Bookmark and Share

rss logo Top Madison Area Local News Stories

Source: Local News

Black Earth Meats closes after 7 years in business

Officials at Black Earth Meats announced on their Facebook page that Tuesday was their last slaughter and after July they will not be open for business. The meat company specializes in organic, locally-grown meat, and has been open for seven years. But complaints from village residents about excessive animal noise and blood or other byproducts in the street prompted officials to push the slaughterhouse out. Village President Patrick Troge said in May that Black Earth Meats had grown too big for its facility and was disrupting village services and creating problems for neighbors, including a school. “Our bank was unable to renew our note as a result of the village of Black Earth Board’s ongoing actions against the business as a ‘public nuisance,’” the post said. Owners said the closure affects hundreds of Wisconsin and Driftess Area farmers, the community of Black Earth, and over 100 restaurants, retailers and farmers markets. “It affects all of our employees. It affects the thousands of customers who rely on us for good meat. And it affects the development of a local food infrastructure and small scale processing,” the post said. Owner Bartlett Durand said 22 employees will lose their jobs. Black Earth Meats’ operation manager commented on Facebook and said they are working with investors to try and continue what they started. “I am not giving up the fight,” the comment said. The company's retail shop on University Avenue in Madison, The Conscious Carnivore, will remain open, according to a release.

Published: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 01:53:56 GMT

Rockford man charged in second killing

A man already accused of killing a man in Winnebago County, Illinois, is charged in a second northern Illinois killing. Prosecutors in Illinois' Lee County on Tuesday filed 12 murder counts against 36-year-old Terence Doddy, of Rockford, in the July 1 death of 44-year-old Tonya Bargman. Other charges include robbery, concealment of a homicidal death, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle and credit card. Doddy is accused of asphyxiating Bargman at a rest stop at Paw Paw along Interstate 39 before stealing the Monticello woman's car. Doddy already was charged in Winnebago County in the June 30 killing of 37-year-old Todd Hansmeier. He was arrested July 4 after a chase near Beloit, Wisconsin. Police said Doddy led them on a 25-minute high-speed chase that started in South Beloit and continued through the Wisconsin and Illinois border. Doddy has pleaded not guilty in Winnebago County and is to be arraigned Wednesday in Lee County. Authorities are also exploring a possible connection between Doddy and the death of a teen two decades ago. Doddy was reportedly dating high school classmate Stephanie Johnston, 15, in October 1993 when she disappeared. Doddy was interviewed by police at the time. Her body was found frozen two months later in the Rock River near Rockford, Illinois.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:15:47 GMT

Wis. women share stories from Israel amidst violence

Alexandra Zimmern chose to spend her summer studying Jewish texts in Jerusalem. Sirens have sounded three times since she arrived. When she hears that noise, she has 90 seconds to take cover. “You can actually feel, really you'll hear the boom, you'll hear the walls shake,” Zimmern said. “Yeah, as an American, as any person, it's pretty terrifying.” The senior majoring in political science and international studies at the University of Wisconsin said though she’s an hour and a half from where most of the violence is happening, an app on her phone notifies her every time a missile is launched across the Gaza border. “My phone is going off every single 20 minutes, 30 minutes, every hour with different alerts of bombings, of missiles, rockets being launched in Israel,” Zimmern said. “And I think that's such a scary reality just not knowing what's going on.” Zimmern, a Green Bay native, said her parents offered to fly her out of Israel early. She insisted on finishing her stay. She’s supposed to fly out next month, but airline officials have indefinitely canceled flights in and out of the country. “In many ways Israelis have become used to it, but they're very, very resilient. Even when they're anxious, even when there is so much sorrow, they're resilient because they know in the end we will survive and we will make it through this,” Zimmern said. Deborah Martin, cantor at Beth El Temple in Madison, returned to the States Monday after touring Israel and visiting with sister congregations. “If I had waited a day, I probably wouldn't be here right now,” Martin said. Martin said every home had a concrete and steel safe room in it where Israelis go when the warning sirens go off. “Most of what I did there was done in a bomb shelter because of what's going on,” Martin said. Martin had visited Israel twice before, and while there was always a military presence, she said it couldn’t compare to the violence on this trip. “You're constantly wondering, 'We,ll should I go somewhere or not?'” Martin said. “You're constantly in fear that you'll be out in the street when something happens.” Martin said the temple had another group trip planned for August. Those travel plans have been canceled in light of the violence. Martin said as tour groups were detouring from their initial routes, she ventured to potentially dangerous areas as planned. “They are so unfortunately used to this that it's just sort of part of their lives. They know that they need to be careful,” Martin said. “They know they need to be diligent to hear the sirens. They need to be diligent to go into those safe rooms or wherever.” Still in Israel, Zimmern said even if you aren’t in a missile’s path, you know someone in the army who may be in danger at any moment. “Being a 21-year-old college student in Madison, Wisconsin, it is very hard to relate to the fact that the people that are sacrificing their lives, their time, and are really putting themselves in these dangerous situations, going into Gaza, fighting against terrorism are either my age or younger than me," Zimmern said.

Published: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:30:31 GMT

Police: Drunken 12-year-old taken to hospital

Wausau police say a drunken 12-year-old boy was taken to a hospital and kept overnight. Lt. Mark Pankow says police were called to a Wausau home Saturday night after a neighbor of the boy reported he was intoxicated. Pankow tells WAOW-TV a blood test at the hospital determined the boy's blood-alcohol level was "well over" the legal limit to drive, which is 0.08 percent in Wisconsin. Pankow says the boy admitted drinking vodka, and told police he drinks alcohol "about every three days or so." Investigators found empty alcohol containers in the boy's room. The boy was taken to a juvenile shelter after being released from the hospital.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 00:16:16 GMT

Beltline accident leads to drunken driving arrest

Madison police said a four-car crash on the Beltline Monday has led to charges being filed against a 44-year-old woman who was injured in the incident. The accident happened on the westbound Beltline near Todd Drive around 10:30 p.m. Monday. According to police, the fire department had to extricate one driver due to the crash. Two people were sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. One of the drivers, 44-year-old Jolynn Stenehjem, was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and causing injury.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:35:02 GMT

UW band to miss football team's Texas kickoff

The University of Wisconsin Badgers first football game of the season will be a very big stage in front of a nationally televised audience against SEC powerhouse Louisiana State University. But while the football team and the Badgers' nation of fans will be there, the band will not. “This is a really big game I think for everybody,” said Mike Leckrone, UW’s director of bands. “This is a big game so to not be there to sort of get the season started is sort of a big disappointment, and we’re sorry we’re not going to be there.” Leckrone said the organizers of the Advocare Texas Kickoff contacted the band in April to gauge the interest in attending and performing at halftime. The band is very interested in attending but doesn't have the money to do so. “In situations like this what do they say, follow the money. Well we didn’t have any money to follow in this instance,” Leckrone said. The band recently purchased some much-needed new uniforms and there isn’t enough money in the program's budget to make the trip to Houston for the game. Leckrone said it would cost between $200,000-$300,000 to cover the band's expenses for the trip. “It is a disappointment because frankly there’s a lot of reasons involved. I’m a fan so I wanted to be there for the game, but secondly I think anytime we get the chance to perform in an opposing stadium or for fans that may not know us or just perform we just love to perform,” Leckrone said. It is possible that if the money could be found to cover the cost of the bands trip to Houston they could be ready to perform. That window of opportunity is closing as the game is now less than six weeks away.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 01:08:47 GMT

Road construction crews feel the heat of summer

The heat of a summer sun offers little escape for the people who are working on the miles of roadway currently under construction in Wisconsin. Temperatures climbed into the 90s for the first time this year and the heat index approached 100. “Definitely the dog days of summer are finally here,” said Joey Merrill, a project manager working on the Verona Road Project. Merrill said to deal with the rising temperatures there is an added emphasis on making water and ice available for road crews. “It is definitely hitting the water cooler a lot, making sure that they’ve got ice and water is very important. Also monitoring heat stroke and the signs of that,” Merrill said. Work on Verona Road began in February. Merrill said the summer heat stands in contrast to the conditions they saw in the earliest days of the project. “It was snow and the cold and negative degree temperatures, and it was not easy to work in those conditions either. You know where you’re bundled up and you can’t move and you can’t put on enough cloths,” Merrill said. With the remainder of July and all of August still ahead, workers will likely deal with more heat as the project moves forward. “You know, it is definitely a challenge with the heat,” Merrill said. “It definitely makes for a long day.” The current phase of the Verona Road Project is scheduled for completion by Nov. 15.

Published: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:41:19 GMT

Deputies: Bar struck by drunken driver

A suspected drunken driver drove his van into the Rockdale Bar on Monday afternoon, according to a release from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies were called to Rockdale Bar at 222 Water Street in the village of Rockdale at 5:50 p.m. for a report of a vehicle that crashed into a building. Investigators said John W. Carr, 72, of Cottage Grove, was attempting to back his van into a parking stall in the bar’s parking lot when he accelerated forward instead of backward, as he intended. The van struck an unoccupied SUV before hitting the bar and causing significant damage to the building. Witnesses helped Carr and his passenger, Vivian O’Connor, 60, of Cottage Grove, get out of the van which was leaking gasoline. Both were taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Carr was arrested on suspicion of first-offense operating while intoxicated causing injury. Deputies said they believe Carr also damaged a utility pole on Hillside Road minutes before the crash at the bar.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:05:40 GMT

Janesville community steps up to save historic chapel

It will cost more than $250,000 to restore the century old Janesville chapel, but the group trying to save the building said they have no doubt they will reach their goal with the overwhelming support of the community. "This chapel was built for centuries to come," said Richard Snyder, the co-president of Friends of Oak Hill Chapel. Janesville residents have been working together since last year to save the Oak Hill Chapel from being demolished. The city wanted to tear the building down in 2013 because of its deterioration and infrequent use by the public. Instead of watching the building crumble volunteers started the group Friends of Oak Hill Chapel raising $40,000 in six months to save the building. Now the group is in the first phase of restoring the historic 1899 chapel, but it's the community's continued support they said that has surprised them. "People have stopped by as we have been up here working that want to give a hand and haul the rubbish away just out of the blue. I mean that's pretty well connected within the city," Snyder said. Robert Sass' roofing company is lending a hand and despite taking time away from his company's other projects, Sass said it's a decision his team was happy to make. "I mean these guys have family's to feed too. So for them to give up their entire weekend and donate all their time to do something like this, that's pretty cool," he said. Sass and his company are not the only ones that have donated time and resources. Other construction crews donations of supplies and discounted material have helped save $48,000 dollars in restoration cost. It's a message of community support the group wants the city to see. "It's also proving to the city that there are people in the community that do not want to see historical buildings removed. Even though it costs money, there are people willing to donate their time and effort to see that they don't disappear," project manager Gerald Jass said. With other historic buildings in Janesville needing restoration, Jass hopes this project won't be his last. "Hopefully this is just the beginning of many more buildings that we can save for the historical value of the city," he said. The first phase costs $100,000. Friends of Oak Hill Chapel still need around $150,000 to complete the second phase of restoration. Volunteers and donors can contact them through their Facebook page.

Published: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:41:58 GMT

Attorney general sues 2 colleges, including Globe

Minnesota's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against two colleges, accusing the schools of misleading criminal justice students about their ability to land a job in their field and about transferring credits to other institutions. Attorney General Lori Swanson said Tuesday the Minnesota School of Business and Globe University try to attract prospective students who want to become police officers, but don't offer the educational requirements to become a licensed police officer under Minnesota law. The schools, which are under common ownership, aren't regionally accredited and don't offer a program approved by a state standards board. In a statement, the schools call the lawsuit "an unnecessary enforcement action" that will hurt students and graduates. The schools have 11 campuses in Minnesota, seven in Wisconsin and one in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:54:46 GMT

Sitter convicted in baby's death will appeal

The baby sitter found guilty in Sauk County of killing an infant in her care plans to appeal her conviction. Jeanette Janusiak, of Reedsburg, was found guilty last month in the death of 4-month Payten Rain Shearer. The Baraboo News Republic reported the woman's attorney has filed paperwork in Sauk County Circuit Court of her intent to appeal the first-degree intentional homicide conviction. The 27-year-old woman was sentenced life in prison with the possibility of parole in 40 years. Medical experts testified at trial that the child had been severely battered around the same time that Janusiak called 911.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:40:53 GMT

Shot fired during nearly 6-hour standoff

A woman was taken into custody after a standoff at a home in Fort Atkinson in which a shot was fired inside the home, according to a release from Fort Atkinson police. Police were called to the home in the 400 block of Foster Street at 7:06 p.m. for a report of a disorderly woman who was becoming violent. Police said that when officers arrived the woman retreated into the home with a long gun. The woman called police and threatened to come downstairs and shoot police officers, according to the report. Police said that 10 minutes later a gunshot was heard coming from the area of the home the woman had retreated to. The woman called police again and warned them to stay back. Police took the woman into protective custody at 12:52 a.m. The Jefferson County Tactical Squad, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Ryan Brothers Ambulance, Fort Atkinson Fire Department and Jefferson County Emergency Communications assisted police.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:58:56 GMT

Former city employees in court on theft, misconduct charges

Two former Lake Geneva Street Department employees were in court Tuesday on charges of theft and misconduct, according to a state Department of Justice release. A judge set a $10,000 signature bond for Ronald Carstensen and Donald Hoeft with conditions that they not have contact with each other or certain witnesses, and that they stay away from the Lake Geneva Street Department, officials said. According to a criminal complaint, Carstensen gave away more than $25,000 worth of city of Lake Geneva salt-sand to private companies between 2009 and 2013 while working as the Street Department superintendent. Carstensen is also charged with keeping a sales tax refund check meant for the city. Hoeft is charged with failing to give the city proceeds from recycling city oil and scrap metal as foreman for the city, according to the release. He allegedly sent city employees on scrap metal runs in city vehicles on work time. Hoeft is also charged with falsely reporting the community service hours that a person on probation worked for the Street Department. A preliminary hearing for Carstensen and Hoeft is scheduled for Sept. 5.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:53:51 GMT

Obamacare ruling could affect Wisconsin families

Dueling decisions by two federal appeals courts Tuesday leave subsidies for Wisconsin families who purchased health care through federal exchange plans in limbo. In a 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel in Washington D.C. found the federal money that helped people afford health insurance could only go to those who signed up through exchanges run by states. A few hours later, all three judges on a 4th Circuit panel in Virginia decided the opposite by declaring the subsidies legal and proper. Wisconsin chose not to run its own exchange and residents purchased health care through a site run by the federal government. Only 16 states and the District of Columbia set up their own exchanges, meaning that most of the millions who signed up for subsidized health coverage overall under Obamacare could be affected. Health care advocacy and navigation organization ABC for Health officials in Madison said they're advising clients not to worry about losing the subsidies yet. But they do think this could affect many low-income families if the subsidies are ultimately struck down. "If the governor decided to build our own exchange like everybody advocated for him to do, we wouldn't be in this position," Executive Director Bobby Peterson said. "If the governor had expanded Medicaid a lot of these folks could have been covered by Medicaid expansion with 100 percent federal funding." President Barack Obama's administration is expected to appeal the decision to the full circuit of judges on the court, but it's all likely to wind up at the Supreme Court in the end. The law remains unchanged and the subsidized policies are unaffected until the legal case plays out. A spokeswoman for Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement Tuesday morning that the ruling showed "how irresponsible it is to pass a law without knowing what is in it and what its impact will be on hard-working Americans." Communications Director Jocelyn Webster said the implementation was putting more than 130,000 Wisconsinites at risk, but given that the court did not issue an injunction, it "appears there is no immediate impact on Wisconsin consumers." However, the potential long-term impact is huge. If the final result backs the appeals decision, the result would wipe out subsidies for millions and undermine a key component of Obamacare's requirement that all Americans obtain health coverage. The easiest fix -- changing the law to specify that it allows subsidies for coverage purchased through the federal government as well as state exchanges -- would mean reopening the debate over the 2010 Affordable Care Act that passed with zero Republican support. Republicans now control the House and are expected to make gains in the November election, perhaps also gaining a majority in the Senate. That means Obama and Democrats have no chance of getting Congress to approve needed changes in the law despised by the political right. Already, Republican candidates for the open 6th Congressional District seat were weighing in Tuesday morning. Republican State Sen. Joe Leibham issued a statement saying, "This is just another reason why we have to this end this ill-fated law. Send me to Congress, and I will make repealing and replacing Obamacare a top priority." Republican State Sen. Glenn Grothman said in a statement, "This decision underlines the fact that Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster and must be repealed immediately.”

Published: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:04:00 GMT

Sitter convicted in baby's death will appeal

The baby sitter found guilty in Sauk County of killing an infant in her care plans to appeal her conviction. Jeanette Janusiak, of Reedsburg, was found guilty last month in the death of 4-month Payten Rain Shearer. The Baraboo News Republic reported the woman's attorney has filed paperwork in Sauk County Circuit Court of her intent to appeal the first-degree intentional homicide conviction. The 27-year-old woman was sentenced life in prison with the possibility of parole in 40 years. Medical experts testified at trial that the child had been severely battered around the same time that Janusiak called 911.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:40:53 GMT

Man in court for allegedly delivering drugs, pawning stolen property

A judge determined Tuesday that there was probable cause to believe Alexander Prieve committed a felony and bound him over for trial, according to a state Department of Justice release. Prieve allegedly delivered oxycodone to a confidential informant in July 2013, according to a criminal complaint. Prieve is also charged with being party to the crime of felony theft. The charge stems from allegations that he and his girlfriend stole and pawned more than $4,000 worth of property from his girlfriend’s mother between Aug. 23 and Dec. 15, 2013. Prieve is also charged with disorderly conduct/domestic abuse from an incident on Jan. 7, 2014, and possession of THC and drug paraphernalia on Jan. 13, 2014. A scheduling conference via telephone is set for Sept. 15.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:54:12 GMT

Police find missing 2-year-old

Madison police said they assisted in the search for a missing 2-year-old boy on the south side Tuesday morning. The boy as reported missing at 10:39 a.m. in the 1800 block of Fisher Street. He was found at 11:15 a.m. A reporter at the scene said the boy was taken away by an ambulance. Police said the boy had a bloody nose.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:32:56 GMT

Man killed outside east Madison hotel identified

The man killed outside an east Madison hotel Saturday morning has been identified. Police said Robert France, 46, of Portland, Oregon, was targeted for drugs or drug money. Police are still looking for a suspect. Madison Police Department officials said officers responded to a report of a shooting at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel at 9:07 a.m. Officers found that France had been shot and killed. Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said Sunday that police are looking for a man 30-40 years old, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, weighing about 350 pounds. He had very short hair and was wearing a white or light-colored button-down shirt and orange and brown shorts. On Sunday officers found a "vehicle of interest" that may be related to the shooting. Police said the SUV had been reported stolen before Saturday morning. “We believe the person who committed this crime was driving a vehicle that is local, that is a vehicle that belongs to someone else in our community,” Madison Police Department spokesman Joel DeSpain said. “Whether or not this person actually lives in our community we don’t know that yet. We have not identified them.” According to the release, France died from gunshot injuries.

Published: Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:19:47 GMT

United Way president and CEO sets retirement date

The president and CEO of United Way of Dane County will step down in December 2015 after 33 years at the organization and 25 years leading it. Leslie Ann Howard started with the United Way as director of the Volunteer Services Bureau. According to a release, Leslie has championed significant change and strategies in addressing the racial achievement gap, ending family homelessness, and many others during her tenure. She also led the evolution of United Way from a fundraising organization to a community impact organization. “The transformation Leslie led in Dane County served as a model for other local United Ways throughout the United States. She was among the first to recognize and strengthen the links between impact strategies, community results, and the aspirations of donors, volunteers, and strategic partners that wanted to make a difference,” Brian Gallagher, president and CEO, United Way Worldwide said. Under Howard’s leadership, United Way of Dane County’s revenues have grown from $5.5 million in 1989 to nearly $22 million in 2014. United Way of Dane County is the fifth fastest growing United Way campaign in the country, according to the release. “It has been an honor and privilege to serve our community for these three decades. I am so grateful for the trust, the support, and the friendships that have been so graciously extended,“ Howard said. Howard said she is confident the board and the staff will work together to move forward. "We have such a fantastic board of directors, a great active leadership team, they're a fabulous staff as well as all our great partners," Howard said.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:45:43 GMT

Area doctors report increase in hand, foot and mouth disease

Area doctors said a highly contagious virus is spreading through the Madison area at a strange time of year. Hand, foot and mouth disease primarily affects children under age 5, and doctors at clinics around Madison say they have seen an uptick in cases the last few weeks. Madison-Dane County Public Health officials said they don't track cases of the virus, but doctors have noted a larger number of calls, emails and visits resulting in the diagnosis of hand, foot and mouth disease, which can spread quickly among children. Some area child care centers, as well as children's playgroups, have reported a number of cases popping up, and have even notified parents on Facebook pages or mandatory postings in day care centers of cases of the virus. It causes painful blisters on the hands and feet, as well as on faces and inside mouths. Children typically also have a fever for three to five days. "I'm getting a lot of moms sending me MyChart messages and pictures of Johnny or Susie with funny fevers and rashes," said Dr. Danielle Gindlesberger, a Dean Clinic Family Medicine doctor at the Sun Prairie clinic. "We're answering a lot more questions about this kind of disease right now." Officials at Dean Clinic said both their Sun Prairie and east side clinics have seen an uptick in cases. UW Health officials said they have also been seeing more cases in some of their locations. Doctors say it is typical that the virus moves through child care centers but more often in the fall and winter. They say the strains are caused by four potential viruses, some of which can be more serious than others and can cause a child's fingernails to fall off weeks after the initial virus. Doctors and the public health department encourage aggressive hand washing to try to prevent the spread.

Published: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:06:01 GMT