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Doctors at UW Health give veteran second chance at life

At 25 years of age Keith McCarter returned to Wisconsin after a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Army. He and his wife, Jessica McCarter, were deployed together to Southern Iraq. What they didn’t know was life would be more challenging with their return home. “His challenges in Iraq probably paled to the comparison of the challenge he had when he got back,” said Dr. Michael Garren, a bariatric surgeon at UW Health. Shortly after returning home, Keith went into heart failure. Doctors determined he needed a heart transplant, but until a donor could be found they gave him a ventricular assist device to keep his heart beating. “He really didn’t have a lot of options. He could live with the ventricular assist device as long as it would last, but if he couldn’t get a new heart, at his young age that essentially would have been the end of his life,” Garren said. Keith was placed on the heart transplant list, but didn’t stay there for long. “Keith was on so many medications that one of his medications had affected his thyroid and he started packing on the pounds,” Jessica McCarter said. When Keith gained more than 100 pounds he became ineligible to remain on the heart transplant list. He weighed 330 pounds when he first visited Garren’s office and his health was rapidly failing. “He was 25, 25 years old and he was dying,” Jessica McCarter said. “Keith was on his death bed.” Keith’s best hope for survival rested in bariatric surgery that would allow him to lose enough weight to go back on the heart transplant list. While Garren has performed bariatric surgery well over 1,000 times, most of those procedures were elective surgeries. There would be nothing elective about Keith’s surgery. “I see people coming to me that are desperate at some level. Keith was desperate to live,” Garren said. The surgery was complicated by the condition of Keith’s heart and the presence of the ventricular assist device. Ninety minutes in an operating room would determine Keith’s future. Ninety days later Keith’s future looked dramatically different. He lost the 100 pounds. “As of this morning I weighed 207,” Keith said. “I’ve gotten everything pretty much back. I’m able to travel again, able to go swimming and do stuff with my kids that I couldn’t before.” And then his doctors discovered the biggest surprise of all. “He exceeded our expectation that not only he lost the weight, he became a transplant candidate, but also we were able to able to take him off the list,” said Dr. Lucian Lozonschi, a cardiologist at UW Health. Doctors are not certain why Keith’s heart recovered and there is still a possibility his heart could go back into failure. For the time being, the ventricular assist device has been removed and Keith is cherishing each day with his wife and three children. “It is awesome to be here to see my kids sixth, fourth and 17th birthdays,” Keith said. Keith’s recovery also serves as a reminder to Garren about why he does what he does. “I’d like to admit that I didn’t have tears welling up in my eyes. For all of my patients it is a special thing to see their lives transformed for the better. Keith, given his history, given his age I can’t tell you that I’ve had a more gratifying patient interaction in my entire career,” Garren said.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 00:59:31 GMT

WATCH: SportsCenter commercial features Badgers football players

The latest "This is SportsCenter" commercial features ESPN anchor Jay Harris and Wisconsin football players. The men dressed up like linemen are not actual Badgers football players, but the commercial feature the team's size in a funny way. Video

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 03:05:45 GMT

Construction detours interstate to Beltline traffic overnight

Beltline construction projects will cause several new traffic patterns starting this week, including a detour for northbound interstate traffic heading to the Beltline. The northbound Interstate 39/90 exit to the westbound Beltline will be closed 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly through Thursday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation release. Signs will direct drivers to the detour route, which will use Highway 30 to Highway 51/Stoughton Road, officials said. The eastbound Beltline exit ramp to Greenway Boulevard will be closed starting Wednesday for approximately a week, according to the release. And Monday morning, the Old Sauk Road ramp to the eastbound Beltline reopened.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:13:54 GMT

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

UWPD: Student reports 4th-degree sex assault in dorm

University disciplinary procedures have been initiated against a person who allegedly touched a University of Wisconsin student inappropriately in a dorm, according to a release from UW police. A UW student reported to a campus official Sunday that she was touched inappropriately, without consent, in a campus residence hall, police said. The victim told police the inappropriate touching had happened before, and may have happened to other people. At the request of the victim, law enforcement is not involved in the fourth-degree sexual assault report, police said. But university officials are investigating the incident.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:41:55 GMT

Police: Body of woman missing since 2010 found

Wausau police say they have found the body of a woman missing for nearly four years. Police Chief Jeff Hardel said Monday that the body of Stephanie Low was found Friday in a shallow grave in the national forest near Wabeno. Low disappeared from her Wausau apartment on Oct. 10, 2010. In 2012, police identified a person of interest in her disappearance. Hardel says that man reportedly told witnesses he had gone to Low's apartment with the intent of stealing from her, and when she fought back, he strangled and stabbed her. Police say the 34-year-old man led them to Low's grave last week. WSAW-TV reports the man did not confess to the killing. No charges have been filed so far, but police say charges will be coming.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 22:25:32 GMT

Police continue investigation into fatal racing crash

Police are still looking over Scott Semmelmann’s race car, as well as the track, after his car crashed and flipped during warm-up laps Saturday night at the Beaver Dam Raceway. Authorities said Semmelmann, who was from Brookfield, died instantly. His family was in the stands when the crash happened, including his brother, Brian Semmelmann. Brian Semmelmann spoke with media this weekend and said racing and his family meant everything to his brother. “He was a heck of a family man, and he has three beautiful children and a great wife. He had no flaws. His only flaw was he didn’t quit,” Brian Semmelmann said. The memorial fund set up for Semmelmann’s family already reached more than $6,500 with a goal of $10,000.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 02:23:41 GMT

Proposal would turn part of John Nolen Drive into tunnel

Lake Monona’s shoreline could get a makeover with the addition of a lakefront park, called an esplanade, which would link the downtown to the near east side. The Madison Design Professionals presented a plan to turn part of John Nolen Drive into a tunnel near where it intersects with Blair Street to bring more green space to the area. An esplanade is a design from the Victorian times, and developers say this kind of design is very popular in other communities. Developers also said the design could help boost the area’s economy. “I think this is the time to think big. It’s an opportunity that has been on the radar screen for 100 years, starting with John Nolen, that we need to connect the downtown to the lakefront,” said Tim Anderson, a freelance consultant. The price tag could also go into the hundreds of millions of dollars, but developers said they may secure federal transportation funds since John Nolen is an extension of Highway 151. Right now the plan was only presented at a meeting hosted by Capitol Neighborhoods.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 02:17:17 GMT

Court document: Rural residents can't easily get ID needed to vote

A liberal group filed a brief with a federal appeals court over Wisconsin's voter ID law Monday. The brief, filed by One Wisconsin Institute, alleges that state residents can't easily obtain an ID needed to vote, especially those who live in a rural area. That's because DMV offices in rural Wisconsin are often open on a part-time basis. "There are a couple places where people may only be able to have one or two chances before the election to be able to get the IDs they need to be able to participate in our democracy," said Scot Ross, executive director for One Wisconsin Institute. Wisconsin DMV offices are required by law to be open at least 20 hours a week. DMV directors said that's more than enough for a rural office with slow traffic. "Those offices are not high-value offices," said Jim Miller, DMV director of field services. "[They see] 20 to 25 [voter ID] applications a day, so even if you double that, you wouldn't be looking at a whole lot." One Wisconsin Institute officials said less access to the DMV translates into less access to the polls. "People aren't able to, if they're working full time, be able to get the full ID, and so that's a big impediment," Ross said. "We have had people who've reached out to us to say, 'I'm concerned whether or not I'm going to be able to go and get my ID,' because of the fact that they live in a place that doesn't have the sort of hours that are necessary." However, the DMV maintains it hasn't seen any problems and doesn't anticipate many in the near future. "There hasn't been any significant bump in the number of ID cards. If there is, we feel like we're prepared to handle it," Miller said. Altogether, DMV officials said it's issued about a thousand ID cards to Wisconsin residents in the past week. In Monroe, workers have issued between 10 and 20 IDs.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 02:51:11 GMT

Police: South side business robbed Monday night

A Klinke Cleaners on Madison’s south side was robbed Monday night, according to a release from the Madison Police Department. Around 6:10 p.m. a man entered the Klinke Cleaners at 939 S. Park St. and demanded the employee empty the register, police said. The robber then told the employee to wait in the restroom. The robber left the store with an undisclosed amount of money, according to the release. No weapon was displayed during the incident. A K-9 track was conducted, but a suspect was not found when the track ended at Erin Street and Westshore Drive, police said. The robber is described as a black man, approximately 40 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, and was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 02:40:07 GMT

UW-Whitewater could face discipline over recruiting violations

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is waiting to hear about possible discipline from the NCAA and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference after self-reporting numerous recruiting violations incurred by its wrestling program, coming off the team’s most successful finish in school history. In a seven-page report produced for UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer highlighted multiple examples where wrestling recruits received improper travel, lodging and food benefits. Further, it is alleged "there was an overall lack of complete and accurate documentation meeting (standards)," according to the "Wrestling Recruitment Investigation" conducted by Matt Aschenbrener, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, and Elizabeth Watson, the Director of the Center for Students with Disabilities. The investigation, which was completed on May 30, came after an alleged sexual assault involving a recruit last April. The case remains under investigation by Whitewater police. Campus officials confirm they decided "not to offer another contract" to UW-Whitewater wrestling coach Tim Fader, who recently led the school to its third straight conference title and second place finish at the NCAA Tournament, the best finish in UW-Whitewater history. Fader told the Rockford Register Star last month that he believed the recruiting violations to be "secondary" in nature and that the real reason he was not returning for his 11th season as coach was because he reported the alleged sexual assault to Whitewater police and did not notify campus officials. He said he expected the university to be notified by police, but that he’d been informed since he did not follow campus protocol, it could cost him his position. A message left for Fader was not returned. The recruiting violations include a “non-rostered student” serving as a student-athlete host on a half-dozen official visits to campus last fall and this spring. The investigation also alleges “multiple student athletes” reported going through wrestling practices with coaching staff present during their visit to campus. Those would be in apparent violation of NCAA recruiting rules. Further, the investigation discovered numerous WIAC violations including providing free transportation, free meals and off-campus lodging to student-athlete recruits. UW-Whitewater Athletics Director Amy Edmonds said through a campus spokeswoman, “The WIAC does not issue any actions on reports until the NCAA completes its process (and) we are still awaiting word from the NCAA.” The report’s authors recommended the chancellor implement numerous changes to the recruiting process including keeping better records of who is being recruited, who is visiting campus, and who is paying for what while they’re on campus. Other recommendations included training for all UW-Whitewater athletics programs and those involved in recruiting student-athletes including the actions of student hosts who partner with recruits during their time on campus. Edmonds told News 3 all of the internal investigation recommendations have been implemented, including the consolidation of recruiting activities for all of its 20 sports programs on campus. “This has bolstered all of our recruiting,” Edmonds said. “We’ve made sure everything is in one place now.” UW-Whitewater hired former University of Iowa wrestler and Division III Heidelberg University Coach Ned Shuck in late August to replace Fader.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 00:13:06 GMT

Sheriff: Wisconsin boy shoots father while hunting

Marathon County authorities say an 11-year-old boy has accidentally shot his father while hunting. Sheriff's Lt. Randy Albert tells Stevens Point Journal Media that the boy mistook his father for a turkey on Sunday and shot him in the upper left area of his chest. Albert says the man was flown to a hospital and was believed to be stable Sunday night. Albert says the father and son were with two other relatives. Authorities haven't identified the people involved. The state Department of Natural Resources is investigating.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 11:47:24 GMT

Officer punched during incident at Cheese Days

A Stoughton police officer was punched in the face while trying to arrest a man at the Cheese Days festival in Monroe, according to a release from Monroe police. Officers on foot patrol at the festival on Sunday saw a man being chased from a tavern shortly after 5 p.m. The tavern staff was chasing the man and asked officers for help. An officer was punched in the face while trying to subdue the man. Police said Leo R. Dempewolf, 22, of Sterling, Illinois, had punched someone in the tavern and caused a disturbance before fleeing. He was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and battery to a law enforcement officer. The officer suffered minor injuries, and was treated and released from Monroe Clinic Hospital. The Stoughton officer was assisting Monroe police during the large weekend festival.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:42:35 GMT

Teen injured with padlocks in ?mutual combat?

A 13-year-old was taken to a hospital after being hit in the head with padlocks during what the victim said was “mutual combat,” according to a release from Madison police. The teenager was hanging out in the courtyard of an apartment complex in the 6700 block of Schroeder Road Saturday night, police said. She was with a large group of young people when the other teen arrived just before 10 p.m. The 13-year-old said she had an ongoing feud with the other girl, and there was going to be a planned fight, according to the release. Police said the 13-year-old was injured fast in the fight when the second teen pulled out a pair of padlocks and different girl got involved in the fight. There was an ensuing fight between many other girls as they joined side with their respective friends, according to the release. Some teenage boys also started fighting nearby. The fight ended before police arrived, and the primary suspect has not yet been located, officials said.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 19:31:42 GMT

Shoes lining Capitol represent lives lost to gun violence

Shoes lined the Capitol steps Monday, each one representing a life that has been lost to gun violence. Monday marked the beginning of what is being called the Hearts to Soles Tour, led by the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort. The group says on average there are 467 deaths in Wisconsin each year involving guns. Those with WAVE hope to reduce gun violence, and are asking lawmakers to force full background checks on any gun purchase. “There were five non-fatal gun shootings this weekend in Milwaukee and one in Madison. I mean, it’s really unconscionable, and that we allow that to happen in our democracy, it’s shocking. So we have to do something about it,” WAVE volunteer Joy Newmann said. The tour will head to Eau Claire and Wausau on Tuesday, Appleton on Wednesday and Milwaukee on Saturday.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 23:48:56 GMT

Voter ID efforts focus on students, seniors

Preparations continue for a November election with voter ID, with special efforts focused on University of Wisconsin students and senior citizens. Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said Monday that a number of ideas are on the table to try to make sure city residents can vote and don't have to stand in long lines on Election Day. Soglin was joined by the Madison city clerk and other city staff for a news conference letting city residents know about 34 locations they can register to vote Tuesday on National Voter Registration Day. Soglin also told reporters he's considering busing senior citizens to DMV locations to get IDs and having city staff spend part of Election Day working at the polls. "We're playing with that now and seeing what it would do, but we are not going to have three- and four-hour lines for 90-year-old voters to stand in because of this," Soglin said. The Madison Senior Center will be one location for voter registration Tuesday, and officials there hope seniors who have questions can ask them. "Mobility issues make it almost impossible for some older adults to walk down the hallway to get to the polling place, to stand in line or find transportation to the DMV or to the polling place, " said Christine Beatty, with the Madison Senior Center. The UW campus is also preparing students, and Monday was the first day they could get an official "voter ID" card at Union South. Out-of-state students will be able to vote using that card along with proof of enrollment at the university. Pennsylvania Junior Ian Latham is now a card-carrying voter after he got the new ID Monday afternoon. "I think it's a huge deal," Latham said. "It's a huge effort to get people on campus to know, especially people from Minnesota and neighboring states, where pretty much everything else is the same but [their IDs] aren't going to count, so it's difficult." Student government Associated Students of Madison said it will push the cards among the student body over the next few weeks in hopes of avoiding lower than usual student turnout. "I think it's a really big concern," said ASM Committee Chair for Legislative Affairs Tom Gierok. "The decision coming out as late as it did really puts a burden on us to reeducate as many students as possible." The UW campus will be one of 34 locations across the city where people can register to vote Tuesday.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 00:16:10 GMT

City of Beloit, local NAACP partner to stop violence

The city of Beloit and community leaders are working together to reduce crime, after a summer of unusual violence for the city. "We want to certainly do everything we can at a societal level to try to dampen down this crime and this violence," City Manager Larry Arft said. Arft and the local NAACP chapter are looking to create a youth center, to provide a safe refuge for local teens. "The purpose is to try to get young people in more constructive, productive types of activities and in a safe environment where there is adult supervision. Hopefully, that will prevent some of the kinds of violence that the city experienced this past spring and summer," Arft said. Plans for the center include providing teens with activities and mentorship programs. Possible locations for the center include the local Boys & Girls club.  But the center is just one of many ideas to decrease crime in the area. "To fight a terrible disease, you just don't fight a terrible disease in one way. You have to use a number of different tactics or tricks to get at it and that's what you have to do with violence," Beloit Police Chief Norm Jacobs said. In addition to community efforts, Jacobs hopes the department's new Stop the Violence Initiative, focused on special operations and police and community partnerships, will help stop violent crimes. The police department spent $322,201 in overtime from April to August, partially due to the increase in crime. That compares to $100,000 from last year during the same time period. Jacobs said success in reducing crime can only come through community action. "That's really how you affect violence, neighborhood by neighborhood in the community," Jacobs said. Arft estimated it would cost around $200,000 to start up a facility for a teen center. He said there is currently no money in the city's budget to help with start-up costs. Arft said the group will look to the community for donations. "We are hoping there will be community-based fundraising or there will be organizations that will step up and help put together the funding we need. We would like to get enough money to staff and run this thing for a year, to give it a decent trial run, see if it makes a difference," Arft said. City officials, the School District of Beloit and other community organizations will meet Tuesday to discuss an action plan for the center at the Boys & Girls Club.

Published: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 00:14:33 GMT

New housing unit aims to reduce young-adult homelessness

Some young adults are getting help in ways they’ve never seen before with new housing that will help them avoid homelessness. Experts on the issue say young adults often get overlooked or lumped into adult services, which doesn’t always help them. The Briarpatch Transitional Housing Cooperative, on Madison’s north side, will now be available to help young people get on their feet and get a job. “It’s just kind of an overwhelming feeling of, ‘I have a place that I might not have had before, and I’m surrounded by people who care about my future and care about my well-being,’” said Tyler Schueffner, who will be staying in the new housing unit. Several groups are helping make the 10-bedroom home a reality. A grant is helping pay for the home, and Dane County will be leasing the land for $1 a year.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 22:47:52 GMT

New traffic pattern starts Tuesday on Verona Road

Verona Road drivers will see a new traffic pattern Tuesday morning between the Beltline and Raymond Road, according to a Wisconsin Department of Transportation release. The change will be similar to the first phase of construction in February and March, officials said. The traffic pattern change will combine traffic signals and movements to one intersection in order to access east and west area businesses and neighborhoods, according to the release. The change will also allow left turns, right turns and through movements to and from Verona Road and the frontage roads at one intersection with traffic signals. The traffic pattern change will also restore two-way traffic on the West Frontage Road, officials said. Access to area businesses and neighborhoods will stay open with the new traffic pattern, according to the release. Nighttime lane closures will also happen on Verona Road, between the Beltline and Raymond Road, to complete the traffic pattern change, officials said. The change is weather dependent and subject to change.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:43:05 GMT

Brother sentenced to 10 years in prison for fight at Halloween party

One of the two brothers charged in a fight at a Halloween party that injured five people was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison. Shane Behrens pleaded no contest in August to intentionally causing bodily harm while armed with a dangerous weapon and being a party to the crime of second-degree reckless injury causing great bodily harm while armed with a dangerous weapon, officials said. Shane Behrens was sentenced to 10 years in prison with the first five years being in confinement, according to a release. On Oct. 27-28, 2012, Shane Behrens and Brandon Behrens went to a Halloween party in Arena where a fight took place, according to a criminal complaint. During the fight, five people were injured. The victims were treated for numerous injuries, including stab wounds and broken bones. One of the victims had an 8-10-inch wound down his left side and blood coming from his mouth when deputies arrived, according to the criminal complaint. Shane Behrens was previously convicted of a first-offense operating while intoxicated charge from the same time period. Brandon Behrens, 22, also pleaded no contest to party to the crime of battery causing great bodily harm with intent to cause bodily harm. He faces up to 12 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines. Brandon Behrens is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 24.

Published: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 22:00:30 GMT