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Rusk County News


The Ladysmith Volunteer Fire Department responded to a house fire on Wednesday morning 12:46 AM. The fire was at W7465 Flambeau Point Road, several miles East of Ladysmith. Upon arrival the house was totally engulfed in flames. 3 family members were able to escape but a 4th was not and perished in the fire. The deceased is a 79 year old male who has been identified as Robert J. Miller from Ladysmith. The house and its contents were a total loss. Hawkins and Bruce Fire Departments provided mutual aid with tankers and manpower. Ladysmith Fire Department remained on the scene until 10:30 AM Wednesday. Ladysmith was assisted at the scen by the Rusk County Sheriff’s Department, Ambulances from Ladysmith, Sheldon and Hawkins, Rusk County Coroner and the State Fire Marshall’s Office. The fire remains under investigation and the cause is still undetermined.

Chippewa County, (WQOW) – New charges filed in Chippewa County shed new light on the Rusk County murder of Robert Pettit. 53 year old Pettit was killed on May 18th from a gunshot wound to the head. Preston Kraft, 31, is charged with his murder.

Now, he’s also charged in Chippewa County for threatening Pettit 21 days before his death. According to the criminal complaint, Pettit told police he went to the home of Ralph Kraft, Preston’s dad, in the town of Ruby to get some paperwork. The senior Kraft was in the Rusk County jail at the time. When Pettit got there, Preston Kraft allegedly fired a gun into the air and said, “if you come any closer I am going to kill you.” Kraft then ran into the woods and police weren’t able to find him. They did find, however, an empty gun case and a shell casing.

Pettit told police he believed Kraft displayed a 9 mm handgun – that’s the same type of shell casings found the following month at the murder scene. Kraft is being held on a $250,000 bond in Rusk County. He’s scheduled to return to court in August in Rusk County. For the Chippewa County charges, he’s scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Shortly before 1 PM Wednesday, a male subject reported to the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office that someone broke into his garage located on Highway 40 near Exland. According to the report, his trolling motor, fishing poles and tackle box were stolen. This occurred sometime within the last week.

Rusk County dispatch just before 3:30 AM this (Thursday) morning, received a 911 call advising there was a car in the ditch by Highway 40 and County Highway H (South leg) on the West side of the road.

According to the report, the caller advised the vehicle was still running with no one in it. The airbags were not deployed. Rusk County deputies and the Ladysmith ambulance responded to the scene. After a few minutes, a deputy advised there was only one occupant in the vehicle and the subject is being uncooperative about her identity. After an investigation the subject was taken into custody and got a warrant for a blood draw from RCMH. No other information was available.

Early Wednesday afternoon, a City Officer received a report of retail theft from Kwik Trip. According to the report, video surveillance showed Wayne Srp concealing two cans of beer in his pants. After an investigation, the Officer made contact with Srp at his residence. The Officer located one empty can of beer and an unopened can of beer. The Officer issued Srp a citation for retail theft.

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today announced that farmers in 52 Wisconsin counties may qualify for emergency loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help with losses sustained in the mid-April blizzard.

“Wisconsin’s farmers are a key part of our state’s economy, our history, and our future,” said Governor Walker. “We’re happy to announce that new resources may be available for farmers to help them overcome the damages from April’s snow storms. We are always listening to the needs of our farmers and look forward to working with them in the future to support our farming industry.”

The disaster designation by the Farm Service Agency Administrator means that low-interest emergency loans are available to farmers who had severe physical losses from snow and high winds during the April 13-15 storm. Counties included in the disaster designation are: Barron, Brown, Burnett, Door, Dunn, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Jackson, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Marinette, Monroe, Oconto, Outagamie, Polk, Portage, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Trempealeau, Washburn, Waupaca and Wood.

In addition, eligible farmers in counties bordering the disaster counties may also receive loans. Those counties are: Adams, Ashland, Bayfield, Buffalo, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Columbia, Dodge, Douglas, Eau Claire, Florence, Forest, Juneau, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marquette, Menominee, Pepin, Pierce, Price, St. Croix, Sheboygan, Taylor, Vernon, Washington, Waushara and Winnebago.

Farmers have eight months to apply for the loans. Farmers should contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency office for more information on loan eligibility and the application process.

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