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A River Falls man pleaded guilty to homicide and arson charges in the deaths of his three young daughters Thursday afternoon, March 28, in the first phase of the murder case. Aaron Schaffhausen, 35, Minot, N.D., pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of attempted arson before Judge Howard W. Cameron in St. Croix County Circuit Court. The case will move to a second phase Monday, April 1, with jury selection in which the defense must prove Schaffhausen was not responsible for his actions at the time he committed the crimes.
Parents of Whitnall School students vented their anger at a special meeting this week at which the district tried to explain why parents weren't told immediately when the school's food service director was arrested for child enticement. James Heidke, 55, was arrested February 23, and parents weren't informed until March 5. WISN-TV aired a story on the arrest the day before the parents were officially notified. Those parents say they should have been told much earlier. Heidke was charged with using a computer to try to commit a child sex crime.
An Oshkosh man and his 18-year-old son were taken to jail, after they and two others were arrested in a road-rage incident that ended in a fight on a freeway near Neenah. Winnebago County sheriff's deputies said two vehicles cut each other off yesterday afternoon on Hwy. 41. People in both vehicles exchanged hand gestures before they stopped and confronted each other. A passing motorist saw two people fighting on the shoulder of the road and called 911. Officers eventually found both vehicles.
Woodchucks would no longer be a protected species in Wisconsin under a bill that's being drafted by a state Assembly Republican. De Pere Representative Andre Jacque proposes a hunting season for woodchucks that would run from March through December. Hunters and trappers could take unlimited numbers of the creatures. UW Madison professor emeritus Scott Craven said woodchucks were protected for decades because they got scarce - and they were needed to keep digging burrows and provide much-needed shelter for other animals. Now, woodchucks are fairly common.
Douglas and Renée Sigwarth of Troy Township, were awarded the unique distinction of creating a permanent blown glass installation for the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) in West Bend. The installation consists of 180 blown glass spheres arranged into three 18-foot structures suspended from the building's north facing "La Pointe." The Sigwarths installed their piece, "Interconnection," in the newly completed building last December. The Sigwarths were commissioned by the James and Karen Hyde Foundation to create a large scale piece that would be a permanent fixture in the new location for MOWA.
When I was a kid in a small Wisconsin grade school, one of my favorite subjects was Wisconsin history, taught to me by my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Lily Reich. One of our texts was a book called "Men Who Made Wisconsin" or something like that. The book contained brief profiles of famous folks from Badgerland. I remember that one of these folks was the fellow who bred the famous silver mink, which was the greatest mink ever known (with my apologies to PETA). Another famous Wisconsinite was Curly Lambeau of the Green Bay Packers.
A state appeals court ruled today that a suburban Milwaukee couple and a police officer can proceed with a joint lawsuit filed against a railroad after a 2009 train crash. With a 2-1 vote, the First District Appellate Court in Milwaukee overturned a circuit court ruling that said the suit was not allowed due to federal railroad laws. Monica Ensley-Partenfelder was on her way to Elm Grove's Memorial Day parade when her van stopped on railroad tracks in heavy traffic.
A Pewaukee couple and their teenage son will pay a total of $2,700 in fines for hosting a youth party that resulted in three alcohol-related traffic deaths. Scott and Charlene Wetzel and their 18-year-old son Jason were initially given 26 citations by Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel. A judge accepted a plea deal in which Charlene accepted four citations, and the two male defendants accepted one ticket. The DA said the fines send a strong message that it's not acceptable for adults to provide alcohol to other people's children.
Looking for fresh ideas in new home building, home remodeling and improvement, home decorating, design, and landscaping? With over 60 vendors at the upcoming St. Croix Valley Home Builders Association Home, Remodeling & Garden show you'll be able to gather a multitude of ideas to help you create your dream home--from the ground up or by re-inventing the home you're in! Find everything you need under one roof at the Hudson Sports & Civic Center on Hanley Road in Hudson. The show will be open to the public on Friday, March 22, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday, March 23, from 9 a.m.
The two candidates for state public school superintendent disagree on whether schools need more tax dollars. Incumbent Tony Evers and state Assembly Republican Don Pridemore debated the funding issue and others this week at a meeting in Madison of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards. Evers, who's seeking his second four-year term, says the schools' state-mandated revenue limits should rise by $225 dollars per student over the next two years.