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UW Health opens state's only lupus clinic

UW Health is making history in the state this month opening the only clinic focused solely on lupus patients and addressing their needs. The disease primarily affects women ages 14 to 44, according to the natural resource center on lupus.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect the skin, joints and multiple organs. Jordana Lenon, knows the impacts of the disease firsthand.

"The disease affects your whole body. This is why I think the lupus clinic is such a good idea. The disease needs a lot more visibility. There are people out there that probably have all these symptoms and have no idea they are part of lupus," Lenon said.

Lenon has spent her life enjoying sports as an avid skier, runner and sailor. Seven years ago that all changed when she was diagnosed with the disease. Lenon had started noticing different symptoms two years before she was diagnosed in 2011, but said her doctors at first didn't think it was lupus.

"My doctors missed the signs and I missed the signs. Maybe the doctors themselves would have been more aware if there was this clinic, instead of lupus kind of being in the background," Lenon said.

UW Health is working to identify signs of lupus earlier, to prevent potential kidney disease and provide comprehensive care in the state's only lupus clink. The clinic located in a building they already own at UW Health's 1 South Park St building in Madison. At appointments patients will have access to arthritis and immune specialist, for lupus treatment and a social worker.

"We try to help them treat patient as well as treating the disease and help them in regards to if they are depressed, financially challenged, they would get support or resources to help them," said director of the clinic, Dr. Shivani Garg.

Aside from physical impacts, Garg said the clinic is addressing emotional needs that often go untreated.

"There is a huge disconnect or gap between what patients perceive and what the physicians perceive in regards to in regards to disease or how disease is impacting their life. This clinic focuses on that gap," she explained.

"This is all to understand the barriers that are leading to what patients are feeling or why the disease is not controlled," Garg said.

The clinic is a new support system Lenon believes can help her and 16,000 other people diagnosed every year.

"Many people are out there walking around in pain and have something. We all just try to be strong and we all need to be there and help each other out as much as we can," Lennon said.

The clinic will run every other Monday morning from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m. Garg said there is room for the clinic to expand to provide an all-day clinic on Monday if there are enough patients in need.


Published on 23 February 2018 | 2:20 am

Madison Board of Education president: 'Parents have a right to be worried. I'm worried.'

Madison parents are concerned for their students' safety after rumors of a shooting threat spread at La Follette High School last week. News that a student brought a gun to the school has heightened their concern.

"Parents have a right to be worried. They have a right to be concerned, especially at a school where a kid brought a gun to school, said Madison Board of Education President James Howard. "We're not saying by any means that parents shouldn't be worried. I'm worried."

Howard said the board is constantly reviewing its practices and evaluating the best way to keep students safe.

On Wednesday, an armed educational resource officer approached the student rumored to have a gun. When the student tried to run, the officer took him to the ground and found the loaded gun in his pocket.

This happened the day after almost 200 parents of La Follette students expressed their security concerns to the district during a meeting requested by the booster club.

"Having a real gun found in a Madison school is fairly unusual," said Joel DeSpain, Madison Police Department public information officer.

DeSpain said police do not believe the student intended to shoot anyone, and that he has seen many teenagers make bad decisions.

"In the last couple of years, the number of weapons we're seeing in the streets, the number of shots that are being fired, in knowing most of the people that are involved are high school age, I think is concerning for people," said DeSpain.

Howard believes this is not just a school matter, but a societal issue. He said the board will continue to engage with legislators to help them understand that schools need fewer, not more, guns.

"We have our president talking about arming people in schools and so we have to continue to have a societal conversation about what it takes to keep kids safe," said Howard.

He said safety is the No.1 topic for the Board of Education, but he wants to see more families get involved.

He suggested taking on the issue with targeted intervention by looking at particular schools that are seeing multiple incidents or focusing on the few students who continue to make trouble.

"It's not about locking them up. It's about how can we help those people. Is it a mental health issue? What's the issue? Why would a person bring a gun to school?" he said.

DeSpain said this incident does not fit what happened in Parkland, Florida, but the mass shooting has heightened fear across the nation.

Howard said he is one of the parents who worries that something like that could happen in Madison.


Published on 23 February 2018 | 2:15 am

Immigration rights activists protest bill at state Capitol

Members of Voces De La Frontera, an immigration rights organization in Wisconsin, came to the state Capitol for an event Thursday.

They are urging top Republican leaders to stop what they call a "anti-sanctuary hate bill," which would ban sanctuary cities in Wisconsin. The measure would allow local employees to investigate immigration status and mandate authorities turn immigrants over to federal authorities.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the Assembly planned to finish up its work for the year Thursday. Currently, the bill is not on the Assembly calendar.

Sen. Stephen Nass's office confirmed the bill is not on the Senate calendar either.

During a public hearing, Nass had said sanctuary policies "create a magnet for immigration."

"Contrary to claims of opponents, sanctuary cities do not make our communities safer. These politically correct policies actually increase the risk to public safety in order to make a political statement regarding federal immigration laws," Nass said.

During Voces De La Frontera's rally on Thursday, immigrants share personal stories.



Published on 23 February 2018 | 2:09 am

Alliant shuts off some utilities in Rock County because of flooding

Alliant Energy officials announced that the company has shut off utility service to about a dozen customers in the Janesville and Edgerton area because of flooding.

Officials said some basements have flooded, causing utility equipment to be underwater.

Alliant Energy spokesperson Scott Reigstad said the company has disconnected utilities before because of flooding.

"It happens fairly often that we have to shut off customers for flooding, especially in the spring," Reigstad said. "It's a little unusual, I would say, for this time of year, in late February, because you typically don't get the snow melt and the water combination like we did."

.@AlliantEnergyWI says about a dozen homes in Rock County had to have utilities cut off because of flooding in the basement. A spokesperson says about half have already been turned back on and the other half should be back on by the end of the day #news3 pic.twitter.com/r5eKJ831mU-- Jenna Middaugh (@JennaMiddaugh) February 22, 2018

Normally, when Alliant Energy has to disconnect utilities because of flooding, it's for homes near the Rock River, according to Reigstad. This time, things were a little different.

"It actually had some different areas where we had to do disconnects, and that was largely because of the frozen ground and the water having nowhere to go," Reigstad said. "So it went into some basements and areas that it typically would not go to."

He said the affected areas were south of Edgerton, west of Janesville on County Road A and in the southwest part of Janesville.

Reigstad said utilities for about half of the homes were turned on by Thursday afternoon. He said Alliant Energy requires a professional to inspect the utilities before the company can turn the services back on. Once that happens, Reigstad said, the company will turn on the utilities for the remaining homes.

"In the interest of customer and employee safety, we need to take proactive steps to protect the public in these areas," said Bridget Aldridge, Alliant Energy senior customer operations manager in Janesville, in a news release. "We continue to monitor the situation in all impacted areas, and we will only interrupt service when it becomes absolutely necessary for health and safety reasons."

Recent heavy rains have caused flooding in some of our communities. Stay safe! Never walk through a flooded home or basement unless utility services are turned off, and don't drive through flood waters. More flood safety tips: https://t.co/uQUcVtJe7I pic.twitter.com/QdqNfP2Un7-- Alliant Energy WI (@AlliantEnergyWI) February 21, 2018

Beloit Fire Chief Bradley Liggett said the city has been working with Alliant Energy since Tuesday to make sure utilities aren't affected by floodwaters. He said utility services were not turned off for any properties in the Beloit area.

"When a flooding occurs and utilities are affected, it could cause a fire or natural gas leak or possibly even a natural gas explosion," Liggett said. "So we cut utilities from homes that are subject to that flooding or have flooded."

Alliant Energy officials have several safety tips for people experiencing flooding:

Never walk through a flooded home or building until the electricity is disconnected. Even a small amount of water on the floor of your basement can put you at risk for electrocution. Unplug electric appliances if they are expected to be underwater. Individually shut off the valves to gas appliances if they are expected to be underwater. Never handle electric appliances or any other electric equipment, such as a circuit breaker, with wet hands or while standing on a wet surface. Water and electricity can be a deadly combination. Call Alliant Energy to have service disconnected at the meter. If there is standing water in your home or business, call Alliant Energy at 1-800-ALLIANT (255-4268) to have power disconnected before you step into any standing water. Once the power is disconnected, it's safe to begin cleanup. Call Alliant Energy to have your natural gas turned off. Standing water can snuff out pilot lights on hot water heaters and furnaces. If this occurs, natural gas may collect in your home, creating the risk of an explosion. Have a licensed electrician inspect your electrical system before calling to be reconnected. Have your furnace and water heater inspected by a heating or appliance and service repair contractor before calling to be reconnected. Gas appliance manufacturers recommend that you replace appliance parts that have been underwater.

Alliant Energy officials said the company does not charge customers to turn off utilities when there is flooding or to turn the services back on when cleanup is done.


Published on 23 February 2018 | 2:08 am

Drunken driver who struck, killed 24-year-old pedestrian sentenced to 10 years in prison

A 33-year-old man was sentenced in Dane County court Thursday in connection with a drunken-driving-related death of a University of Wisconsin-Madison student last year.

Kong Vang, of Fitchburg, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection with the death of 24-year-old Wenxin Huai, a student from China living in Madison. He was also sentenced to five years of extended supervision.

"I've settled on the number of 10 years because it is a decade. And while it is longer than your attorney requested and shorter than the state has sought, I believe a decade of your life given up for the loss that you've caused is appropriate," Judge John Hyland said. "I believe that it also does less harm than could be done to your family and to your children because at least you will be able to be there for them while they are still yet children, for at least a portion of their lives."

Before delivering the sentence, Hyland became emotional discussing the tragedy of the loss of Huai's life.

"Whatever I decide here today will bring no one comfort, will bring no one happiness, will bring no one solace," Hyland said. "I hope it brings closure, at least for this part of these proceedings. I hope it brings some level of peace. I hope that the parents who lost a child, as that should never happen, are able to move on to some degree from that loss. A loss I cannot imagine."

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Vang pleaded guilty in November to second-offense homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, second-degree recklessly endangering safety and possession of methamphetamine. Seven other charges against him were dismissed but read in.

Police said Vang was drunk when he struck Huai as she was walking on South Park Street with a friend.


Published on 23 February 2018 | 1:17 am

Wisconsin man guilty of throwing gas-filled bottles at Seattle police

A Wisconsin man has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he threw gasoline-filled beer bottles at Seattle police during a May Day demonstration in 2016.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle says 33-year-old Wil Casey Floyd, of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, entered the plea Thursday to unlawful possession of a destructive device. He admitted he threw five unlit bottles at police as he participated in a so-called "black bloc" of protesters.

One officer suffered leg burns after a flash-bang grenade ignited gasoline from a bottle that shattered at his feet.

Floyd then dropped a bag he was carrying and quickly changed his appearance to avoid detection. Investigators used videos of the events to identify him. He was arrested in April 2017.

Prosecutors agreed to recommend no more than three years and one month in prison when he is sentenced in June, but he could face up to 10 years.


Published on 23 February 2018 | 12:59 am

Brodhead theft suspect turns himself in

A man police sought last week in connection with a rash of thefts in Brodhead is in custody, police said.

The Brodhead Police Department said that 23-year-old Ruslan M. Fedorov, of Madison, turned himself in to the Dane County Sheriff's Office a day after an incident in Brodhead involving suspicious subjects inside a vehicle and a police search in the fog.

Police said officers responded to a report of an unknown person in a vehicle at about 3:45 a.m. Feb. 15 on 16th Street.

{"url":"https://twitter.com/JennaMiddaugh/status/964692278303477762","author_name":"Jenna Middaugh","author_url":"https://twitter.com/JennaMiddaugh","html":"lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"gt;lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"gt;A Brodhead couple says their dog Skippy saved the day when he barked early Thursday morning, alerting the couple to a man trying to get into their car lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/news3?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"gt;#news3lt;/agt; lt;a href=\"https://t.co/qEfi2oCObn\"gt;pic.twitter.com/qEfi2oCObnlt;/agt;lt;/pgt;— Jenna Middaugh (@JennaMiddaugh) lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/JennaMiddaugh/status/964692278303477762?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"gt;February 17, 2018lt;/agt;lt;/blockquotegt;\nlt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"gt;lt;/scriptgt;\n","width":550,"height":null,"type":"rich","cache_age":"3153600000","provider_name":"Twitter","provider_url":"https://twitter.com","version":"1.0"}

A caller told police when the lights to the yard were turned on, two people ran, leaving the area in a vehicle, according to the report. Police found the vehicle several blocks down the street, set up a perimeter, and took 23-year-old Thomas S. Kusch, of Madison, into custody after a foot chase.

Police didn't locate the second man, but a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix was reported stolen from a driveway and police believed Fedorov may have taken the vehicle to evade officers.

The police department posted an alert the same day saying Fedorov was being sought by police and had a warrant for his arrest through the Department of Corrections.

Fedorov turned himself in to the Dane County Sheriff's Office Friday. Police said the stolen vehicle was still missing, and the investigation continues.


Published on 23 February 2018 | 12:23 am

Middleton bank robbed Monday afternoon, police say

The Middleton Police Department responded to an armed robbery at the Wells Fargo Bank at 6622 University Avenue around 12:15 p.m. Monday.

Employees described the robber as a black man with a thin build who was wearing all black. His face was partially covered, according to the release. He left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

He showed a black handgun during the robbery.

The Middleton Police Department asks that anyone with information contact the department at 608-824-7300.


Published on 22 February 2018 | 11:05 pm

Police: East Towne bank robbery could be related to others in area

A gunman robbed the U.S. Bank near East Towne Mall Thursday afternoon, according to a release from the Madison Police Department.

Officials say he went to the bank at 4602 East Towne Blvd. around 1:50 p.m., displayed a black handgun and demanded money.

He fled with some of the bank's cash. Officials say he is a black man, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, in his 20s and with a thin build. He was wearing all black clothing with a black face mask and carrying a backpack.

He matches a similar description to several other recent bank robberies, according to the release.


Published on 22 February 2018 | 8:58 pm

Officers, K-9 search for masked bank robber in Madison

A masked man held up a Madison bank early Thursday afternoon, police said.

Madison police said the Associated Bank on Monroe Street was robbed at 12:50 p.m. The robber indicated he had a weapon, although none was seen.

According to the report, the robber fled with cash. A police dog was leading officers on a track Wednesday afternoon.

The robber was described as of a mixed race and was wearing a black jacket and black mask, police said.


Published on 22 February 2018 | 8:11 pm

Rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain all possible Thursday night

A year ago Thursday, Madison recorded the highest February temperature in history, with highs reaching the upper 60s.

What a difference a year makes.

Another atmospheric cocktail of rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain is on the way to southern Wisconsin and could make things slippery for the Friday morning commute.

A few light snow showers are possible Thursday afternoon. Light snow, freezing rain, and sleet move in later Thursday and will last into early Friday morning. Icing amounts up to 0.10 of an inch are possible, especially north of Madison. It doesn't take a lot of ice to cause problems on the roads, so drive with caution tonight and especially tomorrow morning.

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Any snow/sleet amounts should be less than half an inch, and rain totals should be much less than what the area experienced on Tuesday. However, with flooding still occurring in spots, this rain won't really help the situation, either.

As with any potential icing situation, temperatures are key. A difference of a few degrees can drastically change the forecast. Also, even though air temperatures may be above 32 degrees, surface temperatures of roads, bridges and sidewalks might not be.

Partly sunny and milder conditions will move in for Friday afternoon.

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Up-to-date forecast


Published on 22 February 2018 | 8:06 pm

Caretaker charged in death of disabled girl in Milwaukee

The caretaker of a 14-year-old disabled girl who died of a severe beating has been charged in her death in Milwaukee County.

Eighteen-year-old Christopher Ward is charged with second-degree reckless homicide in the death of Jada Wright last week. Ward's mother was the girl's legal guardian after her parents died. A criminal complaint says Ward was a "personal care worker" for the girl, who had cerebral palsy.

The complaint says Ward initially told detectives he tripped and fell and accidentally hit the girl in the abdomen with his elbow. Prosecutors say he later admitted becoming frustrated with her when trying to feed her using a tube and struck her. Public defender Christian Thomas declined to comment on Ward's behalf.

He's due back in court March 1 for a preliminary hearing.


Published on 22 February 2018 | 6:46 pm

EPA assesses apartment where potentially explosive chemicals found

Subject matter experts from the Environmental Protection Agency are assessing the cleanup process at an apartment where potentially explosive chemicals were found Tuesday night.

Madison police said the EPA agents are assessing the situation and will work with contractors Thursday afternoon to start the cleanup process. A time frame for the cleanup is not currently known.

Residents were allowed a brief escort into the apartment building Wednesday morning after Brian N. Campbell, 30, was arrested on charges of second-degree recklessly endangering safety. Police say they arrested him Tuesday night after a suspicious smell led investigators to his apartment in the 7400 block of Timber Lake Trail. When fire officials entered, they said they found potentially explosive chemicals inside the apartment.

Officials say more chemicals were found Wednesday in a garage associated with Campbell's address, and because of the "volume and toxicity from the totality of all that has been discovered" are now expecting a crew from the EPA's regional office in Chicago to come further in and assess the site.

Residents of the apartment building will not be allowed back into their homes, as officials say the cleanup could take several days.

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Published on 22 February 2018 | 5:29 pm

Police pepper spray man about to stomp on man during fight, officials say

Police used pepper spray on a man who was about to attack a man on the ground during a fight on Madison's west side Wednesday afternoon, according to a report.

The Madison Police Department said multiple officers were sent at about 4 p.m. to break up a large street fight in the 1400 block of Theresa Terrace.

According to the report, one officer used pepper spray on a suspect who was getting ready to stomp on a man who was on the ground.

There were several arrests for battery and disorderly conduct including men and women ranging in age from 17 to 32 taken into custody.

Witnesses told police that there has been an ongoing conflict between neighbors living in two nearby homes.

No serious injuries were reported, police said.


Published on 22 February 2018 | 5:12 pm

PHOTOS: Barns, barn quilts throughout Sauk County

Published on 22 February 2018 | 4:18 pm

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