rss logo Top Madison Area Local News Stories

Man, child injured in motel room fire; Meth-making operations discovered, sheriff says

A man and one child were injured after a motel room with a meth lab caught fire in Grant County Thursday, officials said. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a fire in one of the rooms at the Fenmore Hills Motel Thursday at 10:40 p.m. The Fennimore Fire Department also responded and extinguished the fire. Deputies were informed the occupants of the room had left, according to the report. The occupants informed firefighters that the fire was accidental and caused by a cigarette. As deputies investigated the scene, they discovered an active methamphetamine cooking lab. Law enforcement officials put out an alert to police to locate the occupants, who had left the scene, according to the report. Minutes later, an Iowa County Sheriff’s deputy found the suspects' vehicle and initiated a traffic stop. Christopher Denning, 26, who was a passenger in the vehicle, had second- and third-degree burns on his legs and was later taken to UW Hospital in Madison. Tabitha Cory, 34, was driving, and her two children, ages 12 and 14, were also in the vehicle. The sheriff's office said both children were in the room at the Fenmore Hills Motel at the time of the fire. The 12-year-old suffered minor burn injuries from the fire. Both children received medical attention, were removed from Cory's custody by Iowa County Social Services and placed in temporary foster care. Deputies discovered another one-pot-style meth lab in the passenger area of the vehicle and chemicals and supplies used to manufacture meth in the trunk of the vehicle. The Clandestine Lab clean-up Unit team from the state Department of Criminal Investigations and the Chicago Crime Scene Cleanup Team responded to the motel. Deputies said Denning and Cory were staying at the Fenmore Hills Motel because their house, in the town of Fennimore, burned down two days earlier. Investigators found about 10 one-pot meth labs along with discarded meth-making materials at the home where Cory and Denning lived prior to living at the motel. The sheriff's office said charges against Denning and Cory are pending the completion of the investigation. The C.L.E.A.R. team and the Chicago Crime Scene Cleanup Team also responded to the Cory and Denning's former residence. The sheriff's office said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 19:08:03 GMT

Missing mom, 3 kids found safe out of state, PD says

Police said the woman reported missing and her children who were last seen leaving their home in Lake Geneva were found safe out of state. The Lake Geneva Police Department had asked for the public’s help in finding a woman and her three sons who were last seen leaving their home May 10, according to a release. Michalene Melges, 40, and her children, 14-year-old Hans Melges, 12-year-old Kristian Max Melges and 10-year-old Maverik Buddy Melges, had last been seen leaving their residence in the 900 block of South Lakeshore Drive, police said. On Tuesday shortly before noon, police said the four missing Melges' were found safe in Georgia. The police department also thanked citizens and the media for their help. In its original alert, police had said Michalene Melges rented a van in Lake Bluff, Illinois, on May 9 and the van was returned to a rental company in Plano, Texas, on May 13, according to the release.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 17:50:20 GMT

Carjackers leave baby curbside in Milwaukee

A Milwaukee mother whose car was stolen with her infant strapped in the back seat said she held onto the vehicle for as long as she could as the carjackers drove away. The vehicle was taken when the woman got out to check damage right after the vehicle behind her, carrying the carjackers, hit her from behind at about 7 a.m. Monday, TMJ4 reported. It's known as a "bump and run" carjacking. The woman was dragged down the street in Milwaukee and eventually lost her grip. But what happened next was unexpected. The car stopped about a block away. One of the two carjackers got out, removed the 1-month-old baby who was still in his car seat and left him at the curb. Surveillance video from a nearby house shows the mother running to retrieve her baby, who wasn't hurt. Police are looking for the carjackers and the vehicle.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 16:56:02 GMT

Snake reportedly width of road ID'd as bull snake, officials say

Grant County sheriff's officials said a snake that was spotted Sunday afternoon in Dickeyville was a bull snake, which is native to the area and can be 60-70 inches long. Officials said they received reports that the snake was as long as the width of the road Sunday afternoon. Deputies were called at 5:30 p.m. by someone reporting the snake crossing the Highway 61 south of Scoops Drive. The snake was described as grayish/brown. Deputies are asking residents to keep an eye on small children and pets while they are outside. If the snake is spotted, call 911 and do not attempt to capture it.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 12:24:29 GMT

Man calls 911 46 times in 2 hours

A man was arrested Saturday after calling 911 a total of 46 times in two hours.  Andrew Griswold of La Crosse called dispatch from three different numbers with no apparent emergency. The complaint states some of the calls were silent with music playing in the background and some were telling police to "get the f** over here." Police went to Griswold's apartment where he refused to let them in without a warrant and was given a ticket.  After leaving Griswold continued to call dispatch numerous times and began stating his wife was trying to murder him and his ex-wife was outside of his apartment. He also said there was a dispute at Perkins. Police went back to Griswold's apartment where he was later arrested for false emergency phone use and obstructing an officer. 

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 12:04:27 GMT

Baby born without part of skull survives

While she was pregnant, doctors told Alyssa Reidhead her son's brain was growing outside his skull and he likely would only live a few minutes after birth. However, he's so far defied all odds.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 16:49:36 GMT


Published: Tue, 10 May 2011 13:51:57 GMT

Strangers ask 15-year-old, 3 other kids to get into vehicle, police say

A teenage girl and three young kids were approached by two strangers and asked to get into their car on Post Road Monday night, according to a release. A 15-year-old girl told police she was walking with a group of younger kids on Post Road near Todd Drive around 8:50 p.m. when two men pulled up next to them in a car, officials said. One of the men spoke to them in Spanish, saying how the girls were pretty and asking them to get in the car, according to the release. The children ran to the home of a trusted adult to report the incident, police said. The men were described as white or Hispanic, 30 to 40 years old, and they were in a gray car – possibly an older Nissan Sentra or Altima, according to the release. One man had black hair and the other was bald.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 19:27:55 GMT

Beer-battered fish defense fails in Wisconsin

A Wisconsin man who blamed the smell of alcohol on his breath on beer-battered fish has been sentenced to prison on his 10th drunken driving conviction. The Sheboygan Press reports that John Przybyla, 76, of Friendship, Wisconsin, was sentenced to seven years in prison and four years of extended supervision Monday. In December, 2014, an Adams County sheriff’s deputy stopped Przybyla because his vehicle had a broken tail lamp. The deputy smelled alcohol on Przybyla’s breath. When asked about his alcohol intake, Przybyla reportedly said the smell was due to the beer-battered fish he had recently eaten. Przybyla reportedly had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.062, which is beyond the 0.02 limit for people who have had three or more drunken driving convictions in Wisconsin, the Sheboygan Press reported. Portage County Circuit Judge Alan White also sentenced Przybyla to a year of confinement on a misdemeanor of driving with a revoked license. Przybyla is already serving prison time on a probation revocation, the newspaper reported.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 13:51:22 GMT

Firefighters conduct water rescue for man who may have jumped off bridge

Janesville police said an officer was notified of a man who jumped off the Centerway bridge into the river around 10:30 p.m. Monday. Police said the reporting person last saw the man going over the west side of the dam.           The Janesville fire department used two boats to search the river last night but didn't find anyone. Rescue crews searched the Rock River again Tuesday morning, and did not locate a drowning victim. The person was described as a white man, approximately 6 feet tall, medium length brown curly hair, clean shaven last seen wearing a green or lime green shirt, khaki shorts and white tennis shoes.      Authorities are asking anyone with information about what happened or the identity of the man who reportedly jumped into the river to contact them at 608-755-3100.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 19:17:28 GMT

Officials ID 2 killed in fiery head-on crash

Two people are dead after a head-on crash Sunday on U.S. Highway 14 by West Butts Corners Road in Union Township. Rock County deputies and Evansville Fire/EMS responded to the crash. They said 27-year-old Cory D. Schuppe, from Madison, and 26-year-old Jovanni J.M. Dimaggio, from Oregon, were pinned inside a white Sunfire that was on fire. Fire crews extinguished the fire after arriving on scene. Evidence left at the scene along with witness statements revealed that Schuppe, the driver of the Sunfire, lost control around a curve and crossed the center line, crashing head-on with a white Traverse, driven by a 36-year-old women from Janesville, according to a release. EMS crews attempted medical treatment on the two people in the Sunfire, but they were pronounced dead at the scene, according to a release. The driver of the Traverse was taken to Mercy Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. The Rock County Accident Reconstruction Team responded to the scene along with the Rock County Medical Examiners personnel. Highway 14 was re-routed for approximately five hours. The crash is still under investigation but no citations have been issued at this time. 

Published: Mon, 23 May 2016 22:25:35 GMT

State employers may see drop in unemployment taxes

Wisconsin employers could see another drop in unemployment insurance taxes in 2017 due to an improved economy and employer-friendly changes in the system. Wisconsin's unemployment insurance trust fund had a $1.3 billion deficit in 2010 following the Great Recession. Gov. Scott Walker's office said Tuesday it now sits at a $1 billion balance. That means employers who pay taxes into the fund can likely pay less next year for the second consecutive year. According to a news release, last year's lower tax schedule saves employers $97 million annually. Next year's projected change would save them another $38 million annually. Some employers might not see any decrease, while others will see a larger decrease, depending on how much they use the fund. The annual savings would average about $1,000 per employer.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 18:47:11 GMT

Key Walker supporter serving on Trump committee

Two of Gov. Scott Walker's major financial backers are now helping to raise money for Donald Trump. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced the creation of the Trump Victory Committee on Tuesday. One of the vice-chairs is Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks. Campaign finance reports show Hendricks gave $5 million last year to Unintimidated PAC, a super PAC formed to support Walker's ill-fated presidential bid. According to government watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, she gave Walker $500,000 during his 2012 recall campaign. Also serving on the Trump fundraising committee is Elizabeth Uihlein. She and her husband, Richard Uihlein, gave Unintimidated PAC $3 million last year. Walker endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz before Wisconsin's primary, but says he will support Trump as the nominee.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 19:54:54 GMT

8-year-old gets life-changing gift from teacher

An 8-year-old girl is receiving a life-changing gift from a special donor at a Milwaukee area hospital. Oakfield Elementary first-grader Natasha Fuller will be able to do things she's never done before--ride a roller coaster, play on a sandy beach and take a swim. Fuller was in surgery Tuesday, along with a teacher at her school, Jodi Schmidt, who is donating a kidney to the girl. Fuller's smile and attitude in spite of her chronic kidney disease inspired Schmidt to get tested months ago for a possible donation. Schmidt, Fuller and her family were ecstatic to learn the teacher was a match. Natasha has been living with her grandparents in Oakfield so she could get the specialized treatment she needed in Milwaukee. Her parents and siblings live in Oklahoma.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 20:23:58 GMT

Milwaukee woman charged with ramming squad car

A Milwaukee woman faces felony charges after authorities said she rammed her vehicle into a squad car and then drove away to escape a traffic stop. Kevina Freeman, 23, was charged Monday in the incident that injured a deputy and a passenger and was captured on dashcam video released by the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office. Freeman was pulled over May 15 on suspicion of speeding. The video shows a car stopped alongside an interstate. It suddenly reverses, plows into a squad car, then pulls away. Freeman is charged with two counts of reckless endangerment, two counts of harming someone while fleeing police and one count of damaging property while fleeing. Jail records show Freeman remains in custody, and it wasn't immediately clear if she has an attorney.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 11:42:19 GMT

Voters' attorney: Redistricting plan clearly hurts Democrats

An attorney for a group of voters is telling a panel of judges that legislative district boundaries Republicans drew up clearly discriminate against Democrats. The voters have filed a federal lawsuit alleging Assembly district boundaries Republicans created in 2011 are an unconstitutional attempt to consolidate power. A three-judge panel began a bench trial in Madison on Tuesday. Nicholas Stephanopoulos, an attorney for the voters, said during opening statements the Republicans' plan was a deliberate, severe and unjustifiable effort to marginalize Democrats. He said the plan is designed to maintain Republican control for years. Assistant Attorney General Brian Keenan countered in his opening statement that gerrymandering traditionally means strangely shaped districts and the Republican-drawn boundaries aren't oddly shaped. He says partisanship is part of redistricting.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 15:24:42 GMT

Med Flight transports man hurt in lawn mower rollover, officials say

A man was injured when a lawn mower he was riding rolled over and landed on top of him Monday afternoon, officials said. Med Flight and several rescue units were sent to the town of Dunn Monday afternoon for reports of a lawn mower that rolled over a man. Crews were sent to 2929 Camp Leonard Road around 1:50 p.m., Dane County dispatch said. Officials said bystanders helped lift the lawn mower off of the man. The man was injured from the weight of the mower, authorities said. There were no injuries involving the mower's blade. The man was in stable condition when he was taken by Med Flight to a hospital.

Published: Mon, 23 May 2016 20:21:53 GMT

7 spring food events this week

Tuesday, May 24 Coronado Brewing Company and HopCat have collaborated to release a special tap beer: Corogato! The Coronado Corogato Release party will serve up the special brew along with other Coronado ales on tap, like Islander IPA, Berry the Hatchet and Old Scallywag Barleywine. Wednesday, May 25 Join instructor Tara Verma of Yummy Sprout at Whole Foods Market for a class that will help you sub out healthy snacks for processed ones. The Madison Momshine Class: Homemade Healthy Snacks will walk you through recipes for crunchy pesto chickpeas, vanilla berry cereal bars, kale chips and more. $25, If you’re sweet on sweet potatoes, don’t miss the Willy Street Co-op’s Sweet Potato Project. A local CSA farmer and an educator from UW-Extension will teach you to tend to perfect sweet potatoes. Growers are given free sweet potato slips and in exchange, agree to donate half their harvest to local food pantries. Friday, May 27 Sip and sit outside on the patio of Park Street Barrique’s for a special Earth-friendly wine tasting. This event focuses on organic and biodynamic wines. $9, Saturday, May 28 Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend at the Plaza at Edgewater. Grab a beer and some grub on the outdoor patio overlooking Lake Mendota while listening to live music from The Jimmys. From Monona Terrace to Memorial Union Terrace, the Madison Food Explorers Downtown Lake to Lake Tour explores State Street, the Capitol, the Farmers’ Market and more, with tasting and state trivia along the way. $45, Sunday, May 29 Covering all the bases of brunch, Cento’s weekend Boozy Brunch includes bottomless coffee, a pastry, an entree and of course, two cocktails for one fixed price so you can start your morning out right. $25,

Published: Mon, 23 May 2016 13:42:54 GMT

Arrest made in Green Bay area homicide

Brown County sheriff's deputies have arrested the live-in boyfriend of a woman whose body was found in a field near Green Bay. The body of 31-year-old Nicole Vanderheyden was found Saturday in a field in Bellevue. Sheriff's Capt. David Konrath says the 34-year-old man was arrested after blood was found near the couple's house in Ledgeview. Konrath said the woman's injuries were substantial, but he declined to give additional details about her death. Authorities say Vanderheyden was the mother of three children, including one with her boyfriend.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 12:52:31 GMT

City clerks defend Wisconsin election law changes

The defense of Wisconsin voting laws being challenged in federal court as discriminatory begins with local clerks saying they haven't encountered any serious problems with the changes. Clerks from northern Milwaukee suburbs of Cedarburg and Port Washington both testified Tuesday in federal court in Madison. They were the first witnesses called by the state Department of Justice in defense of more than a dozen laws being challenged, including elements of the voter identification requirement. But the clerks say they support new laws limiting voting hours and days for in-person absentee voting before an election. They say it makes their job easier and lessens confusion among voters. Liberal groups challenging the law ended their case earlier Tuesday with testimony from a political historian who says the laws among to state-sponsored discrimination.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 19:18:12 GMT