Chief Arraigned On Sexual Assault, Misconduct
(AP) A judge in Vernon County has entered not guilty pleas for a police chief accused of sexual assault and misconduct in office. Shay Larson stood mute in court Tuesday. He's facing two felony counts and six misdemeanor charges. Prosecutors say Larson used his position as chief in Readstown to leverage sexual favors while he was on duty and lied to investigators. The 30-year-old Gays Mills man was arrested in March. Larson is Readstown's only law enforcement officer. He was placed on administrative leave after an investigation began last September. Larson's attorney, Luis Delgado, says he plans to file a motion to dismiss the charges. Prosecutors say Larson encouraged a woman to drive after she had been drinking to rendezvous with him at the village park, among other accusations.
Minnesota Voter ID
(AP) A coalition plans to announce a legal challenge to a proposed constitutional amendment that would require voters to present photo IDs at the polls. The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is being joined by the League of Women Voters Minnesota, Jewish Community Action and Common Cause Minnesota. The groups began threatening to sue as the Legislature debated whether to put the amendment before voters in November. The groups plan to announce details of the lawsuit at a news conference Wednesday. During the legislative debate, the groups said the language of the amendment is confusing and that it leaves unclear several questions, including what types of photo IDs would be permissible at the polls. Amendment supporters countered that the Legislature would ultimately work out details that aren't in the amendment.
Firefighters responded to a fire in a gymnasium at Siren High School today. All students were safely evacuated with no injuries to students or staff. Students were sent home at noon. Five fire departments responded and the fire remains under investigation.
Meanwhile, clean up continues following heavy rains in northwestern Wisconsin and yesterday's severe storms in southwest and southeast portions of the state. There were no injuries reported as a result of the severe storms and flooding. Repeated rounds of heavy rain in northwestern Wisconsin have caused several rivers and creeks, including the Mississippi River to rise. However, major flooding is not expected.
Columbia County officials report about $12 thousand in damage and debris removal mainly in the Wisconsin Dells area following Monday's severe storms. In Crawford County, lightning damaged the communications tower that impacted the dispatch center for a couple of hours on Saturday. Wisconsin Emergency Management is engaged with the local officials and will continue to monitor the progress of the recovery efforts.
La Crosse City Hall Employees Suspended
A couple of high level employees have been placed on administrative leave at La Crosse city hall. We're told city prosecutor Pete Kisken and Community Development Administrator Lianna Escott have been placed on leave. We're told both were escorted from La Crosse city hall late last week. Requests for additional information from the city attorney's office and the human resources office regarding the suspensions have gone unanswered so far. Mayor Matt Harter and city council president Audrey Kader have also both declined to comment on the apparent discipline.
Man Pinned By Tree
A Monroe County man has life threatening injuries after a tree fell on him last night. Just before 6:30 last night, 59 year old Gary Everts, of rural Camp Douglas, was cutting down a tree when it fell and twisted. The tree fell in the same direction Everts had run to get away. The tree hit him in the middle of the back and pinned him. Everts was transported to Tomah Memorial hospital and later transferred to Gundersen Lutheran hospital by Med Link Air with life threatening injuries. The accident remains under investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.