rss logo Top Madison Area Local News Stories

Officials: Woman shot in interstate drive-by has died; suspect identified

A woman who was injured Sunday in a drive-by shooting on Interstate 90/94 has died and a suspect has been identified, officials said. Tracy Czaczkowski, 44, of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, was shot in Sauk County and was initially taken by EMS to St. Clare Hospital, then sent to UW Hospital via Med Flight.  Sauk County Sheriff Chip Meister told News 3 Tuesday afternoon that Czaczkowski had died. He said the family has asked for privacy in this difficult time. Sauk County Coroner Greg Hahn said Czaczkowski was pronounced brain dead early Monday morning. Hahn said Tuesday her condition is not reversible and that she is dead. Hahn said it usually takes a couple days to line up organ donations. The suspect is 20-year-old Zachary T. Hays, of West Allis, the Dane County Sheriff's Office said. Hays was still at UW Hospital Tuesday. Sheriff's spokesman Elise Schaffer said that Hays' brother, Jeremy A. Hays, 30, was being held on a tentative charge of a felon in possession of a firearm. Schaffer said their 34-year-old brother is not being named due to his cognitive disability. The drive-by shooting is one in a series of related incidents on Sunday that started with a homicide in West Allis, according to investigators. WEST ALLIS SHOOTING The string of incidents is believed to have started when West Allis police were called early Sunday morning for a report of a man forcibly entering two apartments. Police said they found 42-year-old Gabriel Sanchez with a gunshot wound. He later died.  Police determined that a person of interest in the shooting was at Epikos Church on West Greenfield Avenue, and that the person had made threatening statements regarding a member of the church. Police responded to the church and no one was injured. SAUK COUNTY SHOOTING At a news conference Monday, the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office said a woman was shot in the neck Sunday afternoon as she and her husband and children were traveling back to their home in Illinois from Wisconsin Dells. Investigators said her family’s vehicle was passing a Chevrolet Blazer when someone in the Blazer rolled windows down and fired three shots. One of the shots struck the woman in the neck. The other two shots also struck the family's vehicle. Investigators said they believe the shooting was a random act, but the investigation is ongoing. A DEA spokesman confirmed to News 3 that the man driving the vehicle from Illinois was a DEA agent, but declined further comment out of respect for the agent.  In a statement Tuesday, the DEA said Tracy Czaczkowski was "a loving wife of 15 years, a mother of two tender age children, daughter and good friend to all." Her husband was a DEA employee for 11 years. An online fund was set up for the family at INTERSTATE PURSUIT Numerous law enforcement agencies were later involved in a vehicle pursuit on eastbound I-94 in Columbia and Dane counties. At approximately 3:20 p.m., as the Blazer entered Dane County, road spikes were deployed and the vehicle was disabled. Zachary Hays then exited the vehicle and was walking toward officers with a revolver, according to deputies. The man continued to walk toward police despite commands to stop when he was shot. Jeremy Hays and the other brother were also in the Blazer. They were taken to the Dane County Jail. Zachary Hays was taken to UW Hospital. Officials said another gun was found in the Blazer. The two Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies who shot the suspect are on leave pending an investigation. All lanes of the interstate near DeForest were closed Sunday afternoon because of the incident, according to a Department of Transportation release. Law enforcement is looking witnesses who might have information about a vehicle involved in a drive-by shooting that was later involved in the officer-involved shooting on Interstate 39-90-94. Investigators with the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation are assisting the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Sauk County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol and the West Allis Police Department.

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 23:57:52 GMT


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

Teen retailer Aeropostale files for bankruptcy

The clock has run out on embattled teen retailer Aeropostale, which filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday after losing money for 13 consecutive quarters. The company said it would be closing 113 stores in the United States, in addition to its 41 stories in Canada, as it seeks to "achieve long-term financial stability." Aeropostale listed assets of $354 million in the Chapter 11 filing, while its debts totaled $390 million. The company said it has secured $160 million in financing from Crystal Financial LLC. The retailer said it intends to emerge from bankruptcy within the next six months after getting rid of or renegotiating "burdensome" contracts and resolving a dispute with former investor Sycamore Partners. At the same time, Aeropostale said it would continue shopping itself to potential buyers. Any sale would be announced within the next six months, the company said. Aeropostale has been under pressure for some time. But sales declines had accelerated recently -- plummeting 16% in the most recent quarter. Even steep discounts could not stop the bleeding. The company, like other moderately priced brands, was rocked by the fast fashion trend. Stars like H&M, Zara and Forever 21 are responding to the latest fashion trends at warp speed, leaving older brands like Banana Republic and American Eagle in the dust. They're also undercutting the older guys on price -- a critical factor for the target audience. In April, the New York Stock Exchange sent word to Aeropostale that it would delist the company due to its low trading price. -- Matt Egan contributed reporting.

Published: Wed, 04 May 2016 08:50:06 GMT

Hundreds of frozen food products recalled due to Listeria fears

Hundreds of frozen food products are being recalled due to Listeria concerns. CRF Frozen Foods announced that its expanding its recall of frozen vegetables and fruit with best buy dates between April 26, 2016 and April 26, 2018. In a statement, CRF said the company is performing this voluntary recall in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because the products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. 358 products, sold nationwide under 42 separate brands, are included in the recall. For a complete list of foods affected by the recall, click here.

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 19:06:01 GMT

The Ted Cruz meltdown

After a decisive win in Wisconsin, Ted Cruz triumphantly declared that his political fortunes were shifting: "Tonight is a turning point," the Texas senator boomed at a victory rally in Milwaukee. But just a month later, his quest to stop Donald Trump collapsed. Cruz lost seven consecutive primaries, culminating with Tuesday's defeat in Indiana that led him to end his run for the Republican presidential nomination. "Together we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we've got," Cruz said Tuesday night. "But the voters chose another path. and so, with a heavy heart but with boundless optimism for the long term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign." Cruz's campaign threw everything against the wall as Indiana became a must-win. He struck a dubious bargain with John Kasich to keep the Ohio governor from campaigning in Indiana -- and failed to effectively court Kasich's supporters. He hastily announced Carly Fiorina as his running mate -- a move seen as desperate and compounded by failing to send Fiorina to the parts of the state where she could help. Even a highly coveted endorsement from Mike Pence lacked pizzazz -- in a radio interview, the Indiana governor first lavished praise on Trump before saying he would vote for Cruz. And heading into Indiana, Cruz also suffered from a number of cringe-worthy gaffes. Footage of Cruz referring to a basketball "ring" and seemingly failing to notice when Fiorina fell off the stage in front of him trailed the senator as he attempted to break out of his rut. Finally, he got mad. Tuesday, a visibly frustrated Cruz let loose an angry tirade against Trump Tuesday morning, calling the New York real estate mogul a "pathological liar" and a "narcissist." "He is proud of being a serial philanderer. ... He describes his own battles with venereal diseases as his own personal Vietnam," Cruz said. Cruz didn't mention Trump during his speech Tuesday night. In the end, Cruz's defeat boiled down to this: He never fulfilled his promise to unite the religious right with economic conservatives. The alliance backfired Ten days before Indiana's primary, Cruz and Kasich announced a potential game-changer: Kasich would skip Indiana to let Cruz have a one-on-one shot at Trump there; Cruz in turn would stay out of Oregon and New Mexico. Then, Cruz overlooked the most important part: Winning Kasich's voters. The Ohio governor was most popular among the moderate, fiscal-focused voters in the densely populated, heavily Republican donut counties that surround Indianapolis -- especially Hamilton County to the north and Hendricks County to the west. There, he was seen as a version of Indiana's popular former governor, Mitch Daniels. Cruz was never a neat ideological fit -- particularly given his penchant for playing up the same social fights over religious freedom and LGBT rights that have battered the popularity of Daniels' successor, Pence. But his campaign didn't appear to truly court those voters anyway. Instead, the Texas senator spent his time on the trail courting rural, religious voters, and playing defense in urban, industrial areas. He stayed focused on social issues -- with one exception: Cruz borrowed Trump's attack on Carrier, the Indianapolis air conditioning manufacturer that is shipping jobs to Mexico. That message, though, meant little in the well-heeled donut counties. "Cruz needed to focus more on fiscal issues and national security. Those are the issues that would have appealed to Kasich voters," said Jennifer Hallowell, an Indiana Republican strategist. "I think they perhaps misread the state, or viewed the Republican electorate in Indiana as one-size-fits-all. And Hoosier Republicans are not a monolithic group." Hallowell added of the alliance: "Kasich voters went running to Trump after that announcement." Complicating the matter was that Kasich and Cruz downplayed the alliance publicly, making it appear that the campaigns didn't have their act together. Craig Dunn, the Howard County GOP chairman and a Kasich supporter, said many of the Ohio governor's backers approached him and said: "OK, now who am I supposed to vote for?" That, he said, is because they'd "heard Kasich say, you can go ahead and vote for me." Deepening Cruz's struggles: He'd tapped into the network of ground troops led by Curt Smith, the head of the Indiana Family Institute. But those volunteers' focus was on the social issues that Cruz already had covered. "Evan Bayh told me this when I first went to work for him: The key to Indiana is to know that yes, we're a Republican state and we're a conservative state, but we're conservative on money, not social issues," said Dan Parker, the former Indiana Democratic Party chairman, of the former Democratic governor. "And Cruz missed that." The Fiorina gambit When Cruz named Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and one-time presidential candidate, as his future running mate, many local Republicans saw it as a big step toward reaching the party's members who were still uncomfortable with Cruz and not ready to back Trump. "After it was pretty obvious that the Kasich deal backfired, the next opportunity would have been to have Carly Fiorina spend a lot of time in the suburban areas around Indianapolis," Hallowell said. "She appealed to moderate Republicans and women during the debates, and I think had an opportunity to deliver a message and bring folks on board." After all, Fiorina was an experienced businesswoman who counted Indiana's former lieutenant governor, Sue Ellspermann, among her strong early supporters. And Trump had a weak business record in Indiana, where he'd tried and failed to enter the state's casino business. But Indiana operatives said they were baffled by how Cruz's campaign deployed Fiorina. Instead of using her as a force multiplier, she largely campaigned alongside Cruz -- and never in the donut counties. Monday, Cruz's campaign finally changed its approach, sending Fiorina to campaign in the key suburbs of Brownsburg, Carmel and Fishers. It was, Republicans said, a repeat of the mistake that was already hurting Cruz's campaign. "I don't know if he took donut county Republican for granted thinking they would vote based on strategy or if he doesn't know how to message to them in a way that's fiscal first, social second," said Pete Seat, a former George W. Bush press aide who's now an Indiana Republican strategist. The "basketball ring" As Trump was going five-for-five a week ago in the East Coast "Acela primary," Cruz was already campaigning in Indiana -- in Knightstown, the home of the gym made famous by the 1986 basketball film "Hoosiers." But he made an awkward rhetorical stumble there, referring to the "basketball ring" instead of the rim. The next day, Trump rolled out his biggest Hoosier endorsement: legendary Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight. The contrast was stark and immediate. Friday in Evansville, Knight mocked Cruz in an appearance on "Fox and Friends" alongside Trump. "A guy that would come into this state and think that we played with rings instead of baskets is not a guy that's very well prepared to do a whole hell of a lot," the coach said of Cruz. The episode was damaging because it left Cruz looking like a politician relying on gimmickry -- and with no real response. Trump had made an even bigger mistake of his own, touting the endorsement of Mike Tyson, the boxer who in 1992 was convicted of rape in Indianapolis. Indiana Democrats wondered why Cruz didn't hit Trump harder over Tyson -- and lump in Knight, who'd famously declared in 1988 that "I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it," and was eventually pushed out of his coaching job after a string of controversies over abuse of players. "Bobby Knight would be very popular with Trump voters, but he's not very popular with people who actually graduated from IU -- that actually have a degree from Indiana University," said Parker. "Why didn't Cruz put his wife out and say that it's abhorrent that Donald Trump would accept an endorsement from a person that said, a woman should just sit back and enjoy it?" Trump kept leaning on Knight as his top Indiana surrogate. And soon, he added more well-known former coaches to the mix: Purdue men's basketball coach Gene Keady; Notre Dame men's basketball coach Digger Phelps and Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz. Mike Pence: That's an endorsement? Cruz picked up a big Indiana endorsement of his own when Gov. Mike Pence appeared on the show of Indianapolis talk radio host Greg Garrison -- for former DA who prosecuted Tyson -- and said he'd be supporting Cruz. It wasn't much of an endorsement, though. Before even mentioning Cruz, Pence heaped praise on Trump, commending him for drawing attention to Carrier's decision to shift jobs to Mexico. "I know you can't tell a person how to endorse you, but it was an awfully tepid endorsement," said Dunn, the Howard County Republican chairman. "He belabored the point with the wonderful, nice things that Donald Trump had done in terms of bringing voters in -- and then, 'Oh, I don't want to tell people how to vote, but I'm going to vote for Ted Cruz, but I don't want to tell people how to vote.' That's better than nothing, but not a whole lot better than nothing." While Cruz cut a 30-second TV ad out of the endorsement, Trump once again used what was supposed to be a helpful moment for the Texas senator to mock him. "All the pundits said, 'You know what, I think that was maybe the weakest endorsement in the history of endorsements,'" Trump told supporters in Carmel on Monday. "In the end, they had to re-run the tape just to find out who he was endorsing." Pence made things worse in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash, when he made clear that he'd "support the Republican nominee" -- Cruz or not. The botched Pence endorsement underscored one of the biggest differences between Wisconsin, the site of Cruz's last big Midwestern win, and Indiana: In Wisconsin, he had an aggressive ally in Gov. Scott Walker. In Indiana, the only influential supporter he had was -- with his eyes on his own tough re-election battle against Democrat John Gregg -- eager to avoid alienating anyone in his own party. Another big difference between Wisconsin and Indiana: Conservative talk radio. Hosts in Wisconsin had unified in an effort to knock off Trump. But in Indiana -- a state where Pence was once the rising talk radio star -- there was no such resistance. Getting mad too late On Monday night, Trump packed a huge crowd into one of his signature mega-rallies in South Bend. Cruz, meanwhile, spoke in front of a half-filled room on the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Sensing that the race was slipping away, Cruz by that point had opted for direct confrontation. Earlier Monday, Cruz sparred with a Trump supporter on live national television in Marion. In a seven-minute conversation, Cruz asked his heckler to name one thing that he liked about Trump. When the man named "the wall," Cruz said: "Hold on. He told the New York Times editorial board he's not going to build the wall or deport anyone." The man shouted in his face: "Lyin' Ted!" And Cruz responded, "Civilized people don't yell. Sir, with all respect, Trump is deceiving you. He is playing you for a chump. Ask yourself two questions: Why is it that the mainstream media wants Donald Trump to be the nominee? And why is that John Boehner supports Donald Trump?" That was all before Tuesday's outburst, when Trump brought up a National Enquirer report alleging that it had identified Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, in a photo with Lee Harvey Oswald months prior to the JFK assassination. CNN has not independently confirmed that report -- and there is no evidence that it is true. But Tuesday night, all that was left was the end.

Published: Wed, 04 May 2016 09:14:35 GMT

Car man bought from relative day earlier catches fire on interstate, officials say

A car a man bought from a relative Monday caught fire on Interstate 90 Tuesday afternoon, according to a release. The vehicle’s owner told firefighters it started to overheat as he was driving on Highway 30 so he pulled into a gas station and filled it up with coolant. When the driver got on the interstate, he heard a pop from the engine and pulled over, officials said. He said the engine died and flames started coming out from under the front hood. Fire crews found the car fully engulfed in flames when they got there, according to the release. No one was injured in the fire.

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 21:26:36 GMT

Bid in auction to benefit pediatric cancer research

Watch WISC-TV3 May 7 starting at 8:58 p.m. and participate in a Coaches vs Cancer text auction to support pediatric cancer research.

Published: Sat, 30 Apr 2016 02:42:08 GMT

Criminal complaint: 21-year-old admits to dropping, shaking baby

A 21-year-old Madison man charged with child neglect and recklessly endangering safety told police he forcefully put a baby on a table multiple times, according to court documents. Phillip C. Kasuboske, the boyfriend of the 6-month-old boy’s mother, was caring for the boy Saturday inside the woman’s Kent Lane apartment, police said. Kasuboske and the baby’s mother took the child to a hospital Saturday morning for a head injury. Doctor’s said the baby had bruising on his head, cheek and ears, and that a CT scan showed complex fractures on his skull and fractures on his spine, according to a criminal complaint. Lab results also indicated the boy had abdominal bleeding. Kasuboske told police when the boy woke up crying in the middle of the night he put him on the couch to make a bottle, according to the criminal complaint. Kasuboske said he heard the boy fall off the couch so he went to pick him up, walked into the kitchen, ran into the refrigerator and dropped the boy. According to the criminal complaint, Kasuboske admitted to forcefully putting the boy on the table three or four or five times to get him to wake up after he dropped him. He also said he shook the baby “kinda hard.” “I didn’t know if he was dead or unconscious,” Kasuboske said to police. The 6-month-old victim is expected to survive. Kasuboske was charged in court Tuesday with first-degree recklessly endangering safety and child neglect resulting in bodily harm.

Published: Wed, 04 May 2016 01:43:15 GMT

Skid steer falls on man, kills him

A Lyndon Station man died Monday after a skid-steer loader fell on him in Juneau County, officials said. The Juneau County Sheriff's Office said rescue personnel responded to a report at 5:13 p.m. of a man trapped under a skid-steer loader on West Limits Road in the town of Kildare. According to the report, the loader fell on him while he was working underneath it. The vehicle was sitting on concrete blocks, but they gave way and the loader landed on the man's upper body. Bystanders witnessed the event and were able to jack the skid-steer loader back up and pull the man out. Bystanders began lifesaving measures, which rescue personnel took over when they arrived. Med Flight was called to the take the man for treatment. The helicopter arrived, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene by the Med Flight doctor, the sheriff's office said. The name of the man was withheld pending notification of his family, the sheriff's office said.

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 15:53:07 GMT

No charges for student in UW-Madison anti-racism graffiti

The Dane County district attorney says a University of Wisconsin-Madison student won't be charged for a series of political graffiti messages spray-painted on campus buildings. Instead, the 21-year-old senior will enter a restorative court in Madison. The court allows young, low-level offenders to avoid criminal charges if they take steps such as compensating victims and doing community service. The Wisconsin State Journal reports DA Ismael Ozanne said Tuesday the student is an appropriate candidate for the restorative court program. UW-Madison police arrested the man last month after they said he spray-painted messages such as "White supremacy iz a disease." The graffiti caused an estimated $4,000 in damage to university buildings. Protesters accused campus officials of caring more about the vandalism than they did about the racism it was protesting.

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 23:19:46 GMT

PD: Man ‘slices’ family member’s face in fight

A Madison man was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly sliced a male relative's face with a knife during a fight, Madison police said. Erik M. Richardson, 36, and the man who was injured are family members who got into a dispute around 2:30 a.m. in a home in the 700 block of North Meadow Lane, according to a release. The victim needed more than 20 stitches for the cut, officials said. Richardson was arrested on a tentative charge of first-degree reckless injury and disorderly conduct with a domestic enhancer.

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 20:56:15 GMT

Madison man cited for 32nd operating after suspension

A Madison man who was stopped for speeding Monday was also cited for the 32nd time for operating after suspension, according to a release from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. A Dane County Sheriff’s deputy stopped Melvin Gates, 25, for speeding on southbound U.S. Highway 151 at about 2 p.m. The deputy said Gates was driving 96 mph in a 70 mph zone in the town of Bristol.  Wisconsin Department of Transportation records show that Gates has never had a driver’s license, according to the release.  He was also issued citations for speeding and no insurance.

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 14:50:14 GMT

Victim shot during robbery in Janesville

Janesville police are looking for two people after a reported robbery late Tuesday night led to a man being shot. Police were called to the 2000 block of Kellogg Avenue where they found the victim. He was treated at the hospital and has been released. Both suspects are described as around 5-foot-10, wearing dark hooded sweatshirts and white bandanas covering their faces. Anyone with information is asked to call the Janesville Police Department at 608-755-3100.

Published: Wed, 04 May 2016 09:51:17 GMT

Man pleads not guilty in 2-year-old girl's death

A not-guilty plea has been entered for a Madison man accused of causing the death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter under his care last month. Twenty-five-year-old Joshua Gehde was silent Tuesday as the plea to first-degree reckless homicide was entered on his behalf by a Dane County judge. A Madison police detective testified that a criminal complaint accurately conveyed the conclusions by the girl's doctors that she suffered severe child abuse injuries. The complaint says a UW child abuse expert identified bruises on the girl's head, arms, shoulders, back and buttocks. The girl also suffered brain injuries and had evidence of bleeding within her spine. Gehde told police he didn't know how the girl suffered her injuries. The Wisconsin State Journal reports he remains in jail on $300,000 bail.

Published: Wed, 04 May 2016 00:59:37 GMT

Wollersheim Winery releases gin, absinthe in stores, restaurants

Wollersheim Winery and Distillery has released a gin and absinthe to stores and restaurants around the state, according to a release. Garden Gate Gin and Dancehall Absinthe Blanche have been available for purchase at Wollersheim’s distillery store, but now they will be sold in stores and restaurants as well, officials said. Garden Gate Gin is a dry gin featuring lemongrass and lavender notes, according to the release. Dancehall Absinthe Blanche is an herbal spirit with wormwood, highlighting sweet anise and angelica. Wollersheim Winery has been distilling since 2010, and opened its distillery in August, officials said. Wollershiem plans to release three brandies to the market this fall, according to the release.

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 21:37:46 GMT

Father, daughter to graduate together from Madison College

When Kiana Miilu walks across the stage to get her diploma from Madison College, she won’t be the only person named Miilu who will graduate. Her father, 53-year-old David, will share the stage with her. Both will earn their associate degrees from Madison College at a ceremony scheduled for May 13. Kiana will graduate from the liberal arts program while her father will graduate in supervisory management. “It is probably going to be about the most wonderful experience I’m going to experience in my lifetime,” David Miilu said. David Miilu started taking classes at Madison College one semester before his daughter started. On her first day, the two found themselves in the same algebra class without knowing the other was there. “The real chuckle is when the teacher was doing the roll call and she calls out my name and I could see Kiana kind of get up and turn around and look. And the teacher calls her name and, 'Asks any relation?' And she’s like, 'That’s my dad,'” David Miilu said. Following graduation, Kiana Miilu plans to transfer to UW-Whitewater to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Her father is undecided as to whether he will pursue a bachelor’s degree.

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 23:51:50 GMT

Terrace to open temporarily for graduation weekend

After being opened for graduation weekend, the newly renovated Memorial Union Terrace will be closed another four days to allow for finishing touches, officials said. The terrace will be specially opened for graduating seniors next weekend starting at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, according to a release. The terrace will stay open through midnight May 15. The terrace will be closed May 16-19 and will officially open for the season on May 20, officials said.

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 20:20:53 GMT

Case over response time to fatal fire settled

The family of fire victim Chris Williams has settled a wrongful death lawsuit against Dane County, stemming from the Oct. 16, 2013 fire that killed the 51-year-old Madison resident. The settlement includes a $5,000 check that the Williams family donated to a local nonprofit food pantry, and no admission of any wrongdoing on the part of the county. Legal action was taken after a News 3 investigation reported that it took the Dane County 911 Center nearly four minutes to dispatch firefighters to the Riverwood Apartments, where Williams lived, and an additional 10 minutes for Madison firefighters to arrive on scene at the south-side complex. The wrongful death lawsuit alleged the slow dispatch led to Williams' death from smoke inhalation. Since that fatal fire, Dane County has hired numerous more employees in the 911 Center and is now answering and dispatching emergency calls at a much faster rate. A recent News 3 investigation highlighted how the Madison Fire Department continues to miss national standards when it comes to responding to emergency situations in areas like the apartment complex where Williams died.

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 14:16:30 GMT

Hometown welcomes veteran home from Badger Honor Flight

A southwest Wisconsin veteran took the trip of a lifetime last weekend, but it's the return that he might remember most. Jim Piquette served as a Marine in the Korean War decades ago. His country thanked him for his service by sending him on a Badger Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. His hometown of Cobb thanked him with a warm welcome home at the end of the day. "He'd probably do anything for anybody at any one given time," said Randy Zeier, owner of R Place Again Bar in Cobb and a veteran himself. "He'd give you the shirt off his back." "He put that uniform on and went to war as a Marine, and that's good enough for me," friend Everett Nagel said. Dozens of residents lined up outside R Place Again with flags and veterans' shirts to welcome Piquette back to town late Saturday night. "It's just amazing that people would support friends like me," Piquette said when he returned. "It's a great, great feeling. I'm very proud to be from Cobb, and I appreciate their coming out tonight and doing this for me."

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 23:51:54 GMT

Dance helps all ages build balance, stability

Alice Kissling, 68, has had two bad falls due to balance issues. Roger Kasper, 54, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and now has difficulty being stable. Roman Chavez, 78, could hardly manage to stand up a month ago due to a stroke. Many people–not just the elderly–need help with their balance to reduce the odds of falling. Kissling, Kasper and Chavez, together with 12 other participants, recently signed up for “Ballroom Basics for Balance,” a 12-week program held at the Central Library in downtown Madison and sponsored by the Madison Senior Center. Unlike other balance courses, this program tries to make the routine fun with basic ballroom dance steps and music. While doing all the boring exercises learned in therapy school, Susan Frikken, a licensed physical therapist as well as the creator and primary instructor of the program, thought, “Why don’t we just put a little bit of music on and makes it into a dance? If you just make it a little more interesting, it’ll be a class.” Indeed, participants have found this class to be more entertaining than what they have been doing in other facilities. “He has been going to physical therapy too, but this is a lot more fun,” said Susan Chavez, who joined the class with her husband Roman Chavez. Besides moving along with the music, the participants learn tips about risks of falling as well as how they can practice the moves in their daily life. For instance, they learn how wide their stance should be to maximize balance. While some participants think that they should spare extra time to practice the steps, Frikken suggested the otherwise, “why not walk sideways when you need to move around from your bedroom to the bathroom?” Student volunteers make this an even unique experience. The 11 volunteers are mostly PT and occupational therapy students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison but there are also students from Madison College and other community members. Due to the availability of volunteers, the program can ensure every single participant dances in a safe environment. “We give one-on-one attention. The students really change it. It’s a big piece of why this class is so great,” Frikken said. The program not only helps participants support each other but also contributes to research. At the beginning and end of the course, participants’ static balance, moving balance, cognitive abilities as well as their ratings on quality of life are tested. Frikken and Megan Bjella, occupational therapist who also is a lead instructor and co-creator of the program, hope the data will help them deliver the program to other places. “Because just the way healthcare is run these days, you are not going to take a program into a facility unless you have some evidence that it’s workin–[evidence] that are measurable, that Medicare can reimburse,” Bjella said. Although right now Medicare cannot reimburse a group class, Frikken and Bjella think that the social element in the program is vital. “I would like to see how group classes are reimbursed and how that is recognized by Medicare and other health care agencies. I think the social aspect is huge, and a lot of really quality health care can be delivered in that way,” Bjella said. Although they have not yet studied the data, Frikken and Bjella have been inspired by some participants who had significant gains in their balance. “How much fun they have, that really speaks to me. Some people are incredibly inspiring. A woman went from using a walker all the time to not using the walker for some of the dances,” Bjella said. According to Frikken, the program now aims to become more inclusive by adding Chicago-Style Stepping, a dance popular in African American communities. “We thought it was important to show diversity in our class. People I’ve talked to say that we’ll make it more attractive to people if they see people doing things that they’re kind of familiar with,” Frikken said. The program also is expanding its brand. “The best analogy is like Zumba,” Frikken said. “In other words, we’ll give you a workshop. When you sign up, you say, ‘Okay, to call this class Ballroom Basics for Balance, I’m going to agree with these things. There are certain things we have to do.’” Sarah Mattingly, a first-year PT student, will soon hold a class on her own through Madison School & Community Recreation. This will in fact be the first class to branch off from the program. “I’m interested in taking my skills as a teacher and implementing them in [fall prevention]. In particular I like working with older populations. We’ll have student volunteers, and we need as many as we can,” Mattingly said.

Published: Tue, 03 May 2016 22:36:58 GMT