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Gov. Walker named to ?most influential people? list

Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is singing the praises of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of 2014. Both Christie and Walker are considering 2016 presidential runs, making Christie's endorsement of Walker all the more interesting. But it's also not unprecedented. Christie is chairman of the Republican Governors Association and has previously spoken highly of Walker as he faces re-election this fall. Christie's three paragraph item on Walker cites his fight over collective bargaining and his successful defeat of a recall election in 2012 as signs of Walker's leadership. Walker is pictured leaning against a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with the state Capitol in the background. In 2011, Walker wrote a piece for U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan when he made the list.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:38:57 GMT

Cops: Man fakes kidnapping; mom won't pay ransom

A man's fake kidnapping scheme backfired when his mom refused to pay the $200 ransom, police in Tennessee said. Zachery Logsdon, 25, of Knoxville is accused of sending his mother text messages on April 18 that claimed his drug dealer was holding him against his will and would kill him if he didn't pay $200, the Tennessean reported. Logsdon's mother told police her son had done this before, and she didn't believe him this time around. So she called 911. With her help, investigators set up a meeting to drop off the money and arrested Logsdon when he showed up, Knoxville TV station WBIR reported. He's been charged with filing a false report and resisting arrest. Bond was set at $3,500 -- a lot more than the $200 Logsdon had allegedly asked for.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:30:19 GMT

Pot trade lands fourth-graders in hot water

Legalized marijuana has found its way into playground commerce, leading to a group of Greeley, Colorado, fourth-graders being disciplined for selling and trading pot. The incident began when a boy sold a bag of marijuana to three classmates for $11 Monday. The 10-year-old had taken the pot from his grandparents, school spokeswoman Teresa Myers said. One of the three children purchasing the pot, also 10, couldn't pay his portion, so they struck a deal. The next day, that child returned with a marijuana-laced candy bar he had also taken from a grandparent to trade for the pot, Myers said. Another child witnessed the transaction and saw one of the kids take a bite of the candy bar, she said. The witness reported it to an adult. Marijuana has been legal for recreational use since January 1, so the grandparents involved haven't broken state law, said John Gates, the school district's safety director. But he doesn't feel they're without blame. "They're guilty of some personal responsibility for not securing their weed." Gates said. "If the marijuana hadn't been accessible, this wouldn't have happened." In a letter that went home with students, Monfort Elementary School principal Jennifer Sheldon emphasized the new responsibilities that Colorado parents face with the legalization of marijuana. "We urge all parents, grandparents and anyone who cares for children to treat marijuana as you would prescription drugs, alcohol or even firearms," the letter said. "This drug is potentially lethal to children, and should always be kept under lock and key, away from young people." The children involved will be disciplined but not expelled. "We aren't trying to harm fourth-grade students who made a bad choice," she said. "This is an adult problem."

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:14:47 GMT

Russell Wilson files for divorce

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, Ashton have filed for divorce. The couple married in January of 2012, but in a statement released by the Seahawks Wednesday afternoon, Wilson says "I have made the difficult decision to file for divorce". "Clearly, decisions like these don't come easy. Ashton and I respectfully ask for prayers, understanding and privacy during this difficult time. Moving forward, I will have no further comment on this personal matter." They were married in Richmond, Virginia in January of 2012 just a few months before Wilson was drafted in the third round by Seattle.

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:52:21 GMT

Police: Teen arrested after striking 2 vehicles, fleeing

A teenage driver was arrested Wednesday night after striking two vehicles and trying to flee police, according to a release from Madison police. An officer watching traffic on Hammersley Road at around 9:30 p.m. said a vehicle sped past and struck another vehicle as the officer started following it. The vehicle continued and struck a parked car on Loreen Drive. The officer said the 17-year-old driver climbed through the window and fled before being taken into custody. The driver and his 18-year-old passenger suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The driver was arrested on suspicion of eluding and second-offense operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing injury. Crime map

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:04:46 GMT

Neighbors, supporters walk with targeted Stoughton family

Dozens came out to support a Stoughton couple who said they received a threatening letter last week. "Nobody should be treated this way," Sharon Sutfin said, as she waited for the walk to begin. Sutfin heard that her neighbors, Harry and Hester Hale, checked their mail to find a letter postmarked from Madison and addressed to their 18-year-old son. According to the family, they opened it to find an image of a lynching with their son's face on one of the bodies. Sutfin said her sons have been victims of racist bullying, so she felt like she understood what the Hales were going through. "I was really upset. Why would somebody want to do this to their family?" Sutfin said. Wednesday night's event started in Criddle Park, where neighbors and others gathered together before walking a few blocks to the Hale’s home where that letter was delivered. Hester Hale said she still hasn't slept well, she has lost weight, and she is still afraid to go to places alone. She hopes events like the one they organized Wednesday will help find the person responsible for the letter. "They're supporting us, and doing this would open a person's eyes to let them know, no this is not a joke. It's not funny at all," Hester Hale said. Stoughton Mayor Donna Olson was among those walking with the Hales. She reiterated what city officials said last week to the crowd, stressing that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated in their community. "Stoughton is a community for all, and we want everybody in Stoughton to feel comfortable and safe in their own home," Olson said. Stoughton police said the letter is still being processed at a crime lab and officers continue to follow any leads that come in. Police believe the incident was isolated and haven't seen anything similar to it happen in the community. Hester Hale said the amount of support people in Stoughton have shown her family does let her know there are still good people around. "I want to get out of this something to know, like I said, my babies is OK and we can go on with our life, and we can put this behind us," Hester Hale said.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 18:44:25 GMT

Police: Smoking in bathroom causes school fire

Police say a student smoking in a bathroom caused a fire that resulted in an estimated $5 million in smoke damage at Oconto High School. After reviewing surveillance video and interviewing students and staff members, Oconto police have identified as 16-year-old student as a person of interest. Firefighters interviewed the student, who said he left class early and went to the bathroom, where he smoked a home-rolled cigarette. Police believe the cigarette was used too close to a toilet paper dispenser, causing an accidental fire. No one else used the bathroom after the boy. The April 16 fire forced the building to be evacuated. Students returned to class Monday at Oconto Middle School. WLUK-TV reports the boy is being referred to the Oconto County Department of Human Services.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:39:48 GMT

Edgerton high schooler wins car through safety program

An Edgerton High School senior is the winner of a new car Thursday as part of a campaign to keep teens safe on the road.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 18:22:39 GMT

FDA backs off animal feed rule affecting brewers

The federal government is backing off proposed regulations that brewers say would add to their costs without improving the safety of grain used to feed livestock. Many beer makers sell or give grain leftover from the brewing process to farmers, who use it as feed for dairy cows and other animals. The grain would be affected by new food safety rules being developed under the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act. U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokesman Dr. Dan McChesney says livestock feed is generally safe, but the agency wants to ensure brewers' grain is handled properly during the transfer from breweries to farms. Brewers have worried the rule would add costs for testing, training and paperwork. McChesney says the agency will take another look at the rule and clarify it.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:45:54 GMT

Former Wisconsin man charged in Florida tax ring

A former Wisconsin man who served more than 10 years in a Florida prison for a homicide he didn't commit is in trouble again. The Daily Tribune Media reported that Chad R. Heins is accused of being involved in income tax conspiracy in Florida. He faces federal charges of theft and conspiracy to defraud the government. The 39-year-old is originally from Nekoosa. He was convicted in the 1994 death of his sister-in-law and served more than a decade in Florida prison. The Wisconsin-based Innocence Project was able to arrange DNA testing that identified another suspect, and Heins was released in 2007. Now he and seven others are accused as part of an alleged ring to file false tax returns. Online court records didn't list a defense attorney for him.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 15:23:05 GMT

Craigslist buyer dupes woman out of $360 camera, police say

Police say a Madison woman was duped in an in-person transaction for a purchase agreement made on Craigslist last week.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 15:45:18 GMT

6 students cited for Nerf gun 'wars'

Police have issued disorderly conduct citations to six high school seniors in Wausau for a toy Nerf gun battle. Some residents of Wausau called police when they saw the young people pointing a gun at a car Tuesday night. But, it was only a toy Nerf gun that shoots foam bullets. Police Capt. Ben Bliven told WAOW-TV a number of people were frightened by the plastic Nerf guns, so officers had to respond appropriately. One parent who saw the Nerf gun battle, Scott Hansen, said police went too far in issuing disorderly conduct citations. Wausau West High School officials have also placed some students on athletic probation. School spokesman Jeff Lindell said the Nerf gun game comes up from time to time and keeps evolving.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:51:02 GMT

11 fire departments respond to barn fire

A Dodge County barn containing a heating and cooling business was destroyed by fire Wednesday night, according to the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office. Firefighters were dispatched to W5833 Sun Road in the town of Clyman at 9:39 p.m. for a report of a fully involved barn fire. There were no animals in the barn at the time of the fire. The business is considered a total loss. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Firefighters from Reeseville, Lowell, Watertown, Beaver Dam, Horicon, Juneau, Hustisford, Lebanon, Ixonia, Woodland and Neosho assisted at the scene. Crews were at the scene until 1:30 a.m.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:55:24 GMT

States seek delay in protecting long-eared bat

Four states in the Upper Midwest want federal officials to delay listing the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species. Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin made the request this month to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which proposed the designation in October with the understanding that it would make a final decision within a year. The states want an extension so they can have a role in devising regulations for logging in ways that would protect the bat. They say the federal agency's guidelines are too restrictive and could severely harm the forest products industry. Millions of northern long-eared bats have died in recent years because of a disease called white-nose syndrome that has been detected in 25 states.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:42:16 GMT

Fire breaks out a few miles from Milwaukee airport

Milwaukee firefighters are responding to a fire at an auto-salvage yard, about two miles southwest of General Mitchell International Airport. The Milwaukee fire department says the fire was reported Thursday just before noon. Casey Kloss, an office worker in the fire department, says dispatch logs report that seven large propane tanks exploded in a warehouse at the back of Roz Auto Salvage. She says there's no immediate report of injuries. An airport spokesman didn't immediately return a message asking whether the plumes of black and gray smoke were interfering with visibility.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 18:06:30 GMT

Audit committee approves new UW surplus policy

The Legislature's audit committee has unanimously approved the University of Wisconsin System's new policy for reporting surpluses. The committee voted Thursday, with lawmakers praising the work of new UW President Ray Cross to better report the status of reserves and other funds throughout the university system. The state budget required the regents to write a policy governing how much cash campuses can have on hand after word broke last year that campuses finished fiscal year 2012 with huge surpluses. The regents' plan calls for campuses to finish each fiscal year with cash on hand totaling at least 10 percent of annual expenditures. The campuses would need regent approval to finish with more than 15 percent. The plan prohibits campuses from using the 10 percent target as justification for raising tuition.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 15:27:18 GMT

Police: Craiglist seller exchanges computer for counterfeit cash

A Madison woman found a buyer on Craigslist for her computer, but was paid with counterfeit cash, according to a release from Madison police. The 19-year-old told police a woman contacted her after she listed her 13-inch MacBook Pro for sale on Craigslist. The buyer agreed to pay $700 and meet the seller at a parking lot in the 100 block of North Broom Street Tuesday night. The woman said she tried to explain the nuances of the computer but the buyer showed little interest and a man arrived with the buyer but kept his distance. The seller gave the buyer a stack of $20 bills adding up to $700, but when the seller got back to her apartment she realized the bills were fake, police said. Police said the bills had smeared ink and crooked print. The buyer is described as Hispanic, in her mid-20s, 5 feet tall, weighing 130 to 140 pounds, with a chunky build, dark complexion, long black braided hair and thick accent. She was wearing all black clothing. The man who was with her is described as Hispanic, in his 20s, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, weighing 150 to 160 pounds with short black hair that was spiked on one side. He was possibly driving a gold-colored sedan. Crime map

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 17:15:21 GMT

Metal pipe used to attack fellow construction worker, police say

Police said a worker at a construction site attacked a coworker with a metal pipe after an argument Tuesday afternoon. The Madison Police Department said 41-year-old Armando Flores of Beloit was working on Kinsman Boulevard at about 3 p.m. and was arguing with a 34-year-old Janesville man also working at the site. The 34-year-old told police Flores hit him in the head and the leg with a 2-foot pipe. The alleged assault took place at the end of the work day and Flores left the construction site before police arrived. Flores was later arrested by Beloit police. Flores told police the 34-year-old punched him multiple times and that he was also injured in the fight. The 34-year-old was taken to the hospital but was not seriously injured, police said. Flores was tentatively charged with second-degree reckless endangerment.

Published: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 15:57:44 GMT

Judge hears arguments in abortion lawsuit

A Planned Parenthood attorney is trying to convince a judge to permanently block a 2012 law that sets out conditions for abortions. The law requires a doctor to determine whether a woman's consent is voluntary and be in the room when the woman is given abortion-inducing drugs. Violators could face prison. Planned Parenthood sued in Dane County Circuit Court in February 2013 arguing the law is vague. The organization contends it's unclear if the doctor must be present when the woman receives the drugs or when she ingests them and how doctors should determine whether someone is forcing the woman into the procedure. The organization's attorney, Susan Crawford, told Judge Richard Niess during a hearing Thursday that doctors need to know exactly what they must do to avoid criminal charges.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 16:44:57 GMT

Harsh winter brings late but intense allergy season

Slowly but surely the weather is getting warmer in Wisconsin, which might not be good news for allergy sufferers. Wisconsin had such a cold harsh winter, everyone is super excited for spring and warmer temperatures, but that could come with a price -- specifically a heavy dose of pollen. All the cold and snow has suppressed the release of the pollen in the air and plant growth will pop at once and make for very high pollen levels. Dr. Mark Moss is an allergy specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he said once there are warm and windy days things will be pretty intense. "This year it has been the cold that has slowed things down, and what we are probably going to see is a delay in the onset. And it's probably going to go a little longer, and we will see the trees pollinate probably into the month of June, which is longer than average," Moss said. Moss also said he is starting to see some patients come in now, but when it gets consistently warm out, he expects things to get intense quickly, and he expects to see a lot of patients with severe symptoms. Moss stresses that if you suffer from allergies, being proactive is the best thing you can do. Be sure to refill your medicine. Also, some nasal sprays can be taken before symptoms start. He said the best way to limit contact with pollen is to stay inside, use air-conditioning, and if you do go outside be sure to wash or change your clothes. He even recommends showering before bed.

Published: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 12:05:59 GMT