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Update: Victim identified in southside homicide

Madison police have released the name of the victim killed over the weekend on the city's south side. Darren J. Goodwan, 25, of Madison was found along West Badger Road early Saturday morning suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to an area hospital, but later died from his injuries. The county medical examiner says the cause of death was from "homicidal firearm trauma." Officers were called to the area around 3:30 a.m. Saturday, after a report of shots fired. Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said investigators have several significant leads in the case, but have not taken a suspect into custody. "We have definitely got our eyes set on someone," Koval said. Koval added officers believe the victim knew the suspect in some way, but are not yet sure about a motive. Koval also said a second person was injured in the incident. Those injuries were not life-threatening and were likely not caused by gunfire. Officers are asking anyone with information about this incident to call Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014 if you have any information that could help investigators. "When you have a 25-year-old young male who succumbs to a gunshot injury in the prime of his life, I'm hopeful that family or friends or people will be outraged by this kind of violence and will come forward and give us information through Crime Stoppers or any means we can," Koval said.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:16:32 GMT

Kraft recalls 4 varieties of American Singles products

Kraft Foods is voluntarily recalling cases of select varieties of Kraft American Singles, according to a release the company posted on its website Friday. A supplier did not store an ingredient used in the product according to the company’s temperature standards, which could have created conditions that could lead to premature spoilage, food borne illness or both, according to the release. The company is issuing the recall of 7,691 cases shipping to customers across the country as a precaution, officials said. Representatives for the company said they have not received any consumer illness complaints for the product associated with the recall. The affected product is four varieties with Best When Used By dates of Feb. 20, 2015 and Feb. 21, 2015. The products are all Kraft American Singles pasteurized prepared cheese products of differing package sizes. No other Kraft Singles products are impacted. The recalled product was produced at Kraft’s Springfield, Missouri, facility.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:59:42 GMT

Fitchburg leaders use candlelight, music to honor slain sisters

With candles in hand, upwards of 100 community members joined religious leaders, law enforcement and close friends in honoring two slain sisters at a Fitchburg park located only three blocks from where prosecutors say former Dane County sheriff’s deputy Andy Steele murdered his 39-year-old wife Ashlee Steele and her 38-year-old sister Kacee Tollefsbol. “This horrific and inexplicable tragedy has been emotionally jarring, and has left each and every one of us constantly asking ourselves, and our families and our neighbors asking how this could've happened,” Fitchburg Mayor Shawn Pfaff told the crowd at Rosecommon Park. The sister's uncle said Tollefsbol was visiting her sister and brother-in-law from Minnesota to offer moral support since Andy Steele had resigned from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office after an ALS diagnosis.  As Andy Steele was being charged Friday, family and friends laid Kacee Tollefsbol and Ashlee Steele to rest in their hometown of Stillwater, Minnesota. “Something that comes up so tragically and horrifically out of nowhere, there aren’t words for that,” Ashlee Steel’s co-worker Amy Meyer said. Leading the crowd in singing, Ryan Mauer and Becca Mauer used music as a way to comfort the crowd, and say goodbye to their friend and preschooler's teacher, Ashlee Steele. In fact, many of the children Ashley Steele taught attended the vigil.  While many Fitchburg police officers also wanted to be there, the city’s deputy police chief, Don Bates, explained why he was the only department representative present. “I chose to wear the uniform, because I could not allow the 46 other members of the Fitchburg Police Department to attend,” Bates said. As the vigil came to a close, Memorial United Church of Christ Pastor Phil Haslanger left the mourners with these parting words. “Let us leave here tonight cherishing the memories of Ashlee and Kacee,” Haslanger said. “Let us leave here tonight confident that we can overcome fear and violence as we walk hand in hand in the days to come.” A more formal service honoring the two women’s lives is being planned at Fitchburg’s The Church at Christ Memorial, where Ashlee Steele was a staff member.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 14:44:56 GMT

Cars crash trying to avoid cow, person in roadway

Two vehicles collided in Lafayette County on Sunday night when both drivers tried to avoid hitting a cow and a person on a highway, deputies said. Around 9:30 p.m. Lafayette and Green county deputies were sent to the 13600 block of Highway 78 east of Gratiot for reports of a vehicle crash, according to a release from the Green County Sheriff's Department. Investigators determined that a vehicle being driven by Brett L. Broge, 25, of Gratiot, was going north on Highway 78 behind a vehicle being driven by Elisabeth G. Anderson, 24, of Argyle, authorities said. Anderson abruptly braked to avoid hitting a cow and a person in the roadway, according to the release. Broge braked and tried to avoid hitting Anderson’s vehicle, but was forced back into the northbound lane to avoid hitting the person and the cow. Broge’s vehicle then hit the back end of Anderson’s vehicle, investigators said. Both vehicles sustained moderate to severe damage and were towed from the scene. All occupants were wearing seat belts and were not injured, deputies said. No citations were issued for the incident. Map

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:11:00 GMT

Alleged reckless driver hits off-duty officer with pepper spray

An off-duty police officer was hit with pepper spray when he tried to make contact with the occupants of a vehicle he observed driving recklessly Sunday night, according to a release. The officer was going home from work at the West Police District around 10 p.m. when he noticed a vehicle driving recklessly, almost hitting another vehicle and a light pole, officials said. The vehicle also jumped a curb, crossed a sidewalk and had what appeared to be fresh front end damage. The officer contacted the 911 center and followed the vehicle to the BP gas station at 699 S. Gammon Road, according to the release. While waiting for MPD to arrive, the officer made contact with the driver and occupants of the vehicle. Police said the officer properly identified himself as an MPD officer and was subsequently sprayed in the face with pepper spray by Sherill K. Howard, 18, of Madison. Howard, Shalonda T. Jones, 22, of Madison, and another person left the area in the vehicle and were later stopped by officers, according to the release. Police did find a canister of pepper spray in the vehicle. Howard was arrested on a tentative battery to a police officer charge. Jones was arrested on a tentative party to the crime of battery to a police officer charge. Crime map

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 14:43:28 GMT

Obama arrives in Milwaukee, greeted by Gov. Walker

President Barack Obama has arrived in Milwaukee, where he was greeted at the airport by Gov. Scott Walker and others. A pool report says Obama landed Monday at 1 p.m. He greeted the governor, who's a Republican, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat. He also hugged Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore. Obama is speaking at LaborFest 2014, at Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee. The event is open to ticketed guests and reporters. This is the second time the president has addressed union members at LaborFest. He also attended the event in 2010. He greeted the crowd with, "It's great to be back in Milwaukee!"

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 19:21:39 GMT

Alleged robber killed after victim opens fire

Milwaukee police say an armed robber who accosted a group of victims has died after one of the victims opened fire with a handgun. Police say the shooting happened Monday about 5:30 a.m. Authorities say the robber was one of four people who tried to rob the victims. One victim pulled out a handgun and fired, killing the suspect. The other three suspects fled. Police say several arrests have been made. It wasn't immediately clear whether the shooter was among those arrested. Authorities are still working to identify the person who died. The police department says the alleged thieves may have been involved in several other recent robberies.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 20:48:10 GMT

Appeals court rejects Amber Alert case that ended in Wis.

A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction and prison sentence of a 47-year-old Maine resident for transporting a 13-year-old Owensboro, Kentucky girl across state lines to engage in sexual activity. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday let stand the 30-year sentence for Archie M. Whalen of Hancock County, Maine. A jury convicted Whalen on July 26, 2012 of taking the girl in 2009 from her home in western Kentucky to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The girl was found a day after an Amber Alert was issued. Officials said Whalen met the girl when she and her mother lived briefly in Maine. Whalen is currently serving his sentence at United States Penitentiary Marion in southern Illinois.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 17:49:54 GMT

Fire causes estimated $80K in damage to apartment building

Damage is being estimated at $80,000 for an apartment fire that happened overnight in Beloit, officials said. Beloit police and fire crews responded to 1854 Northgate Drive for reports of an apartment fire just before 1 a.m., according to a release. The fire started in one of the second-floor apartments, but the cause is still under investigation, officials said. There’s fire damage to apartment 206 as well as the attic and hallway around the apartment. According to the release, there is smoke damage throughout the second floor of the 24-unit apartment building. Alliant Energy crews helped with controlled the electric and natural gas utilities, officials said. Crews from 12 local fire departments also assisted at the scene.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 14:45:10 GMT

Green Bay measure would crack down on dog brokers

Green Bay officials are considering a measure that would only allow dog owners to keep puppy litters if the mother dog lives there too. A Press-Gazette Media report says the goal is to prevent pet brokers from stockpiling hordes of animals, which can end up confined in unsanitary conditions. City officials say some brokers buy dozens of dogs online and house them in unhealthy conditions. Current law lets homeowners keep puppy litters for eight weeks, but it doesn't specify that the puppies have to have been born there. City Alderman Joe Moore says he proposed the measure because brokers were abusing that loophole. But at least one dog owner worries that the measure would make it harder to find new homes for stray animals.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:43:20 GMT

Walker skirts touchy casino decision

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has made a reputation for his willingness to take on difficult political issues. But he's delayed a decision on one of the hottest questions for voters in densely populated southeastern Wisconsin: Will he approve the Menominee Nation's plans for a casino in Kenosha? Walker has pushed the decision deadline back to February, well after the November election. But the issue is heating up — another tribe with a casino has refused to give the state its annual revenue-sharing payment out of concerns a new facility would hurt its business. Walker's Democratic opponent, Mary Burke, says she'd approve the new casino if it means more jobs. Walker says a decision with such economic importance shouldn't be made on the campaign trail.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 16:11:26 GMT

Oshkosh finds little demand for 3 liquor licenses

Liquor licenses in Oshkosh have been in high demand for the last 40 years, so city officials are a little surprised that no one is applying for three licenses that have been available for a while. An Oshkosh Northwestern Media report says the city's Common Council plans to wait and see whether the business community develops any proposals for the licenses. Mayor Burk Tower says it's possible the city will keep them. Pat Purtell is the president of the Oshkosh Tavern League. He says it may be that entrepreneurs recognize that running a tavern isn't easy. Pete Madland leads the Tavern League of Wisconsin. He's not surprised licenses are sitting unused. He says a changing culture means people are more likely to drink at home than at a bar.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:30:36 GMT

5 things to know about Obama's visit to Wisconsin

President Barack Obama will speak to union members and others Monday in Milwaukee. Here are five things to know about his visit: 1. IT'S A PARTY: The president is speaking at about 2 p.m. at LaborFest, a festival complete with musical acts, a classic car show, bingo and lots of fried food. The festival runs from noon to 5 p.m. and is preceded by an 11 a.m. parade in downtown Milwaukee. LaborFest is held on 75-acre festival grounds along the shore of Lake Michigan. 2. REWIND AND REPEAT: Monday marks Obama's second appearance at LaborFest. He spoke there in 2010, months before Republican Gov. Scott Walker set off fervent protests with his proposal to eliminate most public employees' union rights. Anger over Walker's signature legislation lingers in heavily Democratic Milwaukee. 3. THE PRESIDENT'S POPULARITY HAS WANED: Obama won Wisconsin in 2008 and 2012, but his popularity is declining. A Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday put his approval rating at 49 percent statewide. An earlier law school poll found the president's approval rating was much higher in Milwaukee than statewide — 71 percent to 47 percent in July 2013. 4. UNION MEMBERSHIP IS FALLING TOO: About 15 percent of private and public sector workers in Wisconsin were represented by unions during Obama's last visit in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2013, union membership was about 13 percent as Walker's union law took effect and public employees dropped out. The national average is 12.4 percent. 5. WALKER WILL GREET HIM, BURKE WON'T SHARE STAGE: The governor changed plans with his family so he could greet Obama at General Mitchell International Airport. The two also met there in January, discussing a propane shortage before Obama left to give a speech in Waukesha and Walker returned to Madison. Walker's Democratic challenger Mary Burke is meeting privately with Obama, but won't share the stage.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:45:24 GMT

High school football game locked down

A high school football game in Medford was suspended for about two hours, and players and fans were sent to the gymnasium and put on lockdown. A dispatcher for the Medford Police Department told The Associated Press that police were not releasing details about Saturday's lockdown. But Wisconsin-Eau Claire Athletics Director Dan Schumacher, who was at the game, tells WEAU-TV that once inside the gym, everyone was told there was an active shooter in the area. The Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District released a statement saying the evacuation was "in response to a community event" off school grounds. There were no reports of injuries to players or fans. The Chippewa Herald says the game was tied when it was halted but Chippewa Falls went on to beat Medford, 22-14.

Published: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 13:08:27 GMT

Handicap accessible park in need of repairs

A Janesville playground that has inspired more than 100 other play places across the country is in desperate need of repairs. Since it first opened in 1993, at least 1.3 million people have visited Camden Playground. At the time, it was a first-of-its-kind handicap-accessible play area that parks across the country have imitated. The whole idea came from Sara Knutson and her son, Camden. A little over 20 years ago, Knutson said she and her husband were hard-pressed to find a playground where their child with special needs could fit in "He didn't have anything to play on," Knutson said. "Nothing but real tall slides to go on, no swings to actually grab on to hold and balance himself." Knutson and her husband decided to build a playground themselves by raising money and recruiting volunteers. In May of 1993, Camden Playground opened. "So he could feel normal," Knutson said. "So disabled children could have some normalcies on the playground. So they could feel alive." The park was designed with an eye for children with special needs. The walkways are wider, and the swings are more accessible for kids like Camden, and everyone else, too. "It equals out the community," Knutson said. "It makes disabled children and normal children come together as one, and it makes the community come together as one." "Before this playground, they were only 40 percent accessible, and after this playground, they were 80 to 100 percent accessible," said Sherry Kuelz, co-founder of the Camden Foundation. More than two decades later, Camden Park is in need of serious repairs. "All playgrounds will deteriorate, and this one is starting to deteriorate," Kuelz said. "It also needs to be brought up to current standards for safety, and so we need to rebuild." Knutson and her family need to raise $350,000 to update the park and its play equipment. The goal is to keep Camden Playground open for all types of children, and for generations to come. "No matter what your disability is, we're all normal," Knutson said. "We all want to enjoy the same things out of life that everyone else has." The city of Janesville has agreed to donate $70,000 to the Camden Foundation to help with repairs if the organization can raise $30,000 by 2015. They're well on their way, with more than $15,000 raised so far. If you would like to donate, an account has been set up at Johnson Bank in Janesville. You can also make a donation at any Johnson Bank in the state, as long as you specify that it is for the Camden Foundation.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 14:31:47 GMT

12-year-old boy drowns in hotel pool

A 12-year-old boy is dead after apparently drowning in a hotel pool in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office said Zay-Vun Mooreland of Milwaukee died Friday night at the Rodeway Inn & Suites. A message left with the hotel manager was not immediately returned Saturday. The medical examiner's report said Mooreland could not swim. He was in the pool with his siblings and a cousin when his older brother went into deep water with Mooreland on his back. The brother began to struggle in the deep water. The family was at the hotel for a birthday party. The medical examiner said the man at the hotel desk apparently told the children it was OK to swim because Mooreland's brother was 18. Police do not suspect foul play.

Published: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 20:07:12 GMT

Carriage drivers to gather at historical site

Scores of carriage drivers are set to gather at a southwestern Wisconsin historical site this weekend. Villa Louis in Prairie du Chien will host the Villa Louis Carriage Classic on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The event is designed to commemorate the era of horse-drawn carriages. The agenda includes obstacle races, show competitions and picnic rides. Spectators will get to vote on the best picnic. More than 100 drivers of new and restored carriages are expected to attend. Villa Louis is a mansion that serves as the centerpiece of a grand Victorian estate that fur trader Hercules Louis Dousman's family built in the 1800s.

Published: Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:38:48 GMT

Woman faces 6th drunken driving charge

A Portage woman faces her sixth drunken driving charge after being stopped by a State Patrol trooper early Sunday morning, according to a release. Jill Szymanski, 54, was stopped for speeding on the eastbound Interstate 90/94 at mile maker 117 around 2:40 a.m., officials said. The trooper determined she had consumed alcohol and was under the influence. She was arrested on a tentative sixth-offense operating while intoxicated charge.

Published: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 15:18:29 GMT

Bank loans used to collect unpaid medical bills

A health system with hospitals in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Wisconsin is working with a bank to offer interest-free loans to patients with unpaid medical bills. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that $6.5 million has been lent to about 4,000 patients since SSM Health Care inked a deal with Commerce Bank five months ago. Patients get the loans without undergoing credit checks and Commerce Bank receives a service fee. The goal is to reduce the health system's bad debt, which grew from $157 million in 2012 to $204.7 million in 2013. Hospitals have long worked out payment plans with patients in-house. But Paul Sahney of SSM Health Care says his hospitals aren't positioned to effectively manage monthly payments from patients like banks already do with home and car loans.

Published: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 15:53:01 GMT

Man charged after girl eats pot-laced chocolate

A Chippewa Falls man whose daughter nearly died after eating a marijuana-laced chocolate bar faces three criminal charges. A Chippewa Herald report says 38-year-old Jason N. Hetke is charged with felony second-degree reckless endangerment. He's also charged with two misdemeanors — child neglect and possession of marijuana. Prosecutors say the girl seemed intoxicated in school after eating an entire marijuana chocolate bar from Colorado. A school official and police officer were barely able to detect a pulse. They found a wrapper in her pocket that said the bar contained 22½ doses of marijuana. The wrapper said the product was, "Extremely potent. Do not eat all at once." She said she found the bar in her father's dresser drawer. Online court records didn't list an attorney for Hetke on Sunday.

Published: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:19:47 GMT