Wisconsin roundup: Man charged with attacking teen mowing lawn; 8 more state news stories
WEST BEND — A 46-year-old man is due back in court Oct. 11 after he allegedly attacked a young neighbor with a hammer while the teen was mowing a lawn.
Brian Olson of Richfield is charged in Washington County with felony counts of attempted homicide and not complying with an officer who was taking him into custody. Officials say Olsen was arrested at the Holy Hill Basilica two days after the incident. The victim remains hospitalized with skull fractures.
Reports say Olsen's mental condition could make his $500,000 cash bond a moot point. Online court records indicate that he's at the Winnebago Mental Health Institute at Oshkosh. Olsen waived the state's time limit for a preliminary hearing.
Report: Clarke to take job in Trump administration
MILWAUKEE — The Washington news outlet Politico says outgoing Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is expected to land some type of job in the Trump administration.
But local media reports say Clarke, who resigned as sheriff Thursday, is looking outside of government to support Trump's agenda while keeping himself known. The outspoken Clarke was passed up for a job in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security earlier this year — but Trump recently tweeted that Clarke is a "great guy" and he urged people to read the sheriff's memoir.
A spokesman says Clarke is expected to talk about his future plans next week, and he gave no reason Thursday for quitting his sheriff's post after 15 years. Gov. Scott Walker is expected to name a replacement, and candidates are said include former Milwaukee police captain and current Major League Baseball security vice president Earnell Lucas — and U.S. Marshal and former Clarke aide Kevin Carr.
Ryan favors Trump tax reform template
GREENDALE — House Speaker Paul Ryan told Wisconsin workers he likes President Donald Trump's template for an income tax overhaul.
The Janesville Republican held another of his town hall meetings limited to a company's employees and their bosses — and he said Republicans agree on the general parameters of a tax plan, with the details still to be filled in. Among other things, the Trump plan calls for a large reduction in corporate income taxes and corresponding cuts in middle class taxes.
The speaker also said he hopes to hear from Senate leader next week about moving forward on health care changes, after the Senate's failure to dump Obamacare. Ryan made his comments Thursday at the Kinetic Company in the Milwaukee suburb of Greenfield.
Head of embattled Lincoln Hills takes demotion
MADISON — The head of the embattled Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake juvenile institutions will return to a job she used to have there.
The state Corrections Department says Wendy Peterson will end her time as superintendent of the Lincoln County institutions on Sunday — and she'll again serve as their education director. Peterson told state juvenile corrections chief John Paquin she wanted to spend more time with her family — and Paquin and other officials praised her for making positive changes to improve safety and security at Lincoln Hills.
But in July, Federal Judge James Peterson said Wendy Peterson and security director Brian Gustke didn't have the experience to turn around what the judge called "a facility that is failing like Lincoln Hills." A federal investigation continues into alleged inmate abuses at Lincoln Hills.
State DOT to get record road aid — but not what it wanted
MADISON — Wisconsin will get a record amount of leftover federal highway funds, but it's only one-fifth of what the Department of Transportation requested.
The agency says it will get $66 million this fall in "redistribution aid" — funds originally assigned to other states but not spent. Wisconsin got almost twice what it received in the past, but it's only a fraction of the $341 million it asked for. The DOT hoped to get the extra money to help cover a $1 billion shortfall in its funding for scheduled highway work.
Gov. Scott Walker and GOP state lawmakers hoped it would reduce what the state will borrow for road construction. Assembly GOP finance chair John Nygren says $66 million won't cut it — and his panel is expected to try and set a highway funding package on Tuesday, after disputes on road money have held up approval of the state budget for two months.
UW-Green Bay swimmer rescues neighbors in Houston floods
GREEN — We're starting to hear individual stories of rescues and heroism at the Hurricane Harvey floods in Texas.
One such story comes from UW-Green Bay, where freshman James Finley and his Houston family went door-to-door in boats to rescue dozens of residents and pets. WBAY-TV says one of those rescued thanked Finley on Instagram for saving her husband, who has a heart condition and had just 90 minutes of oxygen left. The 18-year-old Finley is a new member of the Green Bay swim team — and he told reporters on campus Thursday he does not consider himself a hero.
Labor Day travel: AAA no longer bothering with it
Labor Day is the least traveled holiday weekend of the year, and that's why the automotive group AAA did not make projections of how many people would be on the roads.
Wisconsin quit the practice last year, and the national AAA did the same two years ago. In 2015, Wisconsin's auto club chapter said 760,000 people would go at least 50 miles one way during the Labor Day Weekend — around one quarter less than both the July 4 and Thanksgiving weekends.
The state DOT lists 15 major construction projects where workers will hang it up at noon Friday — and the busiest travel is expected between noon and 8 p.m. both today Friday and Monday. Six people were killed on Wisconsin roads last Labor Day, and law enforcement will again look for drunk drivers as part of its annual "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.
Tangled line contributes to Lake Superior drowning
WASHBURN — A tangled sailboat line contributed to the drowning of a 68-year-old Marshfield man in Lake Superior.
Bayfield County sheriff's deputies say Stanley Szczytko was trying to untangle a line connected to a sail on the 42-foot boat, and he was pulled overboard as the line was freed. He was found about 20 minutes later submerged in the lake between Long Island and Houghton Point. Szczytko was taken to the Washburn Marina where paramedics tried but failed to revive him. The U.S. Coast Guard responded after a woman on the boat called for help.
State Patrol probes garbage truck-train crash
WEYERHAEUSER — The Wisconsin State Patrol continues to investigate the crash of a garbage truck and a freight train in northwest Wisconsin.
Troopers say a Waste Management hauler apparently failed to yield to Canadian National train Tuesday morning on a town road near Weyerhaeuser in Rusk County. The garbage truck driver, 32-year-old Gerald Rodewald of Bruce and the train engineer, 47-year-old John Wickersham of Ladysmith were both taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Officials say the locomotive was off the tracks for a short time. The truck leaked fuel after the mishap, and the state DNR helped with the cleanup