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Thursday, February 26, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 12.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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State Legislature reforms drunk-driving laws, Dane County sheriff's deputies agree to 3% cut, Fire at Silver Dollar Saloon in Blanchardville kills four

Wednesday, 12.16

The state Legislature passes a bill reforming its drunk-driving laws, absent what activists felt were two of the toughest measures: making a first offense a crime and authorizing sobriety checks. Wisconsin remains the only state in the nation where a first-time drunk driving offense is treated as a traffic violation.

Thursday, 12.17

A lift at Devil's Head ski resort in Merrimac malfunctions, injuring at least 14 people, three of them seriously. The lift suddenly shifted directions, giving off sparks and smoke. Says one witness, "People were jumping off from 40 feet up."

Friday, 12.18

The Wisconsin State Journal editorially condemns five members of the Madison Common Council who voted to uphold the Landmarks Commission's rejection of a $93 million expansion of the Edgewater Hotel, grousing without a trace of irony that the commission is "biased toward preservation." Next they'll tell us the Public Safety Committee is biased toward public safety.

Dane County sheriff's deputies tentatively agree to accept a 3% pay cut with eight furlough days in order to avoid 18 layoffs. The 412-member union will vote on the pact Dec. 29.

Collin Tubbs, 20, the son of state Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs, is sentenced to four years in prison for taking part in an arson spree last February. After a fight in Black Earth in which co-defendant Christopher Ripp was called a gay slur, Tubbs drove Ripp to homes in Middleton, Cross Plains and Madison, where Ripp sought revenge by setting fire to homes. In one case, he had the wrong house. Ripp was sentenced to six years in prison on Thursday.

Wisconsin Right to Life files a federal lawsuit seeking to nullify parts of the state's Impartial Justice Act, which Gov. Jim Doyle signed into law on Dec. 1. The act allows Supreme Court candidates to get matching public funds when opponents spend $320,000 or more during a campaign.

Three masked men, one brandishing a gun, hold up a poker game on the city's southwest side.

Saturday, 12.19

Madison police use spikes to stop the vehicle of an alleged drunk driver going the wrong way on a one-way street on the city's east side.

Sunday, 12.20

A fire at the Silver Dollar Saloon in Blanchardville kills four people, including the owner, Daniel Hardekopf, who was trying to rescue people from the apartments above the bar.

Fifteen people brawl outside bars on King Street after Adan Ollarzabal de la Cruz, 23, allegedly hit a 20-year-old woman in the face. De la Cruz is charged with disorderly conduct.

Monday, 12.21

About 40 people hold a vigil on the Capitol Square to show support for the homeless. The vigil culminates at the bench where Dwayne Benjamin Warren, a 38-year-old homeless man, was found dead in June.

Compiled (in part) from local media

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