rss logo Top Madison Area Local News Stories

Police tranquilize, relocate bear from Beloit neighborhood

A bear that found its way into a Beloit neighborhood Saturday night was tranquilized and relocated, according to police. Police were sent to the 1100 block of Kenwood Avenue around 10:15 p.m. for reports of a black bear in the area, officials said. Officers worked with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to safely contain the adult male bear, tranquilize it and relocate it out of the city, authorities said. Officials said the bear was relocated by 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 14:44:28 GMT

4 people dead in Walworth County multi-vehicle crash

Four people are dead following a multi-vehicle crash Saturday at the intersection of County Road K and Townhall Road  in the Town of Sharon. Walworth County sheriff's deputies, along with area fire and rescue units, were called to the crash involving a semi-truck, a pickup truck and a SUV with multiple injuries, according to a release. A preliminary investigation reveals the fully-loaded semi was northbound on County Road K when it approached the intersection with Townhall Road. The pickup truck was eastbound on Townhall Road and failed to yield from a posted stop sign. The semi T-boned the passenger side of the pickup truck. A third vehicle, which was a 2004 GMC Envoy, was southbound on County Road K and was also involved in the crash. Two people in the semi were transported to area trauma centers with multiple injuries. Three people in the pickup truck were pronounced dead at the scene by the Walworth County Medical Examiner's Office. A fourth person in the pickup truck was flown by Flight for Life to a trauma center and is in very critical condition. One person in the GMC Envoy was pronounced dead at the scene, and another person in the SUV is in critical condition. The names of those involved are being withheld pending identification and notification to the families. The Sheriff's Office Crash Investigation Unit is investigating. 

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 13:09:28 GMT

PHOTOS: Rainbows, clouds after Saturday's storm

Storms rolled through the area Saturday night, and viewers sent in some awesome cloud and rainbow pictures.

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 14:21:50 GMT

Civil War battlefield looted, called 'crime scene'

The National Park Service is calling part of a Civil War battlefield "an active crime scene" following a series of excavations. Authorities are investigating suspected looting at Petersburg National Battlefield, just south of Richmond, Virginia. The National Park Service describes Petersburg as the site of the war's longest siege, lasting more than nine months between 1864 and 1865 and claiming 70,000 lives. "Earlier this week, one of the park employees was out doing landscape work and noticed some things were out of place," park spokesman Chris Bryce said. The digging happened in the eastern part of the park, where there was a large number of excavated pits, officials said. "Many of the holes were just left open," Bryce said. "They were several inches deep in most cases." Marked graves were not disturbed. Park officials have not described what type of items or relics may have been targeted. They have not confirmed whether anything was removed. "They are probably doing their homework of the area, probably did research on Civil War," Bryce said. "They were in the ground (and) they likely would have used a metal detector and a digging tool." Civil War relics, including uniform buttons, rifle parts and other metallic battlefield items, regularly show up on Internet auction sites. The park service says looting a federal battlefield is a crime, and violators can be fined as much as $20,000 and face two years in prison. The siege of Petersburg is known as the longest military event of the Civil War, pitting Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant against Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The Petersburg siege and battle over supply lines led to the eventual fall of the Confederate capital of Richmond and the surrender of the Confederacy. In one of its most infamous battles, called The Crater, Union troops detonated a mine underneath a Confederate fortification. But poorly led Union troops were repulsed after they rushed into the gap. Grant called the Battle of the Crater "the saddest affair I have ever witnessed in war." The excavations occurred where significant fighting took place in June 1864 and March 1865. Bryce said Saturday he was unaware of any tips to authorities. Officials are hopeful someone saw something and will report it, he added. This is not the first time people have done such excavations. Bryce said someone was successfully prosecuted in 2010. "What really took us off guard was this being so close to Memorial Day, where the nation is in the midst of starting the summer and a weekend where we should reflect on sacrifices made."

Published: Sat, 28 May 2016 21:31:22 GMT

Cincinnati zoo kills gorilla to save child

The Cincinnati Zoo shot and killed a western lowland gorilla on Saturday after a 4-year-old boy slipped into the animal's enclosure, a zoo official said at a news conference. Harambe, a 17-year-old, 400-pound gorilla, carried the boy around its habitat for about 10 minutes in what the zoo's dangerous animal response team considered a life-threatening situation, Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard said at a press briefing. After the gorilla was shot with a rifle, the child was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital with serious injuries, according to WLWT in Cincinnati. Maynard said it appeared the boy went under the rail, through wires and over the moat wall. Two female gorillas were called out of the habitat, Thane said, but the male gorilla went to the moat, picked up the child and began dragging him around the enclosure. "The child was not under attack but all sorts of things could happen," Thane said. "He certainly was at risk." Thane said zoo officials decided against shooting Harambe with a tranquilizer because the drug takes effect too slowly. "You don't hit him and he falls over," Thane said. "It takes a few minutes." Thane said the zoo security team's quick response saved the boy's life but all the zoo employees are devastated at losing a rare species. The western lowland gorilla is a critically endangered species, according to the World Wildlife Fund's webpage. In the wild, they can be found in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea. Harambe, whose birthday was Friday, was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, Thane said. The zoo hoped he would eventually father other gorillas.

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 07:33:01 GMT

Tornado hits eastern Wisconsin village, no injuries

An eastern Wisconsin village is picking up the pieces after a tornado struck its downtown. The National Weather Service said Saturday morning that an EF1 tornado hit Brandon, a village of about 1,000 people in Fond du Lac County, around 5:40 p.m. on Friday. An EF1 tornado is the second weakest tornado on the Fujita scale, packing winds up to 112 mph. WBAY-TV reported that damage was limited to a four-to-six block area. About 25 homes were damaged with windows knocked out or shingles blown off. No one was injured but the entire village is without power. Utility crews hoped to have power restored to about half the village by evening. The state Department of Transportation said state Highway 49 was closed because of debris on the roadway.

Published: Sat, 28 May 2016 17:01:56 GMT

null

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

47-year-old suffers head injuries in car vs. bike crash, officials say

A bicyclist suffered head injuries when he was hit by a car while crossing Highway 18 at a crosswalk Saturday night, officials said. Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a car vs. bicyclist crash on Highway 18 one-tenth of a mile west of County Road R around 6:30 p.m., according to a release. Investigators said the 47-year-old man was biking across Highway 18 at a crosswalk when he was hit by a westbound car being driven by a 24-year-old man. The bicyclist was taken to Aurora Summit Hospital by ambulance with head injuries, according to the release. The car driver was not injured. The crash remains under investigation.

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 19:29:39 GMT

90-year-old Monroe man killed in ATV accident

Authorities say a 90-year-old Monroe man was killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident on private property north of Newton Lake. The Marinette County Sheriff's Office says James Bosanny was driving the ATV with his 64-year-old son James Bosanny Jr. on board about 3:50 p.m. Saturday when he lost control on a small hill after striking a plow before the vehicle accelerated and struck a tree. The elder Bosanny died at the scene. His son was hospitalized with serious injuries. The sheriff's office says neither was wearing a helmet. The crash remains under investigation.

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 19:10:10 GMT

Police look for armed woman who steals cash, cigarettes from gas station

Police are looking for a woman who got away with cash and cigarettes during an armed robbery at a gas station Saturday night, officials said. Janesville police were sent to reports of an armed robbery at the Stop-N-Go convenience store at 714 Center Ave. just before 11 p.m., according to a release. A woman reportedly entered the store, demanded money and cigarettes from the clerk, and fled the scene on foot, police said. A firearm was seen in the woman’s waistband. No one was injured during the incident. The woman stole an undetermined amount of money and several individual packs of cigarettes, according to the release. Several officers responded to the area, but a K-9 track was not successful, police said. Officers are reviewing video surveillance as part of the ongoing investigation. The woman is described as black, about 5 feet 2 inches tall with a thin build. She was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, baggy blue jeans and white shoes. Officials ask anyone with information on the incident to call the Janesville Police Department at 608-757-2244 or Janesville Area Crime Stoppers at 608-756-3636.

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 13:32:51 GMT

Marshall man faces 5th OWI

A Marshall man faces drunken driving charges after a state trooper responded to a complaint about his driving on Interstate 94 Saturday night, officials said. Anthony Francis Skibba, 33, of Marshall, was arrested by a Wisconsin State Patrol trooper on a tentative charge of fifth-offense operating a motor vehicle under the influence, according to a release. A trooper responded to a driving complaint on eastbound Interstate 94 around 11:45 p.m., officials said. The vehicle eventually stopped in the parking lot of the Kwik Trip in Lake Mills, where he was arrested for suspected drunken driving, officials said.

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 13:28:27 GMT

'Water Park Capital of the World' struggles with lifeguard shortage

On average, 10 people drown in the U.S. each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and keeping everyone in the water safe is becoming more difficult with a nationwide lifeguard shortage. Many places are feeling the lack of staff, including the Wilderness Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. “I think we are kind of a microcosm of what is happening in the area. We have continued to expand our business and add features that require more employees,” said Brandon Schindler, the aquatics director at the Wilderness Resort. The Wilderness Resort is far from the only resort looking to hire more lifeguards. However, with so many other hotels and attractions, the Waterpark Capital of the World is an especially difficult place to find lifeguards. “It's really stressed the system,” Schindler said. Wilderness Resort staff said they would like to have even more lifeguards, but they are doing all right, all things considered. At any given time there are 250 lifeguards on the Wilderness grounds, and they are training the ones they have constantly. “We provide 32 hours of aquatics instruction, in order to earn your American Red Cross certificate,” Schindler said.” We certify students across a number of different certifications from shallow water to deep water and then we add on an additional component for our wave pool.” Last year, Wilderness lifeguards made 500 water rescues. “We did not have any serious water injuries,” Schindler said. It is an accomplishment made possible by the hard work and long training hours put in by the lifeguards. “I just really enjoy saving people,” said Cassandra Stowers, who has been a lifeguard at the Wilderness for four years. Stowers encourages everyone to make life guarding their summer job. “I don't think people really realize how important it is,” she said. “And you get a nice tan. I know everyone likes a tan.” The Wilderness Resort exceeds the number of lifeguards they are legally required to have on staff by the state.

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 15:06:30 GMT

Milwaukee police search for suspects in 2 shootings

Police in Milwaukee are investigating a couple of shootings that resulted in non-life threatening injuries. The first occurred about 9 p.m. Saturday near 35th and Center streets when a 21-year-old man got into a verbal argument with another person. The suspect armed himself with a gun and shot the victim, who drove himself to a local hospital. The second happened about 1 a.m. Sunday when a man was walking in the area of West Courtland Avenue and heard gunshots. The man realized he was shot and got a ride to a local hospital for treatment. Police say they're continuing to search for suspects in both cases.

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 17:02:13 GMT

Hwy 26 SB ramp to interstate in Janesville will be closed 1 week

The Highway 26 southbound ramp to Interstate 39/90 northbound in Janesville will be closed for a week starting Tuesday, according to a release. Drivers will need to use alternate routes, like Highway 14, officials said. The ramp will be closed from 9 p.m. Tuesday until June 7, according to the release. The other ramps at the interchange of highways 26 and 14 will remain open, officials said. Local businesses will stay open during the closure.

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 15:15:23 GMT

Risk to Wisconsin unemployment fund seen as still high

Wisconsin employers vastly overpaid for unemployment-related costs during the Great Recession because the state wasn't adequately prepared. And when the next big downturn comes, the state could face the same problem all over again. The issue resurfaced last week when Republican Gov. Scott Walker highlighted a likely drop in what employers are required to pay into the fund covering unemployment benefits. With a $1 billion balance in the fund, legislators and state officials are pointing to it as a success. But the state Department of Workforce Development says the financing system still has longer-term structural challenges and faces high risks in the event of another recession.

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 15:14:34 GMT

Man charged with recording in women's police locker room

A Wisconsin man has been charged with secretly recording video in a woman's locker room in a Duluth law enforcement building. WCCO-TV reported that 29-year-old Jeffrey Dominick Giacomini of Superior faces five counts of interference of property and two counts of harassment/stalking. According to a criminal complaint, Giacomini worked as a janitor in Duluth's Public Safety Building. A search of his laptop revealed 20 videos recorded with a hidden camera inside the building's women's locker room. Prosecutors said seven different women can be seen changing clothes and moving in and out of the shower. WCCO-TV's report didn't say whether Giacomini has an attorney. The Wisconsin public defender's office is defending him in a disorderly conduct case in that state but the office's voicemail wouldn't take messages Saturday.

Published: Sat, 28 May 2016 19:19:22 GMT

Officer, bystander shot trying to stop robbery suspect

Police in Appleton say a robbery suspect shot a female officer and another man during a struggle before killing himself. Police Chief Todd Thomas said during a news conference Saturday that Post-Crescent Media posted on its website that the suspect stole cigarettes from two gas stations Friday night and Saturday morning. An officer spotted the suspect and a fight ensued. Two men driving by stopped to help the officer. The suspect took the officer's gun away, shot her in the hip, shot one of the men in the chest and then shot himself in the head. The chief said the officer and the man's injuries weren't life-threatening. He didn't identify anyone involved, but said the suspect's death wasn't the result of the officer's actions or lack of action.

Published: Sat, 28 May 2016 20:06:22 GMT

Health officials testing waters as swimming season begins

Dane County health officials are doing additional testing at area beaches and splash pads to help keep families safe this summer season. The beach testing is a partnership between Madison Parks, public health officials and the Clean Lakes Alliance. "We're monitoring the water on over 70 points around all five lakes," Adam Sodersten, spokesperson for the Clean Lakes Alliance, said. "What we're doing is checking water clarity and water temperature." All of the data helps officials determine when conditions become unsafe for swimmers. "We started a little bit last year on kind of a pilot, got a little bit of the groundwork done," Josh Schmitt, the weekend supervisor for Madison Parks, said. "This year we're set to be able to provide more data." Kirsti Sorsa, lab manager for Madison and Dane County Public Health, said results looked good Memorial Day weekend. "There were no algae blooms. The water was clear and nice," Sorsa said. Sorsa said heavy rains create runoff, which bring with them E. coli and blue-green algae. Both are bacteria that can create serious health problems. "They can produce different toxins. Skin toxins, liver toxins, neurotoxins," Sorsa said. "They can cause pretty serious illness. And for animals, even dogs can die." Sorsa said swimming spots will likely close after heavy rains due to the threat of E. coli and blue-green algae.  To check on beach conditions throughout Dane County, visit the Health Department's website.  

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 00:50:07 GMT

Wilderness Resort prepares for summer fun

With the weather getting warmer by the day, the Wilderness in Wisconsin Dells opened its outdoor water parks this weekend. “I think the thing that would shock people is how much time it takes to get ready for three months of business,” general manager Joe Eck said. “We need to clean, polish, get the pools filled, de-winterize." It takes countless hours of cleaning up after the winter season in order to make sure everything is in order for the seasonal transition. “There are thousands of hours spent pressure washing decks [and] getting pool furniture prepped and ready to go,” aquatics director Brandon Schindler said. “It’s a very short period from when spring break ends to when the outdoor season starts.” That time span is only about five weeks; five weeks to get thousands of patio chairs and tables outside and properly arranged, not to mention the 500 plus inner tubes the staff needs to inflate. The Wilderness does have a helpful staff of more than 1,400 to keep the resort in order for the summer. Their hard work is appreciated by visitors to the park. “They’re good people,” said Sasha Blum, who was swimming with her parents and younger sister. “And they make little kids and adults happy.” The Wilderness resort will keep its outdoor water park open until Labor Day.

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 13:11:40 GMT

Johnson's Senate committee to release Tomah report

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson plans to release a report this week detailing a congressional committee's yearlong investigation into a painkiller-abuse scandal at Tomah's Veterans Affairs medical facility. The report on the facility once known as "Candy Land" comes as Johnson is in the middle of a tough re-election fight with Democrat Russ Feingold. Johnson plans to release the report on Tuesday. The committee he chairs is also holding a hearing in Tomah to discuss the report that day. Tomah has already been a flashpoint in Johnson's race against Feingold. A group supporting Johnson has attacked Feingold for not doing enough to curb problems at Tomah, and Feingold has responded with an ad blaming Johnson for inaction.

Published: Sat, 28 May 2016 17:26:11 GMT