NEWS BURST - Big Stories around Wisconsin on Christmas Day

By  | 


Wis. police investigate slaying of on-duty officer

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin authorities are looking into the death of a suburban Milwaukee police officer who was killed on duty.

Wauwatosa Lt. Gerald Witkowski says dispatchers unsuccessfully tried to reach 30-year-old Jennifer Lynn Sebena for a call about 3 a.m. Monday. He says officers started looking for her and found her dead with several gunshot wounds about 5 a.m. He didn't know if she inside or outside of her car.

Witkowski says the case is considered a homicide. Officers have no suspects.

Witkowski says Sebena enrolled in the police academy in January 2011 and began working solo in July. He says she was married and described her as a great person and officer.

Police are urging witnesses to come forward.

The state Justice Department's criminal investigation unit is helping in the investigation.


Minn. woman gets life in ex-husband killing

(Information in the following story is from: St. Cloud Times,

FOLEY, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota woman has been sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole after pleading guilty to fatally shooting her ex-husband last year.

Benton County District Judge James Hoolihan imposed the life sentence on Angelina O'Mara of Rice without comment Friday.

O'Mara pleaded guilty in November to first-degree murder, admitting she shot James O'Mara in October 2011 at his Sauk Rapids apartment. She also is charged in Wisconsin with killing her boyfriend, Michael Pies.

Pies was found shot to death Nov. 1, 2011, in an Ashland, Wis., motel room. Angelina O'Mara is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in Wisconsin.

The St. Cloud Times reports Angelina O'Mara initially blamed the Hells Angels for killing James O'Mara, then she blamed Pies for the killing.


Warden: Inmate attacks officer at Wis. prison

WAUPUN, Wis. (AP) — A cellblock at Waupun Correctional Institute was locked down for about five hours after officials say an inmate assaulted a prison officer.

Warden Bill Pollard says the inmate attacked the officer at 7 a.m. Monday while the officer was performing his duties. The injured officer was treated and has since returned to duty.

Prison officials locked down the cellblock where the assault happened while they and the Dodge County sheriff's office investigated.

The inmate, who is serving a 10-year sentence for second-degree homicide, was placed in segregation. Sheriff Todd Nehls says additional charges are pending.

No one else was involved. Officials say all inmates and staff are safe, and the prison is operating normally.


Wis. DNR to move mussels for St. Croix project

(Information in the following story is from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

TOWN OF ST. JOSEPH, Wis. (AP) — Crews will have to move thousands of mussels in the St. Croix (kroy) River as part of the bridge project connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the more than 7,000 mussels will include three species that are protected or endangered and that play an important role in the river's health.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' mussel expert, Lisie Kitchel, says divers will take the mussels upstream next summer. She expects the effort to cost about $50,000.

The St. Croix Crossing project will replace the 80-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge with a four-lane bridge that will connect expressways on both sides of the St. Croix River.

According to estimates by Wisconsin and Minnesota officials, the project is expected to cost $580 million to $676 million.


Project seeks alert system for ballast stowaways

DETROIT (AP) — A Wayne State University researcher has received an $823,000 grant to develop a device that ships can carry to avoid bringing invasive species into the Great Lakes.

Medical School professor Jeffrey Ram is using funding from the Great Lakes Protection Fund for the automated ballast water treatment project.

The university says his team will seek to develop an automated, shipboard, rapid-testing system that will be able to immediately report the presence of any live organisms in ballast water after it has been treated.

The researchers are applying automation technology to adapt chemistry now used to detect live salt water organisms to fresh water samples from the Detroit River and elsewhere in the Great Lakes.