News- February 7, 2019

(Columbus) Shopko stores in Columbus, Mayville and Watertown are among 174 that will be closed, the company announced on Wednesday. The retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January. The Beaver Dam location is not on the list; the pharmacy is no longer in operation and customer records were transferred to the Walgreen’s in Beaver Dam. The move leaves Shopko with just over 100 stores nationwide.

(Barron County) In a very brief hearing Wednesday, Jake Patterson was bound over for trial for the kidnapping of Jayme Closs and the murder of her parents. Barron County Judge James Babler accepted a waiver of a preliminary hearing from Patterson, who is charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, kidnapping and burglary. Police say Patterson confessed to the attack and the kidnapping at the time of his arrest. The 21-year-old will be back in court for arraignment hearing on March 27.

(Waupun) A former Waupun correctional officer accused of bringing marijuana and pornography into the prison entered a not guilty plea at arraignment hearing yesterday. An inmate told investigators that Mose Rice of Janesville smuggled the contraband to pay back gambling debts. Rice claims he did it out of fear of retribution from a street gang that had ties to the inmate. If convicted, the 41-year-old faces no more than three-and-half-years in prison.

(Beaver Dam) A Milwaukee man accused of threatening a Beaver Dam police officer while drunk had a bench warrant issued yesterday for failing to appear at an arraignment hearing.  Jose Vallejo Castro was reportedly intoxicated, angering local business owners, when officers took him to the police station to charge his phone so he could arrange transportation back to Milwaukee. While en route, the 35-year-old allegedly threatened officers. At the station, Castro reportedly made a gun gesture with his hand, pointed it at an officer and made a shooting sound effect, prompting his arrest. Court records indicate that Castro’s attorney said their client was “picked up” by Immigration and “taken back to Mexico.” Judge Joseph Sciascia granted the prosecutors request in authorizing the bench warrant.

(Madison) Wisconsin’s Republican leaders in the state Legislature say they will advocate for adding toll roads to help pay for road repairs across the state.  Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald telling the Wisconsin Counties Association they will not quarrel among themselves when they take up the matter during budget talks this spring.  Democratic legislative leaders say a gas tax increase should also be considered.

(Madison) The Democratic Party of Wisconsin will be looking for a new leader.  Chairwoman Martha Laning announcing Wednesday she will not seek re-election in June.  She was first elected to the post in 2015, and was re-elected in 2017.  Her decision comes after Democrats swept all statewide races in elections last November.

(Lake Winnebago) DNR Sturgeon Biologist Ryan Koenigs (KAY-nigs) says you can expect another long sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago. The season kicks off Saturday. Koenigs says water clarity is not as much of a factor on the Upriver Lakes, but is an important one for success on Lake Winnebago. Without hitting harvest limits, the season on Lake Winnebago could run a full 16 days. DNR officials say 12,411 licenses were sold for the sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago and 479 for the Upriver Lakes.

(Eldorado) Four members of a Blackhawk helicopter crew based out of West Bend were honored recently for helping save the lives of two kayakers who were lost on the Eldorado Marsh in Fond du Lac County. Wisconsin National Guard members Jason Wollersheim, Scott Kramer, Robert Gibson, and Caleb Estenson received their air and sea rescue awards at Fort Rucker, Alabama. They were able to locate and lift to safety 71-year-old Roger Uselding and 55-year-old Steven Schultz in September.

(Sheboygan) The Second District Court of Appeals has upheld a 15-year prison term for of Daniel Shilts – a Sheboygan County man convicted of making explosives at his home in 2016. The Milwaukee Bomb Squad and ATF were called to Shilt’s home after an explosion the night before, where Sheriff’s deputies had conducted a lawful search and found dozens of improvised fireworks inside.  An agent said that if all of the explosives had gone off, the blast would have destroyed his home and damaged or destroyed neighboring homes. Judge Kent Hoffmann went above the State’s recommendation when he handed down his sentence, and Shilts filed an appeal, saying the sentence was unusually harsh and cruel. On Wednesday, the Appeals court decidedly upheld the original 15-year judgment maintaining that it fell within Wisconsin State laws.