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Trooper: Semitruck crashes into bus in Interstate construction zone, sending 7 to hospital

A collision between a semitruck unit and a bus Thursday sending seven people to the hospital, according to officials with the Wisconsin State Patrol.

A Dane County dispatcher told News 3 that the semitruck rear-ended the bus in a construction zone. The Lamers bus was carrying 30 people, according to officials with the Dane County Sheriff's Office.

Lamers was northbound on interstate in construction zone. Slowed down. Semi couldn't stop. 7 transported for non life threatening injuries-- Keely Arthur (@news3keely) May 24, 2018

Troopers and emergency medical services units responded to the crash around 1:40 p.m. on I39/90 northbound at mile marker 145 just north of Highway N.

The bus was not a school bus, officials said. The victims' injuries were minor.

UPDATE: Town/ city of Madison, Stoughton, and other crews responding to bus vs semi accident on interstate near beltline and county rd N pic.twitter.com/cUlaobc2VJ-- Keely Arthur (@news3keely) May 24, 2018

The inside lane near the crash site is closed while the vehicles are towed, according to troopers. Officials with the Department of Transportation said therewere traffic queues of 5 miles and delays of longer than 24 minutes. The crash site was cleared at about 3:50 p.m.

Dane Co. Sheriff's dept confirms 2 injured but we are seeing more treated on scene. Passengers were on a Lamers bus when it crashed w/semi pic.twitter.com/M19dDYjAkF-- Keely Arthur (@news3keely) May 24, 2018 ]]>

Published on 24 May 2018 | 9:01 pm

3 officers disciplined in Bucks player's arrest

A published report says three police officers involved in the stun gun arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown were punished by suspensions ranging from two to 15 days.

The Milwaukee Journal, citing unidentified sources, says Officer Joseph Grams was suspended for two days. Grams was the first officer who encountered Brown.

Sgts. Jeffrey Krueger and Sean Mahnke were suspended for 10 and 15 days, though it wasn't clear which supervisor received the longer suspension. They were among the officers who later arrived at the scene.

Police have declined to name the officers or detail their punishments.

The longstanding effort by Milwaukee police to mend their relationship with black residents suffered another setback after the release of the video.

The body camera video is also the first major challenge for new Police Chief Alfonso Morales' goal of restoring trust in a department that has been besieged by excessive-force lawsuits in recent years.

Morales apologized to Brown on Wednesday as body camera footage of the arrest was released, showing a possible parking citation escalating into a rough Taser takedown. Brown was never charged.

Community groups in Milwaukee are criticizing police over newly released body camera footage of Bucks player Sterling Brown's January arrest.

Milwaukee NAACP President Fred Royal says it's disturbing that an officer "would incite an argument over a parking citation."

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch calls newly released police video showing officers using a stun gun on Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown "disconcerting" and "alarming."

The Republican Kleefisch was asked about the video Thursday during an interview on C-SPAN. Gov. Scott Walker has not commented publicly on the police body camera video shows a possible parking citation escalating into a rough Taser takedown. Brown was never charged.

Kleefisch says the police reaction was "inappropriate ... particularly if someone was non-confrontational."

Kleefisch says she's waiting to see a transcription of the audio which was difficult to hear on the video released Wednesday. But even without the transcription, Kleefisch says "it seemed alarming to me."


Published on 24 May 2018 | 8:57 pm

Wisconsin frack sand sludge spill reaches Mississippi River

Officials in Wisconsin are testing the environmental and health impacts following a frack sand sludge spill that has now reached the Mississippi River.

A contactor's bulldozer slid into a pond earlier this week, leading to an hours-long rescue at the Hi-Crush mine in the western Wisconsin town of Whitehall. Rescuers emptied the pond to free the man, requiring them to release 10 million gallons (37.8 million liters) of water and mud into the Trempealeau River tributary.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is studying the sludge, but test results likely won't be back for a week. DNR spokesman Jim Dick said Thursday that Hi-Crush is cleaning up the area.

Meanwhile, the plume has reached the Mississippi River and Minnesota's pollution agency is monitoring it.


Published on 24 May 2018 | 8:37 pm

Police: Person of interest in custody following State Street shooting Wednesday night

A person of interest is in custody after a shooting at a residence above a State Street bar Wednesday night sent the victim to a hospital for emergency medical treatment.

Officials are not releasing the name of the man in custody, who is in his 20s, as the investigation is ongoing and he is not yet facing charges. He is being held on a parole hold, according to a news release form the Madison Police Department.

Officials responded to a report of shots fired in an apartment building located above Whiskey Jack's bar at 556 State St. around 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The shooter left the building on foot. The shooting is not considered random as the two men knew each other.

When officers arrived the 36-year-old victim had two gunshot wounds; one on his head, one on his arm. The man was taken to the hospital for emergency medical treatment, but is expected to survive, according to Ald. Mike Verveer.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Madison Area Crime Stoppers or the Dane County Public Safety Communications Center.


Published on 24 May 2018 | 8:33 pm

Madison man found guilty of sex trafficking and drug charge

A Madison man has been convicted of sex trafficking and a drug charge after authorities report he forced women into prostitution and maintained a drug location.

Harry Miller, 60, was found guilty Wednesday of sex trafficking and maintaining a place for distributing and using cocaine and heroin. The DOJ reported the conviction in a statement Thursday.

Officials with the Dane County Narcotics Task Force reported that Miller forced two women to engage in prostitution by keeping heroin from them until they were in withdrawal.

According to the statement from the DOJ, Miller forced the women into prostitution and maintained a location for drug distribution and use between March and June 2017.

The decision to convict came from the jury after seven hours of deliberation. The trial lasted for three days.

Miller faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for the sex trafficking charge and a maximum sentence of 20 years for the drug charge. Miller's sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 16.


Published on 24 May 2018 | 8:31 pm

DNR attorney will review sand plant permit ruling

A Department of Natural Resources attorney will decide whether to honor a ruling that a Monroe County sand plant's wetlands permit is invalid.

Clean Wisconsin and the Ho-Chunk Nation challenged Meteor Timber's permit in a contested case filing. An administrative law judge ruled May 4 the DNR lacked enough information to grant the permit.

DNR Secretary Dan Meyer has the power to review such rulings and decide whether to abide by them. Meyer ordered agency attorney Mark Herman to decide whether to launch a review by Thursday.

DNR spokesman James Dick said in an email Herman will perform the review. No timetable exists for a decision on whether to abide by the ruling.

Clean Wisconsin and the Ho-Chunk say in a statement the DNR should respect the ruling.


Published on 24 May 2018 | 7:57 pm

Emergency rule prohibits most anchoring in Michigan waterway

Michigan's governor has approved an emergency rule prohibiting most vessels from dropping anchor in a waterway where oil, electric and other infrastructure cables rest.

Gov. Rick Snyder says Thursday that the move prevents environmental damage to the state and the Straits of Mackinac that connects Lakes Michigan and Huron.

On April 1, twin oil pipelines beneath the straits were dented, probably from a tugboat anchor strike. About 600 gallons (2,270 liters) of mineral oil insulation fluid also leaked from two electric cables.

The emergency rule will remain in place for six months and can be renewed for another six months. It also adds teeth and puts into state law a previous informal anchor restriction.

The state and the Coast Guard are discussing permanent measures on anchoring.


Published on 24 May 2018 | 6:10 pm

PSC wants info on Madison Water budget problems before considering rate raise

State regulators are asking the Madison Water Utility for information about its $6 million cash deficit before it moves forward on the utility's request to raise rates. The utility's answers could lead to an even higher rate increase for Madison Water customers in the future.

An auditor with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission wrote a letter this week to Madison Water officials asking about the fact Madison Water did not receive millions in revenue it had budgeted for in 2017 and the short-term financing loan from the City of Madison it will need to pay its bills. The auditor stressed Madison Water did not include information about the debt or the anticipated loan conditions at the time it filed its rate increase with the PSC. Madison Water Utility officials say they only discovered the extent of the cash deficit when they closed the 2017 books in April.

State regulators are currently reviewing Madison Water's proposed 32.7 percent rate increase to cover its debt obligations plus to replace more of its water mains. The utility originally asked to raise rates 26 percent, but increased its request after PSC auditors raised questions about whether that would be enough to pay interest and principal on its already existing loans. It's the largest proposed increase in Madison Water history.

"With regards to Madison's rate adjustment, we are still obtaining information from the utility," Matthew Spencer, the communications and legislative director with the PSC, wrote in an email to News 3. "In many cases, utility staff requests additional data from utilities when reviewing rate adjustment cases. A hearing date will be set for later this year, with a Commission decision to follow. The decision will take into consideration all information provided to staff through our Electronic Filing System and information provided at the hearing."

Asked whether the $6 million cash deficit might cause Madison Water to ask for an even higher rate increase for its customers, Spencer referred back to his statement and said the PSC generally does not comment on active cases. Madison Water earlier this week insisted it did not increase the rate itself and that it doesn't have anything to do with its 2017 budgeting problems.

"We have a high debt load and we want to make sure that's manageable and sustainable over time," Madison Water General Manager Tom Heikinnen said in an interview with News 3. "The rate increase has nothing to do with this cash deficit.

"We have a communications challenge if that's the impression and we'll work on that. We'll try to get the message out that the two are unrelated."

Madison Water estimated its customers would pay $5-$9 more per month under the proposed 32.7 percent rate increase, depending on how much water they use. The utility is also proposing to sell a number of properties it owns and significantly reduce nonessential spending in an effort to balance future budgets and limit the amount of money it needs to borrow from the city to make up the $6 million cash deficit.


Published on 24 May 2018 | 6:09 pm

Oregon man arrested after confronting two women, stealing backpack

Police said an 18-year-old Oregon, Wisconsin, man was arrested early Thursday morning after an armed robbery in the 1300 block of Jenifer Street.

Along with another suspect, Jordan E. O'Malley confronted two women, a 29-year-old and a 27-year-old. The two suspects stole one backpack, according to a release.

The release said two other men in the area heard screaming and went to see if the victims needed help. They saw one of the women struggling with a suspect.

The men detained the suspect until police arrived. O'Malley had a BB gun in his pocket. The second robber got away and police are currently trying to identify him.

The backpack was dumped nearby and has been since recovered.


Published on 24 May 2018 | 5:15 pm

How to save money on your mortgage

The leap into homeownership is a big change, especially on your finances.

Buying a home is likely the biggest purchase you'll ever make, so it's important to keep your payments in line with what you can afford.

When your mortgage eats up too much of your budget, it can affect your long-term financial security by limiting your ability to save for retirement, pay down debt or follow other dreams like traveling or starting a business.

The general rule of thumb is to aim to have your monthly housing costs add up to less than 30% of your monthly before-tax income.

No doubt that in the country's more expensive housing markets that's hard to do, but buyers can take steps to help reduce their housing payments.

Improve your credit score

Your credit score plays a major role with lenders in deciding the terms of your home loan.

The better your score, the more likely you are to get a lower interest rate, which means you will be paying less over the life of your loan.

A credit score of 750 and up is generally considered excellent and will make you the most attractive borrower.

Home buyers with credit scores below 620 tend to have very high interest rates and risky features on their home loans, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

But a good credit score doesn't happen overnight.

"It means that for a couple years before you really want to purchase a house, you start working to get your score as high as possible, said Nicole Theisen Strbich, a certified financial planner and director of financial planning with Buckingham Financial Group. "It's not a switch you can flip."

Start by reviewing your credit report to identify outstanding debt and create a game plan on how to reduce it as quickly as possible. Be sure to also look for any errors on your report since they can take time to fix.

Shop around ... a lot

When it comes to getting a mortgage, it pays to shop around.

The interest rate for similar loans can vary by more than half of one percentage point from one lender to another, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And while that number might sound small, it can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.

The difference between the average person's mortgage rate and the lowest rate available to them came to an extra $300 a year, a CFPB report found. That means paying an extra $9,000 over a 30-year mortgage.

Get quotes from a variety of lenders, traditional banks, online-only banks and community banks to find the best rate, the experts advised.

Don't worry about hurting your credit score: Multiple credit checks from mortgage lenders within a 45-day window are recorded on your credit report as a single inquiry.

Put down a large down payment

The larger your down payment, the less you need to borrow and the smaller your monthly mortgage payments will be.

It also means paying less in total interest.

If you can put down at least 20% of the home price, you can also avoid paying private mortgage insurance -- which protects the lender in case you default -- saving thousands of dollars a year.

If you put more money down, you can also avoid paying points and other loan fees.

While you're saving to hit that 20% mark, be sure to keep those funds safe.

"If you are planning on purchasing in the next five years, save it in a place not subject to stock market volatility," recommended Strbich. "Find the highest interest-bearing account with FDIC insurance. Online banks are a great option for that."

Think shorter

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage is the most common home loan, but there are other options available.

"I try to steer young people away from 30-year mortgages," said John Cooper, certified financial planner in South Carolina. "The extended maturity on the loan gives buyers a lower monthly payment, but it may in reality cause them to buy more of a home than they can afford."

A 15-year mortgage comes with higher monthly payments, but also has a lower interest rate, which can bring significant savings.

Shorter loans also mean more of your payments are going toward the principal of your loan and less toward interest compared to a 30-year loan, so you'll build equity faster.

For some buyers, an adjustable-rate mortgage could also make sense.

ARMs offer a fixed, lower interest rate for a set period of time. But after that introductory period expires, the rate can rise (or drop) to current rates. So it's important to evaluate the risks and make sure your income will be able to cover a higher interest rate.

Cooper said an ARM could work for buyers who know they won't be living in the home long term, or are in occupations where they aren't making a lot of money at the start, but will see a significant increase in a few years.


Published on 24 May 2018 | 5:00 pm

Dane County Humane Society guinea pigs looking for homes

The Dane County Humane Society is going "hog wild" with guinea pigs up for adoption.

Currently, 11 guinea pigs are available and looking for homes, according to a Facebook post.

DCHS has a wide variety of guinea pigs ranging from young to old and smooth to curly coats.

The adoption fee is $20 for a single guinea pig and $30 for a pair.


Published on 24 May 2018 | 3:59 pm

Structure fire damages two residential units in Green Lake

The Green Lake County Sheriff's Department dispatch received a call at 3:29 a.m. of a structure fire at 471 Meadowlark Lane Thursday.

According to a release, the occupants left the home on their own and were transported to Ripon Hospital because of the heavy smoke.

The other unit's resident was not at home, but was located shortly afterward.

Fire departments from the City of Green Lake, Town of Brooklyn, City of Berlin and City of Princeton helped with the call. The Berlin Ambulance Service, members of Green Lake/Brooklyn First Responders, the City of Green Lake Police Department and the Green Lake County Sheriff's Department assisted.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital for exhaustion symptoms and expected to be OK. One Green Lake City Police officer was treated at the scene for minor smoke inhalation.

Both units had heavy damage. The scene remains under investigation.


Published on 24 May 2018 | 2:43 pm

15-year-old driver struck vehicle; four individuals, including driver, injured

A 15-year-old male driver from Janesville struck a northbound vehicle at the intersection of highway 104 and highway 59 Wednesday afternoon.

According to a release, the driver was on highway 59, attempting to turn south when he hit a vehicle, operated by Lavonne Winger, a 58-year-old from Waunakee.

Green County deputies along with Albany EMS, Brooklyn EMS and the Albany Fire Department responded at 3:27 p.m.

While the drive and Winger were both wearing seat belts, they were injured during the crash. The driver was transported to Monroe ER. Winger was transported to UW Hospital.

There were two passengers in the 15-year-old driver's car, Betty Helwig, a 73-year-old from Albany, and Anthony Bradley, a 14-year-old from Janesville. Both wore seatbelts and were transferred to Monroe ER.

The vehicles had severe damage and were towed from the scene. The air bags were deployed in both vehicles.

The crash is under investigation.


Published on 24 May 2018 | 2:08 pm

Armed man fatally shot by police in Fox Valley

State justice officials say a police officer in the Fox Valley has fatally shot a suspect.

The Department of Justice says Fox Crossing police responded to a report of a man threatening people at Fritze Park Wednesday afternoon. Police say numerous people called about a man who they said was acting erratically and was armed with a knife.

WLUK-TV reports authorities say the suspect was shot after police confronted him on the park's Trestle Trail and died at the scene.

The officer who shot the man is on administrative leave, per the department's policies. The DOJ's Division of Criminal Investigation is handling the case.

The Trestle Trail is the place where three people were shot and killed three years ago by a shooter who took his own life.


Published on 24 May 2018 | 1:02 pm

Violent police incidents that made headlines

Published on 5 April 2018 | 2:55 pm

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