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Man accused of sexual assault faces 116 years in prison

A man accused of raping a woman on Madison’s south side in May faces up to 116 years in prison and $60,000 in fines, according to a criminal complaint. A 44-year-old woman was walking on South Park Street to get medications for her hospitalized mother when she was approached from behind by a man wielding a handgun, according to a Madison Police Department report. The man led her to a dark parking lot on North Wingra Drive and threatened to kill her before allegedly raping her, according to the complaint. He also tried to rob her of money, but she didn’t have any cash. DNA testing done at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory led to Weaver’s arrest on July 24. Weaver is charged with first-degree sexual assault, attempted first-degree sexual assault, strangulation and suffocation, and attempted armed robbery with the use of a dangerous weapon.

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 21:31:40 GMT

Committee chooses East Washington Ave. location for public market

After some passionate arguments for each option, Madison’s Local Food Committee unanimously recommended the city start a public market on the east side. In a vote Tuesday night, committee members passed a resolution asking the council to move forward with the public market planning process on the site at East Washington Avenue and First Street. Alder Marsha Rummel said market development would likely start with the city-owned fleet service garage behind the shopping center that faces East Washington Avenue. “We spent 10 years planning, talking about food and all of the other synergies of the Capitol east district,” Rummel said. “And it does take a long time to get these things in place so something like this then seems obvious.” The recommendation stressed to city officials this is just the first step in creating a greater food district, and urged those people to keep locations on the south and north sides of Madison under consideration for future markets. “We don't see a public market district as a one-stop retail shop. We're hoping it can be something that grows,” Rummel said. The committee had narrowed down possible locations for a public market before Tuesday’s meeting. Project for Public Spaces, a consultant hired by the city to help with market planning, analyzed the final three sites. The consultant evaluated the following three sites: East Washington and First Street, around a strip mall and next to the Yahara River; South Park Street and Wingra Drive, where the former Thordstad’s car dealership building still stands; and Northport Drive and North Sherman Avenue, where the Northside Town Center Shopping Center used to run. The analysis looks at various factors favorable for a market location, such as traffic, bus routes and paths, space availability, and neighborhood diversity. Overall, the analysis concludes the East Washington Avenue location would be best for a public market. Bus access and traffic were the highest at that site, and its proximity to downtown was seen as an advantage. In addition, the study says there’s “a great opportunity to create an appealing public space” at that location, with it being close to parks and the Yahara River Parkway. However, the analysis pointed out that the communities around the East Washington Avenue site are already well-served with food available in the area. In his presentation to the committee, Larry Lund with Project For Public Spaces said the east side location would likely bring in the most money. He stressed to the committee members how important that is to attract and keep quality vendors at a permanent market, especially with the fragile nature of this kind of market structure. “We're dealing with small businesses, the livelihoods of people who are going to make commitments,” Lund said. The analysis praised the South Park Street site for its proximity to the Beltline. The report also said, “The location is among Madison’s most diverse populations and the opportunity to create jobs and spawn new business is a plus." With only one property owner to deal with at the north side shopping center location, the analysis points out the positive of having that kind of partnership for the city. That said, the consultant had concerns about the area that is reportedly struggling as a food retail location. The study also called the site somewhat remote for many Madison residents. The recommendation will be passed along for the city council to consider at its Aug. 5 meeting. During the next phase of planning, the city will move forward with acquiring any private properties needed for market development and finalize the design and business plans needed to start building. Staff and the Local Food Committee expect to be working on that through the end of the year.

Published: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 02:45:38 GMT

Police: Drunken driver causes Beltline crash; Dumps beer cans

A drunken driver caused a three-vehicle crash on the Beltline Monday afternoon and tried to dump a bag of empty beer cans after the crash, according to a release from Madison police. Police said Vicente J. Albino-Esteban, 33, of Madison, was trying to exit the Beltline onto Fish Hatchery Road just after 2:30 p.m. Monday when he plowed his truck into another truck causing the second truck to strike a car. The truck and car involved in the crash were stopped for a red light. The drivers of the truck and car told police they saw Albino-Esteban toss a bag of empty beer cans down a hill. The bag was later collected by police. Albino-Esteban was arrested on suspicion of fourth-offense operating while intoxicated, operating while revoked, having open intoxicants in a vehicle and inattentive driving.

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:18:15 GMT

Crash in bridge work zone injures 4, officials say

Four people were injured in a crash that happened in a work zone on Interstate 90 Tuesday morning, according to a release from the Wisconsin State Patrol. Around 11:40 a.m. a crash happened on eastbound Interstate 90 in Juneau County near New Lisbon, officials said. The right lane of traffic was closed for a bridge inspection and maintenance crews, according to the release. Traffic was passing the work zone in the left lane at a slower pace than usual. A Toyota passenger car was in the left lane when their vehicle was hit from behind by a 2006 Dodge van, officials said. The driver and passengers of the Toyota, all from Edina, Minnesota, were taken to Hess Memorial Hospital in Mauston for mostly minor injuries, according to the release. The driver of the cargo van, from Chicago, was not transported.

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:47:41 GMT

Officer testifies tote with missing baby had frost on it

Federal prosecutors continue to build their case against the woman accused of kidnapping a 5-day-old child and abandoning him in sub-zero weather. Kristen Smith is being tried on federal kidnapping charges in connection with the Feb. 6 disappearance of Kayden Powell in Beloit. Jurors got a glimpse of the emotional 30 hours when Kayden was missing. They heard from Kayden’s mother and father about the terror they experienced when they discovered the child was gone. The child disappeared from a town of Beloit home in the middle of the night. When they discovered Kayden was missing, they also noticed the child’s aunt, Smith, was gone. Initially they did not suspect Smith had taken the child because she was planning on leaving and returning to Colorado. In a frantic 911 call, Kayden’s mother, Brianna Marshall, made it clear she didn’t think her sister was involved in Kayden’s disappearance. Kayden was eventually found 30 hours later behind a gas station in West Branch, Iowa. The child spent much of that time in a gray tote in sub-zero temperatures. West Branch Police Chief Mike Horiham, the officer who found Kayden, described the weather at the time as 12 degrees below zero. He said he found the tote near some recycling containers with the lid clamped shut and frost on top. The EMT who removed Kayden from the tote said she was amazed the days-old baby was doing so well. Prosecutors have told the judge that they intend to rest their case Wednesday morning. The defense will then present its case. In opening arguments, the defense said it will show evidence that Smith had taken the child at the request of Kayden’s father. Smith faces 25 years to life in federal prison if convicted.

Published: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 01:35:02 GMT

Teen attacked 69-year-old man, police say

Five teens were detained by police after a daylight attack on a 69-year-old Madison man, according to a release from Madison police. The man told police he was walking in the 6500 block of Schroeder Road just after 7 p.m. on Monday when a group of boys approached him from behind. He said the blow hurt him but he stood his ground and said he was calling police as the teens fled. The man described the teens, including one with a distinct hairstyle that helped police identify the group as it walked near the intersection of Watts Road and Struck Street. The 14-year-old accused of hitting the man told police some of his friends encouraged him to do it. One of the other group members admitted to police that his friend struck the man. The 14-year-old was arrested on suspicion of battery to an elderly or at-risk individual. The other four were released to parents and police will recommend that each be charged with being a party to the crime.

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:47:59 GMT

Police report iPad snatchings on west side

On Tuesday morning, a 66-year-old man had his iPad Mini grabbed from his hands while at the West Towne Food Court, according to a release from Madison police. The man told police he chased after the thief, falling twice in the process, and suffered minor injuries. The criminal, described as a black, age 15-17, 6 feet tall with short hair, was last seen heading in the direction of Memorial High School. This is the second incident of snatching electronics on the West side in the past 24-hours. On Monday night, a 25-year-old Madison woman had her iPhone taken around 9:15 p.m. as she sat at a table inside McDonald’s, 6190 Odana Road, according to the release. The man who took the phone was described as black, late teens and around 5 feet 8 inches tall. Last summer, the MPD put out a YouTube video with tips on how citizens can best protect themselves from these types of crimes. It was released during the height of a nationwide crime spree that some tabbed “Apple Picking.” While Madison has not seen the same level of thefts and robberies this summer, they are still occurring.

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:39:32 GMT

Sun Prairie man faces 5th-offense OWI charge

A Sun Prairie man faces drunken driving charges after a Dane County sheriff’s deputy found him pulled over on the shoulder of Highway 151, officials said. Around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday a Dane County sheriff’s deputy stopped to check on an occupied vehicle that had pulled over onto the shoulder of Highway 151 near Twin Lane Road in the town of Bristol, according to a release. The deputy talked with the driver, Todd D. Finkler, 55, of Sun Prairie, and determined he had been drinking alcohol, officials said. Finkler was arrested on tentative six-offense operating while intoxicated charges.

Published: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 03:01:51 GMT

Officials say moving sex offenders outside city limits will not solve issues

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett signed an ordinance that limits where registered sex offenders can live. The ordinance requires all registered sex offenders to live at least 2,000 feet away from schools, day cares, parks and playgrounds. In Rock County, local law enforcement and victim recovery programs agree that exiling sex offenders outside of the city will not completely solve the issue. There are more than 250 registered sex offenders in the city of Janesville. Deputy Police Chief Dan Davis said an ordinance like Milwaukee's would push convicts completely out of the community. "An ordinance similar to the one they passed in Milwaukee would pretty much mean you cannot live in the city of Janesville," Davis said. Anna Grzelak has helped victims recover from sexual assault for four years as the program director for Rock and Green counties’ sexual assault recovery program. Grzelak said because sexual assaults are highly unreported, many offenders go free. "Many of the victims that we serve, their assailants are not in prison, jail or they are not on the sex offender registry. So, we just have to be careful that as a community we are not creating a false sense of security," Grzelak said. Grzelak said Milwaukee's plan is only one option for a much bigger problem. "This is a very complex social issue, and it's going to take a more sophisticated approach and several different things instead of one thing, one ordinance by itself is not going to solve this entire issue," she said. Currently, the city of Janesville does not prohibit where registered sexual offenders can live. The Department of Corrections sets restrictions on a case-by-case basis while each offender is on probation or parole.

Published: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 01:34:35 GMT

Woman is threatened with assault by unknown caller

On Tuesday, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint of an obscene phone call received on a cellphone. The caller had a foreign accent and the only number to show up on caller ID was 178 according to a release. The unknown male caller was still on the line with the woman when the deputy arrived on scene. The obscene caller knew the woman’s name, address and was threatening to show up at her home and assault her. The caller was insistent that the woman remain on the line with him. Deputies said further investigation determined that the caller was keeping the complainant on the phone to attempt to install tracking software on her phone, in an effort to try and obtain log in and password information. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens to be careful if you receive a call from a number you are not familiar with and if only 4 digits show on caller ID, do not answer it. “This is the first complaint of this type of scam, so citizens need to make sure they are properly protecting their electronic devices, utilizing anti-virus, ant-malware software, as well as using a VPN (virtual private network) to make sure they are browsing the internet securely,” Sheriff Nate Dreckman said in a release. If you do receive this type of call please contact your local law enforcement to report it.

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:54:16 GMT

Reality Check: Walker overestimates cost of vacant lot deal

Gov. Scott Walker is renewing a line of attack on his Democratic challenger Mary Burke about a vacant lot in Kenosha County. His latest ad uses made-up newspaper headlines crossing the screen to go after Burke on a deal she made as commerce secretary in 2006. "As Jim Doyle's commerce secretary, Mary Burke wasted $12.5 million on a vacant lot hoping to lure a company to Wisconsin to create jobs," the ad says. News 3 finds this needs clarification. Not everyone agrees the $12 million for the Kenosha property, which was intended to draw Abbott Labs from Chicago, was wasted. Village of Pleasant Prairie officials defend the purchase, saying 300 construction jobs were created for infrastructure work on the property and nearby company Uline wouldn't have expanded without the economic development work there. Burke also defends the purchase as a long-term investment, but the federal government has said the money was spent improperly. "Today the lot is still vacant and the federal government is demanding the state pay the money back, meaning Mary Burke's boondoggle could cost Wisconsin taxpayers as much as $25 million," the ad says. News 3 finds this is misleading. Walker said Burke's commerce department spent $12.5 million on the deal and the state now has to repay $12.5 million to the feds, which adds up to $25 million. But it's not that simple. The money for the land was actually a federal grant to the state, which gave $12.5 million to Pleasant Prairie. Village officials awarded the grant to the Kenosha Area Business Alliance to buy the property. The deal said if 2,400 jobs didn't come, KABA had to sell the land to pay the state back, or hand over the land. The federal government now says the deal was improper and is asking the state for $6 million in cash back and a cut in future grants of $6 million. So here's our math: The feds gave Wisconsin $12.5 million. They're asking for it all back through cash and cuts. The costs shift to the state, but the cost is still $12.5 million. It may even be less than that since local officials are on the hook to at least in part repay the state. The total cost is certainly not $25 million as Walker claims. If you have an idea for a Reality Check, email

Published: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 01:34:47 GMT

Body pulled from pond in Lake Mills identified as teen

A body pulled from Mill Pond in Lake Mills on Sunday is that of Devin L. Droster, 18, of Lake Mills, according to a release from Lake Mills police. Police were called to Bartel’s Beach at 127 S. Ferry Dr. at 6:46 p.m. when Droster's body was found floating in the water. The body was recovered and an autopsy was scheduled for Monday. Anyone with information about the body is asked to call Capt. Mike Selck of the Lake Mills police at 920-648-3114. Map

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:01:44 GMT

Burke attacks Walker over jobs promise

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke's latest television ad returns the focus of the campaign to Gov. Scott Walker's 2010 promise to add 250,000 private sector jobs over four years. The ad unveiled Tuesday is airing statewide beginning Wednesday. It comes after two weeks of battling between Burke and Walker over outsourcing of jobs overseas. Burke's ad highlights Walker's jobs pledge and includes footage of him saying in a 2010 interview that he wanted to be held to the promise. About 100,000 private sector jobs have been added under Walker. He defends the number, noting that the unemployment rate of 5.7 percent is the lowest it's been since 2008 and the 100,000 new jobs comes after years of job losses under a Democratic administration where Burke served as Commerce secretary.

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:11:42 GMT

Racine officers cleared in fatal shooting

An investigation has cleared two Racine police officers in the shooting of a man they said was wielding a knife. Rajko Utvic, 37, was killed July 6 by officers responding to a 911 call from a man who said he had taken 100 Ibuprofen pills. Police said the man refused to drop the knife, and he was shot when he came at officers Craig Klepel and Mathias Zinnen. An investigation by the Racine County Sheriff's Office said witnesses confirmed the officers' accounts. They said officers tried to stop Utvic with electronic shock devices, but they didn't work. A summary of the report from Racine police said the investigation found Utvic suffered from mental illness. It didn't provide details. The officers have returned to duty.

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:51:52 GMT

Robber smashes way into gas station

A robber used a brick to smash his way through a door to get into a gas station late Monday night, according to a release from Janesville police. Police were called to Stop-N-Go at 1804 E. Milwaukee St. at 11:30 p.m. and found the front door smashed. No one was inside. Officers said video surveillance showed a masked man throwing a large brick through the door. Store management is trying to determine what was taken. MAP

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:34:09 GMT

Missing Hurley man found in Michigan

The body of a missing man from Hurley has been found in his vehicle in an abandoned mine shaft filled with water. Seventy-four-year-old Duane Jussila was reported missing July 5 and was last seen in Ironwood, Michigan. His vehicle was discovered Sunday in a former mine shaft known as "the caves" in Ironwood. Hurley police say Jussila went through a barbed wire fence and landed in the shaft in about 10 feet of water.

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:57:38 GMT

Police say shooting didn't involve robbery

Eau Claire police say a teen's gunshot injuries are not related to a robbery as the initial investigation indicated. Officers responded to a call Sunday that a juvenile had been shot and wounded while being robbed. On Tuesday, police said their investigation shows one juvenile accidentally shot another minor with a stolen gun. Authorities say the two juveniles have also been linked to a stolen car and a burglary. A police official declined to give the ages of the juveniles.

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:03:09 GMT

Hotel robbed by armed men; Video released

A Janesville hotel was robbed by three masked men with handguns, according to a release from Janesville police. Officers were called to the Baymont Inn at 616 Midland Rd. at 12:28 a.m. for a report of an armed robbery. The front desk clerk told police the three men came into the lobby, displayed their guns and demanded money. They took an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register and were last seen leaving the lobby on foot. All three were wearing dark clothing and masks. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Janesville Police Department at 608-757-2244 or Janesville Area Crimestoppers at 608-756-3636. EMBED Link to video

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:42:34 GMT

Schools want to stick with Common Core

Wisconsin school districts have spoken out against Gov. Scott Walker's recent call for a change in the state's curriculum standards. Walker has asked the Wisconsin Legislature to pass a bill in January to repeal Common Core and replace it with standards set by the public. Common Core is the set of curriculum standards that specify what is taught in grade-school classrooms throughout the state. Wisconsin adopted it in 2010. School officials in Janesville, Milton, Clinton and other districts say they have invested time and money in creating curriculum based on Common Core, and abandoning it will be costly. Elkhorn School District administrator Jason Tadlock told The Janesville Gazette dropping Common Core "would be a step backwards."

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:14:42 GMT

Act 10, voter ID, domestic registry decisions near

The Wisconsin Supreme Court plans to rule Thursday in three major cases. The court is planning to issue its ruling on the collective bargaining changes Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature approved in 2011, despite massive protests that led to a series of recall elections. Elements of the law have been upheld by the state Supreme Court and two federal courts already. The state Supreme Court is also planning to rule on a pair of cases challenging the 2011 law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. That decision is expected to have a limited impact given that a federal court in April ruled that the requirement violated the state constitution. The court is also slated to decide a case challenging the state's domestic partner registry.

Published: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:54:16 GMT