Weather Forecast


More snow expected in southeast Wisconsin but not here; Assembly may vote on Walker plan to slash taxes; More state news

Up to five more inches of snow could fall in southeast Wisconsin tonight and tomorrow. Forecasters say the region will be on the edge on a storm system that's moving well to our south.

One to three inches are possible in most of southern Wisconsin late this afternoon and tonight. Places along Lake Michigan may also get lake effect snow from the same system. That could add a total of 3-5 inches by tomorrow morning.

The National Weather Service has put Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha under a winter weather advisory from 8 p.m. today until 9 a.m. tomorrow. Most of Wisconsin is expected to stay dry, but those folks will get colder temperatures instead.

Tonight's lows are expected to range from 10 below in the north to 20 above in the snowy south. The entire state is expected to return to the deep freeze on Thursday, with highs only in the single digits. Until then, you can expect afternoon highs in the teens and 20's.


Assembly may vote on Walker plan to slash taxes

The Wisconsin Assembly could vote a week from today on Gov. Scott Walker's $500 million tax cut plan -- even though it's being held up in the Senate.

The Assembly's economic committee will hold a public hearing at noon today on Walker's proposal to slash $406 million in property taxes and $98 million in income taxes.

Normally, the Joint Finance Committee would be the first to handle such a measure. But majority Senate Republicans don't have the votes to approve the tax cuts Walker announced two weeks ago in his State of the State address. That's because it would increase the deficit at the start of the next budget by $100 million, and senators from both parties want the structural deficit addressed first.

Walker and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos say the shortfall would be wiped out by economic growth, and they believe it's a non-issue.


Teen accused of killing father, hiding body

A Sheboygan high school student is accused of beating his father to death and hiding his body in their apartment for almost a week.

Dorian Torres, 17, made his first court appearance yesterday in a video hook-up from his jail cell where he's being held under a $750,000 bond.

Torres is charged as an adult with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of his father, Emilio, 41.

The man's ex-wife told police that the two argued often, and their son had a problem with authority figures. But District Attorney Joe DeCecco said he did not have an exact motive for the murder.

Investigators believe that Emilio was killed around Jan. 24. His ex called police Jan. 29 because his Facebook account was deleted and their son had asked her for personal ID numbers to his father's bank cards. The teen allegedly told her that his dad had left for Texas and gave him his car before taking off.

Emilio Torres was found dead Jan. 30, wrapped in a shower curtain under a bed's box spring in his apartment with blows to his head.

Dorian is due back in court a week from tomorrow when a judge will decide if there's enough evidence to order a trial.


Woman pleads not guilty to throwing newborn in trash

A Wausau woman has pleaded not guilty to throwing her newborn baby in the trash.

Zoua Yang, 33, was arraigned yesterday on a Marathon County felony charge of concealing a child's death. She's also charged with misdemeanor bail jumping after police were told in mid-October that she gave birth in her bathroom six days earlier.

Defense lawyers said Yang did not realize she was pregnant, and the infant showed no signs of life after being born two months premature. She also said she didn't have health insurance.

A witness said Yang placed the infant in a plastic bag and tossed the baby in a Dumpster. Officers tried recovering the body from the Marathon County landfill but could not find it. Yang remains in jail under a $1,000 cash bond. Her next court date was not immediately set.

--Larry Lee, WSAU, Wausau


Republican, Democrat push for redistricting change

Two retiring state senators won't walk out the door without making their own push to reform the redistricting process that many insiders blame in part for today's polarization.

Republican Dale Schultz and Democrat Tim Cullen will hold a public meeting next Monday at the State Capitol on ways to change the process of redrawing legislative district boundaries after each 10-year census.

Minority Democrats have been going around the state to promote a system that's similar to Iowa where an independent commission redraws the boundaries. The attorney for Iowa's redistricting agency is expected to appear at next week's forum along with UW-Madison experts and the Common Cause watchdog group.

Wisconsin allows the Legislature to handle redistricting. In recent decades, it didn't make much difference because each party controlled a different house, and the federal courts ended up writing the maps.

In 2011, however, Republicans controlled all of state government. Critics said the GOP loaded as many districts as possible with their own voters. A federal court condemned the Republicans’ process but ruled the maps constitutional because they contained relatively equal numbers of voters.


One missing after Oneida County house fire

One person was missing and two others were injured after a house fire near Minocqua in Oneida County.

Officials said the home was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived about 1 a.m. yesterday.

Three people escaped, but a fourth person could not be found. One of the survivors was taken to a Madison hospital with severe burns and other injuries. Another was treated at a local hospital and later released. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


Man accused promising Super Bowl trip, then abandoning 10 kids

A southeast Wisconsin man is facing numerous charges after he allegedly abandoned 10 youngsters he promised to take on a Super Bowl trip.

Rafael Andrews, 39, of Hartford is being held in Pennsylvania on a $150,000 bond.

According to a newspaper in Bethlehem, Penn., Andrews said he wanted to take the kids to Sunday's Super Bowl to raise money for the Christian Programs for Inner City Children.

Five of the youngsters called police, saying they were abandoned at a shopping mall. Five others were reportedly left unsupervised as they raised money door to door in cold weather. Andrews faces multiple counts of endangering children's welfare.


Rhinelander residents told to run water so pipes won’t freeze

It was a month ago on Thursday when Wisconsin had its coldest wind chill in years – minus 55 at Rhinelander. Now, residents of that city are being asked to run their water 24-7 so their pipes don't freeze as our cold winter drags on.

Rhinelander Public Works Director Tim Kingman said his crews are thawing out dozens of homes each day. He said running water constantly is cheaper than the alternative and folks will not get billed for the extra use. Officials say they'll bill a seasonal rate instead.

Meanwhile, water utilities in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Racine urge residents to keep their basements heated so their meters don't bust. Milwaukee has had over 300 broken water meters in the last month. More than 120 water laterals have frozen in Racine. Southeast Wisconsin residents are being asked to run their water several times a day. Milwaukee water works crews have been working 24-7 to fix broken water mains.

Also, the Wisconsin Public Service utility is asking its northeast and central Wisconsin customers to check their vents, furnaces and water heaters to make sure they're not being clogged up by the region's heavy snow.

It's a little warmer this morning, but not much.  It was 18 below in Hayward at 5 a.m. and 10 above in Milwaukee.


Teacher faces five felony charges of sexual assault

A former Abbotsford High School teacher is free after posting a $2,500 bond on allegations of sexual assault.

Andy Follen, 25, of rural Spencer had a bond hearing Monday in Clark County Circuit Court. Online court records show that he was charged with five felony counts of sexual assault by a school staffer, and he's due in court March 6 for his formal first appearance.

Follen resigned last week as a math teacher at Abbotsford High School but did not give a reason. WCCN Radio in Neillsville said two students told police they had sexual contact with the teacher several times between last October and December. Another media report said a parent reported suspicions to Abbotsford school officials.


Bancroft man accused of killing dog with hammer

A central Wisconsin man accused of killing his dog with a hammer is scheduled to enter a plea next Monday to his felony mistreatment charge.

Cody Phillips, 26, of Bancroft waived a preliminary hearing Monday, and a Portage County judge ordered him to stand trial.

According to prosecutors, Phillips woke up Jan. 19 to find that his dog defecated and urinated in his mobile home and when he tried pulling the pet outside by the collar, the dog growled and Phillips panicked. The dog was later found dead with blows to the head.

Phillips missed a court appearance last Monday and was arrested on a warrant the next day. His lawyer, Jared Redfield, told the Stevens Point Journal it was all a misunderstanding. Redfield said he rescheduled the court date with one prosecutor, but another prosecutor was handling the case last week and was not aware of the arrangement.

For now Phillips is free on a $500 cash bond.


Same-sex couples sue over gay marriage ban

Four same-sex couples are not only trying to strike down Wisconsin's gay marriage ban, but a federal lawsuit they filed yesterday also seeks to throw out an obscure state law that makes it a criminal misdemeanor for Wisconsin couples to marry in other states if their unions are not recognized here.

Eight plaintiffs filed their lawsuit in federal court in Madison with backing from the American Civil Liberties Union. One of the four couples was married in neighboring Minnesota last year. The other three are not married.

Judi Trampf told reporters she didn't want to take the risk of being prosecuted and face nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine. The couples' lawyers said they did not know of any other state with a law like this.

In 2006 59% of Wisconsin voters approved the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions. The lawsuit seeks to drop the ban and to drop earlier language from state law which describes marriage as between a husband and wife.

Republican State Attorney General JB Van Hollen vowed to defend the amendment. He said he believes it's constitutional. Wisconsin Family Action, the group that brought forth the amendment, said it would probably try to become involved in defending the ban in court.