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Authorities search Wisconsin River for Chicago man, 21

Authorities in Columbia County are using sonar to try to find the body of a 21-year-old Chicago man who disappeared in the Wisconsin River near Wisconsin Dells. Authorities say the man went under water at about 7:15 p.m. Saturday while swimming to shore. He did not resurface. Divers from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office worked until midnight to find the man. Search efforts resumed Sunday morning. The incident happened in the Lower Dells, a few hundred yards south of the dam. Authorities say the man was fishing on a rock island area and appeared to get caught in a current as he was swimming back to shore. Family members and witnesses tried to rescue him but couldn't. The victim's name is not being released at this time.

Published: Sun, 24 May 2015 17:45:59 GMT

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

7 arrests made in 2 days in effort against Madison shootings

Madison police said they’ve made seven arrests in the last two days in a crackdown aimed at stemming gun violence. The effort is in response to reports of shots fired almost daily over the past month, including multiple shots fired during a recent weekend. Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said in a blog post that numerous law enforcement agencies are involved in the investigation and said the focus is on "homicide prevention." The chief cited, “one woman nearly shot as she drove her car down a major arterial street of Madison, one woman grazed in a restaurant/bar, one man shot in the arm, and one (of many) close calls involving a child minding her own business sitting in her home.” “The frequency and scope of these brazen gun violence calls has now intensified to the point where they are taking place in all sectors of the city, and even during broad daylight hours,” he wrote. Police said they're looking for Nigel T. Goodwan, 21, in connection to a shooting at State Street Brats. “Individuals we are targeting have been known to us as having outstanding warrants, existing probable cause for independent charges, are known to either threaten or commit violent acts, and are associated with gangs and weapons. Our intelligence comes from many sources including citizen witnesses, informants, forensics, and internal intelligence gathering.”

Published: Fri, 22 May 2015 23:47:45 GMT

Over 80 dead calves found on 2 Kenosha County farms

The Kenosha County Sheriff's Office said it's investigating potential animal abuse on two farms where over 80 dead calves have been found amid deplorable conditions. A sheriff's office statement Saturday said deputies found at least 52 dead calves on a farm in Brighton Township on Friday afternoon. Fifteen live calves were moved from the property to a safe location. Investigators later discovered at least 30 dead calves at a second farm owned by the same family, in Paris Township. At least 100 live cattle there were put under a veterinarian's care. The statement said the cause of the animal deaths has not been determined, and may have been due to disease, but investigators found evidence of neglect and long-term deplorable conditions. The sheriff's office said the farm owners are cooperating.

Published: Sat, 23 May 2015 17:46:24 GMT

PHOTOS: Spring in Wisconsin!

Spring has finally arrived in Wisconsin, and you've got the photos to prove it! Take a look at these pretty wildlife snaps shared by #News3 viewers. Share your spring pics via tips@channel3000.com.

Published: Sat, 23 May 2015 23:26:02 GMT

Join the WISC-TV Race for the Cure teams

WISC-TV3 is participating in the Komen Race for the Cure on May 30 at Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center. Support one of our teams and come out on May 30 to support breast cancer patients and survivors. Click here to create or support a team and learn more here. Support Team Michelle Support Team Charlotte Support Team Susan STORY COLLECTION

Published: Thu, 14 May 2015 11:49:48 GMT

Man dies after being trapped in fiery truck in Racine County

A man has died after he became trapped in a fiery pickup truck in Racine County. Authorities say the incident happened after a crash Sunday on state Highway 75 in the Town of Kansasville. The driver of a sport utility vehicle fell asleep and drifted into the lane of a pickup truck that was pulling a trailer. The driver of the pickup truck was forced into a ditch and became trapped before his vehicle caught fire. The Racine County Sheriff's Office says deputies arrived to find the truck engulfed in flames. Authorities say the crash is being investigated and it's unknown if drugs or alcohol were a factor. The name of the victim hasn't been released.

Published: Sun, 24 May 2015 21:17:52 GMT

Complaint: Accused man recorded saying, 'I killed you. I keep seeing it over and over'

A 23-year-old Neillsville man was charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of a 30-year-old woman at the Black River Falls Pet Park in the town of Brockway. According to the criminal complaint, John B. Cook admitted to stabbing Jacinda Muir, of Black River Falls, on the morning of May 17 after stealing a bag of meth from her and prodding her into the wooded area using his knife. A man called 911 at about 11:05 a.m. Sunday after noticing Muir in the woods lying on her stomach in a large pool of blood. In an interview with a Jackson County Sheriff’s deputy, Cook initially said he did not know the last time he saw Muir. Later, Cook told authorities they went to the pet park and walked around a bit and talked, which turned into an argument. "The next thing I knew, I had a knife in my hand and I’m just going to town," Cook told authorities. Cook stated he didn’t want to be out in the open because he was just going to beat up Muir, but it escalated and he stabbed her.  While in the interview alone and still being recorded, Cook stated he was “sorry, Jacinda, I hope you forgive me. I killed you. I keep seeing it over and over. I hope you forgive me. I hope you’re in a better place.” The criminal complaint states when Cook was arrested, he had clothing with him that was stained with what appeared to be blood. Law enforcement also noticed cuts on his fingers. A forensic pathologist with the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of Muir’s death to be multiple stab wounds to the torso and neck and that the manner of death was a homicide. A $1 million cash bond was set on Friday for Cook. His initial appearance is scheduled for June 15.

Published: Sat, 23 May 2015 15:25:21 GMT

State park price hike met with mixed emotions

As they enjoyed a beautiful holiday weekend Saturday camping out, Devil’s Lake Memorial Day campers had mixed feelings about a Republican-backed proposal to raise admission and camping rates at all state parks. “It's OK as long as you see it when you come here,” Spring Green camper Brian Strait said. “Like new bathrooms. New showers.” While Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to end state parks funding based on tax dollars failed, Republican finance committee members pushed through a similar plan that, if approved by the full legislature, would raise park admission rates by $3, increase camping fees anywhere from $3-$11 per night, depending on the location’s popularity and a visitor’s residency, and add an additional $5 for electricity. Committee members feel the idea will make state parks more self-sufficient. “I don’t think it would stop me necessarily from coming, but it might affect the length of stay that I come.” Chicago camper Krissy Sicker, who would be hardest hit by the hike, said. “It would just be unfortunate and affect the length of stay.” For instance, the potential $73 an out-of-state Devil’s Lake traveler would pay in total, after their proposed $38 admission, $25 per night camping fee and $10 for electricity is nearly double what private facilities like Wanna Bee Camprground and RV Park in Wisconsin Dells are charging. “We have basic tent sites that range from $29 (per night) all the way to our full hookup sites that pull through 50-amp/30-amp services they range all the way up to $48 (per night),” Wanna Bee owner Jessica Kortbein said. “It allows the state and private business to be more equitable. Because it’s what we have to charge to make ends meet from a business standpoint,” Kortbein’s husband Brad said. “So that’s why I think it’s good. Make it closer. More equitable. So we do get the possibility to have the same campers come that do go to a state park.” Wanna Bee campers like Greg Quade, from Rock County, prefer the private campground over a state park, like Devil’s Lake. “You've got to be in, shut your music off at 10 p.m. And people don't want to go to bed at 10 p.m. They want sit out,” Quade said. “Like we had a fire out yesterday morning until 2 a.m. The music was real low. It’s just respectable.” Quade considers the nearly $2,000 per season he spends at Wanna Bee a bargain compared to the nearly $3,200 he says other private facilities would charge him. “Very reasonable,” Quade said. Fellow Chicago Camper Doug Gallow says the price difference would not be enough to move him away from Wisconsin state parks. “I would say the natural element is the bigger deal. I think we would probably choose to come to more state campsites,” Gallow said. “But it might affect the duration of our stay if they really did start hiking out-of-state rates.” However, campers, like Strait, are worried about what they feel are unforeseen consequences the legislative action could mean for private sector businesses. “They’ll become too commercialized. Prices will increase dramatically,” Strait said. “At the end of the day it isn’t going to be that way If you go to a private park, it’s going to cost you a lot more money to go to them.” The Kortbeins, who have not raised their prices in the four years they have owned the sixty year old Wanna Bee campground, say they have no future plans to increase rates. Because the Republican controlled finance committee passed this proposal, it is likely now to receive Walker's signature when he sign’s the budget bills into law.

Published: Sun, 24 May 2015 13:54:41 GMT

1 dead, 4 hurt in separate Milwaukee shootings

Three separate shootings within 21 minutes of each other left one man dead and four injured in the city of Milwaukee. Authorities are still investigating all three shootings, which happened between 11:37 p.m. and 11:58 p.m. Saturday. In the first, a 23-year-old Milwaukee man died after he was shot in front of a home in the 700 block of West Reservoir. The second shooting happened four minutes later on West Lloyd Street. A 25-year-old man said he was "walking down the street" when another man shot him. Just before midnight, three males were returning to the scene of an earlier fight on North 69th Street to seek retaliation. They were met with gunfire and shot before they got out of their vehicle. They are ages 17, 19 and 24.

Published: Sun, 24 May 2015 15:54:59 GMT

Mother wounded in bridge shooting goes home from hospital

A mother who survived a shooting on the Trestle Trail Bridge in Menasha has gone home from the hospital. Theda Clark Medical Center spokeswoman Megan Schuessler says Erin Stoffel was released from the Neenah hospital late Friday afternoon. The 32-year-old was critically wounded in the random shooting on the bridge May 3. Her 33-year-old husband, Jon, and 11-year-old daughter, Olivia, lost their lives. Thirty-one-year-old Adam Bentdahl, of Appleton, was also killed. Despite being shot three times, Stoffel was able to get two of her other children to safety. She was let out of the hospital briefly to attend the funeral of her husband and daughter. The gunman, 27-year-old Sergio Daniel Valencia del Torro, killed himself. Authorities are finishing up an investigation into his background and mental health history.

Published: Sat, 23 May 2015 18:30:15 GMT

Female passenger dies after thrown from motorcycle

A 35-year-old woman who was a passenger on a motorcycle suffered a serious head injury and died after a crash in Milwaukee. Police say the woman was not wearing a helmet. Authorities say the woman and the motorcycle's driver were both thrown from the bike Saturday night after the motorcycle struck a car that had just pulled out from a stop sign on Fairmount Avenue. At this time, it appears the motorcycle's speed was a factor in the crash. The 35-year-old driver was wearing a helmet and suffered an injury that is not life-threatening. The driver of the car suffered a minor injury.

Published: Sun, 24 May 2015 15:27:12 GMT

PHOTOS: Brat Fest 2015

BratFest 2015 kicked off Friday in Madison at the Alliant Energy Center Willow Island. The 33rd festival calls itself the world's largest brat festival and features lives music through Memorial Day weekend. Send your BratFest photos to tips@channel3000.com! Visit bratfest.com for event details.

Published: Sun, 24 May 2015 14:24:53 GMT

Portage shuts down neighborhood church

City council members are shutting down a church inside a quiet Portage neighborhood. Pastor Jared Pierson of ActivateChurch.tv bought a three-story home on West Franklin Street some months ago to house his parish in. His lot of land was home to small, weekly services held in the garage, and his house served as a place for people seeking sanctuary from domestic abuse or other situations by learning from Pierson's "development program," or life coaching of sorts. Those people stay with Pierson's family inside the home for as long as necessary, he says. "If you could imagine some people coming in out of bad situations where they’re struggling in life....  we bring them into this home where there’s love, acceptance, holding hands in prayer," Pierson says. "It restores to people a sense of dignity." But the city of Portage has shut down those services. Last Monday, Portage's Planning Commission held a public hearing on Pierson's request for a conditional use permit, needed for him to continue holding services inside his garage. The commission unanimously denied it, citing local ordinances. Steve Sobiek, Portage's director of business and development planning, said the permit would break zoning codes that require churches to be 50 feet from any residential property line, include six parking spaces and off-street parking, along with other requirements. Sobiek also noted zoning codes prohibit the home from housing people who aren't related to Pierson - for example, he said, allowing someone to live on the third floor would require the construction of an outdoor ladder of sorts - something the house currently doesn't have.  "You've got the parking issues, loading zone issues,  and then you have the fact that you have multiple families living in a single-family home - those are all code violations," Sobiek said. "The city has an obligation to enforce code for health and safety, not only for the residents that might reside in that building, but for the adjoining property owners." Sobiek said of the 11 total city residents who spoke up at the public hearing, eight were in opposition to the church operating in the neighborhood. Pierson, though, says he's determined to find a way to make it work. He's currently working with the city to find another location suitable not only for his church, but for 25 people he would like to enroll in his program and house. "We know we're going to give people a home, we're going to see a better culture," Pierson says.

Published: Sun, 24 May 2015 19:41:42 GMT

Vermont hosting Great Lakes scientists at not-so-great lake

Scientists from across the world are going to be on the campus of the University of Vermont in Burlington for a week-long conference on the Great Lakes, not far from the shores of the not-so-great Lake Champlain. In 1998, Lake Champlain was briefly named as the sixth Great Lake, but that designation was lifted after representatives of the states around the five traditional Great Lakes complained the tiny lake between Vermont and New York didn't qualify. Organizers of the conference in Burlington say the leaders of the International Association of Great Lakes Research are working to expand the definition of great lakes to include the largest fresh water lakes in the world. Scientists and students at the conference will be able to choose from hundreds of presentations.

Published: Sun, 24 May 2015 19:18:16 GMT

Police: 23 vehicles' tires slashed in Middleton

Middleton police responded to a report of a vehicle with its tired slashed in an apartment complex and found 23 vehicles with slashed tires early Sunday morning, according to a release. Police found the vehicles at 1:15 a.m. in the parking lot of the Arbor Lakes Apartment complex at the corner of highway Q and Century Avenue. Police believe the damage occurred between about 11:45 p.m. and 1:15 a.m., and it appears it was a random attack. According to police, the investigation is ongoing. They ask that anyone with information on the crime contact the Middleton Police Department at 608-824-7300 or the tipster line at 608-833-9991.

Published: Sun, 24 May 2015 16:37:56 GMT

Critics blast legislators over surprise sports measure

Critics are blasting legislators after the state's budget committee passed a surprise motion last week that would allow private, home-schooled and online charter students to participate in public school district athletics and activities. The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee passed a motion early Wednesday morning that included the plan. The plan wasn't addressed in the meeting. "For that to be done in a sneaky, behind the scenes fashion and passed at 1:30 in the morning without any discussion ... that's a problem," said Larry Kaseman, executive director of the Wisconsin Parents Association. While non-public school students in some cities are currently involved in activities or co-op sports teams, the provision would extend the opportunity to students across the state to be involved in their resident district's public school activities and athletics. Students enrolled in charter and private schools wouldn't be able to join a public school sports team if their school offers the sport. Students involved in the public school programs and activities would be subject to the same academic and disciplinary standards. But the additions in the proposal went a step too far, Kaseman said. Kaseman, head of the home-schooling advocacy group, said Rep. Bob Kulp, R-Stratford, reached out to the association in February to gauge their support for the measure. Kaseman sent a reply letter to Kulp in February that said the association opposed the measure because it could lead to increased government regulation of home-schooled students. "We are opposed to this and have been for the past 15 years," Kaseman said. "Most home-schoolers in the state don't want this." Kulp didn't respond to a request for comment Friday. Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Deputy Director Wade Labecki said members of the organization, which regulates high school sports, have voiced their frustration about the measure. He said the association was developed to help students graduate on time, but fears that public school students who see home-schooled students playing on their teams would be less motivated to continue their education. "The reason for sports in schools is to keep kids in school ... it's the carrot they have to keep kids in school," Labecki said. "This is a way to get them out the door and still play." Stephen Schiell, Amery school district administrator, said he, too, opposed the proposal. "That is going backward on what high school activities and athletics are supposed to be about," Schiell said. "And it's frustrating." And while students from outside the district would be able to participate in district activities, they wouldn't contribute to the district's per-pupil budget, Schiell said. "Any student going to another district (through open enrollment) or not going to our schools hurts the district tremendously," Schiell said. Schiell said public school students could also be displaced from their teams or activities as students from outside the district join their teams. "They could be bumping a whole lot of people," Schiell said. "Parents could find their child watching from the bench." The measure is not final. The budget is subject to approval in both chambers, then moves to Gov. Scott Walker for his approval. ___ Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bydanaferguson

Published: Sun, 24 May 2015 17:29:37 GMT

New Hilldale shops to open in June

A west Madison shopping center is expected to open its latest redevelopment in June, including several new stores. A spokesman for Hilldale Mall said the North Midvale Boulevard expansion would have its first two new stores, Lucky Brand and Morgan's Shoes, open on June 2 after a ceremony. Work on the $15 million expansion began in early September, when mall officials said the project would add 53,000 square feet in an area between Metcalfe’s and Macy’s on the mall’s north end, making room for a new restaurant and numerous new retailers. Lucky Brand and Morgan's Shoes will open at 10 a.m. June 2. Sur la Table and Stride Rite are expected to open June 3, New Balance June 4, Kate Spade and Mes Amies June 5, and multiple other retailers later in the month, according to a project spokesman.

Published: Sun, 24 May 2015 19:29:58 GMT

PHOTOS: Arctic Passage opens at Vilas Zoo

The Henry Vilas Zoo got bigger this week with the official opening of the Arctic Passage to the public Saturday. Did your family visit Madison's free zoo? Send photos to tips@channel3000.com!

Published: Sun, 24 May 2015 14:08:09 GMT

14 cadets graduate Madison College as police profession faces 'tense times'

Many of the 14 law enforcement cadets walking across Madison College's stage Friday night know they are heading directly into an occupation that finds itself under unprecedented scrutiny. "It’s kind of a tense time to come to law enforcement, for law enforcement officers that are currently in it," 128th Law Enforcement Academy class president Sam Vollrath said. "They have been through a lot of social events. That was really a litmus test to their own character," academy director Brian Landers said. "And they’re here to graduate. And they’re here to announce to the whole world that they’re ready to go off and be law enforcement. The next generation of police officers in our community. And I’m incredibly proud of them." From viewing national and local racial tensions, graduates from the college’s 128th academy say they have learned important lessons about the use of force and how to act on the job. "It energized, it focused us that much more. Again, going back to 'we want to be change.' We want to be that class that comes out and makes a difference," Vollrath said. The 128th academy’s classes started right before the decision in Ferguson not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown's shooting death. The graduates, including Vollrath who is now a Mable Bluff officer, join the workforce on the heels of Madison Officer Matt Kenny not facing criminal charges in Tony Robinson's shooting death. "We want to be that class that comes up in addition to current law enforcement officers, and puts our best foot forward to bring people back to having confidence in law enforcement officers again," Vollrath said. Part of Vollrath's class president leadership has also included guiding his fellow cadets through officer-involved shooting deaths, including Wisconsin State Trooper Trevor Casper. "It's powerful," Vollrath said. "Just seeing that somebody working in your current field or future field lose their life is tough. But it also makes you take your training that much more seriously." The 128th graduating class is a first in Madison College history. The 14 graduates have continued working their full-time day jobs and completed their 520 hours of training during nights and weekends. "One thing were really proud of with this group is they achieved one of the highest grade point averages ever at the law enforcement academy," Landers said. "You're getting an officer who's obviously showing a commitment to not only the theories, but the investigations. The legal end of things."

Published: Sat, 23 May 2015 17:11:31 GMT