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$4 million construction project may limit access to businesses in Waunakee

The village of Waunakee is paving the way for its future success with a new reconstruction project that will transform Main Street from Holiday Drive to Division Street. The $4 million project, paid for with federal and state funding, as well as the village's contribution of over $1 million, will enhance the look of the downtown area. The reconstruction project that starts on May 1 includes the repaving of Main Street, adding on-street bike lanes and improving intersections. Village Administrator Todd Schmidt said the project only helps to enhance what the village already has to offer. "What we have along Main Street both visually as a beautiful corridor to be in, as well as have great shops for people to come and shop, that all works together to make that community a centric place," Schmidt said. The largest impact will be felt when crews close the Century Avenue and Main Street intersection that will be made into a roundabout, designed to make traffic run more effectively. The village and Waunakee Chamber of Commerce have partnered together to create opportunities for residents to be a part of the process, hosting social events downtown throughout the three-month construction process. Residents can track the progress of the project through social media and the Together Waunakee website. The team has also put together a pamphlet for residents to help guide them around the construction. Chamber of commerce officials said even with the detours, they hope residents will still continue to support their local businesses. "Our businesses are still open and they need your patronage more than ever, especially during the summer time. The road construction itself is a short amount of time, it is through the summer period, and people just need to realize that there will be some slight inconveniences, but it will be short lived," said Ellen Schaaf, executive director of the Waunakee Chamber of Commerce. The project is estimated to be completed by early September. The village will host an official ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 18 to celebrate the completion of the project.

Published: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 14:07:40 GMT

DOT: Nighttime lane closures on interstate will start Wednesday

Drivers should expect nighttime lane closures on the northbound and southbound Interstate 39/90 at Siggelkow Road as crews start work on the bridge Wednesday. Crews will start construction on the southbound bridge just south of the Beltline interchange near Madison Wednesday, according to a Wisconsin Department of Transportation release. Two lanes will be kept open to traffic in each direction during the day, officials said. Starting in late May, traffic on the southbound interstate will be shifted to the northbound side during the southbound bridge reconstruction. Siggelkow Road will stay open to traffic in both directions until mid-May, according to the release. Starting May 16, Siggelkow Road will be closed at the interstate until November. During the closure, traffic on Siggelkow Road will not be able to go under the interstate. The $5.7 million project is expected to be completed in November.

Published: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 15:53:14 GMT

Fun facts about Easter

Easter is right around the corner. Check out some fun facts about this spring holiday.

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:01:31 GMT

Teen injured in accidental firearm discharge

Officials said a teen was injured Friday shortly after noon when a firearm accidentally discharged. The Green County Sheriff's Department said four people were shooting skeet when a shotgun malfunctioned. A 17-year-old boy was clearing the weapon when the shotgun went off, the report said. Shogun pellets ricocheted off the ground and hit a 17-year-old boy in the right facial area, right shoulder and right wrist in numerous spots. The injured teen was treated for non-life-threatening injures, the sheriff said.

Published: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 21:10:19 GMT

Racine County man dies after car falls on him

Racine County officials say a man who was working on his car at his Town of Burlington home has died after the vehicle apparently fell on him. A Journal Times of Racine report says 69-year-old John P. Fischer was found dead Friday morning. Sheriff's Lt. Dan Klatt says a neighbor saw Fischer's garage door open Thursday night, and it was still open Friday about 7:20 a.m. The neighbor went to talk to Fischer and found him under the car. Medical examiner Michael Payne says a preliminary investigation suggests that the jack holding up the car twisted, causing the car to fall. Payne says the body is being autopsied to determine the exact cause of death.

Published: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 15:03:26 GMT

Robber takes cigarettes, money from gas station, officials say

Madison police are looking for information about a robbery on Madison's north side early Sunday morning where the robber implied he had a gun. The robber entered a PDQ gas station in the 1400 block of Northport Drive around 5:45 a.m. and asked for three packs of cigarettes, police said. The employee got the cigarettes and the robber implied he had a gun. He demanded cash before fleeing on foot with a small amount of cash and the cigarettes, according to a police report. The robber is described as a black man, 45-50 years old, weighing about 140 pounds and was last seen wearing a light gray sweatshirt and dark pants. Police said the robber also has a distinct walk. Officials ask anyone with information on the robbery to call Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014. Crime map

Published: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 14:49:39 GMT

$10.4 million project to close Highway 73 for 7 months

Highway 73 will be closed Tuesday to through traffic for a construction project that is expected to go through November, according to a Wisconsin Department of Transportation release. Highway 73 from Interstate 39/90 to Highway 12/18 near Deerfield will be closed starting on Tuesday, officials said. During the project Highway 73 is closed to through traffic. The $10.4 million project will require through drivers to use a signed detour route using Interstate 39/90 and Highway 12, according to the release. The Highway 73 and Highway 106 intersection just north of the interstate will be reconstructed first and will be opened to traffic by early June, officials said. All lane restrictions and work operations are dependent on weather. The construction project will improve roadway issues including poor pavement conditions, drainage issues, substandard vertical and horizontal alignment and intersection safety, according to the release.

Published: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 16:13:01 GMT

Wisconsin police brace for new probe protocols

A bill revamping officer-involved death investigations would mean a culture shift for Wisconsin's largest police departments. The measure would require every department to adopt policies requiring an investigator from a different agency to lead probes into officer-involved deaths. The bill's authors say the measure will fight perceptions that police protect their own. The state's larger agencies, including the Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee departments, investigate their own officers. The bill will mean they'd have to hand over their probes to outsiders. Green Bay Police Lt. Chad Ramos says his department prides itself on transparent investigations and questions why people don't trust police departments to investigate their own officers. Gov. Scott Walker has signaled he'll likely sign the legislation soon.

Published: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 17:51:54 GMT

Girl Scouts hand out cookies to returning troops

About 75 U.S. troops who landed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport this weekend got a sweet surprise from local Girl Scouts. A KSTP-TV report says the kids handed out boxes of Girl Scout cookies Saturday evening as they held signs thanking the military members for their service. The 461st Engineering Company was returning from the Dominican Republic, where the troops were building schools. They were met by several dozen cheering members of the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys. The giveaway is part of a national program called "Operation Cookie Care Package," in which customers can donate boxes of cookies to troops. About 27,000 boxes have been donated across the nation so far this year.

Published: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 16:10:06 GMT

Bridge repairs will close Milwaukee Street for 3 days

Madison engineering crews will start repairing the Milwaukee Street Bridge just east of Fair Oaks Avenue on Monday, according to a release. During the repairs Milwaukee Street between Fair Oaks Avenue and Walter Street will be closed, officials said. The closure starts 9 a.m. Monday and is expected to be closed through Wednesday. Madison Metro buses will operate on a detour during the closure, according to the release. Officials encourage motorists to use alternate routes to avoid delays during the closure.

Published: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 15:34:12 GMT

Chris Farley's brother, Tom, seeks Madison aldermanic seat

The brother of late comedian Chris Farley wants to be a Madison alderman. The Capital Times reports Tom Farley is looking to fill a seat recently vacated by Sue Ellingson to deal with a family emergency. The Madison City Council will appoint a placeholder until a new alder is elected in 2015. A dozen have applied for the position. Farley has been active in civic affairs as head of the now-defunct Chris Farley Foundation and through various city boards and commissions. He also ran unsuccessfully for Madison School Board in 2010 and a city council seat in 2011. While he identified himself as a Republican previously, he says he now leans Democratic. A committee will recommend an applicant to the full body, which will then vote on it.

Published: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 15:23:55 GMT

Art crawl to feature 25 artists, 20 businesses in Evansville

Evansville’s annual Art Crawl will feature 25 local artists at more than 20 Evansville businesses Friday night, according to a release. The 5th annual event is scheduled from 5-9 p.m. in downtown Evansville. “Art enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy this relaxed atmosphere and be pleasantly surprised by area artists’ high quality work and creativity. We are very fortunate to have such talented artists. Their work represents everything from handmade jewelry, textiles, abstract paintings and more,” co-organizer Lisa James, of Allen Creek Gallery, said in the release. “People who come to downtown Evansville Friday evening will have a great experience with artists, music and refreshments.” Balloons will be used to identify Art Crawl locations downtown, and visitors can enter to a win a gift basket valued at more than $400, organizers said. To be eligible for the drawing that will be held at the Night Owl at 10 p.m., participants must pick up a free punch card at Creekside Place and have each Art Crawl business location punched. “One of the things that makes the Evansville Art Crawl such a great event is that it is so walkable,” co-organizer and owner of Integrated Art Group Margaret LeMay said. “You can easily visit every participating business to see artists’ works and get punch cards filled. No need to be present for the drawing, but we hope everyone will want to linger and enjoy the artists and the evening.” The event will end with an after-party at the Night Owl, with live music from John Masino and Brian Bebe Duo, according to the release.

Published: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 16:59:08 GMT

Employees return late son's military bracelet to mom

Employees at an Appleton supper club have been searching for the owner of a special military bracelet for more than a year. The bracelet memorializes the life of Army Staff Sgt. Derek Farley who died while serving in Afghanistan in 2010. His mother, Carrie Farley, of New York, lost the priceless bracelet while visiting her parents in Appleton in January 2013. WBAY-TV reported that staff at Dick and Joan's Supper Club tried calling every Farley in the local phone book, but had no luck finding the bracelet's owner. That's until bar manager Alisa Heiman turned to her daughter for help in putting posting it on Facebook. In just 24 hours and many Facebook shares later, the mystery was solved. Carrie Farley had already scheduled a visit to the Fox Valley for Easter and has been reunited with the bracelet that means so much to her.

Published: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 20:24:52 GMT

Driver charged with 6th OWI in rollover crash

Officials said a 42-year-old man was charged with his sixth drunken driving offense Friday after a rollover crash. The Wisconsin State Patrol said Lawrence Cook, of Fifeld, was driving on Highway 80 at 5:51 p.m. when he rolled his vehicle near Highway P in Iowa County. A state trooper said he detected a "strong odor of intoxicants coming from the driver," according to the report. Cook was given field sobriety tests, treated for minor injuries and taken to Iowa County Jail, officials said. Cook was arrested on suspicion of sixth-offense operating a motor vehicle under the influence.

Published: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 20:57:15 GMT

DNR assessing winter deer kill

Wisconsin wildlife officials are using road-kill and radio-tracking data to assess the harsh winter's effect on the state's deer herd. Department of Natural Resources staffers are looking for 10 carcasses in every county so they can check a number of biological signs, such as fat stores and pregnancy. They're also is closely watching survival rates of more than 200 deer with radio collars in the northern forest and eastern farmland areas of the state. About 30 percent of the collared fawns in the northern forest and 15 percent in the farmlands have died. Adults have fared better, with 6 percent loses in the north and 2 percent losses in the farmlands. Causes of death include predation, car crashes and starvation.

Published: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 13:35:49 GMT

UW professors propose free tuition

Two University of Wisconsin-Madison professors are attempting to give their students a piece of the American dream. In a paper published this month, the model makes college accessible for those who attend public universities by lowering the total cost of tuition. "The financial aid system just is not working out the way it was planned to. It's not good for people to work really hard and then see it not pay off. That's really disconcerting to families and it really undermines the American dream," said Sara Goldrick-Rab, co-author of the paper. Under the proposed model, students would receive free tuition for two years and would have their books and supplies paid for completely, as well as receive a stipend to help with living expenses. Goldrick-Rab said rerouting financial aid from private institutes to public colleges and universities could cover the cost. "It's not really right to tell private schools how to do their jobs. But it also does not seem very right for the tax payer to provide a lot of subsidy as it does right now to private institutions, without being able to extract the kinds of accountability that we would want to have." Fifty years ago, the federal government allowed private schools to start receiving aid, during a time public schools were not as established. Goldrick-Rab said public campuses can now offer more to students, creating a greater need for federal resources. However, Dee Dee Collette, IT program chair at Globe University, said private institutes rely on financial aid as a critical part of students success. "If the money is removed from financial aid, so there would no longer be financial aid, then a lot of the students of course could not pay out of pocket to go to a career college." Edgewood sophomore, Patricia Salenius, chose a private university as one of only two schools in the state that offered her major. Financial aid is helping her accomplish her career goals. "I probably wouldn't be able to go to school at all. I don't know how I would be able to come up with the money. I'm basically independent completely, it would really make it a struggle for me", said Salenius. The proposal is far from reality, Goldrick-Rab says it will take a lot of difficult discussions between both local and federal government to put a working plan into order. Check out the full paper here. 

Published: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 15:21:34 GMT

Authorities investigate donations for woman claiming cancer

Authorities are seeking information from people who donated to a benefit account for a woman claiming to have cancer. The Richland County Sheriff's Department said in a notice Thursday that detectives from several agencies are conducting an investigation into the Theresa Strub Benefit Account. Richland County Sheriff's Department said the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department, Spring Green police and the Department of Criminal Investigation are working together on the case. According to a questionnaire for donors, at least three fundraisers were held for Strub including one at a supper club in Spring Green and another through an online fundraising website. Director of communications for GiveForward.com, Nate St. Pierre, told News 3 there was a page set up for Strub on the site but could not confirm Saturday how much money the page raised. In the Richland County Sheriff's Department questionnaire, donors are asked, "If you had known that Theresa S. Strub's cancer claims were false/misleading, would you have donated the money/item?" Sauk County Lt. Terry Spencer told News 3 Saturday that Strub may not have cancer. "There may be some fraudulent intentions on her part that people may have fallen into giving money to her account that may not be true or accurate," Spencer said. Authorities asked anyone who donated to Strub's cause to contact one of the following:Spring Green Police Department at 608-588-2125 Sauk County Sheriff’s Department at 608-355-3202 Richland County Sheriff’s Department at 608-647-2106 (ext. 215 or 216) Lt. Bob Frank at bob.frank@co.richland.wi.usLt. Dan Krueger at dan.krueger@co.richland.wi.us

Published: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 18:50:51 GMT

Authorities rescue 22 animals from home

A Winnebago County woman has been arrested after authorities found nearly two dozen animals living in deplorable conditions in the town of Clayton. Since Thursday, authorities have rescued 17 horses and five dogs from the home, WGBA-TV reported. Winnebago sheriff's detective Chris Braman said the animals did not look healthy. Another three horses were found dead. Cattle Rescue Inc. will be caring for the surviving horses. "Being that they're malnourished and they're not as strong as they should be, it makes it that much worse," rescue organization director Bill Blemke said. The dogs went to the Oshkosh Humane Society and were being checked out by a veterinarian. The 51-year-old woman was in custody and could face several animal mistreatment charges. Investigators plan to present a case to prosecutors in coming days. The Winnebago County Health Department has declared the house unlivable.

Published: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 19:37:53 GMT

Judge throws out former bishop's field sobriety tests

A judge has ruled that field sobriety tests conducted on a former Lutheran bishop accused of driving drunk and killing a woman with his car are inadmissible. Dane County Judge Nicholas McNamara ruled Friday field sobriety tests given to Bruce Burnside should be thrown out because of a lack of reasonable suspicion. He said the results of blood tests are admissible under implied consent. The 60-year-old is facing multiple felonies in the April 2013 crash that killed Maureen Mengeldt, 52, of Sun Prairie on the northbound off-ramp of Highway 151 near Windsor Street in Sun Prairie. Police said they located Burnside with his heavily damaged vehicle at a Kelley's Mobil gas station a block away from the scene of the crash. Burnside is charged with homicide by the intoxicated use of a vehicle, homicide by use of a vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration, hit-and-run, hit-and-run involving death and homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle. Mengeldt's husband, Kevin Mengeldt, told News 3 the proceedings are difficult. "I have to come up with a way to explain this to my three children," he said. "I understand there are legal challenges, but there are also moral correctness and being standup and he's chosen not to do so. I hope someday he does show some remorse for his actions." A criminal complaint said Burnside's preliminary breath test results were .128 percent. A trial is scheduled to begin May 12.

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:53:57 GMT

Wisconsin court to decide on testing drunk drivers

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to decide whether police can legally draw suspected drunken drivers' blood without a warrant or driver consent. The court said it would hear three drunken driving cases, two of which involved a homicide. That announcement came nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a Missouri case that could call into question Wisconsin's law. Wisconsin since 1993 has granted police authority to draw drunken driving suspects' blood without a warrant or consent. About 5,000 people refused to comply with police tests in 2011 and 2012. The eventual rulings in the three cases are expected to clarify how law enforcement can gather evidence in some Wisconsin drunken driving cases.

Published: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:32:07 GMT