Sunday Morning Wisconsin News Headlines

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 -- 6:33 a.m.

PREPAID FUNERALS

Receiver details `wrongdoing' in funeral plan

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The court-appointed receiver of the Wisconsin Funeral Trust says there was substantial wrongdoing in operating the prepaid funeral plan.

John Wirth noted that in a status report to Dane County Circuit Court about the trust, which state investigators say was mismanaged to the toll of millions of dollars for people who paid for funerals in advance.

Wirth wrote litigation will likely occur to recover lost assets.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports Wirth's office has issued 39 subpoenas and reviewed more than 100,000 pages of emails and documents. He wrote the "several hundred" people who held investments and have died since the problems were exposed have, for the most part, had their funerals covered.

However, the funeral homes are getting about 60 cents on the dollar in reimbursement.

NEW HOLSTEIN DEATH

18-year-old woman found dead in New Holstein

NEW HOLSTEIN, Wis. (AP) -- Calumet County sheriff's officials are investigating the death of an 18-year-old woman found outside a New Holstein home.

They've identified her as Monica Batts of New Holstein.

WLUK-TV reports the man who lives in the home found the body when walking to his garage around 12:30 p.m. Friday. He said he didn't know the victim and is cooperating with the investigation.

Officials say the body was clothed and didn't have any visible signs of trauma. They believe the body was outside for about six hours.

Investigators say they're interviewing friends and family and following several sets of footprints found in the area.

An autopsy is set for Monday to determine the cause of death. The public is not believed to be in any danger.

MILWAUKEE FIRE INJURY

7-year-old boy injured in Milwaukee house fire

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A 7-year-old boy is seriously injured after a house fire in Milwaukee.

Deputy Chief Jack Christianson, of the Milwaukee Fire Department, says the boy suffered smoke inhalation and was revived twice before being transported to a local hospital.

Fire officials say there were no smoke detectors in the house when the blaze broke out around 7:45 a.m. Saturday.

Police Capt. Eric Moore says a motorist alerted rescuers after seeing smoke coming from the home.

He says the boy's grandfather who lives in the lower part of the house escaped, but moments later realized the 7-year-old was still upstairs. Firefighters then rescued the boy.

Moore says he was in critical condition Saturday night.

He says the fire may be the result of an electrical failure but authorities are still investigating.

FATAL FIRE-RACINE COUNTY

Man accused of strangling wife in Mount Pleasant

RACINE, Wis. (AP) -- A 36-year-old man is charged with allegedly strangling his new wife before setting fire to a Mount Pleasant home where she was found on Christmas Day.

Joseph Guerrero was charged Friday with first-degree intentional homicide, arson and mutilating a corpse.

According to the complaint, Guerrero told police that on December 22nd he got into an argument with 21-year-old Bianca Vite and she scratched him. He then allegedly placed his hands around her neck. He says he tried to revive her.

Authorities found her on Christmas Day.

He allegedly told police he wanted to die and tried light himself on fire before accidently setting the house on fire.

The Journal Times reports the couple was married in July.

No defense attorney is listed for Guerrero in online court records.

BODY FOUND-BURNED VEHICLE

Person found in burned vehicle in western Wis.

ELLSWORTH, Wis. (AP) -- Western Wisconsin sheriff's officials are investigating the death of a person whose remains were found in a burned vehicle.

According to a Pierce County sheriff's department statement, someone reported finding a burned vehicle in the Town of Trenton, about five miles from Ellsworth, at 8:20 a.m. Saturday.

The department says deputies found the vehicle in a farm yard where no one lived. They checked the interior and found human remains.

The vehicle was not on fire when officers found it.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office in Minnesota is expected to perform an autopsy and try to determine the person's identity.

COLD CASE-SEXUAL ASSAULT

Okla. man to stand trial in old Wis. sex assault

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) -- An Oklahoma man charged with a 1990 sexual assault in Wisconsin and considered a person of interest in a 1992 double murder will stand trial in the assault case.

Forty-one-year-old Glendon Gouker waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday in Waupaca County.

The Post-Crescent reports an arraignment is scheduled for February 27th.

He's accused of sexually assaulting a then-20-year-old woman in November 1990 in Iola (eye-OH'-lah).

The break in the case came in 2011, when evidence was resubmitted to the state crime lab for analysis as part of an investigation into the 1992 fatal stabbings of 23-year-old Tanna Togstad and 35-year-old Tim Mumbrue.

Sheriff's officials say Gouker is a "person of interest" in the homicides.

Gouker was extradited from Oklahoma, where he's charged with killing a 19-year-old man.

MINORITY FARMERS

State program offers help to minority farmers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state assistance program is aimed at helping Wisconsin's minority farmers navigate the resources available to help in their success.

Jack Chang recently joined the Wisconsin Farm Center of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Chang works with minorities of all ethnic backgrounds on food safety, financial literacy and other areas.

Workshops are held across the state in areas of large minority farmer populations, including La Crosse, Eau Claire, Green Bay, the Fox Cities, Wausau, Madison, and Milwaukee. Chang also visits the farms to meet one-on-one with the farmers.

Many minority farmers grow vegetables, herbs and flowers to sell directly at farmers markets. Chang helps those farmers renting farmland to negotiate a solid lease agreement.

Chang grew up working the farm with his parents both in Laos and in Wisconsin.

YOUNG JAGUARS

Milwaukee County Zoo displays new jaguar cubs

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee County Zoo is displaying jaguar cubs for the first time since 1975.

Visitors had only previously been able to watch the three-month old brothers through a web camera. They made their debut on Wednesday.

They are important because they're introducing new genes to the endangered species' captive population. Unlike most zoo babies, their father, Pat, was born in the wild.

He was captured in Central America after being deemed a problem for attacking cattle. He also has a book named after him, "Pat the Great Cat: A Jaguars Journey," which was written by children in Milwaukee and Belize as part of a literacy program.

One cub will be named in a local contest and the other will be named by children from Belize who helped with the book.


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