Wisconsin state news briefs: $500 bond for man accused of shooting firefighter questioned, and more state news stories | River Falls Journal

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The judge originally set the bond at $5,000 for Ruben Houston when he was charged with felony drug possession. When the bond was reduced, he posted it and walked free. Then, he was involved in the shooting 11 days later which killed firefighter Mitchell Lundgaard.  

Houston’s lack of a criminal record may have been a factor.

Manitowoc neighborhood disrupted for 12 hours By IED scare

MANITOWOC — People living in one Manitowoc neighborhood had their lives disrupted for about 12 hours starting late Friday. Police blocked the street when they were told a man may have thrown an improvised explosive device in front of his former girlfriend’s home.  

The Brown-Outagamie County Bomb Squad joined several other law enforcement agencies at the scene and neighbors say they heard at least two explosions. No injuries or arrests were reported. Electric service was interrupted for several hours while authorities were on the scene.

Madison suspect accused of sexual assault, disorderly conduct, battery

MADISON — Madison police have arrested a suspect for an incident Saturday night. A 24-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman were walking out of Wando’s Bar and Grill when that suspect grabbed the woman’s backside.  

When the man told him to apologize, the suspect and several of his companions attacked. The suspect’s name hasn’t been released, but he faces charges of sexual assault, disorderly conduct and battery. The man who was beaten was taken to a local hospital.

Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office investigates cemetery vandalism

BLAIR — The Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the damage done by vandals at the Fagerness Lutheran Church Cemetery in Blair.  

Investigators say somebody drove a vehicle through the cemetery, hitting several headstones.  The damage was done in the early morning hours of May 12. Authorities haven’t said if they have any suspects and they are hoping someone from the general public can help identify who did it.

Accusations fly between Democratic governor and Republicans

MADISON — Republican leaders in the Senate and Assembly say Gov. Tony Evers isn’t communicating with them on his state budget plan that they call “wacky” and “crazy.”  

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos made the complaints at the Wisconsin Republican Party state convention over the weekend. Vos says the governor played to his liberal base by proposing a budget Republicans would never approve. Fitzgerald says they could negotiate with former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle. The two legislative leaders say they’ve met with the governor just twice since January.

Oversupply of sand hurting Wisconsin mining operations

SUPERIOR — A nationwide oversupply of the sand used in oil fracking processes is hitting Wisconsin mines hard.  

The company which owns Superior Silica Sands has entered into a debt restructuring deal with its lenders. Emerge Energy Services could file for bankruptcy if a settlement isn’t reached.  

One consultant predicts up to three-fourths of Wisconsin sand mines might have to cease operations. Oil and gas companies have been building more mines near their oil fields in Oklahoma and Texas.

Milwaukee police investigate 2 shootings — 1 fatal — Sunday morning

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee police are investigating two shootings which happened in the early morning hours Sunday.  

Officers say they arrived at one location at about 12:40 A.M. to find a 23-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound. He died at a local hospital. Just 20 minutes later, another man was shot at the same place. That 20-year-old victim is expected to survive. No names have been released and no arrests have been announced.

Chicago man held for sexual assault at Kenosha Metra Station

KENOSHA — A Chicago man is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at the Kenosha Metra Station.

The victim tells investigators a man approached her last week asking to use her phone, then asking her to help him get up the stairs. She says 32-year-old Alvin Linton tried to strangle her and sexually attacked her. Police responding to a 9-1-1 call say they found a woman crying on a bench. She said Linton wrapped his shirt around her neck and she couldn’t scream, but she managed to get away by biting his finger.

6-year-old boy in critical, but stable, condition after shooting

MILWAUKEE — A six-year-old boy becomes the 13th child injured in a Milwaukee shooting this year. The boy’s mother took him to a hospital where he is reported to be in critical, but stable, condition.

She tells police the boy was sitting in a parked car Thursday night when somebody opened fire. Just one month ago 11-year-old Shamariona McCloud was wounded when a bullet came through the wall of her grandmother’s home.

Wisconsin Republican State Convention held in Oshkosh

OSHKOSH– The Republican Party of Wisconsin’s annual state convention kicked off Friday night with a welcome reception and brat fry put on by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in Oshkosh.

Supreme Court Justice-elect Brian Hagedorn was scheduled to speak during the session Saturday, which is unusual for a political party convention.  

Ex-Gov. Scott Walker was not scheduled to speak and House Speaker Paul Ryan is no longer representing Wisconsin in Washington. Sen. Johnson is now serving as the state’s GOP leader.  Party officials say the convention was a regrouping following the mid-term elections.

Funeral, visitation scheduled for fallen Appleton firefighter Lundgaard

APPLETON — A public visitation and private funeral will be held Monday for Appleton firefighter Mitchell Lundgaard.  

Appleton first responders will lead a processional at 1 p.m. from the funeral chapel to Appleton Alliance Church in Grand Chute. Fire Chief Jeremy Hansen encourages people to line the procession route before and after the service in a show of support. The visitation will run from 3 to 6 p.m. in the church. A private funeral for the family only is scheduled for Tuesday.  

Lundgaard was fatally shot in the line of duty Wednesday night responding to a medical call at the transit center. Appleton firefighters will have time off to mourn their fallen brother thanks to the help of neighboring fire departments.

Madison police do not suspect foul play in death of man found in lake

MADISON — The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office is working to determine the manner and cause of death of a man found in Lake Mendota.  

The body was discovered floating Friday morning and police say there were no initial signs of foul play. They believe the man was in his 60s. He was spotted in the water between the UW Water Rescue station and Edgewater Hotel pier.

At least 10 Madison city wells have trace amounts of PFAs

MADISON — Officials with the Madison Water Utility confirm at least 10 of the city’s 19 wells have trace amounts of chemicals suspected to be carcinogens.  

PFAs are used in non-stick cookware, water-resistant materials and firefighting foam. The city began testing its wells two years ago. One puzzling aspect of the testing is that the PFAs have been found in wells which are located far from expected sources like airports and landfills.  

Four wells haven’t been tested yet because they are only used during high-demand summer months.

New plaza to be added to outside of UW Field House

MADISON — The State Building Commission has approved a $6 million project to clean up the exterior of the University of Wisconsin Field House.  

A new plaza will go up outside the south doors. The renovation work on the 88-year-old building will include new, historically accurate doors and windows to improve energy efficiency. More than 92% of the work will be funded from UW athletics gift funds. Construction should begin early next year.

Legal battles over new Kohler Golf Course goes to Supreme Court

MADISON —  The legal battles over the construction of a new Kohler golf course have reached the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  

The state’s high court has agreed to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit over the annexation of land between Sheboygan and the Town of Wilson. City leaders in Wilson say the property was annexed specifically for Kohler by the city after Wilson rejected the construction of the new course alongside Kohler Andrae State Park. Sheboygan says the annexation is a legitimate expansion of the city.  

Environmental groups have also filed suit against the DNR for originally approving the plan, saying it would damage delicate wetlands in the park.

Evers orders flags at half-staff for fallen Appleton firefighter Lundgaard

MADISON  — Gov. Tony Evers is ordering that U.S. and Wisconsin flags fly at half-staff as a mark of respect for fallen Appleton firefighter Mitchell Lundgaard. The order is effective Friday and ends at sunset on the day of Lundgaard’s funeral.  

The 14-year veteran of the Appleton Fire Department was shot while responding to a medical call Wednesday night at the transit center. He is first Appleton firefighter to die by gunfire.  

Evers said in his order, “Mitchell dedicated his life and career to protecting members of his community and leaves behind an honorable legacy of service to his department and his state, and he will be missed.”  

A GoFundMe donation page has been set up to support Lundgaard’s wife and three children.

Brown County town to vote on manure digester system Monday

TOWN OF HOLLAND — The Town of Holland in Brown County will vote Monday on a conditional use permit for a $60 million manure digester system.

A public hearing on the project backed by BC Organics was held Thursday night. Locals say the question has divided the town. Supporters say the digester would improve the sustainability of farms in the area while improving soil and water conservation practices. Opponents are worried about the smells, truck traffic and issues from other digesters.

Future uncertain for Madison’s Westgate Mall with final retailer leaving

MADISON — It used to be one of the busiest retail locations in the state of Wisconsin.  Now, the future is uncertain for Madison’s Westgate Mall. Its last major retailer plans to leave by September.  

TJ Maxx says it will move across the street to be located next to Office Depot. All that’s left in the once-busy mall is the Wisconsin Craft Market, a pop-up used-book store and an insurance agency. The Mall opened in March 1960.

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