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Walker downplays possibility of gas tax hike, toll roads

Gov. Scott Walker is downplaying the possibility of a gas tax increase or the use of toll roads to pay for transportation projects in Wisconsin.

Walker on Monday was asked about the state Department of Transportation's budget request that calls for delaying work on an expansion of Interstate 90 from Madison to the Illinois state line, Milwaukee's Zoo Interchange and numerous other projects around the state.

Walker said a better way needs to be found to pay for transportation projects other than toll roads, which he said he is "not excited or thrilled" with. Walker also reiterated his opposition to a gas tax increase.

Walker said he is inclined to keep the Interstate 39 and Zoo Interchange projects on schedule without delaying other projects.

Walker said putting tolls on I-90 is not a viable solution for budget issues right now. But the state needs more cash to pay for any expansion of the highway from the Illinois state line to Madison.

Man's car stolen as he asks for directions at gas station

Madison police said they were able to recover a man's car and make an arrest after the car was stolen while the owner was asking for directions at a gas station.

The incident happened last Wednesday at about 5 p.m. at the PDQ at 6702 Raymond Rd.

A 66-year-old Beloit man had to come to Madison for an appointment at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, and he decided to stop for a beer at a local tavern.

He was interested in checking out the bar at Bennett's Meadowood Country Club and, not familiar with the area, he stopped at the PDQ to ask for directions, according to a Madison Police Department incident report.

He figured it would only take a few seconds to poke his head in the door, and decided to leave his 1997 Cadillac DeVille running, police said.

Rock Co. sheriff: Accidental fire causes $60,000 in damage

Fire departments from the cities of Milton and Edgerton and Rock County Sheriff?s deputies responded to a report of a vehicle fire at 1716 E. Road Two St. at about 5 p.m. Friday.

Public safety responders found the vehicle engulfed in flames but they were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, according to the report. A wooden fence, porch and part of the home?s roof were also damaged by the vehicle fire.

Authorities said the fire, which started near the engine, appeared to be accidental.

Damage to the property and vehicle was estimated at about $60,000.

Authorities said the investigation is closed.

Janesville district needs help reaching food drive goal

The demand for food donations continues to rise for hundreds of hungry families in Rock County, and at least one program working to help those struggling families desperately needs the public's help.

The Janesville School District's 21 schools are collecting money for the annual Bags of Hope program. But with eight days to go, the district said it's thousands of dollars short of its fundraising goal.

For the past four years, the Janesville School District has been identifying struggling families through the Bags of Hope program.

The district buys two weeks' worth of groceries for hundreds of families. Volunteers pack up the groceries and deliver them so families have something to eat during winter break.

"We know that our poverty rate is over 50 percent, and that's the highest it's ever been," said Karen Schulte, Janesville School District superintendent. We have kids in poverty that don't get three meals a day when they're not in school."

Car found in river behind Janesville stadium

The Janesville Fire Department helped rescue a man from the Rock River Tuesday after his car went into the river behind Monterey Stadium.

When police first arrived at the scene, they found the car 3/4 submerged in the river, and the driver swimming to shore. Police said officers helped the driver to shore with a throw rope and rescue bag.

The drive was taken to Mercy Hospital for evaluation, according to police.

Police said a tow truck, with the help of a rescue diver, managed to get the car pulled out of the river and back on solid ground.

Driver crashes into Burger King restaurant

Milton police said a driver crashed into a Burger King restaurant Sunday afternoon.

The Milton Fire Department was dispatched at about 3:45 p.m. to the restaurant, located at 740 E. St. Mary St., for a reported crash.

Responders were informed that a vehicle had been driven through the north side of the building, according to a Milton Police Department news release.

Authorities determined that no one was injured in the incident, but the building sustained heavy damage, police said.

Police said the driver, a 74-year-old Milton woman, was accelerating too rapidly while attempting to park, causing the vehicle to jump the curb and crash into the restaurant.

After conferring with officials on the scene, Burger King management decided to close the restaurant until the structure's damage could be examined.

Rock County cracking down on repeat OWI offenders

Rock County is trying to crack down on repeat drunken driving offenders.

The county created a new court specifically to handle OWI cases in October, but it's too soon to tell whether it is working to cut down on the amount of cases.

What is clear is it will take significant county resources to help curb this public safety concern.

Reducing drunken driving is one of the goals of Rock County's criminal justice coordinating council.

"We have the option of people going through treatment than facing jail," said Rock County District Attorney David O'Leary. "Our goal is to get those individuals to voluntarily go to treatment."

O'Leary said offenders should earn their way out of jail by going through treatment. Sheriff Robert Spoden agrees.

"If you are there for a certain amount of time and you are being monitored and receiving treatment, then that can work," said Spoden