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Contraband narcotics kill teen inmate; man charged with homicide

A Montello man was charged Tuesday in connection with the death of a teen and fellow inmate at the Green County Jail in 2013. Green County District Attorney Gary Luhman’s Office said in a news release Wednesday that 44-year-old Danny Douglas Mitchell II was charged with multiple felonies, including first-degree reckless homicide by delivery of a controlled substance. Officials said a 17-year-old boy, who was confined in the jail in January 2013 in the same cell block as Mitchell, died after he ingested prescription narcotics given to him by Mitchell. The complaint alleges that Mitchell brought tobacco and prescription narcotics into the jail on Jan. 28. Mitchell gave the teen the tobacco and prescription drugs, according to the charges. The teen was found unresponsive in his cell by jail staff on Jan. 30. An autopsy found the teen died from an opiate overdose. The investigation took place throughout 2014 as part of a lengthy secret John Doe investigation along with Monroe police and Green County Jail staff. Luhman’s office said the police obtained subpoenas from the Green County Circuit Court and conducted a John Doe proceeding to gather additional evidence and preserve testimony. Mitchell was taken into custody in Marquette County, officials said. He was charged with three felony counts of delivering illegal articles to an inmate, first-degree reckless homicide by delivery of a controlled substance to a person 17 years of age, and contributing to the delinquency of a child resulting in death. Each criminal charge is enhanced by a repeat offender modifier based on a prior felony conviction in Sauk County in 2010.

Published: Wed, 01 Apr 2015 20:01:07 GMT

Rodgers to appear on 'Jeopardy' in May

The Green Bay Packers’ quarterback and two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers will appear on "Celebrity Jeopardy" in May, according to ESPN Wisconsin. Rodgers competed on Tuesday with Kevin O’Leary from ABC’s "Shark Tank" and retired astronaut Mark Kelly. O’Leary tweeted that the episode will air May 12. Rodgers has a long professed love for "Jeopardy," having competed with his brother as a kid watching at home and mentioning the show frequently during his weekly radio show, according to ESPN Wisconsin.

Published: Wed, 01 Apr 2015 20:48:46 GMT

Report: Court prevents strike by Allegiant pilots

A federal court has issued a temporary restraining order against a planned strike by pilots at discount carrier Allegiant Air, The Associated Press reported. The airline went to court to block the possible walkout, the AP said. As many as 250 flights would have been grounded and 33,000 customers would have been affected. All scheduled flights were expected to operate normally, the company told the AP. An Allegiant pilot told the AP that the union would comply with the judge’s decision. The airlines pilots are represented by the Teamsters union. The AP reported that they are upset over changes in crew scheduling and cutbacks in a disability program and other benefits.

Published: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:51:02 GMT

PHOTOS: Badgers head to Indy for repeat Final Four appearance

The Badgers men's basketball team is in Indianapolis for the NCAA Tournament Final Four. They will be playing Kentucky Saturday at 7:49 p.m. on TBS.

Published: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 02:29:58 GMT

Indianapolis court reporters are Nigel Hayes fans now

Linda Bour has spent the last two decades trying to avoid the spotlight as a court reporter. In fact, if she is noticed, it's usually not a positive. "It's one of the reasons I entered the field," she said. "I don't like to speak. I like to be in the background." Yet she is happy to emerge from the shadows to discuss her new favorite basketball team and player. "I am a Badger fan now," she said. "I'm a Nigel fan." Ever since Hayes playfully bantered with an NCAA transcriptionist during the Sweet 16 weekend in Los Angeles by trying to stump her with words like "Caddywumpus" and "Xylophone," some of the members of the National Court Reporters Association have been happy to talk about the NCAA. "It is important to realize this is a skill not everyone can do," said Bour, of training to type 225 words a minute with only a 3 percent error rate. "It's nice to have someone notice it." Bour said she shares a love of words with Hayes and that she's had her own challenges at times recording interviews. Specifically, she remembers a time at a medical deposition. "The doctor was saying sniffing and scarring, sniffing and scarring, sniffing and scarring, and I'm like, 'Why would he be saying sniffing and scarring"'" Bour said. "Then, my husband walks by and says, 'Significant scarring,' so it's funny what we hear and what comes out sometimes."

Published: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:50:38 GMT

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

UW Bookstore pulls Nigel Hayes-inspired ?stenographer T-shirt'

The University Bookstore has pulled a T-shirt based on Nigel Hayes’ interactions with the NCAA stenographer. The “Stenographer T-shirt” featured words Hayes said during news conferences to stump the stenographer after he and other players became fascinated with the job. The UW Bookstore produced about 200 shirts and sold about half of them, officials said. People who bought the shirt do not have to return them. A bookstore spokesperson said they talked with the university about pulling the T-shirts, but they did not talk with the NCAA. They also said the NCAA did not contact about the shirts, they pulled them because they didn’t want to break any NCAA rules. Bookstore officials said they do not think pulling the shirts will hurt sales since most of their sales is coming from Final Four T-shirts right now.

Published: Wed, 01 Apr 2015 21:51:08 GMT

Pastor resigns after threat from home email address

A Lutheran pastor has resigned in La Crosse days after an email threatening rape and laced with expletives was sent from his home account to a Milwaukee blogger. Liberal Milwaukee activist and blogger Claire Van Fossen posted the email on social media. Van Fossen said the threat was one of many emails she received after criticizing police on her independent blog hosted on JSOnline, the Journal Sentinel website. The Rev. David Wendt of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in La Crosse resigned Tuesday. A synod spokesman, Lee Hitter, said Wendt acknowledged the email address from which the message was sent is his, but he denied sending the threat. No one answered the phone at Wendt's home Wednesday in an attempt for comment. Hitter said Wendt asked the local police department's cyber crimes unit to investigate.

Published: Wed, 01 Apr 2015 19:11:00 GMT

MPD: 'Disturbing' group of shots fired calls hit west side

Madison police describe officers responding to almost 30 shots fired calls since around the beginning of the year part of a 'disturbing' crime cluster mostly on the city's west side. “There are a number of these incidents over the last few months that we’ve recognized as not necessarily a connected pattern. But certainly a prevalence of them, that’s quite disturbing,” Madison police officer Dave Dexheimer said. “The danger to someone being struck by stray bullets, or even intended bullets, is pretty high.” Madison police department officials said they became more concerned about the issue after six of the 26 total calls happened over the last six days. The latest 911 call come shortly before midnight from the Griffin house off Tawnee Drive. “My husband heard a couple gun shots not far from here, and he immediately called 911. We found out they did find some shell casings right up here,” Melissa Griffin said. ”It happened about five houses down from us.” “I heard pop. Bang. And then it echoed across the whole street twice, and I waited a few seconds in my bed to process what I heard,” Matthew Griffin said. “I was like, 'Wait a second.' I jumped out of my bed. Went over to my dad. He was lying on the ground. And he told me to get down. And he was calling 911 already.” Police still do not know if the shell casings this Meadowood shots fired call left behind are related to the same thing happening just about two hours before on nearby Golden Oak Lane. In all 26 cases, MPD officials said they are frustrated that  potential victims might not be calling for help. “That may be an element of the pattern, if it’s a retaliatory issue,” Dexheimer said. “That perhaps not coming forward to the police will allow somebody to have the cover to retaliate. And we’re really concerned about that cycle of back and forth shootings.” Retaliation concerns have been very real for Madison police since a rash of shootings in late December. In January, as the crime log began to build, the head of Madison’s gang unit said many of the shootings were likely gang related. "The act itself may not be an act for the gang. But that person likely is a member of a gang or associates with members of gangs," the head of MPD gang unit, Sgt. Brian Chaney, said in February. On Friday, police fears were narrowly avoided when a driver on Park Street fired shots at another car. The bullet shattered the two front windows of a woman's car while she was driving. “We're very, very fortunate that because of some act between some people with guns that an innocent person wasn't seriously injured or worse,” Dexheimer said. Police ask if you find a shell casing call for help, but do not to touch the evidence. Dexheimer said MPD plans to have more officers on duty in an attempt to crack down on shots fired calls on the southwest side next week.

Published: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 03:15:39 GMT

Suspect in attempted armed robbery at Reedsburg hospital arrested

The man suspected of attempting to rob the Reedsburg Area Medical Center Sunday night has been arrested, Reedsburg police said. Reedsburg police said a man entered the Reedsburg Area Medical Center with a gun and demanded medication Sunday night. According to the Reedsburg Police Department's Facebook page, a slender white man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, entered the emergency room at about 9 p.m. He was wearing a ski mask, displaying a handgun and seeking pain medication. The man left the building without medication driving a light-colored late '90s model Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Reedsburg Police Department posted an update on their Facebook page Wednesday afternoon saying Jeremiah A. Willey, 28, of Baraboo, had been arrested. According to the post, Willey was arrested based on an apprehension request from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections on a probation and parole violation. Police said they will seek charges of attempted armed robbery and felon in possession of a firearm in connection to the attempted hospital robbery. Willey is being treated at a local hospital for an injury unrelated to the robbery attempt, officials said.

Published: Wed, 01 Apr 2015 20:22:45 GMT

Fans gather at Kohl Center for Badgers send-off event

Thousands of Badgers fans gathered at the Kohl Center Wednesday afternoon for the team's send-off event before heading to Indianapolis for the Final Four.

Published: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:13:12 GMT

Badger-rooted couple, business ready for team to come to town

Jackie Nytes has printing in her blood. Several family members in Wisconsin were rooted in the business, and somehow, she found herself doing it. But she found herself doing it somewhere other than the Badger state. “At the end of the day, working with paper, all of these kinds of things, it felt really Wisconsin to us,” Nytes said. Nytes met her husband, Michael O’Brien, as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin. After school, they got married and left Madison for O’Brien’s job. “We were really looking for some place to belong, something to find some roots in, and the alumni club was recommended to us,” Nytes said. At first, it was a social outlet and a place to share brats and brandy in the land of fried chicken and mac and cheese. Then, it turned into a business opportunity. Two fellow UW alumni were about to retire, so O’Brien pitched the idea of he and Nytes buying Printing Partners from the couple. Almost 25 years ago, the sale was finalized, and they took over. “Really, the university has been good to us in a couple of ways,” Nytes said. “The alumni club actually gave us our start in business, and we're very grateful for that,” O’Brien said. Their Wisconsin-based clients and suppliers even give them a little taste of home. One in particular brings a case of Spotted Cow every time he crosses the Badger state border. “It is really kind of cool when you think about that if it hadn't been for the Wisconsin alumni association,” Nytes said. "We wouldn't have had this opportunity.” While O’Brien and Nytes admit they miss plenty about their birthplace and their college town, they’ve made a life for themselves in Indy. O’Brien spends his days at Printing Partner while Nytes has served 12 years on city council and is most recently the CEO of the city’s library. They’re both proud to coach their neighbors on the essential Wisconsin knowledge, like cheese curds and properly layering clothes for cold weather. And oh yeah, Badger pride. “Two years in a row? Wow. God love 'em,” Nytes said. “And they've worked so hard to get here and just really excited to be able to point to that success and all that that represents.” “There's no question,” O’Brien said. "We are Badgers.”

Published: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 03:11:49 GMT

WATCH: Timelapse of Final Four floor being assembled

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Published: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:43:43 GMT

Indy businesses, groups want Badgers fans to feel welcome

Many businesses and organizations are responding to Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Kilroy’s is a local bar in downtown Indianapolis, and its owners certainly want Badger business. “We got Leinie’s on tap, we have Old Fashions,” said Dave Luterman, assistant general manager. “We are ready for Badger fans.” The restaurant is one of many now displaying a blue sticker on its front door that reads, “This business serves everyone,” to support what many call an open economy after Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. Pence said Tuesday that he wants to make it clear the law does not allow businesses the right to deny services to anyone. The state’s new law takes effect July 1 and would prohibit laws that “substantially burden” one’s freedom of religion. Critics call it discriminatory. Many businesses want to be safe than sorry. “That’s why we have a sticker on our front door that says we serve everybody,” Luterman said. Visit Indy spokesperson Morgan Greenlee said the new legislation has prompted the staff to work in overdrive. “I’m not gonna lie,” Greenlee said. “It’s been a rough week in Indianapolis.” Greenlee said a convention group estimated to bring in nearly half a million dollars has already pulled out of Indianapolis. The NCAA Final Four is estimated to bring in more than $70 million, and people like Greenlee are concerned how the law might impact its relationship with the NCAA. “It would be very very detrimental to Indy to tarnish that reputation and that relationship with the NCAA,” Greenlee said.

Published: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:57:19 GMT

Madison woman hopes to empower sexual assault victims

According to a survey by National Violence Against Women, for every black woman who reports rape, 15 others do not. A Madison woman wants to change that and empower sexual assault victims. The movement is called Black Woman Heal. The creator, Lilada Gee, is a survivor of sexual assault, and was looking for a way to help women heal. She didn't even know how to use Twitter a year ago, but now #blackwomanheal is being tweeted across the world. "When women hear ‘black woman heal,’ they get it. I think at our core, we realize that we haven't had the time or space to heal," Gee said. Gee is on a mission to help black women heal from sexual assault. "We have shouldered so much trauma, so much pain, and if we don't heal, I think you see the impact in our community," Gee said. In just a matter of months, Gee's mission turned into an international movement with the help of social media, including blogs, Twitter and video posts. Close to 1,000 people from 38 states and 12 countries are participating in an event for the first national Black Woman Heal Day -- a virtual gathering to share stories, resources and motivation. "I really want allies in the community as a whole to look at what we need as a community of black women. I think so often we are put last on the shelf and our needs are overlooked, and I would ask my allies to think of a way you can help to support black women to heal," she said. According to the National Violence Against Women organization, 40 percent of black women report sexual assaults by the age of 18. It's a statistic Gee is trying to change for generations to come. "We have to make sure that our girls are okay for this next generation. We have to make sure, once we make sure that we have our mask on and we are breathing the oxygen, then we can really help our daughters," Gee said.

Published: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:24:25 GMT

Wisconsin transplant talks up Badgers at FFA headquarters

A giant bracket featuring the March Madness tournament pool covers one of the break room walls at the national Future Farmers of America's headquarters in Indianapolis. While Wisconsin native Josh Rusk may only be in 11th place, he's not hesitant to promote the Badgers to his colleagues. "It's very exciting being here to be able to root for the home team and to be able to brag about Wisconsin sports," he said. "We're showing them what a real basketball team looks like." Rusk grew up in Manitowoc and served as an agriculture instructor for 12 years before moving out to the national FFA office. He now works with chapters and members around the country and has had to work on not referring to Wisconsin with the word, "we." "It was 12 years that I taught there and some of the best friends I have in life are fellow ag teachers," he said. "So, it's something I've had to really program myself to say, 'they.'" Making it even more difficult is the fact the path to his office is literally paved with bricks donated by Wisconsin FFA chapters and alumni. Other states are represented as well, but cut Rusk a little slack this week if he reverts to his past as he discusses the Wisconsin student athletes at the Final Four this weekend. "It really shows not only the athletic ability of our students, but I think you've seen in some of the interviews the players have done, it really shows their personalities -- kind of that humble 'We are who we are,'" he said. "Wisconsin is an amazing place. It's got amazing people." Two other Wisconsin transplants at the FFA headquarters were actually back in Wisconsin this week because many Indianapolis schools are on spring break. FFA is a youth leadership agricultural organization with more than 19,000 members in Wisconsin.

Published: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:40:35 GMT

5 students hurt when tree falls at nature center

Authorities say five students on a field trip were hurt when a tree fell on them at a Wisconsin nature center. WBAY-TV reports the students were sitting on bench at Woodland Dunes Nature Center in Two Rivers when a willow fell Wednesday afternoon. The tree was 20 to 30 feet tall. The students were on a field trip with Bethany Lutheran School in Manitowoc. All five were taken to a hospital in Two Rivers. The principal of Bethany Lutheran says four students were released within hours and a fifth is being held for observation. Rescuers had trouble getting to the victims because they were at least three-quarters of a mile from the main part of the nature center. Eighteen students were on the field trip.

Published: Wed, 01 Apr 2015 21:26:46 GMT

1 dead in house fire on Bad River Indian Reservation

A house fire has left one man dead on the Bad River Indian Reservation in northwestern Wisconsin. The Ashland County sheriff's office got a 911 call from the homeowner about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. The man, identified as David "Joe" Bates of Odanah, said his home was on fire and that he was unable to get his son out of the building. Police and firefighters arrived to find the second floor of the house engulfed in flames. Rescuers pulled the man's son out of the house, but he died at the scene. The victim is identified as 22-year-old Parker Bates of Odanah. The Ashland Daily Press reports his father is being treated for smoke inhalation at a hospital in Duluth, Minnesota.

Published: Wed, 01 Apr 2015 22:31:56 GMT

Man suspected of manufacturing child porn faces additional charges

A Beloit area man suspected of sexual exploitation of a child faces additional charges after investigators reviewed video evidence seized from his home, according to a release. The Rock County Sheriff’s Office said they received a report of suspicious activity at 12445 West Highway 81 in the town of Newark March 25. The person who called deputies also said the sexual assault of a child might have occurred at that address. Deputies searched the home of David G. Wenzel, 57, March 26 and said they found evidence of drug use, and between 50-75 VCR tapes and several DVDs. Detectives said they found items suggesting that Wenzel was sexually interested in young children. Wenzel began complaining of heart-related symptoms after being detained and was taken to a hospital, according to a news release. He was taken to the Sheriff’s Office after his release. Detectives said Wenzel had concealed a camera in a bathroom in his home and that one of the VCR tapes they found contained footage of an adult female drying off after using the shower. They said it did not appear that she was aware of the camera. Detectives have been reviewing video evidence and have determined that crimes involving a child happened at Wenzel's residence in the town of Newark, according to the release. Detectives have confirmed the identity of the child. Officials told News 3 the images include the assault of adult women who they are still attempting to identify. Wenzel was originally arrested on suspicion of sexual exploitation of a child (manufacturing child pornography), possession of child pornography, representations depicting nudity, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. The additional charges he faces as of Wednesday are eight counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child and eight counts of a registered sex offender photographing minors. Detectives continue to review the evidence that was seized, and more arrests could be pending depending on what is found in the remaining videos, officials said. Wenzel is a registered sex offender who had been convicted for a previous sexual assault in 1997.

Published: Wed, 01 Apr 2015 20:18:57 GMT

Tomah VA medical director says he'll use probes as blueprint

John Rohrer, the acting director of the Tomah VA hospital, says the atmosphere at the facility could become darker in coming weeks as results of ongoing probes are published, but he says those reports could serve as a blueprint to move forward. The hospital is at the center of multiple investigations. An initial probe found patients at the facility were more likely than patients at other VA hospitals to receive high doses of narcotics. That probe also found a culture of fear among staff at the hospital that impacted patient care. Earlier this month Mario DeSanctis, the previous Tomah VA medical center was assigned to a position outside the facility. Chief of staff David Houlihan was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations.

Published: Wed, 01 Apr 2015 22:04:12 GMT