Former Franklin business owner Matthew Neumann defiantly maintained his innocence as he received a 72-year prison sentence Thursday for killing his two employees and burning their bodies in a firepit.
Neumann, 44, drew audible gasps and cries from the courtroom as he denied responsibility for the deaths of Robert Hajduk and Richard Conklin and casually stating his hope that the latter – whose remains have not been positively identified – is alive and well in Mexico.
“It’s unimaginable,” Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey A. Wagner said as he handed down his sentence. “The character you have shown in this case is not human. I see nothing good about you.”
In December, Neumann was convicted of two counts each of first-degree reckless homicide and hiding a corpse in connection with the deaths of Hajduk, 40, of Racine and Conklin, 35, of Milwaukee.
The men were employed by Neumann at his commercial cleaning business, Spot Free Cleaning, in Franklin before disappearing within a day and a half of each other in early January 2019. Human remains were discovered about a week later in a firepit on hunting property Neumann leased in rural Walworth County.
The superintendent of a suburban Eau Claire school district has been charged with sex trafficking and possessing child pornography.
Daniel Peggs, 32, superintendent at the School District of Altoona, was arrested Thursday based on a two-count federal indictment returned under seal by a Madison grand jury last week.
Peggs has worked in the district since 2016, as middle school principal and district assessment coordinator before being named superintendent in July, according to his LinkedIn page.
The indictment charges that from October 2015 to May 20, 2016, Peggs "knowingly recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, and maintained by any means" a girl who was under 18, to engage in prostitution.
A second count charges that in December 2015, Peggs made an iPhone video of the same girl engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
U.S. Attorney Scott Blader indicated the girl was not a student in the Altoona district.
Joyce Orth, the district's communications coordinator, said the school board planned to meet in executive session at noon. A news conference was scheduled for 4 p.m.
Peggs was arrested Thursday morning in Altoona and made his initial appearance in Madison in federal court this afternoon before Magistrate Judge Stephen L. Crocker. He pleaded not guilty to the two charges and will remain in custody until his detention hearing Monday.
Peggs' teaching and administrator licenses are under investigation, according to Wisconsin Department of Instruction records. He holds a lifetime license to teach physics, chemistry and physical science, and he has held a license to be a principal since 2015 and a superintendent since 2017.
Journal Sentinel reporter Sophie Carson contributed.
It's not every day border patrol agents find a human brain in a jar aboard a Canadian mail truck on its way to Kenosha.
But that's what happened Feb. 14 at a checkpoint along the U.S.-Canada border in Port Huron, Michigan.
And although the truck's shipping manifest listed the brain as an "antique teaching specimen," the clear glass jar would never make it to a classroom. It lacked any paperwork or documentation, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Agents seized the brain and are in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency said in a news release.
The shipment, which came from Toronto, was destined for Kenosha. It was not immediately clear where exactly the brain was from, or if it was meant to be used for educational purposes.
The agency reminded people that shipments such as human specimens require an import permit.
MOUNT PLEASANT – Foxconn Technology Group plans to put one of its products on display for an event in the spring.
The company plans to construct a modular data center, dubbed FoxMOD, just outside its multipurpose building in Mount Pleasant. FoxMOD will house one of the servers for its dome building, which is currently under construction, so it can be viewed by prospective customers.
The FoxMOD was unanimously approved by the Mount Pleasant Plan Commission on Wednesday. It now goes to the full Village Board for final approval, likely on Monday.
The structure requires approval from the village because of its size.
Claude Lois, Foxconn project director for Mount Pleasant, said the FoxMOD is roughly the size of a semi-trailer.
Plan Commission member Joe Maier called the decision to find customers for the FoxMOD unique.
Lois said the structure will be a display model and there are no plans to make it permanent.
“This is what they want to display and show the folks that are coming (to the spring event), ‘You can buy this. It’s got the chillers. It’s got everything to maintain it,’” Lois said.
The Plan Commission also approved five guard shacks to be built on other parts of the massive Foxconn property.
Until now, security guards sat in a truck or SUV at each of the entrances, but now more permanent structures are in the works.
Artist’s rendering of the proposed Lake Terrace apartments proposed for downtown Kenosha
Image from Kenosha city document
An Illinois real estate developer is confident the demand is high for luxury housing in downtown Kenosha.
Lake Terrace LLC has agreed to purchase vacant city-owned property at the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street and move forward with a $17 million residential development.
The five-story apartment building would include at least 63 high-end units and 75 indoor parking spots.
The $100,000 deal also includes a vacant city lot directly west of the property to be used for an additional 35 outdoor parking spaces.
The contract is expected to be finalized by the City Council on Wednesday.
“The key to this development is (the city) is not putting any money into it,” said Zohrab Khaligian, a city redevelopment specialist for Community Development. “The developer has come forward and is taking the risk. We’re encouraging it. They’re very excited about it.”
Projected monthly rent is $1,300 to $1,500 for one-bedroom units, $1,800 to $2,000 for two bedrooms and $2,300 to $2,400 for three bedrooms.
Those prices might seem affordable in comparison to Brindisi Towers, a $79.5 million apartment/condominium high-rise slated for a 1.6-acre parcel located directly north of the Kenosha Municipal Building on 52nd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues.
Prices range from $500,000 for one-bedroom units up to $1.5 million for three-bedroom penthouse suites. Monthly apartment rent is expected to be $2,500 to $4,000.
“Brindisi Towers is kind of a different animal because they’re building up 10 stories,” Khaligian said. “(Lake Terrace) is more of a low-rise (building), but you can still see the lake, even from the first floor of this development. Basically, you have the lake right on your front door step.”
"We spend 21 million dollars (40 percent of the cost) to attract a hotel ...Kenosha gets a 17 million development with no taxpayer money involved. It's the difference in leadership in the last 30 years in Racine."
Blago is a pig politician. He's been in prison for 8 years and still maintains his innocence. People like him are hardened criminals. Instead of having his sentence commuted, he should have been sentenced to another 8 years. He can't live outside of the limelight. Look for new antics from Blago.
(AP) Barraged by hundreds of sex-abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday in hopes of working out a potentially mammoth victim compensation plan that will allow the hallowed, 110-year-old organization to carry on.
The Chapter 11 filing in federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware, sets in motion what could be one of the biggest, most complex bankruptcies ever seen. Scores of lawyers are seeking settlements on behalf of several thousand men who say they were molested as scouts by scoutmasters or other leaders decades ago but are only now eligible to sue because of recent changes in their states’ statute-of-limitations laws.
By going to bankruptcy court, the Scouts can put those lawsuits on hold for now. But ultimately they could be forced to sell off some of their vast property holdings, including campgrounds and hiking trails, to raise money for a compensation fund that could surpass a billion dollars.
From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., dozens of workers at a production facility on the west side of Milwaukee crank out and package hundreds of thousands of Vance cigarettes each day.
It's not tobacco that they're rolling. The cigarettes bearing the Vance brand are made with hemp and they're sold as CBD "joints," yet another new item in the exploding market for CBD products.
Vance cigarettes are marketed as "guilt free smokes." You don't get high as with marijuana joints, but customers enjoy a nicotine-free product with the benefits (anti-inflammatory, anxiety-relief) touted by other CBD products, according to manufacturer Vance Global Inc.
It's a message that's caught on quickly.
In just over a year, Vance Global has sold around 4 million CBD joints, said co-founders August Battles and Brandon Marhal.
"We were going to do it as an after-work thing to make money on the side," Battles said. "It ended up blowing up." The young founders, fueled by Red Bull and McDonald's, think they've started the next Juul, the company synonymous with electronic cigarettes.
The Vance founders aren't alone — Marhal's dad and brother have both entered the market with competing brands.
Vance Global had about $3 million in revenue last year, according to the founders. That's expected to soar to $15 million this year, they said. Vance cigarettes are sold in 46 states at around 14,000 stores, Battles said.
At the production facility off South 38th Street in Milwaukee, workers decked out in teal lab coats and black gloves roll and hand pack the cigarettes into boxes of 10. They're sold atsmoke shops, convenience stores and gas stations across the country. A pack of their all-natural blend typically sells for $14.99.
The hemp arrives in monthly shipments — around 12,000 pounds at a time — from farms in Wisconsin and Oregon. The non-psychoactive marijuana plant is separated from its seeds, sifted and then stuffed into paper by cigarette machines retrofitted to handle the sticky plant.
Nearly all of Vance sales — 98% — are retail. Vance blends into the hemp lavender imported from France that the company says provides additional benefits to users.
Marhal's father and brother are making their own brands of hemp cigarettes. Some smoke shops sell all three Milwaukee-based brands — Vance, Lifted Living and Alto Heights.
The U.S. market for CBD products is around $4 billion, according to estimates from market research company Brightfield Group. Hemp already rolled into paper and loose hemp flower is just a small segment of the overall CBD market but it is growing, said Virginia Lee, a CBD market researcher for Brightfield.
Preroll hemp and hemp flower was a $71 million industry in 2019, according to Brightfield. That was a 528% increase from 2018.
"Vance Global is one of the top players," Lee said. Other top sellers in the hemp smokes field include brands like Hemptrance, Colorado Pure and Wild Hemp.
Brightfield forecasts the industry's growth will slow, although it predicts 91% growth in sales of hemp cigarettes and hemp flower in 2020.
Products like hemp cigarettes are not subject to federal regulation. The Food and Drug Administration has not made a definitive ruling on the safety of CBD products.
The State of Wisconsin oversees and licenses companies such as Vance Global that grow or process hemp. Some states have outlawed smokeable hemp. Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky and North Carolina have restricted the sale or production of smokeable hemp.
It's not a mystery. Fiction authors don't predict events, the crisis manufacturers simply rip off their narratives from them from time to time:
The Eyes of Darkness, a 1981 thriller by bestselling suspense
author Dean Koontz, tells of a Chinese military lab that creates a virus
as part of its biological weapons programme. The lab is located in
Wuhan, which lends the virus its name, Wuhan-400. A chilling literary
coincidence or a case of writer as unwitting prophet?
In The Eyes of Darkness, a grieving mother, Christina Evans, sets
out to discover whether her son Danny died on a camping trip or if – as
suspicious messages suggest – he is still alive. She eventually tracks
him down to a military facility where he is being held after being
accidentally contaminated with man-made microorganisms created at the
research centre in Wuhan.
If that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up, read this
passage from the book: “It was around that time that a Chinese scientist
named Li Chen moved to the United States while carrying a floppy disk
of data from China’s most important and dangerous new biological weapon
of the past decade. They call it Wuhan-400 because it was developed in
their RDNA laboratory just outside the city of Wuhan.”
In another strange coincidence, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which
houses China’s only level four biosafety laboratory, the highest-level
classification of labs that study the deadliest viruses, is just 32km
from the epicentre of the current coronavirus outbreak. The opening of
the maximum-security lab was covered in a 2017 story in the journal
Nature, which warned of safety risks in a culture where hierarchy trumps
an open culture.
Sometimes they get away with it, sometimes they don't. For example, the
keyboardist/DJ in Psykosonik "borrowed" a techno riff for the
post-chorus for one of our songs from dance groove he liked to spin by a
little-known European techno group. Not a big deal, that's something
that techno and house groups do all the time and is generally considered
homage, not plagiarism. We did find it a little embarrassing, however,
when that initially-unknown song somehow blew up into a stadium anthem
that is regularly heard to this day.
Ironically, both songs made the Billboard Top 40 club chart, at numbers 14 and 37, respectively.
The uncertainty and the debate over the origins of the coronavirus pandemic are growing with each passing day.
One week after the White House asked scientists to finally investigate whether the Covid-19 virus was bio-engineered (i.e., created in a lab), none other than CNBC jumped on the bandwagon and echoing a similar question by Senator Tom Cotton - and of course, Zero Hedge - said "maybe the coronavirus was man made."
All this is taking place as the mainstream media, whose purpose is
similar to that of Beijing in minimizing public concerns and panic even
if it means fabricating reality, presses on with the popular theory that
the virus emerged from the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan (we recently showed why
this appears very unlikely) while branding anyone who suggests that the
coronavirus might have originated as a bioweapon developed in a
secretive Wuhan lab as deranged conspiracy theorist (a propaganda approach first popularized in the 1960s by the CIA to discredit controversial views).
Indeed, just today, the FT reported that
Trevor Bedford, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in
Seattle, "rubbished stories circulating on social media that Covid-19
was created at Wuhan Institute of Virology or elsewhere in China."
Bedford is of course entitled to his opinion, which was only reinforced
by the lack of any dissenting views from the scientific community, especially in "ground zero", China.
The 2019-nCoV has caused an epidemic of 28,060 laboratory-confirmed
infections in human including 564 deaths in China by February 6, 2020.
Two descriptions of the virus published on Nature this week indicated
that the genome sequences from patients were almost identical to the Bat
CoV ZC45 coronavirus. It was critical to study where the pathogen came
from and how it passed onto human. An article published on The Lancet
reported that 27 of 41 infected patients were found to have contact with
the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. We noted two laboratories
conducting research on bat coronavirus in Wuhan, one of which was only
280 meters from the seafood market. We briefly examined the histories of
the laboratories and proposed that the coronavirus probably originated
from a laboratory. Our proposal provided an alternative origin of the
coronavirus in addition to natural recombination and intermediate host.
... and an especially ominous conclusion:
In summary, somebody was entangled with the evolution of 2019-nCoV
coronavirus. In addition to origins of natural recombination and
intermediate host, the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.
The Xiao group study mainly in the fields of cellular and molecular
biomechanics, single molecule biophysics and engineering. Current
research areas are: protein-ligand interactions, DNA and RNA assembly,
high-throughput nanometer measurements and manipulation, mathematical
modeling and quantitative analysis. The experimental techniques include:
magnetic tweezers, optical tweezers, biomembrane force probe,
fluorescent microscopy, genetic engineering, and chromatography. An
project example is using high-throughput single molecule techniques to
study the modulation of protein drugs on interactions of integrins and
their ligands such as TGF-beta. We also study von Willebrand Factor and
glycoproteins on platelets. We collaborate with a number of well-known
universities and institutions, and a few enterprises. Our research will
be of relevance for the prevention and treatment of cancer, immune and
But what is far more interesting, and important, is that the paper
was supported by China's National Natural Science Foundation, which
means that the paper would likely never see the light of day if someone
in Beijing did not stand to gain politically by endorsing the contrarian
theory that a Wuhan biolab was indeed the source of the infection.
Which begs the question: is China's political elite set to change the
narrative it has been spinning since day one about the origins of the
coronavirus, and in order to appease an increasingly angry population,
points the finger to one or more scientists at the Wuhan Center for
Disease Control and Prevention and/or Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Perhaps even the same scientists we highlighted two weeks ago, and which
led to our twitter ban?
days of finding himself on the receiving end of criticism, Snoop Dogg
has now apologized to reporter Gayle King for attacking her on
Instagram. Snoop had called King a "funky dog head bitch" and lobbed
threats at the reporter about a week ago for comments she made about
Kobe Bryant shortly after his death. .
“Two wrongs don’t make no right. when you’re wrong, you gotta fix it,” Snoop Dogg said on Instagram last week.
He continued: “So with that being said, Gayle King, I publicly tore
you down by coming at you in a derogatory manner based off of emotions
of me being angry at a question you asked. Overreacted. I should have
handled it way different than that, I was raised way better than that,
so I would like to apologize publicly for the language that I used and
calling you out your name and just being disrespectful.”
Snoop Dogg says in his Instagram post that it was a chat with his mother that changed his mind about how he acted.
He continued: “I didn’t mean for it to be like that. I was just
expressing myself for a friend that wasn’t there to defend himself.
Anytime you mess up, it’s OK to fix it, it’s OK to man up to say that
you’re wrong. I apologize. Hopefully we can sit down and talk,
Recall, we reported about a week ago that Gayle King chose to use Bryant's death to remind the public that the former NBA star had been accused of sexual assault in 2003, while interviewing WNBA Champion Lisa Leslie after Bryant's death.
“It has been said that his legacy is complicated because
of the sexual assault charge which was dismissed in 2003, 2004. Is it
complicated for you as a woman, a WNBA player?” King asked.
Leslie responded at the time:
“It’s not complicated for me at all. I just have never seen
him as being the kind of person that would do something violating to a
woman or be aggressive in that way. That’s just not the person I know.”
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