rss logo Top Madison Area Local News Stories

Camera found in bathroom; Former cheerleading coach investigated

A Sun Prairie cheerleading coach who resigned after he was put on leave is a person of interest in an investigation into a hidden camera that was found in a school bathroom. A letter to the families of the cheer team sent Sept. 23 and obtained by News 3 said that the coach was placed on leave while the district looked into a personnel matter. Another letter sent to families on Sept. 25 said that the coach resigned. News 3 is not naming the coach because he has not been charged. Another letter also sent to parents on Sept. 25 said the cheer team discovered a camera in a soap dispenser in a restroom on Sept. 22 at Prairie Phoenix Academy. The restroom is connected to the gym where the cheer team practices. A search warrant obtained by News 3 said that on Sept. 22, a cheerleader found a camera in a soap dispenser inside a bathroom the girls were using to try on their new uniforms that night. When cheerleaders told their coaches, the coach in question went back into the bathroom alone, told the team it didn't appear to have a memory card or batteries, then took the camera home with him. The search warrant said the coach turned in a camera to police the next day, on Sept. 23, but cheerleaders and other coaches said it didn’t look like the same camera they had found in the bathroom. One parent of a cheer team student called the allegations "disturbing." Police seized multiple cameras, photographs, computers and hard drives from the apartment of the coach, according to court documents.

Published: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 00:06:28 GMT

4 charged in Adams County heroin overdose death

Four people have been charged in the heroin overdose death of Kevin Bergeron, according to a release from the Adam’s County Sheriff’s Office. Bergeron was pronounced dead in the early morning hours of March 26 at 1758 Cottonville Ave. in the town of Strongs Prairie, according to a release. The autopsy reported that Bergeron died as a result of heroin toxicity. The four people, 30-year-old Sabrina Garcia, 51-year-old Dolores Bounds, 50-year-old Billie Bounds and 33-year-old Anthony Quintero, all face charges of party to a crime of first-degree reckless homicide, maintaining a drug trafficking place, possession of a short barreled shotgun, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of drug paraphernalia and obstructing an officer. Dolores Bounds faces an additional charge of second-offense possession of THC. The charges allege the defendants were involved in the delivery of heroin that contributed to Bergeron’s death, officials said.

Published: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 19:46:11 GMT


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

Two football teams come together for a touchdown

A Georgia teen with autism beats the odds when he scores a touchdown for his high school football team.

Published: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:25:24 GMT

Moose melee caught on camera

Cool weather means hot tempers for moose in Alaska. With mating season in full swing, a fight between two males spilled out of the wild and into the suburbs.

Published: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:06:25 GMT

Bird attacks during Haddie's forecast

First moths and now a bird attacks Haddie during her forecast.

Published: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:53:41 GMT

Marshall woman killed in single-vehicle crash

A 51-year-old Marshall woman was killed in a single-vehicle crash in the town of Medina Tuesday afternoon, according to a release. Deputies said the woman was driving north on Ridge Road when she crossed over into the southbound lane and then left the roadway and rolled the 2001 Volkswagen Jetta several times in a cornfield. The crash happened just north of Connors Road around 1:30 p.m., according to the release. The woman was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. She was not wearing a seat belt, deputies said. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Published: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 20:18:14 GMT

School bus driver arrested for suspected OWI

A school bus driver in southeastern Wisconsin has been arrested on suspicion of OWI after driving the bus into a cornfield. The Racine County Communications Center got a 911 call Tuesday afternoon that the bus had driven into the field and then back onto the road in the Town of Waterford. Deputies learned the driver was still on his route and that children were on the bus. The bus was located on a highway in the Town of Burlington with corn stalks hanging from its undercarriage. The driver was ordered to pull over. Two children were still on the bus. They and two other children who were on the bus during the accident were not hurt. The 38-year-old driver was cited for OWI, hit-and-run, failure to report an accident and unsafe lane deviation.

Published: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 01:23:43 GMT

Couple celebrates relationship with McDonald?s all-day breakfast

It’s finally here -- McDonald’s is offering breakfast all day long, but will the gimmick truly boost stagnant sales? It's the home of the Big Mac, but the Egg McMuffin is the menu item that holds a special spot in the hearts of people like Linda and Joe Switzky. In fact, you could say, the husband and wife owe their relationship to the golden arches. “I actually met my husband here,” Linda Switzky said. The two can now share the first meal they ever had together, at any time. The McDonalds Corporation hopes all-day breakfast will excite more people like the Switzky’s. “Within the past year alone, 120,000 people mentioned on social media that they were interested in all-day breakfast so we heard that,” said Kelsey Ryan, a communication coordinator for McDonald’s. However, local marketing experts said the enthusiasm won't be enough. “This should boost their sales by 4 percent, which is great. A 4 percent boost would be wonderful if they weren't already down 9 percent. At least, if this works out they'll only be down 5 percent, that's better than nothing,” said Steve Knoll, a marketing professor at Madison College. Experts said the rollout could be tough on local McDonalds owners, who own the majority of restaurants in the Madison area. “They could go to these store owners and say, ‘Buy another grill,’ but what store owner is going to invest all that money in another grill?” Knoll said. McDonalds has faith most costumers will say "I’m lovin it" to all-day breakfast, but they're giving it a six-month test run. “It's all based on how it goes nationally; we think it will be here for a while and we are all pretty excited about it,” Ryan said. Only nine breakfast items are on the all-day menu in Madison.

Published: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 02:59:52 GMT

Police hope community can ID battery, sex assault suspect

The Watertown Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who was involved in a battery and sexual assault. Police said the battery and sexual assault happened a local grocery store in the city of Watertown Sept. 21. Officials ask anyone with any information about the identity of the man in the pictures to call the Watertown Police Department at 920-261-6660 and reference case number 2015-2355.

Published: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 20:04:55 GMT

4 charged in connection with fatal stabbing in Baraboo

Four people have been charged in connection with a stabbing that left one dead and another injured Sunday morning in Baraboo. Jae M. Robinson, 28, Matthew T. Harvey, 31, Amanda N. Rotar, 23 and Christopher L. Nash, 37, all of Baraboo, were charged with first-degree intentional homicide and substantial battery with intent of bodily harm in court Tuesday. Baraboo police were sent to the intersection of Walnut and Lynn streets around 2:30 a.m. for reports of a person who had been stabbed and another who had been hit numerous times, officials said. Officers found a man standing near another man who was lying partially on the sidewalk and partially in the road, according to the release. The man lying in the road, Anthony N. Inman, 36, of North Freedom, had been stabbed several times and was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. Another man, Anthony J. Peterson, 32, of Mauston, was transported to a hospital and later taken by Med Flight to UW Hospital. According to a criminal complaint, Inman was stabbed over 20 times. Inman also suffered a "superficial slice wound" on the front of his neck, officials said. Investigators said the incident stemmed from a bar fight. According to the complaint, Robinson armed himself with a tire iron and Harvey had a BB gun. During the fight, Harvey lost the BB gun and armed himself with a claw hammer. Officers also found a tire iron at the scene. Robinson told detectives he stabbed one of the men, but didn't know how many times because he was drunk and blacked out, according to the complaint. Robinson’s bail was set at $250,000. Harvey’s bail was set at $100,000. Nash’s bail was set at $50,000, and Rotar’s bail was set at $10,000. They will all be back in court for a preliminary hearing Oct. 14.

Published: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 00:28:48 GMT

Columbia County considers heroin addiction treatment program

Columbia County officials are exploring the possibility of creating a program to assist residents dealing with opioid addiction. The drug treatment coordinator program would be closely modeled after the highly successful St. Vincent de Paul/C.A.R.E. program in neighboring Sauk County. “Columbia County has a higher rate of opioid arrests. We have higher rates of hospital admission and ER visits. We have higher rates of narcotic prescriptions being dispensed in our county than the state average,” said Dawn Woodard, director of Columbia County Health and Human Services. Discussions started earlier this year between Woodard, law enforcement officials in the county, school officials and elected officials to explore solutions to the problem. “Law enforcement here has said they cannot arrest their way out of the heroin problem,” Woodard said. So officials turned their attention to C.A.R.E., Community Activated Recovery Enhancement, a program created in May 2014 by Joan Mack, a registered nurse. It took her two years to put the program together. It started with 33 addicted individuals in the Sauk County Jail. Once clean of opiates  or alcohol for seven to 10 days, individuals wishing to participate in the program were given an injection of Vivitrol, which helps people break the addiction. The individuals were also given drug counseling. Of the 33 individuals participating in 2014, 90 percent were not re-incarcerated. The success of the program has now led to individuals who are not incarcerated but wishing to break an opioid addiction to seek out C.A.R.E. There are now 50 individuals enrolled in the program. The success of the program is not lost on other communities dealing with similar problems. “We have been getting calls from all different counties, Rock, Dane, Dodge, Juneau, so many other counties that are calling wanting help,” Mack said. Columbia County’s proposal would seek a provider to serve as the drug treatment coordinator. It is estimated the program would cost the county approximately $75,000 a year. Woodard said while creating the program comes with a cost so does the heroin problem in the county. “Opioid addiction has a big economic impact. Obviously through the judicial system, there is the cost for incarcerating people, for law enforcement investigations both for drug trafficking but also for people who overdose and the time spent investigating those things,” Woodard said. She also points to the cost to businesses who lose employees to addiction or struggle to find employees who can pass drug tests. If approved at the county’s November meeting, Woodard said the program could be operating in Columbia County by the first of the year.

Published: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 23:54:01 GMT

State hiring, firing up for debate at Capitol

State lawmakers are considering the impacts of a bill that would make it easier to hire or fire Wisconsin state employees. The sponsor, Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton, defended his measure at a public hearing Tuesday before the Senate Labor and Government Reform Committee. "Nothing in this bill takes away from what the core concept of the civil service system is," Roth said. "The core tenet is that as an employee you're not going to be suspended, you're not going to be terminated or docked in pay except for just cause, and nothing in this bill changes that." He said the goal is to speed up the hiring process to help deal with an aging workforce. The measure would base layoff decisions on a person's job performance, not give preferential treatment based on seniority and do away with a civil service exam. It would affect about 30,000 state workers. The civil service system was implemented in Wisconsin in 1905 to make the hiring process of state employees less political. State officials from the Departments of Administration, Revenue and Financial Institutions testified that hiring was taking too long and that they were unable to quickly terminate employees who had committed misconduct on the job. "Just because something is 100 plus years old doesn't mean it somehow is above change," Department of Financial Institutions Secretary Ray Allen said. Opponents including Democrats and state employee union leaders said at a Senate hearing Tuesday that it will erode protections workers have under the 110-year-old civil service system. "You're consolidating authority to hire employees into the most political of all state agencies," said Jim Thiel, with the Association of Career Employees. AFSCME officials argue that the civil service system is not what is keeping people out of the system. "The problem is that public employees have been pounded on for so long that most reasonable people would have to think twice about taking a public job in today's environment," AFSCME Wisconsin executive director Rick Badger said. The bill is moving quickly through the Legislature and could be debated in the Senate and Assembly later this month.

Published: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 23:44:10 GMT

Frank Lloyd Wright house rediscovered in Madison

For the second time in four months, a Frank Lloyd Wright house has been rediscovered in Wisconsin. Experts announced a 1917 home near the University of Wisconsin campus has been verified as an American system-built house, which was part of Wright's effort to develop more affordable homes.

Published: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 00:12:35 GMT

City waits for JDS developer?s answers after Exact Sciences stock drop

Members of the city’s Judge Doyle Square negotiating committee say they are waiting for developer Bob Dunn to answer if the 46 percent stock drop of biotech company Exact Sciences could impact the project. The city recently entered into a final negotiation with Exact Sciences to give a large area of downtown a face-lift. “We want the developer to tell us how Exact Sciences’ stock drop affects the lease they’re negotiating. If it affects their ability to get financing,” JDS negotiation committee member Natallie Erdman said. Until those questions can be answered though, many of the 12 alders who voted in favor of a final negotiation, which would allow more than $46 million public dollars to help Exact Sciences relocate to Judge Doyle Square, say they are now waiting to see. The company’s stock value dropped to about $10 per share Tuesday morning after investors learned the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued draft recommendations about colorectal screenings, suggesting Exact Sciences' at-home, DNA-based colon cancer test, called cologuard, be used as an "alternative screening test" instead of a ‘recommended’ test. “While modeling can be used to understand the impact of the test’s reduced specificity and increased false-positive rate, empiric evidence is lacking on appropriate follow-up of abnormal results, making it difficult to accurately bound the potential net benefit of this screening test,” the statement said. However, Exact Sciences Spokesperson J.P. Fielder said the company had only anticipated their test would receive a better rating. The company was taken by surprise by the draft guidelines that had a new, alternative category. “Instead of giving individual technologies letter grading they put them into two separate areas,” Fielder said. Despite the stock drop, Fielder said since the company’s test previously had an insufficient rating, and now appears on an alternative list, Exact Sciences remains committed to the Judge Doyle Square project. “Where we stand today, our business strategy remains the same,” Fielder said. “There certainly is that need to bring the entire team together that we've talked about for the last couple months.” However one of the six no votes, Alder David Ahrens, said the stock drop proves Exact Sciences' product is a risky venture. “The fact that they’re alternate means they’re not recommended,” Ahrens said. “Now when doctors get the sheet from the federal government, what’s recommended, they’re not on it.” Ahrens is now urging alders who said yes to reconsider a final OK. “I think this gives us the opportunity to rethink a bad decision,” Ahrens said. “And if we went through with that, and they built a building with that and we help pay their rent. We could end up with an empty city building.” Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said he’s not concerned about a stock price drop saying he didn’t think the stock price is relevant to Exact Science’s agreement to redevelop Judge Doyle Square. “It's a result of a change in classification, and it's not a final decision,” he said. “We don't see that it changes Exact Sciences' hiring, which is what's critical to this decision." Exact Sciences officials also emphasize the federal suggestions are not a final decision, with public comments due Nov. 2, and the decision expected sometime in 2016. The council still has 26 separate Judge Doyle Square issues to approve before Exact Sciences would receive the public money. Many of those votes are scheduled for November. Madison’s Common Council approved the final negotiated version of the Judge Doyle Square project last week, in a 12-6 vote. The city entering into a final development agreement could have Exact Sciences’ breaking ground on a new downtown headquarters by December. If that final agreement is approved, it would grant the largest subsidy in city history, more than $46 million in public dollars. $20.8 million would be used to build private parking.

Published: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 03:24:18 GMT

Police: Man wanted on felony warrant locks himself in Rome house

A man wanted on a felony arrest warrant in Minnesota was arrested after locking himself in a home in Rome on Tuesday morning, according to a release. Around 10:10 a.m. the Rome Police Department responded to 1468 Rain Dane Trail to arrest Jacob Michael Scott, 42, officials said. When officers got there, they could see Scott through a window, but he ignored their commands to come out of the house, according to the release. Officers entered the home at 1:51 p.m. and arrested Scott without incident. As a precaution, the road in front of the house was closed during the incident, police said. Scott was taken to the Adams County jail where officials expect to file local charges, in addition to the outstanding Minnesota warrants.

Published: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 23:28:25 GMT

Man arrested on homicide charge in heroin death

The heroin death of a McFarland man has led to the arrest of a Madison man on suspicion of first-degree reckless homicide. Madison police said the 30-year-old overdose victim was found in a bathroom at Bowl-A-Vard at 2121 East Springs Drive on July 12. Police said Joseph J. Capadona, 23, is also suspected of providing heroin to two other people who survived overdoses. On Aug. 1, a woman was found unconscious at a makeshift campsite on East Springs Drive, according to police. Paramedics treated the woman with naloxone and she survived. On Aug. 31, a man overdosed in a home in the 200 block of Swanton Road. Police said an officer saved his life. The man told police Capadona gave him heroin that he referred to as “the bomb” because of its potency. Capadona was also arrested on suspicion of two counts of second-degree recklessly endangering safety and three counts of delivery of heroin.

Published: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:27:25 GMT

Lawmaker works to add gender identity to state law

Citing a lack of equal protection for transgender men and woman under state law, Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, said he is in the early stages of trying to add gender identity to the state’s anti-discrimination statute. “Wisconsin has had nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation since 1982. We were the first state to add that protection. But we haven’t gone back in and added protection for gender identity and expression, to protect transgender people in employment and housing and public accommodations,” Spreitzer said. “But it’s something I think we ought to be looking at as a state.” Because of the state’s right leaning political climate, Spreitzer said the effort will start with education, with the eventual goal of moving toward a law change. “I want to have conversations with my colleagues in both parties about these issues,” Spreitzer said. “And make sure people understand what we’re talking about before we bring legislation forward.” Under current Wisconsin law, Human Rights Campaign Senior Council Alison Gill said transgender men and woman do not have the ability to take any legal action if discrimination occurs. “It means they can be turned away or not served in places of public accommodation, including, for example, businesses, including medical establishments and hotels, bars, any sort of business that’s open to the public generally. They could be turned away and access the services and not have any resources under the law," Gill said. “Or they might not be accepted for interviews in the first place. They might be rejected out of hand for being transgender.” Michelle Eldridge, who was assigned a male gender at birth and was raised a boy in a small Wisconsin town, said when she told her east coast employer she had decided to transition more than a decade ago, she was fired from her job. Without gender identity in Wisconsin’s statute, she fears her story could just as easily happen in Wisconsin. “You're a human being first,” Eldridge said. “And when it comes to employment, it should be based on your job performance.” Ginger Baier, who helps facilitate a Madison-based support group of more than 75 members, said she often hears about the fear not having protection under state law creates. “It's always there in the back of our mind that we can be murdered. We can be beat up. We can be raped. We can be verbally abused. All of those things. Just because of who we are,” Baier said. “I can be arrested and thrown in jail for wearing women's clothes. Even though there's no law on the books that says that's against the law. I can be denied service in public accommodations, hotels, restaurants, gas stations.” A spokesperson for Senate President Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said until the senator sees a bill, it is too early to comment. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, did not return request for comment. Baier echoed Spreitzer, saying transgender community members feel it will be a tough sell to pass the law.

Published: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 00:30:11 GMT

Parents voice concerns at Madison school district's listening tour

Parents from Madison Metropolitan School District are looking to be more involved in their child’s school, and administrators are listening. At a community conversation at Leopold Elementary School last Tuesday, the first of the MMSD's listening tour, parents discussed their positive interactions with teachers and also voiced their concerns about issues throughout MMSD. "We're nowhere near where we need to be yet, but we’re making good progress," Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said. "We are insisting that every school have an improvement plan that is not just a plan on paper, but a plan that makes sure our schools are going through disciplined processes of planning, implementation and making adjustments along the way based on what is happening with real children." MMSD wants to make sure parents are involved as it works toward its vision: every school will be a thriving school that prepares students to graduate from high school ready to succeed in college, their career and their community. Over the past decade, however, this vision hasn’t been realized. The school district persistently sees an achievement gap between its black and white students. Nichelle Nichols, former chief academic officer for the Dane County Boys and Girls Club, became director of the MMSD Department of Youth and Community Engagement two months ago. She facilitates the community discussions with Cheatham. "We are focusing our efforts on how we can better engage family members and youth, making sure that your voices are at the center of the work we do," Nichols said. In small groups at Leopold, parents discussed and then presented their ideas about how schools can better include parents in their improvement plans and how teachers could be better trained to serve students. There are some great things going on at MMSD One initiative that parents found to be helpful in increasing engagement was the parent liaison officers, who go door-to-door to speak with parents who don’t feel comfortable or are unable to come to their child’s school to express their opinions. They also mentioned having positive interactions with teachers at Leopold who go beyond what is required in their job description. Some examples were teachers who came to the ice cream social, a librarian who greeted students at a literacy event and a teacher who took extra time to fill out daily behavior reports for a student. But there is a spectrum of teachers, one parent said, so not all of them are willing to dedicate the extra time and effort to activities like these. But there is work to be done Parents suggested requiring more specialized and ongoing staff training, including how to conduct an effective parent-teacher conference. They believe there should be a greater focus on individual teachers as a point of contact that could establish trust and help parents feel that their voice will be heard at their child’s school. "I think before you can incorporate parent voices, you have to build trust," another parent said. "And I don’t think there’s trust with all families in the schools. Certain groups and communities have been under-served by education for so long -- it's hard to build trust." A bit of confusion One parent, who just enrolled his child in kindergarten at MMSD, was concerned with how to become more engaged when he didn’t feel his child’s school provided him enough information to know where to begin. “It takes a lot of effort to…try to get answers to our questions. But we don’t even know what questions to ask right now,” he said. “For parents who are not actively seeing out this knowledge (that provides a baseline from which to generate questions), I can’t imagine how overwhelmed they feel.” Another parent felt confused about the low turnout at the meeting. She said she has talked to many parents about how they are interested in being involved in their child’s school, so there must be some conflicts at play. She said schools need to find alternative routes to contact and interact with parents who cannot attend afternoon or evening meetings that might conflict with their work schedule. The parent also suggested the language barrier between schools and Spanish-speaking families might also be a reason for lower parental engagement. She said schools need to communicate with these families in Spanish and also notify them that MMSD schools provide interpreters for Spanish speakers at meetings. The plan so far MMSD has outlined its vision in a strategic framework along with priority areas, future steps to achieve them and metrics to monitor successes and failures. The strategic framework outlines the qualities MMSD is working to instill in its students -- everything from creativity, physical and mental wellness and self-knowledge to cultural competence and community connection. Cheatham believes full, genuine partnership with families is the only way to transform the school district into the ideal learning environment administrators, teachers and parents want it to be. "We’re working on not only making sure that every child is academically prepared by having mastery of content," Cheatham said, “but we want every child to…become the kind of well-rounded human beings that they need to be (to achieve success) in life.” Involving parents in the process This discussion at Leopold Elementary School was the first of several upcoming listening sessions at MMSD schools. "All of these listening tour stops are helping us collect more information that we will be able to share (with) our school staff across the district," Nichols said. Once the discussion circles at Leopold came to an end, Cheatham identified some recurring themes -- one being a lack of formality and consistency in communication with parents. Cheatham and Nichols intend to uncover more of these themes as the community conversations throughout MMSD continue. Overall Nichols found the first meeting to be informative and said it was a success. "It was a small group, but at the end of the day, the size of the group is not what’s important," Nichols said. "The focus is people sharing their true thoughts and experiences."

Published: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 21:45:34 GMT

Winnequah Park to host city fall festival, chili contest

An autumn celebration and chili contest will offer area entertainment and fall family fun at Monona's Winnequah Park this weekend, organizers said. The Monona East Side Business Alliance said the city's Fall Festival and Chili Cook-off will take place Saturday and Sunday at 5301 Healy Lane. The event features the chili cookoff, a 5K run and 1-mile walk, an arts and crafts fair, live music, and the Monona Pie Party. The Monona Parks and Recreation Department and the Monona Grove Businessmen's Association organize the family event each year, according to a news release. This year will mark the 33rd year of the chili cookoff, which includes more than 20 types of chili plus cold beer and live music. The cookoff helps raise funds for MGBA, organizers said. Chili sampling begins at noon Saturday. For $5, attendees can purchase a wristband and taste unlimited chili samples. Beer will also be available for purchase. The band, Chameleon, will perform on the Starion Financial Stage until 5 p.m. The Hoot Hoot Hustle starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and benefits the Winnequah School PTO and Monona Parks and Recreation Department. The Monona Pie Party offers more than 100 sweet and savory pies as a fundraiser for Playtime Productions, a youth theater company. The Madison Monona Lioness Club will the arts and crafts fair alongside the chili cookoff. Sunday is family fun day at the festival. Activities for children will  include craft making, live music, hay wagon rides, a hay bale maze, balloon sculptures, face painting and more, according to a news release. Visit for more information.

Published: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 22:08:13 GMT