Friday. Police said in a statement that three suspects attempted to burglarize the store when one of the suspects was shot, but the circumstances of the shooting were not immediately clear. Police say the injured 20-year-old man was taken to a hospital by two males, ages 18 and 17. All three were arrested.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:47:07 GMT

Fire damages Verso paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids

A cracked lime kiln has caused a fire that damaged the Verso paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids. Verso spokesman Phil Hartley says a crack developed in the shell of the lime kiln about 7 a.m. Friday and some lubrication caught fire. He says the damage was limited to some machinery and the paper-making process was not halted. Nobody was injured, but firefighters from five area departments were on the scene for about three hours. The kiln is a heating chamber used in the process of making pulp from wood for conversion into paper.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:57:17 GMT

MPD chief says they're looking at crowds differently amidst ISIS holiday threat

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said his department’s officers are more vigilant after the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned an ISIS-inspired July Fourth holiday weekend attack could happen. “I do think our officers have a higher sense of scrutiny,” Koval said. “That we're looking at packages differently. We’re looking at crowds a little differently.” That scrutiny included police presence at Thursday’s Elver Park fireworks celebration. While Koval said good weather combined with no school or curfew has historically meant increased gang activity at the event, this year’s federal alert also increased the scope of possible problems they were looking for. “It gives us all pause to look with heightened scrutiny at things or activities or individuals that are behaving differently all around us, given that heightened sense of imminence or importance,” Koval said. The fear is a lone wolf, anywhere in the country, could act on ISIS' message to attack because of a perceived defamation of the Prophet Muhammad, which is why Koval said it is important for his officers to be armed with a higher sense of security.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:39:57 GMT

Officials ID man who shot himself after domestic incident, police pursuit

The suspect in a domestic incident in which a woman said her boyfriend was threatening to kill her is dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Columbia County sheriff’s officials said. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call just after 12:30 p.m. Wednesday reporting that a woman was involved in a domestic violence incident and her boyfriend was threatening to kill her, according to a release. The woman reportedly escaped from a vehicle that her boyfriend, Christopher D. Richardson, 42, of rural Rio, was driving and she ran into a church just east of Rio, officials said. A sheriff’s deputy responding to the church saw Richardson driving west on Highway 16, according to the release. Law enforcement officers initiated a traffic stop on County Road SS just north of Rio, but Richardson continued north on County Road SS at speeds not higher than 50 mph. He then turned west onto County Road G and then south onto Hill Road just east of Wyocena. A short time later, Richardson started shooting at sheriff’s deputies' vehicles, according to the release. One squad car was hit with two bullets. One deputy was treated for a minor injury and released. Richardson then turned east onto Waters Road, still pointing a firearm at deputies behind him, authorities said. A sheriff’s deputy shot at the vehicle, but missed Richardson and the vehicle. The moderate-speed pursuit continued in the same area, and Richardson eventually stopped the vehicle, according to the release. Crews approached the vehicle and found that Richardson had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Richardson was the only occupant of the vehicle.

Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:29:04 GMT

Tomah man accused of threatening to kill President Obama

A Wisconsin man is being detained in a mental health facility after authorities say he told a security guard he planned to kill President Barack Obama. A warrant was issued Thursday for 55-year-old Brian Dutcher of Tomah, the same day Obama was in La Crosse touting a proposal to make more workers eligible for overtime pay. An affidavit says Dutcher approached a security guard at the La Crosse library Wednesday and said he would "take (Obama) out" if he got the chance. According to the affidavit, Dutcher told a La Crosse police detective his threat was serious. U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil tells the Wisconsin State Journal authorities sought a civil commitment and Dutcher was being held in the mental health facility. Court records don't list an attorney for Dutcher.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:31:07 GMT