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Crime-and-courts
breaking top story
Spring Grove man accused in La Crosse homicide held on $1 million bond

The Minnesota man accused in the fatal shooting of a La Crosse bouncer will remain in the La Crosse County Jail on a $1 million cash bond.

Timothy Neal Young

Timothy N. Young, 31, Spring Grove, Minn., was charged with first-degree intentional homicide Monday in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

Young was arrested Saturday after police say he shot Anthony G. Fimple, 19, in the head, while Fimple was working as a bouncer at the La Crosse Bierhaus, formerly known as the Twisted Moose. Fimple died at 8:40 p.m. Saturday as a result of his injury.

Fimple

Prosecutor Emily Ruud asked for the high cash bond, noting that Young faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted and the state’s case against him is very strong.

“There are several eye witnesses who identify Mr. Young as the shooter in this case, as well as surveillance video of the crime in which the defendant can clearly be identified,” Ruud said.

According to the criminal complaint, a bartender recognized Young when he returned to the bar at just after midnight Saturday. Young had been at the bar at around 9:37 p.m. Friday, then left. The bartender gave police a copy of Young’s credit card receipt.

The bartender told police Fimple refused to allow Young back in the bar at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, then Young left and returned 10 minutes later and the bartender heard the shot, according to the complaint.

Surveillance video shows Young pull up in a black Dodge sedan, get out of the car, leaving the driver’s door open, remove a pistol from the trunk, then fire one shot at Fimple, according to the complaint. He then exited the bar, got into his vehicle and drove south on Third Street.

The manager of the bar recognized Young from the video, saying he was “weird” and had been to the bar several times in the past several weeks causing trouble. At one point, Young was kicked out of the bar for spitting on someone and claiming to have COVID-19, according to the complaint.

Young was arrested at about 1 a.m. by an Onalaska police officer. According to the report, he made several statements in the vehicle, including, “I don’t care, was worth it.”

La Crosse Police Department Lt. Avrie Schott confirmed Monday that Young had been involved in several incidents in the past few weeks; however, he had not been charged and was not out on bond.

“We’re reviewing all the facts and conferring with the (La Crosse County District Attorney) on all those incidents as well,” Schott said.

Public defender Thomas Rhodes Monday asked for a lower cash bond, noting that Young was indigent and had no missed court appearances nor a long criminal record.

However, Judge Ramona Gonzalez determined the circumstances made Young a risk to not appear and ordered a $1 million cash bond. Young is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing at 11 a.m. July 14.


La Crosse County Circuit Court felony cases in June
La Crosse County Circuit Court felony cases in June
“There are several eye witnesses who identify Mr. Young as the shooter in this case, as well as surveillance video of the crime in which the defendant can clearly be identified.” Prosecutor Emily Ruud

Elliot Williams, 5, rides tandem with his father Tom Williams as the two bike back from the library on Cass Street on Monday. Tuesday’s forecast from the National Weather Service calls for party sunny skies, a chance of rain in the afternoon and a high temperature of 89 degrees in La Crosse.


Local
top story
La Crosse mayor: Time to be more assertive about COVID-19 safety

La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat said Monday the city is doing everything within its authority to combat the coronavirus and he has asked the county to consider mandating face masks or create a local safer-at-home order.

Kabat

“We are all very concerned about the recent uptick in case numbers and seeing the spread of the virus throughout La Crosse County. I want the public to know that we are doing everything within the city’s ability and authority to try to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Kabat said.

The city of La Crosse has as many staff members as possible working from home and required all staff members to wear a face covering while in public while on duty.

While Kabat has fielded requests to mandate wearing face masks in public or create a city-specific safer-at-home order, he said the authority for that rests with local health departments.

“I believe there is local authority through the health statutes, and that rests with La Crosse County,” Kabat said. “In the meantime, we all are encouraging our residents to do the right thing by limiting travel, by social distancing, wearing masks, practicing good hygiene and avoiding groups of people outside of your household.”

Kabat said he met with county officials and asked them to consider a mandate, but noted that other counties, including Dane and Racine counties, which created local safer-at-home orders, have faced legal challenges.

La Crosse County Health Director Jen Rombalski said Monday any widespread order on masks would be “essentially unenforceable.”

“Anything that would be broad and global across the whole county is not something that we believe we have the authority to do. At the health officer level, at the county board level, at the city level, at any level,” she said.

However, she agreed with Kabat that the community needs to be following public health guidelines.

“I think at this point, we’re getting beyond simple encouragement and we need to start asserting more direct action to help each other, to protect each other,” Kabat said.

Kabat praised the work of the La Crosse County Health Department as it works to keep people informed and combat misinformation.

“We continue working closely with the La Crosse County Health Department and utilize their county Compass to help guide us,” Kabat said.

The mayor called on business owners to exert their authority to protect the public health, and asked Downtown Mainstreet and the Greater La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce to do the same.

“We are trying to encourage our business community to utilize their own abilities and authorities within their business to require masks and to require social distancing for employees and customers. We all strongly encourage our businesses to do that,” Kabat said.

The city of La Crosse has closed its two beaches and three city pools, canceled all large gatherings in the parks and city facilities. The La Crosse City Hall is closed, and the neighborhood centers are closed except for people who have reservations for events with 10 or fewer people.

The La Crosse Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department cancelled many of its summer programs; however, outdoor facilities are being kept very busy.

“We’re seeing a huge uptick in the use of parks and trails. Also, we’re seeing tremendous use of our boat landing facilities and picnic areas,” said La Crosse parks director Jay Odegaard.

With the cancellation of programs, staff members are able to focus on cleaning efforts. Odegaard asked people to maintain social distancing in the parks as well.

“With 50-plus parks in the city, if you get to one that’s a little crowded, you won’t have to travel far to see another one,” he said.

The library continues to offer virtual programs, as well as curbside service.

The closures have not affected critical services, including street repairs, police and fire response, transit, and water and sewer utilities.

“Please wear a mask. Help protect others. Let’s show that La Crosse is all about helping each other. We have to do our part,” Kabat said.

Visit cityoflacrosse.org for up-to-date information on how the city is adapting to the coronavirus crisis.

“Anything that would be broad and global across the whole county is not something that we believe we havwe the authority to do. At the health officer level, at the county board level, at the city level, at any level.” Jen Rombalski, county health director

“I think at this point, we’re gettingz

beyond simple encouragement and

we need to start asserting more

direct action to help each other, to

protect each other.” Tim Kabat, mayor of La Crosse


Kyle Busch makes a pit stop during the Cup Series auto race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday.


Local
breaking featured
La Crosse Oktoberfest celebrations cancelled for 2020

The 60th annual La Crosse Oktoberfest celebration has been canceled for 2020 due to COVID-19, officials announced Monday night.

The event, which was scheduled this year for Sept. 24-27, typically brings in tens of thousands of guests to downtown La Crosse to celebrate, and officials said it was a difficult and disappointing decision to cancel.

“It has become clear that we would not be able to host an Oktoberfest celebration this year in accordance with published guidelines,” officials said in a statement.

The fest officials said they were in discussion with local leaders and that they carefully reviewed the La Crosse County Health Department’s COVID Compass, which indicates that the area is at a severe risk for spread of the virus.

The next Oktoberfest is now scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2021, where fest-goers can celebrate its 60th year.

“La Crosse Festivals will now turn our focus to finding other ways to spread Gemutlichkeit and provide support to our community through these difficult times,” officials wrote.


Local
top story
La Crosse confirms 47 new COVID-19 cases from weekend, officials urge against gathering for Fourth

The La Crosse County Health Department confirmed 47 new cases of COVID-19 from during the weekend and Monday.

The department did not give daily updates during the weekend, but on Monday reported that 19 new cases were confirmed on Saturday, 16 new cases on Sunday, and 12 on Monday, bringing the new total to 428.

Currently, two individuals are hospitalized with the virus in the county, and there remains no virus-related deaths.

Officials reported that those in their 20s continued to be strongly affected by the virus in the area, but that overall case numbers were on a downward trend.

“We’ll see if that trend continues or not,” health department director Jen Rombalski said at a press conference on Monday.

June has been the county’s most infectious month, accounting for more than 85% of the area’s overall cases, which have more than doubled since just June 16.

There are currently 246 active cases in La Crosse County, which is 57% of all cases, Rombalski said.

Across the state, only 18% of total cases are still active, which means they have not yet been considered recovered.

The state confirmed an additional 315 cases on Monday, bringing its total to 28,058. No new deaths were reported, leaving its total at 777, and 14 new hospitalizations were reported.

Looking ahead to the next few weeks and the rest of summer, officials were worried that gatherings and holidays could keep the county’s surge going, and that it could put more strain on the health-care response.

“When I think about the biggest challenges in the next two to three weeks, I think about the past” weeks, Rombalski said. “If we don’t change behaviors across the community, we won’t get a handle on these case numbers.”

Specifically, officials showed concern about celebrations for the Fourth of July this weekend, urging community members not to gather.

“We don’t recommend getting together with others and having events around the Fourth of July,” Rombalski said.

“We know that it will happen,” she continued, “we want it to be as safe as possible.”

Tips for those who choose to gather for the holiday included keeping crowds small, celebrating largely outdoors — including bathroom use and meals — wearing masks, physical distancing, and being cautious of shared surfaces, such as condiment bottles or silverware.

Officials said they were also growing worrisome about the health-care response to the area’s surge in cases, especially in testing, which is still currently only offered to those who show symptoms of the disease.

“I can understand that this is frustrating, perhaps, to hear that La Crosse County is not in a place where we can open up those testing criterias,” Rombalski said.

She added that health-care institutions in the area are “overwhelmed,” specifically in the last week and a half.

According to Rombalski, the area’s drive-thru testing sites typically administer 200-270 tests a day, but several times last week more than 500 tests were administered in a day.

“That is a lot of testing to be done in a single day,” Rombalski said.

The free National Guard testing sites have been helping relieve some of the stress on resources, she added, but there is added worry because funding for those sites will be cut off in mid-August.

“If we cannot decrease the spread, you know, then we will have continued large volumes of cases coming in. And because of the last few weeks of that happening for us, it has put a lot of stress and strain on the response mechanisms to keep up with those cases,” Rombalski said.

The county also announced on Monday that it will now only notify businesses that experience a high-risk of COVID-19 spread, and that it will update its online list of businesses that have any level of risk on weekdays at 4 p.m.

The county will offer another free, National Guard testing site on July 10 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at Logan High School for anyone who is symptomatic with COVID-19.

“We don’t recommend getting together with others and having events around the Fourth of July. We know that it will happen; we want it to be as safe as possible.” Jen Rombalski, county health director