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DNR board to vote on tighter elk harvest limits

MADISON (AP) — Hunters would be allowed to kill only six bull elk in 2020 under a proposal the state Department of Natural Resources board is set to consider next week.

The DNR has been working to repopulate the state with elk for years. The department has established two herds, one in northern Wisconsin and another in central Wisconsin.

The northern herd is much larger than the central herd, and it’s projected to grow to 300 animals this year. The central herd is expected to grow to about 100 animals.

The agency has run an elk hunting season in northern Wisconsin for the past two years as that herd has grown. Last year, hunters were allowed to kill up to 10 bulls. State hunters were allowed to take five and Chippewa tribal hunters were allowed to take five, according to treaty rights. The DNR has received more than 16,000 applications for a 2020 elk permit. The department selects permit winners through a lottery.

DNR ecologist Kevin Wallenfang wrote in a memo to the board that the harvest should be limited this year to six bulls. State hunters would be allowed to kill three and Chippewa hunters would be allowed to take three.

Wallenfang wrote that fewer mature bulls in the herd could hurt breeding and stunt interest in hunting and recreational viewing.

The board is scheduled to vote on the new limits during a meeting Wednesday in Madison.

Teen sentenced for robbing females at gunpoint

One of two teens accused of robbing four females at gunpoint in an Eau Claire hotel room has the opportunity to avoid a criminal record.

Izaya C. Sopiarz, 17, 4400 La Salle St., pleaded guilty Friday in Eau Claire County Court to an amended felony count of theft from person with a dangerous weapon enhancer.

He also pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of possession of a firearm while intoxicated, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of marijuana, possession of an illegally obtained prescription and pointing a firearm at another person.

For the misdemeanor charges, Judge Sarah Harless placed Sopiarz on three years of probation and gave him the option of spending 30 days in jail or performing 240 hours of community service.

As conditions of probation, Sopiarz must maintain absolute sobriety and cannot have contact with his co-defendant, victims or known drug dealers or users.

As part of a four-year deferred agreement with prosecutors, the felony charge will be dismissed if Sopiarz pays a $250 fine, commits no new crimes and successfully completes his probation.

His record will be expunged if he successfully completes his sentence.

Sopiarz’s co-defendant, Jamaar D. Manor, 19, of Rice Lake, returns to court June 9 for a preliminary hearing.

According to the criminal complaint:

Eau Claire police were called to America’s Best Value Inn, 809 W. Clairemont Ave., at 3 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, on a report of suspected drug activity in one of the rooms.

Officers went to the room and could hear a male yelling at a female.

Officers knocked at the door and a female answered.

Sopiarz tried to hide behind a television stand and concealed something in his pants. Officers frisked him and found a loaded 9 mm Beretta handgun in his pants.

Sopiarz smelled of intoxicants, his eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred.

Pills and marijuana were found in his pockets.

Sopiarz said he and Manor, who is his brother, were invited to the hotel room by four females.

Sopiarz said at one point Manor noticed $1,000 missing from his wallet.

Sopiarz said he took the gun out of his pants, waved it at everyone in the room and told them to give him his money.

“No one is leaving until I get my money,” he said he told the females numerous times.

Sopiarz said he cocked the gun and continued demanding money as he waved it around. He said the females were scared, but he said it was a joke because he winked when he pointed the gun at them.

Manor had $950 in his wallet and pockets.

The four women said Manor was “freaking out” because he believed he was missing money.

They said Manor and Sopiarz forced them into the bathroom, where they were searched to make sure they didn’t have Manor’s money.

One female said Manor took $200 from her pockets.

A second female said $500 was taken from her. She said the other two females also had money taken from them.

Roadwork to begin by Target

Road construction is scheduled to begin next week on Eau Claire’s southeast side in a popular shopping destination.

Alongside Target and a short distance from a Menards store, a section of Gateway Drive between Prill Road and Glenbrooke Avenue will undergo resurfacing starting on Tuesday.

Contractor Haas Sons of Thorp will keep the busy road open to through traffic during construction, according to a notice sent by the city. Some of the construction will be done during evenings to reduce the impact on businesses and traffic.

The project is anticipated to wrap up by June 26, depending on normal weather conditions that allow construction to proceed on schedule.

EC woman accused of exposing two kids to meth

An Eau Claire woman is accused of exposing her two young children to methamphetamine.

Ruby M. Standifer, 30, 3481 Blakely Ave., is charged in Eau Claire County Court three counts of neglecting a child.

Standifer is scheduled to make her initial court appearance on Aug. 20.

According to the criminal complaint:

A neighbor called police on April 13 after Standifer's 3-year-old son was walking around the neighborhood crying and yelling for his mother.

Authorities finally got in touch with Standifer, who was sleeping.

Standifer has custody of both of her children, ages 6 and 3.

Standifer admitted that Easter weekend she was with a friend who was using methamphetamine. Standifer didn't know if she used the drug because she was "really drunk."

A urine test for Standifer was positive for methamphetamine and marijuana.

Hair follicle tests for both children were positive for the presence of methamphetamine. The older child's test was also positive for the presence of cocaine.