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

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

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

Obama hits Republican policies in visit to La Crosse

President Barack Obama went after the policies of Gov. Scott Walker in an address in La Crosse Thursday, on the same day Walker announced he would file papers to run for president. In a speech to a few thousand people at the UW-La Crosse recreational center, the president focused on "middle class economics" but jabbed at the policies of the GOP field, who he said he could no longer keep track of. “I’ve lost count how many Republicans are running,” Obama said. “They’ll have enough for an actual hunger games.” The president criticized policies of the Republican governor without mentioning him by name. "We've seen what happens when top-down economics meets the real world; we've got proof right here in Wisconsin," Obama said. "You had a statewide fair-pay law that was repealed, your right to organize and bargain collectively was attacked." The criticism of Walker comes the day aides confirmed he would file paperwork to run for president in 2016, and make a formal announcement of his candidacy in Waukesha on July 13 at the same location he celebrated a recall election victory. The governor greeted the president at the airport in La Crosse, and also penned an op-ed saying that economic success in Wisconsin had come from his policies and not increased regulation, calling regulations "irrational taxes." Obama was in Wisconsin touting a proposed Labor Department rule that would make more workers eligible for overtime. The current threshold for workers to get overtime pay is $23,660, and the proposal would raise that to $50,440. The move is backed by organized labor, which has been at odds with the president over his push for an Asia-Pacific free-trade pact. The president said it could benefit 5 million workers nationwide and 80,000 in Wisconsin. "This is an issue of basic fairness," Obama told the crowd in La Crosse Thursday. "If you work longer and harder, you should get paid more." Local Republicans criticized the announcement, saying it could hurt businesses or cause them to cut jobs or hours. But they also said the president coming to La Crosse only emphasized a contrast with Walker. "I think the people have already set him up as an alternative," La Crosse County GOP spokesman Julian Bradley said. "The talk about him running for president really began during the recall back in 2011 when the recall was first initiated. People were impressed with the governor being able to be unintimidated." Walker, following the president's speech, fought back on social media. "Looks like Obama & @TheDemocrats are after me again but recent history shows they're in for a fight," Walker tweeted. He also posted the first of nine "previews" of his campaign logo, to be rolled out over Instagram over the next nine days before the announcement. The president headed back to Washington Thursday afternoon. The Labor Department will continue to work on the overtime rule, which if completed could be put into effect by the end of the year.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 01:35:23 GMT

Stephen Colbert takes over public access TV show

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Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 21:03:07 GMT

Area fireworks celebrations set for Fourth of July

Fireworks shows cap holiday traditions and celebrations in several area communities. July 2Madison: Elver Park - 9:30 p.m. July 3Edgerton: Ricetrack Park - dusk Elkhorn: Sunset Park - duskJefferson: Jefferson Golf Course - 9:30 p.m. Land O' Lakes: Land O' Lakes Airport - 10 p.m. Madison: Madison Mallards/Warner Park - 9:30 p.m. Mayville: Mayville City Park - duskNeshkoro: River's Edge Park - dusk Portage: Pauquette Park - 9:30 p.m. Whitewater: Cravath Lake - 10 p.m.Watertown: Riverside Park - 9:30 p.m. July 4Beloit: Riverside Park - dusk Boscobel: Kronshage Park - 9 p.m.Brodhead: South end of Brodhead, Center Avenue - duskBrooklyn: Legion Park 1st Street - 9 p.m.Columbus: Fireman's Park - duskDeForest: Firemans Park - duskEvansville: Lake Leota Park - duskFort Atkinson: Fort Atkinson High School - 9:45 p.m.Green Lake: Dartford Bay - duskHarrisville: Firemans Park - dusk Janesville: Traxler Park - dusk Lake Mills: Lake Mills industrial park - dusk Lone Rock: Lock Rock - dusk Mauston: Mauston High School on Grayside Avenue - 9:45 p.m.Mazomanie: Lion's Park - duskMilton: Schilberg Park - duskMineral Point: Soldier Memorial Park - duskMonona: Winnequah Park - duskMonroe: Twining Park - 9:30 p.m.Montello: Montello City Park - duskOxford: Oxford Village Park - duskPlatteville: Legion Field - duskReedsburg: Nishan Park - dusk Rome: Lake Sherwood Lodge - dusk Sauk Prairie: Sauk City Riverwalk - duskShorewood Hills: Blackhawk Ctry Club - 9:30 p.m.Shullsburg: Badger Park - 9:45 p.m.Waterloo: Firemen's Park - duskWhitewater: Cravath Lake – 10 p.m.Wisconsin Dells: behind Municipal Building - dusk July 5Stoughton: Mandt Park – 9:30 p.m. July 11Beaver Dam: Tahoe Park 10 p.m. Dodgeville: Harris Park - duskNew Lisbon: Riverside Park - duskPrairie du Chien: St. Feriole Island - dusk July 18Poynette: Midsummer Nights in Dekorra, W8901 Hall Road - dusk Rewey: Rewey Ball Park - dusk July 25Highland: Highland Village Park - dusk

Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:08:55 GMT

One man suffers severe injuries in motorcycle crash

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Department said speed and alcohol were a factor in a motorcycle crash that sent a 21-year-old Town of Rubicon man to the hospital with severe injuries Wednesday. The incident happened on Payne Road near Taylor Road in the Town of Rubicon just after 8 p.m. Wednesday. According to the sheriff’s department, Nathan Hennes was riding his motorcycle east on Payne Road when it went off the roadway and struck several trees. Hennes sustained severe injuries and was taken to Aurora Medical Center in Summit by a Flight for Life helicopter after the crash.

Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:57:23 GMT

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

Drunk driver hits teen bicyclist in Janesville

A Janesville teen was injured Thursday evening after failing to stop at a stop sign while riding a bike and getting hit by an intoxicated driver. Janesville police say the 13-year-old didn't stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Glen and North Parker Drives and hit was by a car driven by Angela Lopez, 23. Police say Lopez smelled like intoxicants and failed a field sobriety test.  The 13-year-old was transported to Mercy Hospital with substantial but non-life-threatening injuries, and was later transported to UW Hospital.  Lopez was arrested for causing injury operating while intoxicated. She was released with a court date. The teen was cited for sudden pedestrian/bicyclist movement into traffic. 

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 04:40:29 GMT

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

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

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 01:49:26 GMT

Walker to make presidential run official July 13

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker plans to make his White House bid official Monday, July 13, in the Milwaukee suburb Waukesha. A Walker aide with knowledge of the rollout confirmed the plan Thursday morning on condition of anonymity because no public declaration has been made yet. The aide also said that Walker will be filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission shortly. Before jumping into the 2016 race, Walker had been waiting for state lawmakers to finish work on a new budget. But with progress in the Wisconsin Legislature stalled, Walker is moving ahead with his campaign. Wispolitics reported that the announcement will be at the Waukesha County Expo Center, which is where he celebrated his recall victory in 2012. Before jumping into the 2016 race, Walker had been waiting for state lawmakers to finish work on a new budget. But with progress in the Wisconsin Legislature stalled, Walker is moving ahead with his campaign. Walker plans to roll out his presidential campaign logo in pieces over nine days via his Instagram account. The first of the pieces was released Thursday afternoon. Walker's announcement has long been expected. The second-term Wisconsin governor is set to formally enter the field with strong positioning in Iowa and is expected to have a strong network of conservative donors.

Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:38:46 GMT

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

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

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

California restaurant expanding to Madison

A California restaurant group is opening its first café away from the west coast by coming to Madison. Bowl of Heaven is scheduled to open at Hilldale Mall in late September in the new west plaza. The restaurant serves acai bowls, smoothies and cold-pressed juices for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. It calls offerings “superfoods,” which are described as high in antioxidants and providing a variety of health benefits. It serves gluten, dairy and sugar free items. Bowl of Heaven has nine current cafes and nine debuting this year in California, Nevada and Utah. Local owner-operator Celia Garcia said, “Madison is a dynamic, healthful community that can sustain the demand for a superfood-based fast casual restaurant that promotes a healthful eating experience.” Garcia is creating meals customized to the Madison market.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 01:17:54 GMT

Court orders competency exam for man accused of killing pedestrian

A Dane County judge has ordered a competency exam for the Sauk City man accused of striking and killing a woman on East Washington Avenue last month. Adam M. Sutter, 25, was driving on East Washington Avenue at North Stoughton Road at 7:15 p.m. June 18 when he struck 36-year-old Sara Wolf as she was crossing the street. Wolf died. Sutter was initially charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. Two more charges, homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and first-degree reckless homicide, were eventually added. Sutter will be back in court for a competency hearing July 17.

Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:52:23 GMT

Woman accused of stabbing husband heads to trial

A town of Vienna woman accused of stabbing her husband is headed to trial. Irina Kolenkina, 54, allegedly stabbed her husband, 52-year-old Vladimir Schevchuk June 13 at their home at 5387 County Road DM. A deputy found Schevchuk dead at his home at about 7 p.m. Dane County sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a dead person. According to a criminal complaint, Kolenkina and Schevchuk had run errands Saturday before returning home to prepare food and drink. The two had argued at home and shoved each other. Kolenkina told detectives she killed her husband because she was "fed up" with him due to perceived false promises he made to her regarding her immigration status, their marriage and an ongoing financial scheme, according to the complaint. Kolenkina told detectives that while the couple was arguing at the house, she shoved Schevchuk, who fell over an exercise machine. She jumped on him and stabbed him before he could get up. She then ran to her brother's apartment in the upper unit of the house and told him to call police because she had killed her husband. Kolenkina has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide with a domestic abuse modifier.

Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:34:51 GMT

Republicans approve limiting public access to records

Nearly all records created by state and local elected officials would not be subject to the Wisconsin open records law under a sweeping surprise change Republicans have approved as an amendment to the state budget. The changes were part of a 24-page final motion to the budget passed by the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee on Thursday. Numerous new exemptions would be extended to the 132 members of the Legislature, their staff, support agencies, and all other state and local government officials, including Gov. Scott Walker. Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, calls the changes a "full-frontal assault on the open records law as it pertains to the state Legislature and other agencies of government." Panel wants records test on officer-involved reports The Legislature's budget committee has voted to apply the open records balancing test to reports documenting officer-involved deaths. Wisconsin's open records law allows record custodians to determine whether the need to restrict access to a record outweighs the public's right to access. Current law doesn't specific that reports about officer-involved shootings released publicly are subject to the test. The Joint Finance Committee on Thursday voted to include language among their final revisions to the state budget that would specify investigators who lead probes into officer-involved deaths must delete any information from their reports that would be barred from release under the test. The full budget must be approved by the Senate and Assembly before becoming law. Loosening of teacher licensure requirements rejected Highly criticized teacher licensure changes that would have allowed some people without high school degrees to be licensed to teach in Wisconsin have been removed from the state budget. Republicans on the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee approved the changes in a late-night session last month. But they reversed course and removed them from the budget on Thursday. The committee had previously approved allowing anyone with a bachelor's degree to be licensed to teach in core subjects of English, math, social studies or science. Anyone with experience in other non-core subjects, including high school drop outs, could have been certified to teach under the previously adopted motion. That, too, was removed. Teachers and others had spoken out against the licensing changes when they were first added. Panel votes to add 7-day work week to budget The Legislature's budget committee has voted to allow factory and retail employees to work seven straight days without a day of rest. Under current state law, employers who own factories and retail stores must allow their workers at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in every seven consecutive days. The requirement doesn't apply to janitors, security guards, bakeries, restaurants, hotels and certain dairy and agricultural plants. The Joint Finance Committee voted Thursday to let an employee voluntarily work seven straight days. The language mirrors a Republican bill that's sitting in the Assembly labor committee. The budget must pass the Senate and Assembly and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker before becoming law. Public school sport participation rules scaled back An expansion of who can play sports and participate in extracurricular activities in public schools in Wisconsin is being scaled back. The Legislature's budget committee previously voted to allow home-schooled students, and those attending private, virtual or charter schools, to participate. But on Thursday the committee scaled that back by limiting participation only to students in home schools. The original proposal drew widespread opposition, including from advocates for home schoolers who feared it would lead to additional regulation. The budget must be passed by both the Senate and Assembly, and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker, before becoming law.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 03:06:32 GMT

New bar gives animal lovers something to howl about

Imagine having a bite to eat, drinking a beer and watching the game on TV, all while having your dog close by. That’s just part of the plans for a new bar in Janesville. "My dog is an absolute sweetheart and I wanted to kinda memorialize him, because dogs don’t last forever," Greg Hughes said. In honor of man's best friend, Greg Hughes, senior vice president of communications at NBC Sports, is opening his third bar in his old childhood neighborhood of Janesville along with a group of local investors that he also calls friends. "There a lot of connections to the community and ultimately its home for me," he said. But it's not only the drinks he hopes will bring the customers through the door. "They can have a beer and a burger or whatever they want, while their dog is playing too," Hughes said. Barkely's-Burgers, Brews and Dawgs, which has Hughes' own dog on its shirts, is the area's first dog-themed bar, featuring pictures of patrons' pups on the wall and themed food that owners hope will make you howl for more. Hughes also plans on creating a small gated dog park in the back of the bar with security cameras for owners to keep an eye on their dogs, which is a concept he has seen in other states like New York and Minnesota. "It's one of those things that I hope will galvanize people who are dog lovers who want to be around that type of atmosphere but the crucial part is having good food, good service and a great atmosphere," Hughes said. "There's so much opportunity and I think we have a great opportunity to build, the area, the dog theme and just stuff to get people to come," Al Meehan, manager and part owner of Barkley's, said. Despite misconceptions when the opening of the bar was first announced, four-legged friends will not be allowed inside, but the owners hope the bars unique theme will keep customers coming back "That’s our goal, when they leave, they come back and they have something to come back for," Meehan said. Before Barkley's can welcome its dog patrons, they still have to work out plans with the city. Owners hope to have all the necessary requirements for the dog park approved by the city for their grand opening the weekend of Sept. 11.

Published: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 00:45:06 GMT

Police conduct probation check, find meth lab in Muscoda

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

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

Santelle leaving US attorney's job in Milwaukee

The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin has announced his departure. James Santelle said Thursday he will retire from his position in the days ahead after 30 years of employment with the Department of Justice. The 56-year-old Santelle said he'll complete a number of projects and initiatives before leaving office. Santelle has served as U.S. attorney in Milwaukee for 5 1/2 years.

Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:40:21 GMT

Farmers? market SNAP/FoodShare program continues in 2015

SNAP/FoodShare participants will once again have the opportunity to participate in the MadMarket Double Dollars program at area farmers markets this summer, according to a release. The program, which allows users to get a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $25 per person at participating farmers’ markets, starts Sunday. Four area markets are participating this year:Northside Farmers’ Market -- Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Northside TownCenter Eastside Farmers’ Market -- Tuesdays from 4-7 p.m. at the Wil-Mar Center, 953 Jenifer St. Monona Farmers’ Market -- Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ahuska Park, 400 E. Broadway Westside Community Market -- Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hill Farms DOT, 4802 Sheboygan Ave. Four area health care providers and two credit unions have contributed funds for the program, officials said. “The MadMarket Double Dollars Program is vital to ensuring that all Madison residents have access to affordable farm fresh foods,” Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said in the release. “The city of Madison is excited to partner with Dane County, the Community Action Coalition and our funding partners to once again continue this program in 2015.”

Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:56:20 GMT

Construction project on Oregon road to be competed in 2 phases

County Road MM in Oregon will be closed for construction as part of a shared project between Oregon and Dane County, officials announced Thursday. The project includes the removal of existing concrete pavement and the installation of new asphalt paving, officials said. The village of Oregon will also be replacing the water main during the construction. The two existing westbound lanes will be closed starting Monday and both eastbound and westbound traffic will be shifted into the existing eastbound lanes, according to a release. Dane County crews will remove the westbound concrete, the water main will be replaced and new asphalt pavement will be put down. That part of the project is expected to last through the first week of August, officials said. For the second part of the project, traffic will be shifted to the two new westbound lanes and the Wolfe Street intersection will be closed while concrete pavement is removed, according to the release. A detour will use Highway 92, Highway 14 and Janesville Street.

Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 21:48:26 GMT

Budget committee moves closer to final passage

After a five-week delay, the Legislature's budget-writing committee is close to final approval of a new two-year spending plan. The Joint Finance Committee on Thursday neared a vote that would send the $70 billion budget on to the state Assembly on Tuesday. It's unclear when the Senate will take it up. The Republican-controlled committee on Thursday voted to reduce borrowing for road projects from $1.3 billion to about $850 million.  Cuts will likely mean delays to a number of road projects, including Verona Road, which may get pushed back at least three years. Democrats proposed that a gas tax increase would provide the funds to keep the projects on deadline. The committee also voted to make a series of tax changes, including cutting taxes for married couples and high earners subject to the alternative minimum tax. Those tax cuts would be paid for in part by delaying the full phase-in of an income tax credit for manufacturers and farmers.

Published: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:08:23 GMT