Saturday Morning Wisconsin headlines

Posted Saturday, February 1, 2014 --- 5:35 a.m.


Propane complaints mounting at Wisconsin DATCP

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin consumer protection officials say they've received more than two dozen formal complaints about propane suppliers failing to honor delivery contracts as the Midwest's propane shortage drags on.

Sandy Chalmers, a state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection administrator, said Friday the agency has taken 27 formal written complaints since Wednesday about suppliers failing to deliver pre-paid propane, delivering at higher prices than originally quoted and adding on new delivery charges.

Chalmers says the agency has launched an investigation into Customer's Gas Service after receiving four complaints about the Amberg business, the most complaints about any single provider.

A message The Associated Press left at the business Friday wasn't immediately returned.


$100K reward for stolen Stradivarius violin

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- An anonymous source is offering $100,000 for the safe return of a nearly 300-year-old Stradivarius violin stolen from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's concertmaster.

The rare violin was on loan to Frank Almond from an anonymous donor.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has said the robber used a stun gun on Almond and took the instrument Monday evening in a parking lot at Wisconsin Lutheran College, where Almond had just preformed.

The reward is offered to anyone who can provide information which results in the violin's safe return.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's President and Executive Director Mark Niehaus says the organization is hopeful the reward will help in the violin's recovery.

Milwaukee police are investigating and haven't made any arrests.


Charge reduced in Superior arrest

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) -- Prosecutors have reduced the charge against a Superior woman who alleges a police officer used excessive force in arresting her.

The charge against 28-year-old Natasha Lancour was reduced from a felony for assaulting an officer to a misdemeanor for resisting arrest.

WDIO-TV reports after Friday's hearing, Lancour said she plans to "just get back to reality." She pleaded not guilty to the reduced charge.

Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank says the initial felony charge was based only upon paper reports from police. He says seeing police dashcam video of the arrest changed his view.

Officer George Gothner has been on paid administrative leave since he was seen on the video punching Lancour in the face during the arrest. Gother says Lancour was scratching him in the face.


Duluth, Minn. man suspected in Wis. cabbie stabbing

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) -- A 21-year-old Duluth, Minnesota man is suspected of stabbing a Superior cab driver who had picked him up.

Police say a Courtesy Cab driver picked up the man as a fare around 8 p.m. Thursday. The suspect asked the cabbie to drive him to an area of town and then allegedly stabbed him in the chest and hands after they stopped.

Police say the suspect demanded money but they don't know if he got any.

The driver was able to disarm the suspect, who ran away. WDIO-TV reports he was arrested a few hours later on an outstanding warrant.

The Douglas County district attorney's office is reviewing the case, and no formal charges have been filed. The suspect is due in court Monday.

The driver's injuries are not life-threatening.


Mistrial declared in Wis. check-cashing case

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) -- A judge has declared a mistrial on the most serious charges against a Wisconsin man accused in a plot to steal his mother-in-law's Social Security checks for decades.

Seventy-two-year-old Ronald Disher of Almond was charged with three felonies -- fraud, forgery and theft-- in a scheme to cash Marie Jost's Social Security checks.

A jury Friday failed to reach a verdict on those counts following nearly nine hours of deliberations over two days.

WAOW-TV reports the jury convicted Disher of two misdemeanors -- endangering safety and disorderly conduct involving a confrontation with a Social Security investigator.

Prosecutor Veronica Isherwood says she'll seek a new trial on the felony counts.

Marie Jost was last seen in the 1980s. Prosecutors say some $170,000 worth of her Social Security checks were fraudulently cashed.


Wis. doctor testifies; cites exam medical reasons

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin pediatrician accused of sexual assault has taken the witness stand to defend the medical exams he gave to male patients.

Doctor David Van de Loo of Eau Claire described his education and professional standing for the jury Friday.

Van de Loo maintains there were legitimate medical reasons for all genital checks he performed on his patients.

But WDIO-TV reports Van de Loo testified there was one exam that left a patient upset. The doctor says he should have talked to the patient and should have called his parents.

Prosecutors contend Van de Loo had no medical reason to touch the 15 male juvenile patients' genitals. The 61-year-old faces 16 sexual assault-related felony charges.

The trial was moved from Eau Claire County to Douglas County because of pre-trial publicity.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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