“News-May 28, 2011”

Recall Election Delay Anticipated


5/28/11 – Dates for three recall elections are now in doubt because the Government Accountability Board has delayed its final decision.  The board says its staff needs more time to review factual and legal challenges to the petitions that targeted the state senators.  Democrats claim petition circulators used fraud and misrepresentation to get people to sign.  The review is set for next Tuesday, but the board won’t decide on other recall petitions until June 8 at the soonest.  The recall elections were originally to be held July 12, but now more court challenges could push them further into the summer months.  The recalls center on support-for and opposition-against the contentious anti-union bill backed by the governor.  Three Democrats and six Republicans were targeted.


Body Found In Columbia County Natural Area


5/28/11 – A body was found Friday afternoon in a natural area in Columbia County.  Sheriff Dennis Richards says authorities responded to Gibraltar Rock in the Township of West Point just before 3pm to reports that a body was laying approximately 100 feet below the crest of Gibraltar Rock. The body was later determined to be that of a 29-year-old man from the city of Waukesha. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Medical Examiner. The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of family. The incident remains under investigation by the Columbia County Sheriffs Department.


Corrections Officer Sentenced In Sexual Assault


5/28/11 – A former corrections officer will serve up to 18 years in prison for sexually assaulting an inmate.  The crime happened at a women’s prison in Fond du Lac.  Jimmie Brown was convicted last February and was sentenced yesterday on 16 counts of sexual assault by a corrections officer.  Brown was convicted of sexually assaulting one inmate and having consensual sex with several others at the Taycheedah Correction Institution between May 2007 and April 2008.  Inmates can’t legally consent to having sex with a correctional officer under Wisconsin law.


Charges Filed In Planned Abortion Doctor Killing Spree


5/28/11 – A second criminal complaint filed Friday said a Marshfield man was going to travel to an abortion clinic in Milwaukee, after he was going to kill an abortion provider in Madison. 63-year-old Ralph Lang appeared in state court, after a federal magistrate ordered him to stay in jail while prosecutors consider stronger charges. In the state’s case, Lang was charged in Dane County Circuit Court with a felony count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide – and a 200-thousand-dollar bond was ordered. In the federal case, Lang faces a misdemeanor count of attempting to injure those providing reproductive health services. The U-S attorney’s office says it’s also considering a felony count of interfering with the use of a program that gets federal funds. They’re expected to take the matter to a federal grand jury in about three weeks. Lang’s next hearing in the state’s case is June seventh, when a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to order a trial. Lang reportedly told Madison Police he planned to kill a doctor at Planned Parenthood’s clinic Thursday. The state’s complaint did not say which Milwaukee clinic he was planning to visit next. It also listed a different version of how Lang’s gun went off in his motel room on Wednesday – prompting police to arrive and arrest him. The federal charge said he was loading a magazine when it went off. The state’s complaint said he was practicing a maneuver when he pulled the trigger – and he didn’t think the gun was loaded at the time.


Neillsville Man Bound Over In Nine Year Old Murder


5/28/11 – A Neillsville man has been bound over for trial on first-degree homicide charges in a nine year old case.  Larry Schaffer was arrested after he reportedly bragged about killing Connie DeGeorge and her husband, Kale Kvistad Junior, in an argument over drugs.  The killing happened in 2002.  Schaffer is going to be examined to see if he is competent to stand trial.  His sister has testified at a preliminary hearing that she saw his sexually assault DeGeorge before killing the couple in a wooded area.  Their bones were found two years later by a hunter in Monroe County.


Minnesota Man Held In Vengeful Act


5/28/11 – Authorities say they think a Minnesota man ran down the wrong victim.  They say it was an act of revenge by Timothy Bakdash, when he used his car to hit Benjamin Van Handel near the University of Minnesota campus.  It happened last April 15.  Bakdash had argued with another man and he apparent mistook Van Handel for his intended victim, killing him.  Bakdash has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge, plus two counts of attempted murder, since he hit two women who were also on that sidewalk.  Backdash is being held on a million dollar bond.


UW Madison Split Stalled


5/28/11 – Although work is reportedly still being done to give the University of Wisconsin-Madison more flexibility in controlling its budget, the governor’s idea of breaking the Madison campus off from the rest of the system is said to be dead now.  UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin says there isn’t enough support for the plan, but she is optimistic about a similar approach that is being studied.  The Joint Finance Committee is expected to vote on the university system’s budget next week.


$600M St. Croix Bridge Introduced


5/28/11 – All four U.S. Senators from Wisconsin and Minnesota back a proposal for a new, four-lane bridge over the St. Croix River.  The bill they have introduced includes the first-ever exemption for a bridge covered by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.  Those opposing the 600 million dollar project say the bridge costs too much and doesn’t fit with the scenic river.  On the other hand, the current bridge is 80 years old and, with only two lanes, isn’t adequate to handle the amount of traffic in the growing area.  Wisconsin Democratic Senator Herb Kohl points out that St. Croix County is growing, quoting here, “faster than any other place in our state.”