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Rusk County News


Most of the winter weather is exiting to the north and east this morning, leading to mainly dry weather later today. It will likely remain quite gloomy with an overcast sky. Temperatures will slowly rise a bit more and we have a chance to reach the freezing mark during the afternoon. Heading into tonight and early Friday, a secondary front will be sliding down from the northwest and this could lead to enough lift to produce a few flurries and areas of drizzle. Temperatures won’t drop much at night while they have a chance to rise a few more degrees on Friday. Seasonable temperatures will finish up the month of November, but it does appear clouds may be tough to move out through the day, limiting how warm we get, with highs in the mid 30’s.

Both December and the start of meteorological winter arrive this weekend and it will come with the potential for a winter storm. Forecast models are starting to come into better agreement with a low pressure system developing in the Southern Plains and tracking to the northeast. There are still uncertainties with regards to how far north it tracks and then how quickly it moves out, but it should move close enough to spread some rain and snow into at least some of Western Wisconsin on Saturday. The forecast becomes tricky with respect to precipitation type, as any cold air will remain displaced to the northwest until later in the weekend. This means a combination of rain, sleet and snow will be possible during this event. Highs on Saturday look to be in the mid 30’s while it may cool a degree or two into Sunday. What precipitation remains into Sunday will have a better chance to be wet snow as the storm starts to move east and we get into the deeper cold air. It’s a forecast that is likely to change in the next few days, so keep tabs on the forecast for specifics.

Barron County (WQOW) – It’s been nearly a month and a half since Jim and Denise Closs were found killed, and their 13 year old daughter, Jayme, disappeared. Investigators say there are still no credible leads. The 30 person investigative team from the Barron County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation is now in the process of retracing their steps.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said the investigative team is re-interviewing some of Jim and Denise Closs’ friends, to see if there’s anything new they can recall now that time has passed. Investigators are also taking a more complete look through the family’s phones and social media.

We’re looking back a little farther in their social media and phone records, said Fitzgerald. We’re going back further, seeing who they called maybe 60 days ago to see if there’s something that maybe triggered this a while ago. Obviously, we didn’t find anything recently so we’re looking a little wider now. Fitzgerald said a team of video specialists at the FBI headquarters in Milwaukee is piecing together more than 80 pieces of surveillance video footage. Fitzgerald said the video could provide clues as to who took Jayme.

Believe that Jayme will come home. That’s what we’re running on now is belief and hope, Fitzgerald said. Fitzgerald said they are still receiving about 25 tips a day and believes it will only take one credible lead to break the case.


The Rusk County dispatch at about 8:20 AM Wednesday received a 911 call from a male subject advising that he is a logger and that he cut a tree and it fell on a powerline at a location on Parker Road, Ladysmith. The caller advised that the powerline was still intact and hasn’t fallen. The Bruce Fire Department was called to the scene. Jump River Electric was also contacted. No other information was available.

CHIPPEWA CO., Wis. (WEAU) — A Chippewa Falls man is now charged in the deaths of two men who police say he provided with drugs.

Shane Johnson Courtesy: Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office

Shane Johnson, 41, was charged in November of last year for supplying the heroin that killed Nicholas Buck, 40.

Wednesday the same charges are filed against Johnson for the death of Samuel Ott, 28, who died on November 18th of last year.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Chippewa County officers were called to an Eau Claire home on East Lexington Blvd.

When officers arrived they found Ott dead inside the basement of the home with a syringe, spoon and small clear gem packet on his nightstand.

Johnson was arrested on Thanksgiving Day last year in connection with the deaths but was found with enough drugs that federal prosecutors took the case initially.

As Johnson was facing federal charges the Chippewa County District Attorney’s Office said a policy required the other local charges be dropped since a person cannot be prosecuted federally when local charges are pending.

In May Johnson was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for possessing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute according to Department of Justice.

Johnson is due for his initial appearance in Chippewa County Court in January.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin farmers will receive about $10 million in federal money from the farm bailout program.

U.S. Department of Agriculture data obtained by the Washington non-profit Environmental Working Group shows the average payment for Wisconsin farmers from the Market Facilitation program is $2,145. The Journal Sentinel reports 11 farms received more than $50,000 each, while 237 farms got less than $100 and a few thousand more received an amount somewhere in between.

Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy LLC was the top recipient of the USDA payments in Wisconsin. The Kewaunee farm received about $81,000.

The bailout program is designed to help farmers who have seen prices for their goods tumble as a result of President Donald Trump’s trade battles with Canada, Mexico, China and other countries.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers says he will tour the state to make a pitch for expanding Medicaid health coverage in Wisconsin under his first budget plan.

Evers visited a community health center Wednesday in Milwaukee and told reporters afterward that leadership is what caused Medicaid expansion “to fail” in the state. He said he plans to win Republican votes for a proposal to expand Wisconsin’s BadgerCare Plus health care coverage program for low-income residents under former President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Wisconsin is one of 17 states that have not taken federal funding under the health care law to expand Medicaid. Voters in three of those states — Idaho, Nebraska and Utah — approved Medicaid expansion in referendums in the November election.

  • RUSK COUNTY NEWS June 11, 2019
    WLDY-WJBL NEWS 6-11-19 Monday afternoon at about 1;15, Rusk County deputies with the Rusk County K-9 did a search of a residence on East 3rd Street North, Ladysmith. After a K-9 search a positive alert was given for Drugs and Drug Paraphernalia. No other information was available. BARRON COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) — The man charged […]
  • Moving Sale June 11, 2019
    Moving Sale (phase 2)  Thursday, Friday and Saturday June 13-15.  8 AM to 4 PM.  Queen size bed set, TV stand, household items, more tools, clocks, and lots more.  W11133 Christman Road. lot 7 Bruce.