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Rusk County News


At 7:51 AM this (Friday) morning, the Rusk County dispatch received a 911 call that there was a male subject on the railroad tracks near the Ladysmith Visitor Center in Ladysmith. According to the police log, the subject would not get off the tracks and the caller believes the male is intoxicated. Ladysmith Police and the Ladysmith ambulance was called to the scene. After a few minutes the subject was taken into custody. A City Officer advised that the male subject was very intoxicated and had some cuts and the ambulance transported to subject to the Marshfield Medical Center Ladysmith. No other information was available.

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — About 20 survivors are expected to gather at Pearl Harbor on Friday to pay tribute to the thousands of men lost in the Japanese attack 77 years ago. Pearl Harbor attack, 1941, Photo Date: 1941 / Photo: DoD / (MGN)The youngest of the veterans are in their mid-90s. The Navy and National Park Service will jointly host the remembrance ceremony at a grassy site overlooking the water and the USS Arizona Memorial.Attendees are expected to observe a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the time the attack began on Dec. 7, 1941. Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 jets are scheduled to fly overhead in “missing man formation” to break the silence.This year, no survivor from the USS Arizona will be attending the ceremony as none of the men were able to make the trip to Hawaii.The Arizona sank after two bombs hit the ship, triggering tremendous explosions. The Arizona lost 1,177 sailors and Marines, the greatest number of casualties from any ship. Most remain entombed in the sunken hull of the battleship at the bottom of the harbor.Altogether, the Pearl Harbor attack killed nearly 2,400 U.S. servicemen.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker is weighing whether to sign a sweeping package of bills that would weaken the powers of his Democratic successor.Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said Thursday that the governor was reviewing the bills that passed early Wednesday morning during a rare lame-duck legislative session. The Republican-controlled Legislature approved the measures following overnight debate.Evenson didn’t give a time frame for when Walker would act. Walker has six days to take action once the bills are delivered to him.Walker’s office worked closely with legislators to craft the measures, but Republican lawmakers made last-minute changes during late-night negotiations.Walker is getting bipartisan pressure to veto the measures, including from Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers (EE’-vers). Walker has already signaled general support for the legislation.Corrects that Walker has six days to act on the bills after they are delivered to him instead of 10 days.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in November, a slowdown from recent months but enough to suggest that the economy is expanding at a solid pace despite sharp gyrations in the stock market. The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate remained 3.7%, nearly a five-decade low, for the third straight month. Average hourly pay rose 3.1% from a year ago, matching the previous month’s figure, which was the best since 2009. The economy is expanding at a healthy pace, but rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China, ongoing interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve and weakening global growth have roiled financial markets. Analysts expect growth to slow but remain solid in 2019 as the impact of last year’s tax cuts fade. The jobs figure was less than many economists forecast, but few saw the report as a sign of a broader slowdown. “The economy continues to churn out new jobs and reflects the strong underlying business conditions that point to steady, albeit slower job growth and economic activity in 2019,” said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at consulting firm RSM. “This report strongly implies that a recession is not looming just over the horizon.”

Rusk County News


WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation bid goodbye to George H.W. Bush with high praise, cannon salutes and gentle humor Wednesday, celebrating the life of the Texan who embraced a lifetime of service in Washington and was the last president to fight for the U.S. in wartime. Three former presidents looked on at Washington National Cathedral as a fourth — George W. Bush — eulogized his dad as “the brightest of a thousand points of light.”

State Funeral of President George H.W. Bush, Photo Date: December 5, 2018 / Photo: MSNBC / (MGN)

After three days of remembrance in the capital city, the Air Force plane with Bush’s casket left for a final service in Houston and burial Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station. His final resting place is alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years, and Robin Bush, the daughter who died of leukemia at age 3.

His plane, which often serves as Air Force One, arrived at Ellington Field outside Houston in late afternoon.

The national funeral service at the cathedral was a tribute to a president, a patriarch and a faded political era that prized military service and public responsibility. It was laced with indirect comparisons to President Donald Trump but was not consumed by them, as speakers focused on Bush’s public life and character — with plenty of cracks about his goofy side, too.

HOUSTON — Seven months ago, hundreds of people filled St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston to say goodbye to Barbara Bush. On Thursday, they returned to St. Martin’s once more to remember her husband — the 41st president of the United States.

The funeral on Thursday morning for former President George Bush, which began at 10 a.m. with the singing of “O Beautiful for Spacious Skies,” was one of the final events in what has become an extraordinary moment of national mourning. The ceremony in Houston, held the day after Mr. Bush’s state funeral at Washington National Cathedral, unfolded at a church not far from the home he shared with his wife of 73 years, who died in April at the age of 92.

The Bushes both died at home, surrounded by relatives and close friends and mourned by members of both parties as embodiments of a more genial era of American politics.

After the funeral, Mr. Bush’s coffin was scheduled to travel by train in the afternoon to College Station, Tex., where the former president was to be buried on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University — next to Mrs. Bush and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia at the age of 3 in 1953.


This (Thursday) morning at 6:25, a female employee at the Express Mart on Main Street, Bruce advised that a Red station wagon was a gas drive off. The vehicle headed South bound on Highway 40. After an investigation, a Rusk County deputy advised a Maroon Minivan pumped $47.92 worth of gas and drove away South bound on Highway 40. They were unable to identify a plate number and they were going to try and identify the driver.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses hired new workers at a solid pace in November, adding 179,000 jobs, according to a private survey.

The report comes as other data also suggest the U.S. economy remains healthy, even as the financial markets have gyrated over concerns about a trade conflict with China and slowing global growth.

Payroll processor ADP said Thursday that last month’s job gains slowed from October’s strong showing of 225,000. Still, November’s hiring is enough to lower the unemployment rate over time.

Job gains were strong in health care, which added 37,000 jobs, and in hotels and restaurants, which gained 26,000. Professional and technical services, which include high-paying jobs such as accountants and engineers, added 25,000. Construction gained 10,000 positions while manufacturing added just 4,000.

RELATED: Record imports push US trade gap to $55.5 billion in October

The report Thursday arrives a day before the government releases its official jobs numbers. Economists forecast that they will show employers added 195,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate will remain at a five-decade low of 3.7 percent, according to data provider FactSet.

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) — The Stevens Point Police Department said they’ve arrested 22-year-old Chicago homicide suspect.

According to a news release, Jerome Buchanan was arrested Wednesday around 1 p.m.

Police executed a search warrant at a home on the 400 block of Michigan Avenue. They said Buchanan escaped through a window an ran through the UWSP parking lot. He was later arrested.

No details about the homicide case were released.

Rusk County News


(ABC News) — Hundreds of dignitaries, heads of state and family members will gather at Washington National Cathedral Wednesday for a state funeral honoring the life of former President George H.W. Bush.

The remains of the 41st president, who passed away last Friday at the age of 94, have been lying in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda since Monday afternoon.

Thousands of individuals have visited the Capitol to pay their respects to Bush, who has been memorialized among a bipartisan chorus of voices since his death, for his commitment to national service and dedication to his family.

According to the current schedule, there will be a departure ceremony at the Capitol beginning at 10 a.m., and Bush’s casket will be transported to the National Cathedral by motorcade.

The Bush family, including former President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush, will arrive at the cathedral with military escorts and take their seats before the casket is transported to the cathedral landing by a group of honorary pallbearers.

The program itself is largely reflective of Bush’s own service in the military, and will include full state’s honors and performances by the U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra, the Armed Forces Chorus, the Air Force Singing Sergeants and the “President’s Own” Marine Band, among others.

It will mark a contrast to the funeral service scheduled for Thursday after the president’s return to Texas, which is said to feature friends of the family from “west of the Mississippi” and includes performances from the Oak Ridge Boys and Reba McEntire.

The attendee list at the national service is a bipartisan cadre of current and former heads of state, and will be the first time that President Trump is in the same room as all the former living presidents, as well as his defeated 2016 campaign rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Madison (AP) – The Latest on Wisconsin Republican lawmakers moving to limit the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature has approved a sweeping package of bills weakening the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.

The state Assembly approved the lame-duck legislation Wednesday morning. The Wisconsin Senate did the same less than three hours earlier after lawmakers worked through most of the night.

The bills now go to outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has signaled his support.

The measures would limit the governor’s ability to promulgate administrative rules, which enact laws and give lawmakers the power to control appointees to the state economic development agency’s board.

The measures would also require the attorney general to get legislative approval to withdraw from lawsuits. That move is designed to block Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers from allowing the incoming attorney general, Democrat Josh Kaul, to withdraw Wisconsin from a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.

The measures also restrict early in-person voting to two weeks before an election.

Madison (WKOW) — Governor-elect Tony Evers is reacting hours after the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature approved a sweeping package of bills weakening him and the incoming Democratic attorney general, Josh Kaul.

The Governor-elect released the following statement Wednesday morning:

“Wisconsin has never seen anything like this. Power-hungry politicians rushed through sweeping changes to our laws to expand their own power and override the will of the people of Wisconsin who asked for change on November 6th.

Wisconsin values of decency, kindness, and finding common ground were pushed aside so a handful of people could desperately usurp and cling to power while hidden away from the very people they represent.

Wisconsinites expect more from us and I hope at some point the Legislature will rise to the occasion and work with me to solve the pressing issues facing our state. That’s what the people of Wisconsin want, that’s what the people of Wisconsin deserve, and that’s more than what they got from government here tonight.”

Rusk County News


Another overcast day today while winds remain fairly light from the west and southwest. The clouds will keep temperatures from rising during the day, leading to very little range in temperature. We will see that again tomorrow, with highs in the low to mid 20’s. Partial clearing is possible in places at night while there may be a few sunny breaks into Wednesday. A cold front will be sliding down from the northwest, arriving at night. Out ahead of this we will see increasing southwest breezes but they aren’t expected to really help temperatures rise much, with highs in the mid to upper 20’s. The front will slide through at night with the chance for a few snow showers before winds return to the northwest and colder air returns.


Early Monday afternoon a male subject came to the LEC lobby reporting that his cabin located on Rock Lane West, Chetek, was broken into within the last couple of weeks. According to the report, items were stolen and the case is under investigation.

Last Tuesday, November 27th was Giving Tuesday. It was a very successful day and week for the Ladysmith Educational Enrichment Fund. According to the School District of Ladysmith, they made their Goal in fundraising for the Fund. As of last Friday afternoon, they raised $1,032.16 which will be quadrupled. That means they collected $5,000 which will in turn into $20,000! According to the release by the School District of Ladysmith, they collected more which will be Doubled! An additional $2,038.56 was collected, which will turn into $4,077.12. The grand total, with matching funds, collected last week stands at $24,077.12 for the Ladysmith Educational Enrichment Fund! Thank You so much for your generosity.

Here are the second week’s winners for the GLACC Shop local and win $1,000 Give-Away! The $100 winner is Sandy Kozial of Ladysmith who registered at Ace Hardware. The $50 winner was Jan Carter of Ladysmith who registered at Plaid Peacock. The 5 $20 winners were Alto Hess of Ladysmith who registered at Ace Hardware, Connie Von Haden of Ladysmith, Amy Stewart of Tony who registered at Plaid Peacock, Tricia Siverling of Ladysmith who registered at Plaid Peacock, and Mike Grotzinger of Ladysmith. All the winners can pick up their Chamber Bucks certificates at the Chamber Office in the Visitor Center.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Republicans are planning dramatic lame-duck votes in the state Legislature on a sweeping attempt to limit the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.

Opponents decried the moves as a last-gasp power grab and an attempt to invalidate the election where Republican Gov. Scott Walker was defeated.

Once approved by the Legislature on Tuesday, the measures would head to Walker for his signature just five weeks before he is replaced by Democrat Tony Evers.

A Republican-controlled committee voted to approve the bills around midnight Monday, following a nine-hour public hearing where all but one person spoke against the measures.

A proposal to move the 2020 presidential primary election from April to March appears to be dead after the committee did not vote to advance it.

WASHINGTON (NEWS RELEASE) — President Donald J. Trump has proclaimed Dec. 5 as a national day of mourning throughout the United States and has called on the American people to pay homage to the memory of former President George H.W. Bush on that day.

Out of respect for President Bush, the nation’s 41st commander in chief, and to honor his vast contributions to the United States during his lifetime, and consistent with the presidential proclamation, the Postal Service will observe the national day of mourning.

The Postal Service will suspend regular mail delivery and retail service Dec. 5. USPS will provide limited package delivery service on that day to ensure that the Postal Service network remains fluid and USPS does not experience any impacts to its package delivery operations that might negatively affect customers or business partners during the remainder of the busy holiday season.

All Postal Service facilities — including headquarters in Washington, DC, and area and district administrative offices — are included in the national day of mourning. Local managers will advise employees on staffing levels to maintain operations and prepare for the resumption of regular activities Thursday, Dec. 6.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The University of Wisconsin System is seeking 3 percent pay hikes for its employees each of the next two fiscal years.

System officials said Monday they would ask regents to consider the plan when they meet on Thursday. The UW System has about 39,000 employees statewide.

The pay hikes would come after a period of little economic gain for those employees. They’ve gotten no pay plan increases in five of the last eight years, and increases have averaged less than 1 percent over the past decade.

UW System President Ray Cross says it’s important to reinvest in faculty and staff so the system doesn’t fall behind as labor markets tighten.

Chippewa County (WQOW) – A convicted sex offender is set to be released and he will live on the streets in Chippewa County.

Austin Wooley, 24, was convicted of two counts of 3rd degree sexual assault of minors in March of 2013. He was convicted of possession with intent to deliver THC the following year.

Wooley will be released from the Jackson Correctional Institution on December 18. At this time there is not a residence set up for Wooley and he will be considered homeless. He will be supervised by the Department of Corrections until December 19, 2020.

Wooley is not allowed to have contact with his victims, go on the property of schools, parks or daycares and have GPS monitoring.

If you feel Wooley is violating his above restrictions, you are asked to contact the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office at 715-726-7700.

Rusk County News


The rest of the day will remain mostly cloudy with a few flurries possible. An upper level trough will continue to slide away to the east while an upper ridge to our west builds and moves close to our area by early Tuesday, though it will be weakening. Afternoon temperatures will be right around average, in the low 30’s for most. A drier air mass arrives tomorrow, a shallow layer of low level moisture will likely keep some clouds around but the day looks dry. It will also be a bit colder with fairly light winds and highs in the mid 20’s.


In Rusk County news this past weekend, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office Friday afternoon just before 2 PM, investigated a Bond violation complaint. According to the police log, a county deputy advised that the subject was not at an address in Bruce. After an investigation a county deputy had the male subject in custody for misd. Bail Jumping. He was transported to the Rusk County jail.

Friday night at about 11:15, Rusk County dispatch received an anonymous call advising that their neighbors were yelling and they could hear some banging at a residence on East 10th Street North Ladysmith. Ladysmith Police were dispatched to the residence for a report of a possible domestic incident in progress. After an investigation, Richard Joseph Smith, 27, was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Rusk County dispatch received a 911 call from a female Saturday afternoon shortly after 5 PM, reporting that there was a vehicle in the ditch on its side by the entrance to Christie Mountain. She was advised that there was no one around the vehicle. The driver was contacted who was advised to return to where his vehicle was at. After an investigation the drivers license was suspended. No other information was available.

At 4 AM this (Monday) morning, a Rusk County deputy advised that a vehicle spun out and almost went into the ditch while following it on Highway 8, Bruce. According to the report, the deputy could smell drugs detected in the vehicle. After an investigation, 3 subjects were taken into custody and transported to the Rusk County jail. One juvenile was also taken to the LEC.

Saturday morning at about 1:40 AM, a City Officer had a traffic stop on Worden Avenue East. After an investigation, the Officer arrested Leroy Anthony Cortes, SR., 62, for OMVWI 1st offense. He was issued citations for that offense and for possession of THC.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Elections Commission says GOP plans to move Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential primary from April to March would cost at least $7 million.

The move is part of a sweeping package of lame-duck legislation Republican lawmakers plan to take up on Tuesday. Moving the primary would create three elections in three months — the state primary in February, the presidential primary in March and the state general election in April.

A commission memo estimates a third election would cost between $6.4 million and $6.8 million. That estimate doesn’t include all local costs, training costs and software update costs.

The memo warns of plenty of logistical hurdles, including administrating absentee ballots for two elections simultaneously and short deadlines for postelection tasks while prepping for the next contest.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — U.S. and state flags are flying at half-staff until sunset on Dec. 30 in Wisconsin and elsewhere to honor former President George Herbert Walker Bush who died Friday at age 94.

Gov. Scott Walker was among politicians sending condolences to the Bush family, calling the 41st president a “true gentleman,” adding that the country is better because of his service.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Bush was a man “for all seasons: a war hero, a statesman and affectionate family man.”

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson called Bush a “shining example of selfless leadership and compassion.”

Madison (AP) – The battle over whether Wisconsin should accept federal money to expand Medicaid coverage for about 75,000 more poor people is shaping up as an early flashpoint for Gov.-elect Tony Evers.

Evers is pledging to take his case for expansion to voters across the state.

He also plans to write into his first budget the roughly $180 million a year that the expansion would bring. That would force Republicans to find ways to replace it or cut an equal amount.

Exit polls showed health care was the top issue for voters who elected Evers over Gov. Scott Walker, who has long opposed taking the federal money.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin director Robert Kraig says it’s bad politics right now for anyone opposing expansion

Rusk County News


November draws to a close today with a return to near seasonable temperatures. The month will go into the record books as being much colder than average, currently about 7 degrees, while precipitation is right where it should be, though snowfall is a bit below average. We may make some of that up this weekend however, as a potent winter storm moves up from the south. Most of today will be partly to mostly cloudy and dry with highs in the mid 30’s. Nice weather this evening for the Clearwater Winter Parade in Eau Claire, with temperatures around 30.

While we remain quiet, low pressure will be organizing over the Southern Plains this afternoon, taking a track up to the northeast towards Iowa into Saturday. The storm will be intensifying during this time, with the northern edge of precipitation advancing into Southern Minnesota by early Saturday. This system is then expected to temporarily stall out, before resuming a more easterly course towards Chicago Saturday night into early Sunday. This current track should lead to a sharp cut-off to the precipitation somewhere over Western Wisconsin, currently looking to be north of Eau Claire. We will remain on the colder side of this storm, but with the lack of deep cold air in place, precipitation type will be an issue, especially in southern areas. Temperatures are expected to climb above freezing Saturday afternoon, while a mix snow, ice and rain lift up into the area. Arrival time is currently sometime Saturday afternoon, continuing through the night. We may end up staying mostly all snow in the Chippewa Valley, but because of the possible mix of precipitation it’s still too early to make specific snowfall forecasts. Having said that, it seems likely that much of our area can at least expect a 1-3″ snowfall, with higher amounts where heavier precipitation occurs, which currently looks to be south of Eau Claire. Winter storm watches have been issued for all of Southeast Minnesota, but as of now there are no alerts in effect for Wisconsin. At the very least I would expect a winter weather advisory to be issued for at least some of our area, as things hopefully become more clear Friday.


Thursday morning at about 8:30 AM, Rusk County dispatch received a 911 call from a male subject advising that he went off the roadway and hit a tree on Old 14 Road near Rocky Ridge Road, Ladysmith. The subject advised he was not injured and out of the vehicle. The Wisconsin State Patrol, Ladysmith ambulance and the Ladysmith Fire Department responded to the scene. After an investigation, the juvenile driver with a single passenger was East bound on Old 14 road and lost control and entered the right ditch and struck several trees causing damage to the vehicle. The passenger left the scene prior to Law Enforcement arriving at the scene. No injuries were reported and the state patrol handled the accident.

At about 2:40 AM this (Friday) morning, a male subject advised that his sons friend went into the ditch on Highway 27 near County Highway I, Conrath. According to the report, there were no injuries and the vehicle was off the roadway. A Rusk County deputy responded to the scene. After an investigation, the driver lost control on the icy road and went into the ditch and hit a tree. There was reportable damage to the vehicle.

A Ladysmith Officer at 9 AM Thursday responded to an address on East 10th Street South Ladysmith on a request from Probation and Parole that Heather M. Thayer, 30, be taken into custody for a Probation Warrant. The Officer made contact with Thayer at the residence and she was taken into custody without incident. Thayer was transported to the Rusk County jail.

At Midnight this Friday morning, a Ladysmith Officer observed Charles Craig Barna, 19, walking West bound on the side on Lake Avenue in the City of Ladysmith. According to the report, the Officer knew from prior contacts that Barna is supposed to be at his father’s residence from 10 PM to 7 AM. Barna was outside of his hours. The Officer turned around to make contact with Barna who fled on foot behind buildings. Barna was located in a culvert that drained into the Flambeau River. He was arrested on Multiple charges.


Black River Falls police are looking for an unusual suspect in Monday’s bank robbery: a woman.

Police say “larger build” woman held up the Jackson County Bank, Motor Branch at 660 Highway 54 around 5 PM Monday.  They believe she may have fled in a white minivan.

Nationwide, only 6.2 percent of all bank robberies are committed by women. But that’s up from 4.9 percent in 2002 — a 25 percent increase, according to the most recent FBI statistics.

Anyone  with information on the Black River Falls robbery is asked to call police at 715-284-9155.

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


A chance to see some sun early this morning, but a warm front well to the west will spread more clouds overhead as temperatures gradually rise through the 20’s. The warm front will bring a round of mainly light snow to our area and it’s possible some of the first flakes could arrive before sunset. Chances will then quickly increase with snow likely at night. This will not bring a large accumulation, but enough to at least make for some slick roads overnight into early Thursday morning. Currently it appears a 1-2″ snowfall can be expected, especially along the I-94 corridor and points to the north, while our southern counties look to see less, under an inch. It now looks like any snow will quickly exit by early Thursday morning, possibly ending as a bit of freezing drizzle. The rest of the day will be mostly dry with more clouds and highs in the low 30’s.

Temperatures will continue to slowly rise as the work week and the month of November draws to a close Friday. Drier air should lead to at least some sunshine and as a milder air mass arrives, temperatures will have a chance to warm into the upper 30’s. Unfortunately this nicer, drier weather won’t stay as the next storm gathers to our southwest. This is one we will still have to monitor in the next few days, but there seems to be a bit more consensus that it will slide close to our area over the weekend. A more northerly track will lead to some rain and wet snow chances on Saturday while temperatures remain borderline with highs in the mid 30’s. Questions then arise on how quick it moves and where it goes into Sunday, but temperatures should be a touch colder, so any remaining precipitation would have a better chance to be snow. It will be another mostly cloudy day with highs in the lower 30’s. It’s too early to say what type of impact this will have on any weekend plans, but there is potential for at least some snow accumulation for parts of Western Wisconsin.

RUSK COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) — A Rusk County man is charged with a felony after being accused of placing a spy-cam in the bathroom of one of his unsuspecting tenants.

Randy Berthold, 57 of Bruce, is the subject of a criminal complaint that alleges a woman who rents property from Berthold found a camera hidden in a drawer in her bathroom on October 18. An investigation found that a camera contained several videos of the woman recorded without her permission.

Berthold, who frequently entered this property without warning, admitted to these allegations. Berthold was taken into custody and is expected back in court on December 11.

BARRON CO. (WEAU) — It’s been more than a month since 13-year-old Jayme Closs disappeared from her home in Barron County after her parents were found dead.

The community of Barron has continually showed support.

This holiday season the community is spreading a message of hope in a special way.

The Barron County Clerk of Court office decided to decorate a tree this year in honor of Jayme Closs, as the town remains hopeful for her return.

Decorating a Christmas tree has been a tradition at the justice center since 2004

Participants say at times the decorating theme is discussed at some length, but this year the idea came quickly.

“This tree is about Jayme,” said Sharon Millermon, Barron County Clerk of Court. “Jayme doesn’t leave our minds. She’s always on our minds and we remain hopeful.”

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald, said there has been no new updates on the Closs case.

“This case is very frustrating,” said Fitzgerald. “This tree represents a lot of what this community has brought to law enforcement, and that’s hope.”

“Where there is hope, there is faith, there is a possibility of a miracle,” said Danielle Neva, deputy court clerk.

Fitzgerald said everyone is still clinging on to hope.

“What this tree represents is truly what we’re using as energy right now and that’s the hope,” said Fitzgerald.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy expanded at a solid 3.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter, led by lower but still strong consumer spending and more business investment than previously estimated.

The Commerce Department’s figure for gross domestic product, released Wednesday, was the same as its first estimate last month. GDP is the broadest measure of the nation’s output of goods and services and covers everything from homebuilding to haircuts. Greater corporate investment offset downward revisions in spending by state and local governments and consumers.

The third quarter figure follows a robust expansion of 4.2 percent in the April-June quarter. Six months of healthy growth have put the U.S. economy on track to expand in 2018 at its fastest pace in 13 years. Still, economists forecast that growth will slow in the fourth quarter and decelerate further next year.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) –
Wisconsin Senate Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says lawmakers are looking at moving the 2020 presidential primary to improve the chances for conservative Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly.

Fitzgerald told reporters Tuesday that moving the primary date was among many things GOP senators discussed taking up in a lame duck session before Democrat Tony Evers takes over.

The presidential primary is expected to have large Democratic turnout. Fitzgerald says that’s why moving it to a day different from when Kelly is up for election would help Kelly.

He says much of the other changes being discussed are “real inside baseball legislative kind of stuff.”

The lame duck session could convene as soon as next week. Assembly Republicans also met privately Tuesday.

Eau Claire (WQOW) — Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch was in Eau Claire Tuesday with an action plan to help end, or at least prevent, homelessness across the state.

Kleefisch spoke to a full room at Western Dairyland about the plan from the Wisconsin Interagency Council on Homelessness, to create more collaboration between state agencies to better assist homeless people.

It’s called “A Hand and A Home: Foundations for Success”. It would provide more funding for homeless prevention and diversion programs.

Kleefisch told News 18 getting the $3.75 million in extra spending passed with the new state budget is key to making homelessness brief, rare and one time.

“We’ve done workforce development reform, we’ve done education reform, we’ve done welfare reform, but yet still there are people who have not found a path to their American dream and have experienced homelessness, that’s not acceptable,” Kleefisch said.

Rusk County News


More unseasonably cold temperatures today with the large upper low continuing to spin over the Great Lakes region. This will be slowly moving away to the east into the midweek and as it does, the coldest air will start to move away. That won’t be the case today though, with highs only in the low 20’s. Light northwest breezes will continue to be around, making it feel colder with chill values staying mostly in the single digits. Some extra clouds are likely and there may also be a few flurries. Clouds will then start to depart at night, leading to the potential of single digit lows come early Wednesday.

High pressure will be overhead to start, but as it moves east, clouds will quickly return on Wednesday. Temperatures will be a little higher, with readings in the upper 20’s. A gradual increase will continue through the end of the week as winds start to shift more to the southeast and south. The arrival of milder air will also touch off some light snow, which should develop Wednesday night and continue into at least the start of Thursday. The snow will come with the arrival of a warm front to our northwest, bringing that push of milder air that will lead to the return of more typical late November temperatures late in the week. The snow should remain on the lighter side, but we could end up with an inch or two as it moves away on Thursday. Highs will be around freezing.


Late Monday morning, a female subject reported to the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office a criminal damage complaint. According to the report, they had the land surveyed at the United Methodist Church in Hawkins and the neighbor ran over the stakes and ran over the lights. The complainant advised you can see where they drove. The case is being investigated.

At about 3:30 PM Monday, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office received a fire call. According to the report, a female advised that a residence on Broken Arrow Road, Sheldon, had a chimney fire. Everyone was out of the residence. The Sheldon Fire Department and Sheldon ambulance responded to the call. No injuries were reported and the Sheldon firemen were at the scene for about 45 minutes.

Ladysmith Police at about 12:30 AM this (Tuesday) morning, responded to a location on East 10th Street South, Ladysmith, on a request from Probation and Parole to arrest Kenneth J. Stock Jr., 26, due to his ankle monitor malfunctioning. City Police were able to get into contact with Stock at the residence. They advised Stock of his warrant and placed him under arrest. He was transported to the Rusk County jail.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) — An Eau Claire woman charged with the deaths of four people after a Chippewa County Crash enters not guilty pleas in court.

Cara Stevens, 24, appeared in court today after being charged in August.
Stevens is charged with four counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, and four counts of reckless driving-cause great bodily harm.

The crash happened May 2017 in Cornell. According to a criminal complaint, Stevens says she didn’t see stop signs in the area before colliding with a truck.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says this year’s gun deer season set a record for hunter safety.

Three hunters suffered non-fatal shooting injuries during the hunt that began Nov. 17 and ended Sunday. DNR conservation warden Jon King says that make it the state’s safest gun deer season ever. Prior to this year, the DNR considered 2014 the safest with four non-fatal shooting injuries.

The Journal Sentinel reports there hasn’t been a shooting fatality during a Wisconsin gun deer season since 2015, when there were three.

The agency hasn’t released a final tally of gun deer license sales, but 570,000 hunters were expected to participate his season.

(WQOW) – The preliminary numbers for the nine-day gun deer hunt are in, and it shows it was a success for hunters in Wisconsin.

Statewide, the harvest was up 6.9%. In total, 211,430 deer were harvested this year. That is up from 197,733 last year.

The buck and doe harvest was very similar in 2018 – 107,042 antlerless deer were harvested, compared to 104,388 antlered deer this year.

Harvest numbers were up this year locally in Barron, Dunn, Eau Claire and Trempealeau Counties.

Numbers were down in Chippewa, Pepin, Pierce, Polk and Rusk Counties.

In Rusk County this year there were 1,831 antlered deer taken and 1,179 anterless deer for a total of 3,010 deer which is 17 per cent less than in 2017.

  • Rusk County News December 7, 2018
    WLDY-WJBL NEWS 12-7-18 At 7:51 AM this (Friday) morning, the Rusk County dispatch received a 911 call that there was a male subject on the railroad tracks near the Ladysmith Visitor Center in Ladysmith. According to the police log, the subject would not get off the tracks and the caller believes the male is intoxicated. […]
  • Linda M. Christianson December 6, 2018
    Linda M. Christianson, 70 of Edgar, died on Monday, December 3, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.  She is survived by her husband, Jim, 1 daughter, Jen Brandt of Stratford, 1 son, Andy of Stanley, 4 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, 1 brother, Roddy Joe. Linda Christianson’s family will receive friends beginning at 11:30 AM on Saturday, December […]