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Ryan: 'I'm just not ready' to back Trump

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he cannot yet support presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump's presidential campaign. "I'm just not ready to do that at this point. I'm not there right now," the Wisconsin Republican told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" in an interview. Ryan's position makes him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since the real estate mogul became the last candidate standing in the party's nominating contest. His move gives down-ballot Republicans cover to hold off on supporting Trump. It could also keep his agenda in the House from being overtaken by Trump's policy positions. Ryan said he hopes to eventually back Trump and "to be a part of this unifying process." The first moves, though, must come from Trump, he said. Ryan said he wants Trump to unify "all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of." "And we've got a ways to go from here to there," Ryan said. Asked whether Trump's proposed Muslim ban, his opposition to free trade and his call to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants would preclude him from ever supporting Trump, Ryan said: "We got work to do." Trump responded to Ryan late Thursday afternoon, saying in a statement that "I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan's agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!" Trump didn't address Ryan's comments at a campaign event Thursday night in Charleston, West Virginia. But speaking to reporters at the event, Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, dismissed the idea that the remarks are a slap in the face to the presumptive nominee coming from the leader of the Republican Party. Lewandowski then pointed to onstage to Trump. "That's the leader of the Republican Party," Lewandowski said, adding that it's too early to say where Trump and Ryan might find common ground in terms of their political agenda. Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" Thursday that RNC chair Reince Priebus "connected" Ryan and Trump for a potential meeting and that his understanding is that "it's going to happen." Spicer, however, did not provide further details about the potential meeting, such as when it would happen and where. Spicer added that Priebus was unaware of Ryan's plan to appear on "The Lead." Lewandowski said no meeting has been set with Ryan. Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, tweeted "happy to attend" when he learned of Spicer's comments. Striking comments from Ryan Ryan's comments were striking because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday night that he'd back Trump. Neither of the last two Republican presidents -- George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush -- will attend the GOP convention in Cleveland. Nor will the 2008 nominee, John McCain, or the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney. The House speaker said he'd only started considering whether he'd support Trump after the real estate mogul won Indiana's primary Tuesday -- knocking both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich out of the race and ending the possibility of a contested convention. "I thought about this two days ago. I thought, actually, this thing was going to go to June 7 at the very least -- probably to a convention -- and so this is all pretty new for us," he said. "The bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee," Ryan said. "I don't want to underplay what he accomplished. ... But he also inherits something very special, that's very special to a lot of us. This is the party of Lincoln and Reagan and Jack Kemp. And we don't always nominate a Lincoln or a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- or Reagan-esque -- that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans." He continued: "And so, I think what is necessary to make this work, for this to unify, is to actually take our principles and advance them. And that's what we want to see. Saying we're unified doesn't in and of itself unify us, but actually taking the principles that we all believe in, showing that there's a dedication to those, and running a principled campaign that Republicans can be proud about and that can actually appeal to a majority of Americans -- that, to me, is what it takes to unify this party." Decision came 'very fast' Ryan's decision to oppose Trump, at least for now, came "very fast," a source familiar with Ryan's thinking told CNN, adding that the speaker "truly was not prepared for this. He really did not expect Cruz to drop out. He was prepared for a contested convention. And when this happened, he just decided to go with his gut -- which was to hold off." His comments about Trump quickly became a political football, with Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign highlighting the speaker as part of a "growing list of conservatives rebuking Trump" in an email. A Republican strategist involved in Senate races told CNN that he's worried Ryan has set up a situation that will be difficult for him to eventually get out of. "What are the conditions by which Ryan will ever endorse? I don't know how this ends," the strategist said. "What would make him get to a yes on Trump? I'm not sure what Trump can do, other than change his positions." The strategist added, "It helps people by giving them cover. On the other hand, if you think of all the people who have already gone out of their way to endorse Trump, they're asking themselves, 'I have already jumped into the pool, where is Ryan?'" A friend of Ryan's said Thursday's announcement was "totally Paul being torn by his own conscience. He couldn't just say, 'Everything I believe in doesn't matter.'" Ryan's remarks provide some cover for reluctant Republicans, especially for those running for reelection in blue states, the friend added. The friend said Ryan could eventually shift -- but "the ball is now in (Trump's) court." "Let's see what he does with it," the friend said. A frequent critic Ryan has expressed misgivings about Trump's campaign for months. When Trump proposed indefinitely banning Muslims from the United States in December, Ryan responded that such a move is "not who we are as a party" and in violation of the Constitution. "This is not conservatism," he said then, adding, "Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islam terror are Muslims." In March, Ryan slammed Trump's refusal to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in an interview with Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union." "If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people's prejudices," Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill. Later that month, he called the violent skirmishes that had broken out at Trump's rallies "very concerning" and said that candidates must "take responsibility for the environment at their rallies." When Trump warned that there'd be "riots" at the GOP convention if he were denied the party's nomination, Ryan was sharply critical, saying that "nobody should say such things in my opinion because to even address or hint at violence is unacceptable." But as recently as last week, Ryan was downplaying his rift with Trump. He'd encouraged Republicans to attend the party's convention in Cleveland, and said he'd had a "very pleasant conversation" with Trump. "I feel like we will be able to unify Republicans and conservatives to offer the country this fall," Ryan told CNN, "a very clear and compelling choice so that the people of this nation get to decide where we go as a country." A third-party candidate? Conservative blogger and #NeverTrump movement leader Erick Erickson told CNN he and other Trump opponents are searching for a candidate who could mount a third-party bid against Trump and Clinton. "Donald Trump cannot consolidate the Republican base and many Republicans cannot accept a Hillary Clinton donor as the Republican nominee," Erickson said. "If the delegates ratify this madness in Cleveland, many of us will look elsewhere for a credible candidate to oppose both Trump and Clinton." Freshman Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse has emerged as a central figure in the movement to oppose Trump. He argued for a third-party candidate in a Facebook post early Thursday morning. "Why shouldn't America draft an honest leader who will focus on 70% solutions for the next four years?" Sasse wrote. "You know ... an adult?"

Published: Fri, 06 May 2016 00:51:03 GMT

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

Trump poses with taco bowl: 'I love Hispanics!'

Two days after becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump wished the world a happy Cinco de Mayo on Thursday when he shared a photo of himself grinning and eating a taco bowl at his desk at Trump Tower. Trump posted the picture to Twitter and Facebook with the caption, "Happy Cinco de Mayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!" An online menu for Trump Tower Grill doesn't list a taco bowl, but an entree listed on the menu for Trump Tower Cafe includes a "Taco fiesta!" which matches the description of Trump's taco bowl. As for whether they're the "best," a review of the beef tacos in New York Eater by Robert Sietsema in January called Trump's food "bland." "On the same pass I also ordered 'beef tacos' ($13.50) which turned out to be a fried tortilla bowl heaped with romaine lettuce, grated yellow cheese, and plain ground beef that was so devoid of flavor, it rendered an insult to Mexicans every bit as profound as Trump's previous pronouncements," Sietsema wrote. Trump, who has vowed to deport all of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, begins his general election fight with rock-bottom approval ratings among Hispanics. Trump's post quickly stirred responses on Twitter, including one from Brian Phillips, a campaign official for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's unsuccessful campaign. "The only thing worse than #NewYorkValues is New York's Mexican food," Phillips tweeted. And likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton joined in, tweeting a response that included a video highlighting his pledge to deport undocumented immigrants. "'I love Hispanics!' ---Trump, 52 minutes ago http://hrc.io/1XaTPHx 'They're gonna be deported,' ---Trump, yesterday," the tweet said.

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 21:31:38 GMT

Video shows pair climbing crane in downtown Madison

EMBED Link to video for mobile users A YouTube video posted Tuesday shows two people entering a construction site in downtown Madison and climbing a crane overlooking the city. Madison Police Chief Mike Koval released a statement about the video criticizing the climbers and calling the stunt illegal. “It is a selfish act to assume that if you act at your own peril, no one else is affected should you slip and fall,” Koval wrote. “The implications felt by family members, friends, and the images left in the memories of first responders responding to this would all be negatively impacted.” Koval said such behavior can also inspire copycats.  If caught, the climbers could face trespassing charges.

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 14:29:14 GMT

Brother says accused interstate shooter fired because vehicle had tinted windows

The brother of a West Allis man accused of shooting and killing a woman on the interstate over the weekend said he fired at the victim's vehicle because he was paranoid about tinted windows, according to a criminal complaint. The Sauk County District Attorney’s Office filed charges Wednesday against 20-year-old Zachary T. Hays in connection with the fatal interstate shooting over the weekend. Tracy Czaczkowski, 44, of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, was shot in Sauk County and was initially taken by EMS to St. Clare Hospital, then sent to UW Hospital via Med Flight. Sauk County Sheriff Chip Meister told News 3 Tuesday afternoon that Czaczkowski had died. According to the criminal complaint, Czaczkowski's husband noticed a vehicle driving erratically Sunday around 3 p.m., and when he tried to pass the vehicle, the driver pointed a handgun at them and fired. Hays' brother, Jeremy Hays, told police Zachary Hays had been acting paranoid since he smoked marijuana on April 27, and that he was afraid for his safety because Zachary Hays was carrying two guns, according to the criminal complaint. Jeremy Hays told police Zachary Hays threatened to kill him and his other brother if they left him. Officials are not naming their 34-year-old brother due to his cognitive disability. Jeremy Hays told police they stopped at a gas station in Wisconsin Dells, and when they got onto the interstate heading east, Zachary Hays started driving erratically and flipping people off, according to the criminal complaint. Jeremy Hays said when Zachary Hays noticed a black sedan approaching them from behind he started freaking out about the tinted windows, so he slowed down to let the sedan catch up and shot at the sedan three times. Numerous law enforcement agencies were later involved in a vehicle pursuit on eastbound I-94 in Columbia and Dane counties. At approximately 3:20 p.m., as the Blazer entered Dane County, road spikes were deployed and the vehicle was disabled. Zachary Hays then exited the vehicle and was walking toward officers with a revolver, according to deputies. Hays continued to walk toward police despite commands to stop when he was shot. The drive-by shooting is one in a series of related incidents on Sunday that started with a homicide in West Allis, according to investigators. Zachary Hays is charged with one count of first-degree intentional homicide and three counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety. He faces life in prison if he is found guilty.

Published: Wed, 04 May 2016 21:23:15 GMT

Controversy on Wisconsin-Iowa border as troubled frac sand mine seeks to expand

A controversial frac sand mining company that recently opened a site in Wisconsin is facing opposition to plans for a sevenfold expansion of its underground mine in Clayton County, Iowa. Pattison Sand Co. has requested rezoning of 746 acres of land from agricultural to heavy industrial for eventual expansion of its underground mine from its current size of about 100 acres. The site, which includes surface mining on some of its 1,600 acres, lies along the Mississippi River directly across from Bagley, Wisconsin. Many of its roughly 150 employees live in southwestern Wisconsin. Since Pattison Sand’s Clayton County site began operations in 2005, it has racked up more workplace violations than any other industrial sand mine in the United States, according to data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) analyzed by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Among the violations is a 2008 accident in which a front-end loader with a defective rear-view mirror backed over a worker, killing her. Patrick O’Shaughnessy, a professor of occupational and environmental health in the University of Iowa engineering college, told members of a county committee studying expansion on April 28 in Elkader, Iowa, that it would be wise to review the mine’s record and reputation when considering the proposal. "There are good apples and there are bad apples in every industry, from swine rearing to sand mining,” O’Shaughnessy told the committee before a crowd of more than 60 people. “Is this someone who has flagrant violations constantly, or is this someone who's typically got a good sense of safety for their workers, environmental consciousness, and they want to be a good neighbor?" Nevertheless, O’Shaughnessy told members of the Mine Reserve Expansion Study Committee that residents living around the proposed expansion face a low risk of inhaling airborne silica particles from the mine. Inhaling silica can cause silicosis, an irreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease that can lead to cancer and tuberculosis. The mine produces sand for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves injecting water, fine-grained sand and chemicals at high pressure to break apart underground rock and release trapped oil and natural gas. History of violations According to the Center’s analysis, between April 2005 and January of this year, Pattison Sand’s site in Clayton County had 934 MSHA violations for which the company paid $279,000 in fines. Wedron Silica Co. in Illinois — the industrial sand mine with the second most violations in that time period — received 501 violations. According to the data, little has changed since a 2013 Wall Street Journal analysis found that mining safety officials had cited Pattison Sand more than any other sand or gravel mine in the country. Among the violations identified by the Center, 235 were racked up since January 2013. In addition, the Center found that 55 Pattison Sand employees have filed workers’ compensation claims for injuries sustained at the Iowa location between 2005 and January of this year. Claims include fractures, dislocations, sprains, hernias and heat prostration. Two of the claims were filed for respiratory problems. In an interview, Christopher Hensler, district manager for MSHA’s north central district, said the regulatory agency’s inspectors have spent a lot of time at Pattison Sand’s Iowa site, but the sheer number of violations does not necessarily indicate a larger problem. “The bulk of their violations are very simple electrical violations and defects of equipment that affect safety,” he said. One 2008 violation involving defects of equipment, however, resulted in a fatality. In that incident, a front-end loader backed up, striking and killing a worker. MSHA’s investigation report found the accident was caused in part by the equipment’s defective rear-view mirror and the lack of visible reflective material on the employee. Pattison Sand was fined $70,000 for that violation. A 2014 fire and multiple roof collapses in 2011 also generated violations that resulted in temporary shutdowns. The collapses and an ensuing legal battle shuttered the underground portion of the mine for several months in 2011 and 2012. Other infractions at Pattison Sand’s Iowa site include exposing workers to harmful airborne contaminants, failing to have protective equipment and clothing, and neglecting to provide at least two escapeways to the surface in the mine. Andy Garcia-Rivera, a former industrial hygiene compliance officer for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said although mines do tend to have many violations, the number of infractions Pattison Sand’s Iowa location has amassed is “unusual.” “It tells me that there's something wrong,” said Garcia-Rivera, who also directed environmental, health and safety compliance for the University Wisconsin-Madison campus. “Sometimes employers do take shortcuts.” Official defends company record Tim Adkins, who joined Pattison Sand 14 months ago as its health and safety director, said after the April 28 meeting that claiming Pattison Sand’s record is the worst in the industry is a “terrible, terrible, misconception” and an “out-of-context statement to make.” He attributed some of the past violations to lack of experience by the Pattison family, who used to store and ship grain from the underground caverns that are now mined. “When they (Pattison Sand) went into the mining industry, they didn't know about the mining industry. They'd never dealt with MSHA. They didn't know MSHA regulations,” said Adkins, who has over 40 years of experience as a health and safety professional, including over 35 years in mining. Adkins added that underground mines such as Pattison Sand’s generate more violations because they are inspected twice as often as surface mines, four times a year versus two. “Pattison Sand is a good player, good operator,” Adkins said. “They care about their employees, they take extra steps to go above and beyond MSHA requirements, MSHA standards.” But even when compared to other similar underground mines, Pattison’s track record is not stellar. In 2010, 2011 and 2014, the company’s Iowa mine had above-average rates among underground metal and nonmetal mines of violations deemed “significant and substantial” by MSHA. Data prior to 2010 were not available. Adkins said Pattison Sand works very closely with MSHA to ensure compliance. That was not always the case. In 2011, Pattison Sand sued the agency after it shut down the majority of the underground mine following multiple roof collapses, including one in which at least 30 tons of rock fell onto an excavator; the miner operating it was unhurt. The lawsuit and appeals kept the underground part of the mine closed for several months. Besides Pattison’s Iowa mine, MSHA lists only two other underground industrial sand mines in the country. Both are located in Pierce County, Wisconsin, and operated by the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Co. Since 2005, one of the mines has received 279 violations — a fraction of the number racked up by Pattison. The other, operating only since 2008, has received 127 violations. Opponents continue to fight At the April 28 meeting in Elkader, 37 people submitted comments raising questions about Pattison Sand’s record of MSHA violations, burning at the company’s Iowa site, workers’ respiratory problems, conflicting results of air quality studies and dust. Kathy Kachel, who attended the meeting, blames Pattison Sand’s Iowa mine for the white sand she dusts inside her house. She lives in Bagley and can see the facility from her porch. Kachel would like to see it shut down. “There is a proliferation of silica (sand) at this point for fracking,” Kachel said. “It's not healthy for anybody — the environment, the wildlife, my grandchildren.” In Wisconsin, Pattison Sand operates a surface mine in Bridgeport, about a 30-minute drive northeast of its Iowa site. Four Bridgeport residents and the Crawford Stewardship Project, an environmental group that promotes sustainability and local control of natural resources, tried unsuccessfully to block that mine. Its status is currently listed as “intermittent” based on the number of hours worked at the site. Since it began operating in August 2013, the Bridgeport mine has received seven violations for which the company paid $824 in fines. Those violations include failing to notify MSHA before starting operations, neglecting to prepare a material safety data sheet for each hazardous chemical the mine uses or produces, failing to provide first aid materials, and failing to provide safe means of access to travelways. Garcia-Rivera said violations at mines that are not yet fully operational, such as Pattison Sand’s Bridgeport site, are to be expected. MSHA is only required to inspect such intermittent surface mines once a year. The mine expansion committee plans to meet again on Wednesday. Digital and multimedia director Coburn Dukehart contributed to this report. The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (www.WisconsinWatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 22:01:12 GMT

Bid in auction to benefit pediatric cancer research

Watch WISC-TV3 May 7 starting at 8:58 p.m. and participate in a Coaches vs Cancer text auction to support pediatric cancer research.

Published: Wed, 04 May 2016 18:21:51 GMT

Fitchburg man arrested, charged with producing child porn

A Fitchburg man was charged Wednesday with producing child porn, according to a release. John L. Gilbert, 46, was arrested and made an initial appearance on the charges. A criminal complaint alleges that on Feb. 2, Gilbert photographed a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. If convicted, Gilbert faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison. 

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 21:49:57 GMT

Madison pilot killed in Manitowoc County copter crash

Authorities have identified a man killed in a helicopter crash in Manitowoc County. WLUK reports that 61-year-old Paul Ruppert of Madison died in Wednesday's crash. Ruppert was flying a helicopter being used to help replace old power lines with fiber optic lines. His copter pitched and crashed into a swampy area near Reedsville after taking off from dropping tools or workers on the ground. Ruppert was the only one aboard. A National Transportation Safety Board investigator was at the scene.

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 23:05:29 GMT

People with peanut allergy concerned about change in Kellogg’s ingredients

Ingredients in a group of popular Kellogg's products are changing, and parents with kids who have food allergies are not happy about it. Those who are allergic to peanuts will now have to double-check the labels of some Kellogg's product that don't look like they'd have peanut ingredients in them. The change comes with pushback from parents of children with food allergies. "I double-check everything the minute I see that they changed the picture on the box. New and improved, for food allergy families, is not always improved for us." mother Beth Ramos said. Ramos and Sheree' Godwin babysit children and have children of their own with peanut allergies. Hearing the news that Kellogg's is adding peanut flour to a number of Austin and Keebler sandwich cheese crackers means they have one less option. "It's taking away some products that people could have in the past and also it's adding to make you wonder other product that they sell. Will there be cross-contamination or are they run on the same line?" Godwin said. The Keebler flavors that will have peanut flour include Keebler club and cheddar sandwich crackers, Keebler cheese and cheddar sandwich crackers, Keebler pepper jack sandwich crackers and the Keebler variety pack sandwich crackers. The Austin crackers affected are Austin cheddar cheese cracker sandwiches, Austin grilled cheese cracker sandwiches, Austin pepper jack cracker sandwiches and the Austin variety pack cracker sandwiches. Godwin, the president of the Food Allergy Association of Wisconsin, said the volunteer group is made up of 400 families who live with severe and life-threatening food allergies. An estimated 15 million people live with food allergies nationwide. Dr. Reid Olson, an allergist at Dean Clinic who has a peanut allergy of himself, sees a lot of families with the same concerns. "When you find it in an unexpected place like crackers, where you would never expect it to be found in, that’s the extra dimension of concern," Olson said. Kellogg's issued a statement to parents saying "many of you who have children with food allergies told us that our sandwich crackers made without peanut products were some of the only products left that your family could purchase with confidence. I am sorry that we disappointed you," Kellogg Company Vice President of Marketing AnneMarie Saurez-Davis said in the statement. Nearly 25,000 supporters have signed an online petition started by SnackSafety.com, calling on Kellogg's not to add the peanut flour. The company says that any product including allergens will be clearly labeled. In a statement issued to News 3, the company said "We know it’s not easy to find foods that people with peanut allergies can eat. Based on the conversations we’ve had with parents, our team is working to find ways to make more sandwich crackers without peanut ingredients. We are starting by making our Austin Grilled Cheese Sandwich Crackers without peanut products. They will be available in stores around the country starting in September," said Kris Charles, a Kellogg Company spokesperson. 

Published: Fri, 06 May 2016 01:12:32 GMT

Hail Mary procedure saves baby's life

It was a day Bekka Erickson Hagen will never forget. After the loss of two pregnancies, there would be another chance: She was pregnant. “When I found that I was pregnant I screamed out of pure joy,” Erickson Hagen said. It was the chance she and her husband Brent Hagen had hoped for. After two heartbreaking losses though, they hoped this would be their chance to have a child. “Right up until the 20-weeks I felt great,” Erickson Hagen said. “We were so happy. We realized the difficult part was over, or so we thought.” That changed on Nov. 5 at her 20 week exam. A routine ultrasound showed the baby was very healthy but also showed a problem with her cervix. “My cervix was thinned to the point that I was about to deliver,” Erickson Hagen said. Because a child born at 20 weeks would have little chance of survival, Bekka and Brent immediately made the one-hour drive from their home in Milton to see a maternal-fetal medicine specialist in Madison. “We were thinking this was the end of the pregnancy, and so we were just hoping for a miracle. We drove up there almost entirely silent,” Erickson Hagen said. They met with Dr. Kara Hoppe, a UW Health specialist at the Center for Perinatal Care, a collaborative program between UW Health and UnityPoint Health-Meriter. Hoppe was aware that Bekka and Brent had lost two previous pregnancies. “When people are in a situation like this, they’re really looking for somebody to provide something in kind of a Hail Mary situation,” Hoppe said. The best chance to save the baby rested on a procedure called a cervical cerclage. Bekka had been diagnosed with incompetent cervix, likely a result of cervical damage from the lost pregnancies. The cervical cerclage would involve Hoppe stitching Bekka’s cervix closed temporarily. That would hopefully prevent a premature delivery of the baby. The procedure is not guaranteed to work and comes with considerable risk. “It at least gave us a chance. It gave us a chance and that’s what we were looking for,” Erickson Hagen said. “It is a very small membrane and you’re using a needle to put that stitch in there and if you just have a slight error in your movement or placement and you break those membranes then the pregnancy also would not be able to continue,” Hoppe said. The surgery was successful, but it was no guarantee Bekka would carry the baby long enough for a positive outcome. “”I said, 'I don’t know. This is a Hail Mary situation. Every day is important and we’re going to have to take it day by day at this point,'” Hoppe said. Bekka was advised to stay off her feet to prevent the baby from putting pressure on the cervix. Every minute that passed brought her closer to a healthy baby. “It went to every minute, then every hour and every day and then every doctor appointment,” Erickson Hagen said. Finally, on Feb. 27, at 36 weeks pregnant, Bekka went into labor and delivered Mae Margaret, a 6-pound-5-ounce healthy little girl. “It was the most wonderful day of my life,” Erickson Hagen said.

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 22:39:39 GMT

Lawmaker plans to reintroduce bathroom bill

A Wisconsin lawmaker said he plans to reintroduce and expand a bill regulating bathroom use in the state. Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, said he wants to bring back the bill requiring students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their biological gender, but expand it to apply to the use of rooms where people are in "states of undress" in all public buildings. "There have been individuals in society for hundreds of years that believe they are a different gender. That's not the problem here," Kremer said. "The problem is that there are going to be people that are going to take advantage of the situation." The bill was controversial in November when it was first proposed. A number of Madison East High School students turned out to testify against the bill, including Aden Haley-Lock. "Forcing me to use the women's bathroom especially with the way I dress and the way I act would be uncomfortable because I personally don't feel like I belong in there," Haley-Lock said. East High School offers a gender-neutral restroom to all students. Kremer said he'll push the measure despite the U.S. Department of Justice saying a similar North Carolina law would violate civil rights. The DOJ is threatening to revoke federal education funds in the state. "The more states that stand up to the federal government the harder it is for them to push us and bully us," Kremer said. "That's all they're doing is they're bullying us. This is not discrimination at all." Haley-Lock disagrees with that sentiment, and has said they believe the measure would violate Title IX and the 14th Amendment. "No one really has the authority to look into your pants and say you get to use that [bathroom] and not this [bathroom]," Haley-Lock said. Haley-Lock plans to head back to the Capitol if the bill returns. "If anything this is more important and more drastic and we need even more people to come," Haley-Lock said. Kremer's bill would allow gender-neutral bathrooms if walls go floor-to-ceiling and are completely private. Kremer said he believes the bill has a better chance because of the attention it's gotten in North Carolina. The ACLU of Wisconsin said in a statement that the proposed measure is discriminatory. "This proposed law, like the hundreds we’ve seen introduced in legislatures across the country, many of which the ACLU is challenging, will do nothing to protect privacy or public safety, but will unfortunately harm Wisconsin residents and others who come here -- solely based on who they are," said Larry Dupuis, legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. 

Published: Fri, 06 May 2016 01:02:46 GMT

IKEA will hire 250, open in summer 2018

Home furnishing retailer IKEA will hire 250 employees when it opens it's first Wisconsin location in Oak Creek. The company held a news conference Thursday morning at Oak Creek City Hall where it announced that construction on the store will begin in spring 2017 and the store is scheduled to open in summer 2018. The retailer will build a 295,000 square foot facility on land 29 acres at the northwestern corner of Drexel Avenue on Interstate 94. The construction phase of the project is expected to employ about 500 people.

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 18:20:19 GMT

Middleton hit-and-run witness: Girl bounced under truck

A woman who witnessed the Middleton-hit-and-run crash that injured two girls last month told police one of the girls was dragged by the truck for several feet, according to court documents. Ross Cotter-Brown, 30, of Edgerton, is accused of driving a truck that hit and seriously injured two middle-school-aged girls April 21. A witness to the crash told police one of the girls flew into the air when she was hit by the truck, according to the documents. The witness said the other girl was dragged by the truck for several feet and “looked like a pingpong ball bouncing back and forth” under the truck. The two girls, 12-year-old Hayley Krause and 13-year-old Ari Meyer, suffered significant but non-life-threatening injuries in the crash. As of Wednesday, Krause was back in school at Kromrey Middle School and Meyer was still at home recovering, Middleton-Cross Plains School District spokesperson Perry Hibner said. According to the court documents, police found three bottles of peppermint schnapps and two unopened bottles of beer in the vehicle Cotter-Brown was driving. They also found synthetic marijuana. Cotter-Brown faces multiple charges in connection with the hit-and-run, including fourth-offense operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with a prior offense within five years, but he has not been formally charged. He also faces charges of having open intoxicants from a different incident.

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 13:56:28 GMT

Auto mechanics, taverns report utility scam call

Scammers impersonating a utility company have targeted the Dane County area, officials said Thursday. Madison police said officers have taken two complaints and Dane County Sheriff’s deputies responded to two complaints Thursday involving a man claiming to work for Madison Gas & Electric Co. and demanding payment. The sheriff's office said the scammer called businesses as Charlie Baker from MG&E. He claims to have a "pull service" order to shut off the power for delinquent payments. He instructs the victims to go to a local store and place $400 on a prepaid card to prevent the shutoff. MG&E is aware of this scam and is responding to customer concerns, the sheriff's office said. The Dane County Sheriff's Office said the scammer targeted auto mechanics. Madison police said two taverns had reported getting the calls; Village Bar at 3801 Mineral Point Road and Wilson's Bar at 2144 Atwood Ave. Authorities said none of the four businesses reporting scam calls paid the fraudster. Anyone who may have received a scam call is encouraged to report it to authorities.

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 21:14:43 GMT

Fight ends with shotgun blasts on west side, police say

A street fight involving several people Wednesday afternoon on the west side ended with two shotgun blasts, according to a release from Madison police. A private security guard told police four young men and a woman were involved in the initial disturbance at about 3 p.m. in the 5800 block of Russett Road. A man working in the area told police he saw the gunfire, could not tell if it was aimed at anyone. At least one person, possibly the gunman, jumped in an SUV that drove quickly from the area, police said. The security guard told police there may have been a third shot from a different gun around this time. Responding officers could find no one with injuries or property damage.

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 15:06:19 GMT

Wildlife group proposes deer farm crackdown to fight CWD

A prominent sportsmen's group wants Gov. Scott Walker to crack down on deer farms as he revises the state's chronic wasting disease tactics. The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation announced Thursday that it sent the governor a letter asking him to require farms to double-fence, install devices to detect open gates and kill their herds within a month if CWD is detected on their farm and it's not double-fenced. The federation recommended more testing of wild deer for CWD and suggests returning to in-person carcass registration in disease zones. The group also demanded more transparency from the state on the disease's spread. A Walker spokesman didn't immediately respond to an email. Whitetails of Wisconsin Association President Rick Vojtik saying the captive herd isn't spreading the disease and double-fencing won't stop its spread.

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 15:42:05 GMT

Feingold responds to attack ad about veterans hospital

Democrat Russ Feingold has launched an attack ad against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson related to problems at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facility in Tomah. The spot released Thursday comes after a conservative outside group began a $2 million ad buy targeting Feingold on the same issue. Feingold's spot criticizes Johnson for saying "job interviews and stuff" prevented his office from quickly responding to the overprescribing of opiates at the facility. The Freedom Partners Action Fund ad targeting Feingold featured a whistleblower saying Feingold didn't act in 2009 after receiving a memo about problems there. Feingold and the person who wrote that memo say Feingold never actually received it. Johnson's spokesman says the senator took "swift and decisive action" once he personally learned of problems at the facility.

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 19:40:32 GMT

Walker approves rule implementing unemployment drug tests

Gov. Scott Walker has approved a rule implementing drug screening requirements for unemployment benefits. The rule implements provisions in the state budget. Under the rule, those who fail an employer drug test or refuse to take one can be denied unemployment benefits. Those who fail would get taxpayer-funded treatment. Walker announced the new rule Wednesday, saying it brings the state one step closer to moving residents from government dependence to independence. The rule will take effect later this week.

Published: Wed, 04 May 2016 22:46:10 GMT

Prison secretary gives guards $10 million in raises

The head of Wisconsin's prisons plans to hand out millions of dollars in raises in hopes of boosting recruiting and retention. Department of Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher announced Thursday that beginning June 26 correctional officers, sergeants and youth counselors will receive 80 cents more an hour. Correctional officers and sergeants at maximum security prisons in Waupun, Green Bay and Portage as well as counselors at the state's youth prison in Irma will get an additional 50 cents an hour from May 29 through Jan. 7. Employees who won't receive a raise will be eligible for bonuses. Corrections officials say the raises are expected to cost about $10 million annually, which will be covered with existing funds. The DOC has budgeted $1.1 million for bonuses in fiscal year 2016.

Published: Thu, 05 May 2016 20:34:22 GMT