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RUSK COUNTY NEWS

WLDY-WJBL NEWS 12-17-19

Heading into Tuesday we will end up with a mostly cloudy sky again as a weak front drops down from the northwest. Moisture will be limited, but some flurries and light snow showers will be around, which could lead to a light dusting in places. Daytime highs will reach the low 20’s. Behind the front a high pressure system will be taking its place from Canada. Clouds will again exit and with light winds we should see a quick temperature drop at night, with a sub-zero start likely Wednesday morning. Wednesday will bring our best chance to see the sunshine again, but it won’t last through the day as clouds look to quickly return for the afternoon. It will be the coldest day this week as we only reach into the teens. The high will be quick to move east, putting the state on the back side and eventually southerly flow. A dip in the jet stream will be moving to the east coast while it flattens across much of the country. This type of pattern keeps arctic air trapped in Canada and milder, Pacific air can stream eastward. The main storm track will stay to our south and all of this spells out a dry and milder pattern for us. This begins late this week with temperatures returning to seasonable levels Thursday and Friday. Both days look to be cloudier overall while temperatures rise into the mid and upper 20’s.

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) — Monday afternoon in front of around 30 family members of the five victims from the 2018 fatal hit-and-run crash in Lake Hallie, Colten Treu changed his plea. “This plea has been coming for about two or three weeks I understand. Have you had enough time to talk to your lawyer about this, lawyers about this?,” said Chippewa County Circuit Court Judge James Isaacson. “Yes, your honor,” responded Treu. In early Nov. 2018, Treu was driving down County Road P in Lake Hallie after allegedly “huffing” chemical vapors when he crashed into Girl Scout Troop 3055, killing three girl scouts, a mother, and hurting a fifth person. Monday, Treu changed his plea to no contest on four counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and was found guilty by Judge Isaacson. Treu also pleaded guilty to one count of hit and run causing great bodily harm. “I think it was all about holding him accountable and obviously the four homicides are the more severe of the death related charges. And then for the other young victim who wasn’t killed as a result of the crash, then it was about holding him accountable for the injuries,” said Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell. This plea comes just five weeks before a jury trial was scheduled to start in January. Little outward emotion was shown in the courtroom, by either families of the victims or Treu’s family, as the pleas were read. “I’m going to do everything in my power at sentencing time to have him held accountable for the harm that he did to the citizens here in Chippewa County and to those four young girls and the mother,” said Newell. The defense attorney’s for Treu declined to comment on the case until after sentencing, which is scheduled for March 10 and 11. The other six charges in the case were dismissed, but will be read-in for consideration during the sentencing. Treu faces a maximum of 175 years in prison.

RUSK COUNTY – Monday night shortly after 8 PM, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office were advised that there was a patient in the ER at MMC-Ladysmith with injuries sustained from a Domestic incident. Rusk County deputies responded to the scene. According to the report, the incident took place at a residence on Sawdust Road, Bruce. After an investigation, a subject was taken into custody and transported to the Rusk County jail. No other information was available.

Monday morning at 9 AM, Ladysmith police received a theft complaint. According to the Police log, a male subject reported a theft at Ladysmith Fresh Market. After an investigation, Wayne J. Srp, 53, was arrested for Retail Theft of consumable goods.

MADISON (WKOW) — A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation Monday to protect first responders and roadside workers. The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point), would strengthen penalties for traffic violations like reckless driving in areas where emergency or roadside response vehicles are present and personnel are at risk from traffic. The legislation would create an emergency response area, similar to a work zone, in which first responders can slow down traffic by reducing the speed limit. In an emergency response area, fines would double for speeding, reckless driving, and other traffic citations. Just as in a work zone, the bill would prohibit cell phone use while driving in an emergency response area, with the same penalties applying. Additionally, this bill further protects first responders and other workers on or near a roadway, like tow truck drivers and construction workers, by stiffening penalties for striking, injuring, or killing a worker. Under the bill, if a driver causes bodily harm to workers engaged in highway maintenance, construction, utility work, emergency response, or roadside response, they may be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for 9 months, or both. Additionally, a court may also order 100-200 hours of community service and mandatory traffic school. The bill also requires the DOT to educate the public about these changes and the risks associated with not moving over, reducing speed, and putting away their cell phones in emergency response areas. This legislation comes months after fire officials pushed for lawmakers to hold drivers more accountable for hitting a first responder.

Washington (CNN) – Federal lawmakers appear poised to raise the national smoking age to match the drinking age. A group of top Senators have agreed to raise the federal tobacco sales age from 18 to 21, according to multiple people involved in the talks. That includes e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. A number of states have already raised the tobacco sales age to 21 by state law. The sources say the change is part of a sweeping year-end spending agreement. Some top lawmakers have been looking for a way to get the higher age across the finish line, and now they’ve found one, by attaching it to the must-pass series of bills to avoid a government shutdown. The House is expected to vote on the spending agreement on Tuesday. The Senate would then need to pass it by Friday to dodge a partial government shutdown. With bipartisan support, the bill appears likely to pass.

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