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UW-Madison says 400 jobs to be cut under Walker budget

The chancellor of the flagship Madison campus of the University of Wisconsin says it will have to cut about 400 positions, close and merge programs and reduce academic offerings and services if Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget cut passes. Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced an outline of its budget-reduction plan on Friday. Walker proposed a $300 million cut to the entire UW System, but Republicans who control the Legislature have said they hope to reduce that. Blank says in her memo that unchanged UW-Madison will have to cut about 400 positions, restructure or end programs, offer fewer courses, have larger classes and reduce support services benefiting students, faculty and staff. A Marquette University Law School poll released Thursday showed 70 percent opposition to Walker's proposed UW cuts.

Published: Sat, 18 Apr 2015 00:23:39 GMT

2 taken to hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning at horse fair

Two people were taken to a hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning that happened at the Midwest Horse Fair being held at the Alliant Energy Center. Crews were called to the fair at 9:55 a.m. Friday for reports of a man in a camper who was not responding. Authorities at the scene told News 3 the patients were taken to the hospital for oxygen treatment. One man was semi-conscious while a woman was completely unresponsive, but both had a pulse and were breathing at the scene. Both were expected to survive, according to Dane County deputies. Midwest Horse Fair spokesperson Paul Nemec said vendors at the show noticed their neighbors’ horses had not been fed or cared for Friday morning and called the fair’s ground managers. “It’s kind of a close-knit community over here, they keep track of everybody that's on site,” Nemec said. Managers responded to a locked trailer with two unconscious people inside and had to break into a glass window to get them out.  Nemec said a generator inside the trailer was likely the source of the carbon monoxide. The incident called to mind a similar poisoning years ago at the World Clydesdale Show on the Alliant Energy Center grounds.  “You may remember back in 2007 we had a family die out here from CO poisoning, so this brought back some scary thoughts about that happening again,” said Town of Madison Police Chief Scott Gregory.  Erin and Hope Briney, ages 10 and 13, along with grandparents DeVere and Barbara Clay, were using a propane heater that wasn’t properly ventilated when they died from that gas poisoning. Authorities said generator safety should be top of mind this weekend as other trailers set up at the horse fair. “This is just a good reminder for people to keep generators out of enclosed areas and keep them well ventilated,” Gregory said.  

Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 23:55:20 GMT

Sandy Hook benefit sparks backlash for Tim McGraw

Country music star Tim McGraw has found himself in the middle of the nation's ongoing debate over gun control after agreeing to perform at a benefit concert for the Sandy Hook Promise foundation. McGraw defended his decision to appear at the concert -- scheduled for July 17 in Hartford, Connecticut -- in a statement, after gun-rights activists took to McGraw's Twitter and Facebook page and derided him for what they view as turning his back on support for the Second Amendment. "As a gun owner, I support gun ownership," McGraw said, according to a report from the Connecticut Post on Thursday. "I also believe that with gun ownership comes the responsibility of education and safety -- most certainly when it relates to what we value most, our children." The Sandy Hook Promise foundation -- a nonprofit organization run by family members who lost a loved one in the shooting at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012 -- is focused on improving access to mental health programs in addition to its promotion of firearm safety, according to the group's website. According to the Connecticut Post's report, McGraw's fiddle player -- Dean Brown -- is personal friends with a father who lost his 7-year-old son in the shooting. Despite McGraw's statement, critics on social media have continued to accuse him of selling out to the gun control lobby. "You aren't helping the rights of the individual by signing on to take them away with your concerts!" one post read. No national gun rights groups have criticized McGraw thus far for his decision, and there is no indication that he will change his plans to appear at the concert.

Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:24:29 GMT

The Farmers' Market returns to Capitol Square

After a long hiatus, the Dane County Farmers’ Market returns to Capitol Square this Saturday. The first market of the season always brings a crop of new vendors to the scene and this year is no exception as twekve new stands are added to the mix. The newcomers will be selling everything from pickles and relishes to gathered wild flowers to Italian baked goods like biscotti. New stalls aren’t the only surprise that awaits shoppers this Saturday. Several regular vendors plan to unveil new treats they’ve come up with, says market manager Bill Lubing. For veg heads, one baker is now offering a veggie burger market-goers can take home and cook on their own, he says. Now that the days are finally warming up, more and more fruits and veggies are coming into season. April and May are prime months of the year for spinach, lettuce, watercress, green onions and mushrooms. Lubing says he expects some tomatoes to make an appearance at the market as well. Of course, food favorites like Stella’s hot and spicy cheese bread and other meats, baked goods and Wisconsin cheeses are always in season. If you’ve got a green thumb, Saturday is your chance to jumpstart your garden. Lubing says plenty of vendors will be selling garden stock, like seeds and bulbs, for those shoppers looking to grow their own groceries. To keep shoppers in the know on which vendors and what products will be gracing the square each Saturday, this year the summer market will have a hotline available throughout the day. Staff will be on site with the most up-to-date information. “We’re really trying to make it so people know what’s there before they come or if they want to find out if their favorite stand is out,” Lubing says. The Dane County Farmers’ Market runs Saturdays on Capitol Square from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 200 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. For more information, visit or call 608-455-1999. 

Published: Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:21:20 GMT


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

Sex offender found with runaway, arrested

A sex offender in Beloit was arrested after being found with a 15-year-old runaway on Thursday, according to a release from Beloit police. Officers were called to the 1600 block of Dewey Avenue at 7:48 a.m. for a report of a sex offense and located 50-year-old Pearlie Jackson, who was with a runaway from Mount Pleasant. Police said the runaway was returned home and Jackson was arrested on suspicion of second-degree sexual assault of a child. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Beloit Police Department at 608-364- 6801 or Beloit Area Crime Stoppers at 608-362-7463.

Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:01:03 GMT

Man accused of beating, choking, driving over woman

A Madison man was arrested on numerous charges after accusations that he beat, choked and drove a van over a woman’s legs, according to a release from Madison police. Police were called Thursday morning when a woman spotted an injured person lying in the road on Jacobs Way  and stopped to help. The 22-year-old woman in the road had cuts, abrasions and a broken leg. The woman told officers that a man with whom she has had a past relationship, Dexter L. Watson, 25, battered and choked her before driving the rear tires of a van over her leg. She said she was partially inside the van, trying to remove some personal property, when Watson suddenly accelerated, sending her to the pavement. Watson was located and arrested on suspicion of first-degree reckless endangerment and battery and on a probation hold.

Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:44:35 GMT

DA: Expect 48-hour notice on Robinson case decision

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said Friday that he will give 48 hours' notice before he releases a decision on whether to charge a Madison police officer who shot Tony Robinson. Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny shot Robinson on March 6. Police have said that Robinson attacked Kenny as the officer was responding to calls that Robinson had assaulted two people and was running in traffic. Ozanne said he received final reports from the Division of Criminal Investigation and had a second meeting with the Medical Examiner's Office on Monday.

Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:33:05 GMT

Fitchburg man looks to make drunk driving a thing of the past

A Fitchburg man is trying to make drunk driving a thing of the past, pushing past his own pain to help others. "I remember pulling up to the driveway of my parents' home and honestly the next thing I remember, it was kinda like a loud slap," said Jimmy Anderson. Anderson had left Madison to visit his family in California for his birthday, when tragedy struck. "We tumbled over and over and I remember feeling trapped in the vehicle," he recalled. Anderson and his family were hit by a drunk driver at over 60 miles per hour. He was left paralyzed from the chest down. Anderson's parents and younger brother were also in the car. "I asked my parents to tell me that they were OK and what I remember is all I kept hearing was the ticking of the engine and I knew kinda deep down that they were gone," he said. That night Anderson lost his whole family. Between hospital bills and rehabilitation costs, he and his wife were looking at over a million dollars in bills. With help from insurance and his support system, they were able to cover the cost. A price not everyone could afford. "Nobody should have to sit there and be financially ruined because they were hit by a drunk driver. It's not enough to sit there and tell people to drink responsibly, you have to give them the tools to take the responsibility," Anderson said. Jimmy is providing those tools through his nonprofit, Drive Clear, which is focused on prevention and recovery. His goal is to raise money for those injured by drunk drivers. His website allows for those recovering from an accident involving a drunk driver to share their story, help bring attention to their needs and encourage donations. Under the recovery campaign, 100 percent of the proceeds go to the family in need to help with recovery. Anderson is also looking to partner with businesses to put "BACtrack" blood-alcohol testers in bars and restaurants, to save someone else from the memories he has to face every day. "Maybe if I can help others make sure they are safe getting behind the wheel of the car, maybe somebody else doesn't have to lose their family. Maybe somebody gets to see another birthday or gets to see their kids grow up," he said. Five dollars of each BACtrack product sold through the Drive Clear campaign goes to the nonprofit organization. You can find out more about Anderson's cause through his website:

Published: Sat, 18 Apr 2015 02:58:09 GMT

Woman saved from car on fire outside Columbus

A Columbus fire lieutenant, along with three bystanders, helped remove a driver from a car on fire on Highway 151 Thursday morning, according to a release from the Columbus Fire Department. According to the release, the Columbus Fire Department and LifeStar EMS responded to a report of a one-vehicle rollover accident on the highway near Columbus at 10:48 a.m. At that time, Columbus Fire Lt. Jerrod Fox was returning to Columbus from the Madison area and happened to be about a mile from the crash. Upon Fox's arrival, he found the car on fire in the southbound ditch and several people on the scene. He guided three bystanders in helping to open the driver's door, untangle the woman's feet and remove her from the car before it was destroyed by fire, the release said. The release said the driver was a 68-year-old woman from Columbus. The three bystanders who helped were Cherno Chanbum of Madison, Richard Iorio of Saukville and Zachary Bart of Sourth Barrington, Illinois. According to the release, the car rolled several times and landed on tall, dry grass, which fed the fire. The driver was transferred to Columbus Community Hospital and then UW Hospital via Med-Flight.

Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 23:00:16 GMT

Wisconsin man sentenced for trafficking pot via 3 McDonald's

A Wisconsin man has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison for running a large-scale marijuana trafficking ring through his three McDonald's restaurants. Prosecutors say 40-year-old Edward G. Patterson, of Whitefish Bay, recruited his employees into the conspiracy and tried from jail to hire someone to kill informants who helped agents make the case against him. Authorities busted the ring in 2013. Prosecutors said Patterson and workers he recruited drove marijuana back from California before he switched to having it mailed to various Milwaukee addresses. Under his plea agreement, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, Patterson forfeited his partial stakes in the restaurants in Glendale, Fox Point and Mequon, which have been sold. In a short apology to the court, Patterson blamed greed, drugs and debt for his decisions. ___ Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

Published: Sat, 18 Apr 2015 00:33:00 GMT

Minnesotan charged in fatal stabbing of Wisconsin fisherman

A Minnesota man has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the fatal stabbing of a Wisconsin fisherman at Interstate State Park. Bail was set Friday at $125,000 for 19-year-old Levi C. Acre-Kendall, of Cambridge. Thirty-four-year-old Peter Kelly, of St. Croix Falls, was stabbed Tuesday night after he and a friend argued with three younger men across the St. Croix River. The confrontation happened on the Wisconsin side. Acre-Kendall surrendered Thursday. The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reports the criminal complaint sheds no insights on the argument. Polk County Chief Deputy Steve Moe said authorities have no answers despite cooperation from both men's friends. Acre-Kendall's mother, Lavonne Acre, said it wouldn't have happened if Kelly and his friend hadn't crossed the river to confront her son and his friends. ___ Information from: Star Tribune,

Published: Sat, 18 Apr 2015 00:59:15 GMT

Steele's parents take the stand in 4th day of murder trial

Andrew Steele's parents took the stand, and the state presented witnesses on day four of the murder trial Friday. Steele pleaded not guilty by mental disease or defect in the killings of his wife, Ashlee Steele, and sister-in-law, Kacee Tollefsbol, last August in Fitchburg. Steele's mother Phyllis Steele testified to his changes in eating and drinking behaviors after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. "He was just eating everything, and that's not really like him. He was just eating junk," Phyllis Steele said. "He was also drinking more than usual." Phyllis Steele also spoke about her relationship with her son's wife. "When Andy was diagnosed with ALS, she called and she was devastated and she said, 'You have to stay with us. You have to be part of our family. What will we do if you don't? What will I do with the kids if you don't?' I said, 'Ashlee, we love you. We'll never, ever leave you,'" Phyllis Steele said. The prosecution began its case yesterday, refuting Steele's claim that insanity caused by his ALS led him to kill the sisters. The state's witnesses who testified Friday included a crime scene investigator, doctors testifying about behavioral changes associated with ALS and a PDQ employee who rang up charcoal and lighter fluid for Steele the day of the murders. The state could rest its case by the middle of next week. The defense will get to present rebuttal witnesses before the case goes to the jury.

Published: Sat, 18 Apr 2015 02:52:09 GMT

Grandmother gets 1 year in jail in toddler's methadone death

The grandmother of a Beloit woman whose 1-year-old daughter died after ingesting methadone was sentenced Friday in Rock County Court to 1 year in jail and 10 years of probation. Tina Strommen, 51, is the mother of Tallie J. Strommen, 24, who was sentenced March 2 in to five years of extended supervision in addition to five years in prison for the death of her 13-month-old daughter in 2013. She pleaded guilty to child neglect causing death. Tina Strommen was also sentenced to serve 200 hours of community service within her first two years of probation. According to the criminal complaint, Strommen tried to get the baby to go to sleep by biting off a piece of a methadone tablet and giving it to the child. Tina Strommen pleaded guilty to delivering methadone to her daughter.

Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:42:39 GMT

Atlas hosts Madison's first improv festival, combines comedy, endurance

Madison's comedy group Atlas Improv Co. will present the Endurance Improv Fest at their theater April 16-19, according to a release.

Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:47:59 GMT

Beloit police investigate sexual assault in Turtle Creek Floodplain

Beloit police are investigating a sexual assault that reportedly happened Tuesday night, police said. Around 7 p.m., officers from the Beloit Police Department responded to the Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store to meet with a person that wanted to report a sexual assault, according to a release. A juvenile female told police she had been sexually assaulted in the Turtle Creek Floodplain near the Kolak Educational Center, police said. Police said the female indicated Tuesday that she walked to the floodplain alone and did not know the assailant. On Friday, she told investigators the identity of the male subject, saying they are acquaintances and walked to the floodplain together. The circumstances are still under investigation, according to police. Police said the public is not in danger, and there is not an unknown assailant targeting young females in the turtle creek floodplain. Police ask anyone with information on the incident to call the Beloit Police Department at 608-364-6801 or the Beloit Area Crime Stoppers at 608-362-7463.

Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:59:26 GMT

Milwaukee police: Fatal house fire is arson

Milwaukee police say someone purposely started a fire where two people were found dead. In a news release, police Sgt. Mark Stanmeyer said they are investigating the deaths of a 27-year-old man and woman as homicides and the fire as arson. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and State Fire Marshal are also investigating. Stanmeyer says the pair died on the scene of the fire that was reported early Friday. A suspect has not been identified but police arrested two men at the scene for unrelated charges. Authorities say firefighters found flames on the first and second floor of the north side house. Firefighters say explosions heard coming from the home were due to numerous oxygen tanks. The woman hasn't yet been identified.

Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:15:24 GMT

Lunch lady retires after 35 years at elementary school

After three and a half decades serving Sugar Creek Elementary students hot lunches every week, a Verona woman will retire Friday.

Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:23:12 GMT

Panel OKs deducting lost food stamp card costs from accounts

Republicans on the Legislature's finance committee have tacked provisions onto Gov. Scott Walker's budget that would call for state officials to deduct the costs of replacing lost food stamp cards from their holders' accounts. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state replaced about 130,000 lost or stolen cards between March 2014 and February. Each card costs about $3.50 to replace. The bureau estimates that the committee's move would reduce the costs for replacement cards by about $455,000 annually. The committee approved the move on a 12-4 vote. All four Democrats on the panel voted against it but didn't voice any arguments.

Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:45:28 GMT