The flu was a little late in getting to Wisconsin this winter...
Luckily, it sounds like people in La Crosse County were ready for it well in advance. County public health nurse Christine Berth doesn't expect too many people to ask for flu shots in March, because so many shots were given during the fall. In fact, Berth says this is the time of year when the county starts ordering flu vaccine for next season. The Centers for Disease Control says this is the latest beginning for a flu season since the early 80's.
A week ago, he was facing a possible prison term for attempted robbery...
Now, Jadin Botcher of La Crosse is chared with trespass with a dangerous weapon, for his alleged role in a home break-in. Botcher originally was accused of threatening a La Crosse woman with a golf club...but his attorney, Russell Hammer, says the victim asked for the robbery charge to be dropped because Botcher never actually entered the home. Botcher's bail of 20-thousand dollars was reduced to a signature bond. Charges against three other men in the same case also have been reduced.
(AP) A former Coulee Region postal worker has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing 9,000 pieces of mail. Fifty-year-old Robert Ernstes, of Melrose, told a federal judge in Madison Thursday that he took the mail because ``times were tough, money was tight and bills were piling up.'' Ernstes worked at the downtown La Crosse post office. A Holmen man who mailed cards containing $2 bills to his grandchildren alerted authorities after the cards were delivered, but had been opened and were missing the bills. Ernstes admitted in court to taking money from envelopes he opened. The stolen mail has been held as evidence, but will now be released for delivery.
(AP) Legislation under debate at the Capitol would significantly increase compensation for those wrongly convicted and incarcerated. One of the bill's authors, Rep. Mark Pocan, says a guilty person gets more help from the state upon their release from prison than someone who was wrongly convicted. Pocan and Rep. Garey Bies are proposing payouts for exonerated prisoners from $5,000 for every year behind bars to a maximum $50,000 a year.
Wisconsin Innocence Project co-director Keith Findley says the Badger State is dead last on compensating those who are wrong convicted and imprisoned. The organization has used DNA to free 14 wrongly convicted prisoners since 1998. The bill has little chance of passage this session. But, Pocan's staff says it's well positioned for early consideration next session.
(AP) A Wisconsin police chief who faces sexual assault and other charges has been found in south-central Nebraska. The Nebraska State Patrol says 29-year-old Shay Larson was taken into custody just after 1 a.m. Friday at a truck stop near the Elm Creek interchange on Interstate 80. Wisconsin authorities had passed along tips that Larson might be driving a semitrailer in the area. Nebraska troopers checked the truck stop and found a big rig with Wisconsin plates. The patrol says Larson was in the truck. He remains in the Buffalo County jail, awaiting extradition to Wisconsin. The patrol says Larson is chief in the village of Readstown, Wis. He's is charged in Vernon County with sexual assault, misconduct in public office, disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer.