It's Thursday, Sept. 4 and here is your day ahead:
In local news...
WEATHER: Rain and thunderstorms will end this morning, and the weather will turn very warm and humid. Temperatures will be near 90 with heat index values in the middle to upper 90s. Full forecast
The Green Bay Packers kick off the regular NFL season with a huge game tonight. They play in Seattle against the world champion Seahawks. The teams will face off in one of the toughest road venues in the league. CenturyLink Field has broken world records for noise, and has even had seismic activity, or mini-earthquakes, because it's so loud. The Seahawks are a five-point favorite over the Packers in tonight's game. More on this story
2. ANDREW STEELE
The former Dane County sheriff's deputy accused of killing his wife and sister-in-law is due back in court today. A preliminary hearing is set for Andrew Steele this morning. A judge will decide whether there's enough evidence to order a trial. Prosecutors charged Steele last week with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in connection with the deaths of his wife, Ashlee Steele, and sister-in-law, Kacee Tollefsbol. More on this story
3. SNAPCHATTING TEACHER
A man who taught and coached in multiple Dane County school districts now faces two felony charges for allegedly sending dirty pictures to his students. Brandon Amato, 24, was in court Wednesday and prohibited from using the Internet or interacting with girls under 18. In a criminal complaint, Amato reportedly admitted to sending shots and video of his genitalia to two Stoughton high school students, both teenage girls. More on this story
4. STUDENT LOAN DEBT
Sen. Tammy Baldwin is making a stop in Madison today. She's meeting with students at Madison Area Technical College to discuss student loan debt and college affordability. Baldwin is pushing for the senate to take up legislation that would make it easier for students to refinance loans at lower interest rates. She also plans on introducing new legislation targeted at working students in Wisconsin.
5. FAST FOOD PROTESTS
Fast food workers in Madison and around the country are planning a strike today demanding higher wages. The workers are demanding $15 an hour. The average wage for a fast food worker is around $9 an hour, or about $18,000 a year. The protests are expected to take place at fast-food restaurants in 150 cities nationwide today. President Barack Obama referenced the "Fight for $15" campaign during a Labor Day appearance in Milwaukee.
In national news...
1. ISIS BEHEADING
Speaking out: The family of the American journalist killed by ISIS called out the notorious leader of the group yesterday, asking him to answer for the sin he committed in the beheading of Steven Sotloff. "I have a message for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," family spokesman Barak Barfi said in Arabic. "Where is your mercy?" The statement came just hours after President Barack Obama said the United States will not be intimidated by ISIS. The killing is the second beheading of an American journalist in two weeks. More on this story
2. FERGUSON INVESTIGATION
Department checkup: The Justice Department is going to give the Ferguson, Missouri, police department a top-to-bottom lookover after last month's shooting of Michael Brown. Such probes typically focus on paving the way for systemic reform going forward, rather than punishing past misconduct. The investigation is separate from the Justice Department's previously announced civil rights probe into the August 9 shooting of the unarmed black teenager by police Officer Darren Wilson, who is white. More on this story
3. DNA FREEDOM
No hate: Henry McCollum and Leon Brown walked out of prison free men yesterday after DNA evidence implicated someone else in the rape and murder of a North Carolina child some 30 years ago. Both men were teenagers at the time of their arrest. "Ain't no anger in my heart. I forgive those people," McCollum said. "I don't like what they've done to me and my brother because they took 30 years away from me for no reason, but I don't hate them," he said. More on this story
Unsettled: Ukraine's President announced progress on a ceasefire agreement yesterday with Russia, but U.S. President Barack Obama is skeptical and even Moscow downplayed it. Since mid-April, Ukrainian forces have been battling pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. Kiev and the West say the rebels are supported by Moscow - a claim Moscow denies. European nations are considering proposals for "significant further steps" against Russia, an EU statement said. The proposed sanctions involved "access to capital markets, defense, dual use goods, and sensitive technologies," the statement added. More on this story
Outbreak still growing: More than 3,500 people have been infected by the Ebola virus in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria since the first documented cases in December, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization. More than 1,900 people have died. "Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it," said Dr. Joanne Liu, the international president of Doctors Without Borders. "The clock is ticking, and Ebola is winning." More on this story