rss logo Top Madison Area Local News Stories

Father, daughter dead in murder-suicide identified

The man and woman killed in a shooting on Madison’s east side Tuesday night were identified by a community leader Wednesday. The two people who died are Tuneija Tornai-Jackson, 19, formerly a student at La Follette High School and her 39-year-old father Mike Jackson, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County Michael Johnson said Wednesday afternoon. Madison police said Mike Jackson shot his daughter, then committed suicide. The incident at 14 Kanazawa Circle is being investigated as a murder-suicide, Madison police Chief Mike Koval said. Dane County dispatch said police responded to reports of two people shot at the home just before 6 p.m. La Follette High School sent a note from Principal Sean Storch to students' families Wednesday saying a team of services staff can provide support to students because some may have connections to the teen killed and her family. Family friends remember Tuneija as an athlete, big sister and best friend. “She spent a lot of time with us helping with my day care and caring for my youngest son when I needed help," said Heather Chadwick, a neighbor who spent a lot of time with Tuneija. “She was like the older sister I never had," Heather's daughter, Zoe, said. "I knew I could always go to her when I need someone to talk to." “She'll be greatly missed, and she was greatly loved by everybody," Chadwick said. Madison Police Department spokesman Joel DeSpain said investigators don't believe the incident is related to other recent gun violence, and they don't believe there is any danger to the public. Koval said investigators believe no one else was home at the time of the incident, but a family member who attends middle school found the father and daughter. Koval said 100 to 150 extended family members and friends came to the area, and it was a very emotional scene.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 19:59:05 GMT

Wanted man flees police in Cambridge, officials say

A man wanted on an arrest warrant for a parole violation from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections could be in the Cambridge area, according to a release. U.S. marshals learned Tuesday that Edward B. Johnson, 26, of Madison, was at an apartment on Ripley Road in Cambridge, officials said. When officers arrived, Johnson ran north from the W9194 Ripley Road apartment, according to the release. Johnson was wearing a dark shirt and white shorts, officials said. He is about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes. Officials ask anyone with information on Johnson’s whereabouts to call 608-284-6900.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 20:43:22 GMT


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

Mysterious illness claims toddler's fingers, toes

A Cuba City boy is recovering from a mysterious illness that claimed his fingers and toes.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 14:04:24 GMT

Officials seek pair of suspected burglars in Jefferson County

Officials are asking for the public's help in finding a pair of burglary suspects in Jefferson County. Portage police said law enforcement officials are looking for 45-year-old Daniel L. Johnson and 52-year-old Anthony L. Babic. The police department shared the photos of the men and said they are believed to be involved in burglaries to area bars, gas stations and other businesses. Portage police said the alert originally came from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Police said no one should approach Johnson and Babic if they're spotted. People are asked to call the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at 920-674-7310 or the local law enforcement agency if they see the suspects.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 21:45:39 GMT

Family honors 6-month-old daughter's memory, promotes education

Finley Rae Olson was just six months old when she died this past January of shaken baby syndrome, the result of being shaken abruptly causing trauma to the brain and bleeding into brain tissue. Now Finley's family is trying to honor her memory by hopefully preventing this from happening to someone else's child. Rachel Olson will never forget the phone call she received saying her daughter Finley was being transported to the hospital from day care. A happy, healthy baby, only a few days removed from her six-month checkup, it was hard to imagine why she needed to be rushed to the hospital. “She had suffered a fractured skull,” Olson said. Finley allegedly suffered the fatal injury when she was severely shaken by her babysitter, 30-year-old Carrie Heller. “Once I walked in that room and saw her laying, this little tiny baby on this giant bed hooked up to all these machines and monitors and wires, the reality of that hits you. I knew then that she wasn't coming home. I just knew it,” Olson said. Finley died two days later. In the four months since her death, Olson and her sister Amanda DeNault, a nurse educator at Gundersen Health System, have made it their mission to educate people about the dangers of shaking a child. Because what they have found is a surprising lack of education. “So I pulled a bunch of articles and looked at everything from why it happens to who the perpetrators mainly are to what programs there are in other cities and states across the U.S. and then what's done here,” DeNault said. Medical experts say shaken baby syndrome usually occurs when a parent or caregiver loses their temper with a crying baby. But shaking a child is not the way to get them to stop. “If you've done everything that you can, you've fed them, you've changed them, they're comfortable in their clothing, they're safe in their crib or wherever, then it's OK to walk away. You don't always have to fix it,” DeNault said. Olson and DeNault are working to try to get more information available to parents at the hospital, in hopes that they can educate and hopefully prevent another family from going through what they are. “Losing a child in that way, it literally rips your soul apart,” Olson said. One of the things Olson hopes parents take away from her story is to not stay silent. She said if someone sees signs of abuse or something that just doesn't seem right, she encourages everyone to speak up and ask questions. She said she found after her daughter’s death other families had issues at that day care, but had never said anything. Heller is charged with first-degree reckless homicide. She has pleaded not guilty and will go on trial in Milwaukee County in September. The Mayo Clinic lists shaken baby syndrome as rare, reporting there are fewer than 200,000 cases per year. But a Milwaukee mother, with a local connection, is trying to spread the message about it risks.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 12:20:49 GMT

Missing man may be person who jumped in Rock River; police seek public's help

Janesville police asked the public's help in finding a man reported missing Wednesday. The Janesville Police Department said James N. Brieske hasn’t been seen by relatives or friends since Monday. Brieske is described as white, 5 feet 11 inches tall weighing about 175 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a bright green T-shirt, khaki shorts and white tennis shoes. Police said it's possible Brieske is the person who was witnessed jumping into the Rock River on Monday at 10:31 p.m., however, that has not been confirmed. Police asked anyone with information on Brieske's whereabouts to contact the department at 608-755-3100 or Rock County Dispatch at 608-757-2244.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:53:30 GMT

Wisconsin joins federal lawsuit challenging Obama on defining gender identity

Wisconsin is joining a multi-state lawsuit against the Obama administration over its directive to U.S. public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity. The lawsuit was announced by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and filed in federal court in Texas on Wednesday. The lawsuit includes Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, Louisiana, Utah, Arizona and Georgia. Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said he decided to join the lawsuit after discussing it with fellow Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Schimel calls the Obama administration directive a "power grab" that won't be tolerated in Wisconsin. The lawsuit accuses the Obama administration of "running roughshod over commonsense policies" that protect children. It asks a judge to declare the directive unlawful. Supporters of transgender rights applauded Obama's move and say those who oppose it are discriminating against them. A bill seeking to ban transgender people from certain restrooms in Wisconsin schools died in the Legislature last session, but its Republican sponsor vows to bring it back. Conservative states had vowed defiance since the Justice Department handed down the guidance. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has said "there is no room in our schools for discrimination."

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 20:28:54 GMT

Complaint: Inn owner tells couple he'll 'only do religious weddings'

A Wisconsin couple has filed a discrimination charge with the state of Illinois saying that an inn owner refused to host their wedding because they wanted a non-religious service. Jonathan Webber and Alexandra Katzman filed the charge against Bernadine's Stillman Inn in Galena, Illinois, last month with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois is representing them. The couple said they paid a deposit for a May 2016 wedding. They said when they went to finalize details Anderson told them he would only permit a Christian service. Webber is Christian and Katzman is Jewish. Anderson told WGN-TV he can "only do religious weddings" because of a city rule. The city said it doesn't get involved in religious matters. Anderson had no comment Wednesday.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 16:39:32 GMT

Deputies seize $30K worth of cocaine during traffic stop on interstate

Dane County deputies seize one kilo of cocaine worth about $30,000 during a traffic stop on the interstate Tuesday. Detectives with the Dane County Narcotics Task Force conducted a traffic stop Tuesday on Interstate 90/94 at Highway 12/18, where they seized 985 grams of cocaine, according to a release. Detectives believe Francisco Grajales Arce, 46, and Damasio Velazquez, 33, were delivering the cocaine from Edgerton to an unspecified location in Dane County. The street value of the cocaine is about $30,000, according to the release. Detectives also seized the men’s cellphones and a 2009 Nissan Rogue, officials said. The two men face tentative charges of party to a crime of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver. The Dane County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday a mug shot was not yet available for Velazquez.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 21:11:33 GMT

Car crashes at overpass of Highway 18/151 in Verona, officials say

A 33-year-old Mineral Point man was not seriously injured after a crash at the overpass of Highway 18/151 near Old Highway PB in Verona Tuesday night. Verona police said the man was driving on Highway 18/151 eastbound, took the County Road PB exit and ended up traveling across all four lanes of County Road PB. The vehicle stopped on the other side of the road. Emergency crews were sent to the crash at 7:39 p.m. Police said the man suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and he was wearing a seat belt. Officials said the car started on fire, but it was put out before crews got there. Police are still investigating what caused the crash.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 03:15:28 GMT

Students raise money for beloved bus driver diagnosed with cancer

A beloved bus driver for the Iowa-Grant School District had to hang up her keys due to a diagnosis of leukemia this winter, but her students have not forgotten her. More than 500 elementary school students came together to raise $2,000 for Kristi Loeffelholz, a 27-year veteran of the district. The students ran in a Fun Run Tuesday afternoon in her honor. "She's done so much for the school and the community and other places, so we're kind of giving back to her for everything she's done for us," said Colin Steffl, an eighth-grader who rides on Kristi's bus regularly. Kristi watched and offered high-fives to students as they raced by. Along with words of thanks, she had advice to share. "Cherish every moment, because you never know what tomorrow's going to bring," she said. "You have to be thankful for now. Just be thankful for today."

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 12:01:09 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

Local unemployment rates drop in Wisconsin cities, counties

Unemployment rates dropped last month in all of Wisconsin's largest cities and in most counties. The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that rates decreased between March and April in the state's 32 largest cities. The rates also went down in all but three counties. The only counties that saw increases were Forest, Menominee and Iron. Menominee and Iron counties, at 10.2 percent and 10.8 percent, had the highest unemployment rates statewide. Dane County was lowest at 2.9 percent. Racine had the highest unemployment of any city at 6.8 percent, while Fitchburg was lowest at 2.9 percent. The local rates aren't seasonally adjusted so they're not comparable to the state unemployment rate, which stood at 4.4 percent in April.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 18:20:43 GMT

Wisconsin co. sued over break policy for Muslim workers

A civil liberties group representing Muslim employees of a Wisconsin manufacturer has filed a religious discrimination complaint against the company for not allowing extra break time for prayer. Ariens Co. fired seven Muslim employees earlier this year for taking unscheduled prayer time. Another 14 employees resigned over the break policy. The lawnmower and snow blower manufacturer, based in Brillion, moved to enforce an existing rule of two 10-minute breaks per work shift in January. The company initially allowed the Muslim employees to leave their work stations a third time to accommodate prayers but concluded that disrupted production. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, filed a federal discrimination complaint on Tuesday. Ariens spokeswoman Ann Stilp says the company has 27 Muslim employees who are accommodated with prayer rooms.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 18:04:13 GMT

Nigel Hayes to return to UW for senior year

Nigel Hayes will be coming back to Madison for his senior year the UW announced Tuesday evening. Hayes tweeted Wisconsin State Journal sports reporter Jim Polzin "I'm coming back." Wisconsin’s forward took part in the NBA draft combine in Chicago after declaring early for the draft and making the all-Big Ten first team this past season. Hayes had until May 25 to withdraw his name from the draft without losing his NCCA eligibility. The 6-foot-9 Hayes averaged 15.7 points and 5.9 rebounds a game for the Badgers in his junior season.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 02:28:51 GMT

2 injured in car vs. dump truck crash in Jefferson County

Two people were injured in a car vs. dump truck crash on a Jefferson County highway Tuesday afternoon, officials said. Jefferson County crews were sent to County Road Y about two tenths of a mile south of Will Road around 1:55 p.m. for reports of a car versus dump truck crash, according to a release. Investigators said a silver 2005 Chevrolet was driving north on County Road Y when it drifted into the southbound lane and hit a red 2016 Kenworth dump truck head-on. The dump truck driver, a 48-year-old man, was taken to Fort Atkinson Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the release. The 27-year-old woman who was driving the car was taken to Aurora Sumitt Hospital by Flight for Life with severe injuries. The crash is still under investigation.

Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 22:19:07 GMT

Adams Co. towns agree to let Baraboo EMS handle 911 calls

The Adams County Ambulance Committee has agreed to extend an offer to Baraboo District EMS to cover 911 calls in the county, but all towns must meet by Friday to approve the deal. The committee met Tuesday night to figure out who will be providing 911 services in that area after an ambulance service was shut down last week. Ambulance Committee Chair Jesse Pitzley told WISC-TV the committee approved a motion to extend an offer to Baraboo District EMS to handle all emergency calls in the county, with no end date scheduled for the service. However, Pitzley said all nine towns must meet before Friday to approve funding for the deal, and the committee will need to meet before 5 p.m. Friday to sign paperwork to approve the deal. Pitzley said the ambulance service will provide coverage for nearly 10,000 people in Adams County. The committee met in Adams to discuss the contract it has with Adams County Emergency Services (ACES). ACES was shut down by the state last week, citing safety violations with its ambulances and issues with licensing and approvals. The state also revoked the EMT license of ACES owner Christopher Quinnell, citing a recent guilty plea for attempted sexual assault of a child. Baraboo District EMS has been covering calls since 7 p.m. Thursday, and has been billing customers for the rides, but is not yet being paid by any municipality in Adams County for providing the service. "We've done some very rough preliminary numbers, and I'm still getting them in today," Chief Dana Sechler said. "Based upon the call volume we've had thus far and what our expenses are, we're right at that breaking-even point as of today." Sechler said they've responded to 13 calls since they started service and if they move past that break-even point they will bill the communities in Adams County for the remainder. "All I can say is I'm waiting to hear back from the Adams County Ambulance Commission on what their proposal is and if they would like us to be there beyond Friday," Sechler said. A spokeswoman for the state said there was no definite timeline on when a final decision may be made on the ability of ACES to provide ambulance service. The Baraboo District Ambulance Commission will meet Wednesday night to discuss the issue.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 13:59:12 GMT

DNR board approves reducing buck-only counties

The state Department of Natural Resources board has unanimously approved shrinking the number of counties where hunters can shoot only bucks this fall. The board signed off Wednesday on a fall season framework that makes 10 northern Wisconsin counties buck-only. That's down from 19 counties in 2014 and 12 last year. Buck-only designations are designed to protect does so they can give birth, leading to a larger herd. DNR Big Game Section Chief Bob Nack told the board that the northern herd appears to be growing again after harsh winters cut their numbers, enabling the agency to reduce the buck-only counties. The framework also includes an antlerless-only, nine-day holiday gun hunt between Christmas and New Year's in 13 southern and central counties.

Published: Wed, 25 May 2016 14:54:59 GMT

Mom listed as missing with 3 kids faces criminal charges, police say

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. According to the release, an arrest warrant was issued for Michalene Melges for interfering with child custody. She is being help by Savannah authorities. 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 21:26:25 GMT