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NEWS STORIES

Man sentenced to 32 years in prison for girlfriend's killingSubmitted: 06/16/2014
Story By Associated Press


KENOSHA - A Kenosha man has been sentenced to 32 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing his girlfriend, whose body was found in a car trunk in Chicago.

Forty-one-year-old Matthew McDowell was sentenced Monday in the death of 30-year-old Erin Ziemendorf of West Allis.

McDowell was arrested last year after Ziemendorf's body was found in a car near a Greyhound bus station in downtown Chicago.

McDowell pleaded guilty to first-degree reckless homicide and hiding a corpse.

According to the complaint, McDowell told police he put his hands around Ziemendorf's neck during an argument and heard a cracking sound. When McDowell realized she was dead, he put her body in a duffel bag, placed it in the trunk of her car and drove to Chicago.



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STEVENS POINT - A 58-year-old Portage County man accused of killing his wife and getting in a standoff with police is competent for trial.

That standoff happened in Bancroft, which is south of Plover, in June.

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HURLEY - Iron County officials say other developers with better qualifications than Gogebic Taconite are interested in mining ore in the Penokee Hills.

County Board members met last week with representatives from La Pointe Iron Co., which owns much of the land in northern Wisconsin that Gogebic Taconite tried to develop before pulling out in February.

One county board member says Gogebic Taconite's performance may make it harder for another developer to gain the public's trust.

He says county residents will likely remain divided on the mine because of environmental concerns.

But if state and federal regulators can guarantee the environment won't suffer, he says the mine might be worth pursuing because it could bring jobs to an area that desperately needs them.

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BIG FLATS - The Adams County Sheriff's Office believes a 62-year-old man set a mobile home on fire in Big Flats, north of Friendship, last Friday. The Sheriff's Office says that the body of the man's 92-year-old mother was likely still inside at the time, dead of an apparent gunshot wound.

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WOODRUFF - More than 9,000 firefighters spent the day Monday in California battling wildfires.

20 more from Northern Wisconsin will join that group this week.

Firefighters, along with students from Blackwell Job Corps left for Oregon Monday.

Students at Blackwell Job Corps near Laona have been learning how to fight wildfires.

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CONOVER - The first stretch of the Conover-Phelps trail may be ready in the fall.

Crews started carving out the first part of the trail, a 3.2 mile stretch, last week.

The trail starts at Community Park in Conover and continues across County Highway K to Highway 45. It runs 
parallel to the highway along old railway beds. The trail will end at Muskrat Creek Road in Conover.

The trail is for non-motorized vehicles except for snowmobiles, which will be allowed in the winter. 

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EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County might get a larger courthouse.

The Vilas County Board Public Property Committee met on Monday to discuss possible plans.

The county thinks it needs another courtroom to accommodate its second circuit court judge. The county asked the state to fund the project last year.

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MARATHON COUNTY - Warren Rydell doesn't mind the buzz or stingers.

"You don't need to be afraid of bees, you just have to love them for what they are," said Rydell.

Rydell has raised bees since the 1980s. Now with 35 colonies and thousands of bees in Marathon County, he's produced hundreds of pounds of honey just this year.

"We're having success with it," said Rydell, who's with the Marathon County Beekeepers Association. "A little at a time. You make mistakes, but it's getting better."

But here and across the country, bee populations have been on the decline for years. Bees are important pollinators for the environment, which is why the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will meet next week to devise a pollinator protection plan.

"Whether people know it or not, for every three tablespoons of food you eat, two of those table spoons are produced by bees, and without them, we're not going to be able to feed people," said Rydell.

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