News – March 7, 2019

(Juneau) The prosecution’s main witness testified yesterday in the trial of Fox Lake murder suspect Laverne Ware Jr, who is charged in the 2016 murder of his girlfriend Sesalie Dixon. Vernon Mickey was the live-in boyfriend of Ware’s mother, Marjorie Jones; the defense is arguing Jones pulled the trigger. Mickey said on the night of the murder, he spotted blood coming from Ware’s pickup truck, which was located inside a garage on a property owned by Ware. The 59-year-old also said Ware was in possession of the pink murder weapon shortly thereafter. The defense noted that Mickey did not hear the truck enter the garage and did not hear a gunshot that evening. Today is day four of the two-week trial.

(Sauk County) The Sauk county board chairman has resigned after being charged with five felony child pornography charges. William Wenzel submitted the resignation Wednesday. Investigators say they found him with videos featuring what appears to be underage girls.  Wenzel is free on bond and is expected back in a Sauk County courtroom next month.

(Rubicon) One of the people injured in a two-vehicle crash in the Town of Rubicon last Thursday has succumbed to their injuries. Nathan Pattee (pa-tee) of Oakfield was flown from the scene of the crash to Froedtert Hospital where he died two days later. The 23-year-old was a passenger in a vehicle driven by 25-year-old Tamara Bratten of Hustisford. Bratten was seriously injured when her car spun over the center line on Highway 60 and collided with a westbound pickup. The driver of the pickup sustained minor injuries. The crash remains under investigation.

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Area Arts Association has a new name. The non-profit, which has been in existence for 52 years, is now called the Dodge County Center For The Arts. Board Secretary Kraig Kasten announced the name change on WBEV’s Community Comment Wednesday. The new moniker came as a stipulation from their largest benefactor who just donated a $400-thousand dollar building to the group as a permanent home: the former Bank Mutual building on North Center Street, just down from the new Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre Fine Arts Center. The Dodge County Center for the Arts is holding their annual meeting, which is open to the public, on March 26.

(Horicon) This year the state’s DNR will be presenting 49 proposed rule change questions during the annual Spring Fish and Wildlife hearings and annual county meetings of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress. The meetings, which focus on proposed wildlife and fisheries rule changes, will be held in all 72 counties on Monday, April 8th. One of the big questions this year will be on Chronic Wasting Disease. The DNR is seeking public comments on whether or not the state should offer bounties for deer infected with CWD. The meeting for Dodge Country will be held at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center Auditorium on Highway 28 in Horicon. Each meeting will start at 7pm. For the first time, people will be allowed to vote on spring hearing questions online.

(Madison) Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul joining his counterparts nationwide in asking the U-S Senate to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act to curb illegal robocalls and spoofing.  The legislation would allow companies to participate in a call authentication framework to help block unwanted calls.

(Madison) The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign finds last year’s legislative races spend a record 35-point-8 million dollars.  Just over a third of that came from 26 outside groups for advocacy and issue ads.  Six races saw spending exceed one-million dollars, with the 17th Senate district the most expensive at four-and-a-half million.

(Madison) A nurse working at the Veterans Hospital in Madison will serve three years probation for stealing fentanyl.  An investigation found Todd Mehrhoff took the painkiller more than 100 times between August and December of 2017 while working as an assistant with surgeries.

(Madison) Wisconsin may be able to resume hunting for gray wolves in the future as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing lifting protections for wolves across the Lower 48 states.  Supporters of the protections are likely to challenge the proposal in court.  Wolf hunts were operated between 2012 and 2014.

(Madison) Former State Senator and U-S Senate candidate Leah Vukmir is joining the National Taxpayers Union as its Vice President of State Affairs.  Her role with the conservative group will be to travel the country to advocate for changes in tax policy.

(Madison) The State Assembly has a new task force to work on suicide prevention.  Speaker Robin Vos appointing Representative Joan Ballweg as chairwoman Wednesday, with other appointments expected later this month.  The task force will evaluate current prevention programs and how to improve them, work to increase awareness, and work to eliminate barriers to care.

(Barron) Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald says Elizabeth Smart will be speaking at a free event at the Barron Area Community Center March 15.  Smart has been following the Jayme Closs case, and wanted to speak about her experiences of being kidnapped and how her community moved past it.  No word if Smart will meet Closs or if Closs will attend the event.

(Madison) DNR Secretary-designee Preston Cole taking time Wednesday to assure business leaders that his agency will work to create a consistent regulatory environment.  He spoke at a Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce conference in Madison, adding he wants a reliable approach to regulating industry, with a promise to follow science.

(Madison) The Wisconsin National Guard says an Illinois Congressman who is one of their members did nothing wrong when he criticized Governor Evers’ decision to withdraw troops from the U-S southern border.  An investigation found Representative Adam Kinzinger was speaking as a congressman, not as an officer.  State law prohibits commissioned officers from criticizing their leaders.

(Madison) The Wisconsin Air National Guard announcing their 2018 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.  They are Senior Airman Hanna Corbett as Airman of the Year, Technical Sergeant Bradon Lutz as Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Senior Master Sergeant Deanna Rosenberger as Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, and Master Sergeant Adam Zuniga as First Sergeant of the Year.