Thursday, January 29, 2015

Iowa Afternoon Summary 1/29/15


The U-S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights is investigating whether Iowa State University responded appropriately to reports of sexual violence against students. The school confirmed today (Thursday) that the federal agency is investigating its handling of a 2014 assault of a female student by a male student.  An October 15th letter from the agency to I-S-U President Steven Leath says investigators will look into whether the school has failed to "promptly and equitably" respond to complaints of sexual violence, including the female student's report. A school spokesperson says that an investigation by campus police has led to a criminal charge against the male student, and the student faces a disciplinary hearing next month.

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Governor Terry Branstad has named a longtime staffer Jerry Bartruff as acting director of the Iowa Department of Corrections. Bartruff will replace retiring director John Baldwin, who served in the role since 2007. His first day as acting director will be tomorrow (Friday). Bartruff has worked in the department since 1982, most recently as deputy director for operations in the department's eastern region. Branstad called Bartruff a "capable professional" who could handle the transition. Retiring director Baldwin appeared before lawmakers earlier this week to discuss the long-delayed Iowa State Penitentiary. Baldwin said he doesn't know when the facility will open, noting officials are studying a potential solution to a faulty smoke control system. The prison in Fort Madison was scheduled to open last March.

 

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A former school worker in the Garner-Hayfield school district has been given probation and a suspended jail sentence for Medicaid fraud. K-I-M-T T-V reports Brooke Banse was given a year of probation, 180 days in jail and fined 625-dollars. The jail time and fine were suspended. Banse had pleaded guilty to fraudulent practices after prosecutors lowered the charge and dropped another. The 31-year-old Banse had been a student advocate for the Garner-Hayfield school district. Prosecutors say Banse submitted records and received federal Medicaid payments for services she did not provide.

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Testing is underway on a project in central Iowa that could reduce the number of traffic crashes during snow storms. Iowa Department of Transportation engineer Willy Sorenson says the idea involves the use of sensors and lasers to monitor winter pavement conditions. A mathematic formula then calculates an "advised" slower speed limit which is posted on digital signs along Interstate 35. On an icy day, for example, the signs might suggest a speed limit of 55 miles an mile.  The project involves four digital signs along an 11-mile stretch of I-35 between Ankeny and Huxley. The area was chosen because it's one of the most dangerous stretches of interstate in Iowa, especially in the winter. Sorenson hopes to expand the project next year.

Nebraska Afternoon Summary 1/29/15


Elm Creek village clerk, 49-year-old Wendy Stephens is facing felony charges of embezzling from the town's coffers. Six altered checks had been discovered during an audit of the Elm Creek village funds.  Stephens told authorities she wrote the checks for bills the village didn't need to pay. She and a village board member would then each sign the checks. Before sending the checks Stephens would white out the "Pay to" portion of the check, write "Visa" in its place and then change the amount to pay her credit card bill. The six checks totaled 10-thousand-518 dollars.  Stephens is scheduled to undergo a preliminary hearing in Buffalo County Court on February 10th. If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison.

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The chairman of the legislature's Judiciary Committee says the Unicameral needs to try to reduce the prison population before even considering adding prison beds. Judiciary Committee Chairman Les Seiler of Hastings is confident state lawmakers will consider a number of bills aimed at easing prison overcrowding. Seiler adds that even if the legislature spends 261-Million dollars to add prison beds that would only lower the prison population just under 140-percent of capacity. That percentage could trigger a lawsuit against the state. Seiler says studies of the Nebraska prison system indicate as many as 31-percent of the inmates behind bars in prison suffer from mental illness or substance abuse.

 

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Omaha police say a 46-year-old man who was shot Monday night in the city’s Norwick Park has died at a hospital. Authorities say, so far, no arrests have been made yet in the death of Ray Patterson. Patterson's death is the ninth criminal homicide in Omaha this year. The Omaha World-Herald reports that at this time last year, there had been one criminal homicide in the city.

Missouri Afternoon Summary 1/29/15


A State Senate vote on whether lawmakers and elected officials should get a raise has been delayed by Democrats, who filibustered the issue for more than an hour. The state Citizens' Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials recommended in November a 4-thousand dollar raise for state lawmakers over two years and an 8-percent raise in fiscal years 2016 and 17. The Missouri House rejected that but if the Senate doesn't concur today (Thursday) that raise will go through. Kansas City Senator Jason Holsman says if it doesn't, it would be 2020 before another increase in legislator pay is possible. Holsman and some Democrats argue that the best possible lawmakers wouldn't seek office if the compensation doesn't get better. Critics don't want to see state legislator salaries go up while state employee pay is the lowest in the nation.

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A suspect in a 2006 Joplin homicide will serve 22 years in prison without parole for his role in a methamphetamine distribution ring. A federal judge sentenced 29-year-old Jose D. Cazares Wednesday for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Twenty more people were also charged for participating in the drug ring, including Cazares’ parents and two brothers. Prosecutors say Cazares led the group that brought methamphetamine from Mexico and distributed it in the Jasper County region between July 2012 and June 2013. Cazares is remains charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of 30-year-old Joshua Olson in Joplin. He fled to the U.S.-Mexico border and was captured in 2011.

 

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After nearly three years, a jury decided the fate of the man who killed a three-year-old boy in Morgan County. A Cass County jury found Thomas Presley guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder and child abuse. Presley beat Blake Litton to death the morning of February 16th 2012, while the boy's mother, Jamie Litton, was at work. Presley and Jamie Litton were dating at the time. During the three day trial, the pathologist who investigated the death said the child died from internal bleeding in his liver. The pathologist also found blood on his brain. Investigators claim Presley tried to cover up the abuse, claiming Blake was hit by another vehicle on Highway 135 after getting out of the car to use the bathroom.

 

 

A 23-year-old man is facing charges for three fires in rural Pike County. Melvin J. Yoder of Bowling Green was arrested Saturday night. The fires broke out Saturday in the Curryville area of Pike County, about 90 miles north of St. Louis. Fields were torched in two of the instances. The third fire destroyed a barn and damaged a machine shed. No injuries were reported. A deputy saw Yoder in the area of the third fire. Authorities say another deputy identified Yoder as being at the first two fires. Yoder is facing charges of burglary and arson.

 

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Kansas City police say no one was hurt when a man fired his gun inside a bus. Authorities say they're searching for a man who ran off the city bus after the Wednesday night incident and left his gun behind. Police say they're not sure if the man purposefully fired his gun or if the gun went off accidentally. They are continuing to investigate to try to fill in more of those details.

 

World/National Afternoon Summary 1/29/15


The White House announced today (Thursday) that President Obama will call for an end to the automatic series of budget cuts known as sequestration when he proposes a new budget next week. Obama is outlining his plans in a meeting today with House Democrats. The White House says the president wants to "reverse harmful sequestration cuts," and focus instead on "middle-class economics" that includes new programs for child care, paid leave and community colleges.

 

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As many as one-thousand people across three Arizona counties may have been exposed to the measles, and state public-health officials are asking people who think they may have come in contact with the virus to isolate themselves. In addition, they are asking those who may have been exposed not to show up at doctors' offices, emergency rooms or urgent-care centers, where others could be exposed to the highly contagious virus, which can linger in the air for two hours. The possible exposure is tied in large part to those who may have come in contact with 195 children who Maricopa County health officials say were exposed to measles between January 20th and 21st at the Phoenix Children's East Valley Center in Mesa.

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According to a U-S research institute, North Korea may be attempting to restart its main nuclear bomb fuel reactor after a five-month shutdown. Activity at the five-megawatt Nyongbyon (yong-gahn) reactor is closely watched because North Korea is thought to have a handful of crude nuclear bombs, part of its efforts to build an arsenal of nuclear tipped missiles that could one day hit America's mainland. Nyongbyon, which has produced plutonium used for past nuclear test explosions, restarted in 2013 after being shuttered under a 2007 disarmament agreement. It has been offline since August.

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Coroner's officials confirmed Thursday that one of the two hostages who died in the 16-hour siege of a cafe in Sydney, Australia, last month was killed by police bullets as officers stormed the café. Katrina Dawson, an attorney, was struck six times by officers' bullets either directly or from ricochets, one of which hit a major blood vessel and was fatal, a coroner's inquest was told. The other hostage who died, Tori Johnson, the cafe's manager, was shot in the back of the head by the Islamic cleric who took 17 hostages before he was killed in the police assault December 16th.

Wheeler News - Afternoon State News #2 - 1/29/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - Afternoon State News #2

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

One of the Legislature's toughest critics of the U-W System came out with his own long-range budget plan for the university today.  Senate Republican Steve Nass (nahss) of Whitewater said future increases should be capped at the rate of inflation -- and accountability should be improved by shortening the terms of the policy-setting Regents from seven years to three.  Nass, a former chairman of the Assembly Colleges Committee before he was elected to the Senate in November, has been extremely critical of Governor Scott Walker's proposal for the state's public university system.  By cutting state spending and increasing autonomy, the U-W could raise tuition as much as it believes to be necessary starting in 2017.   Nass said earlier this week the tuition hikes would be massive -- and he's totally against granting such autonomy.  Walker said yesterday he'd be willing to negotiate the size of his proposed 300-million dollar budget cut which he's demanding in exchange for the U-W's long-sought autonomy.  It will be a key part of setting the next two-year state budget -- and that won't be finalized until this summer.

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Authorities in northwest Wisconsin have been looking for a driver who struck and killed a pedestrian.  Barron County sheriff's deputies said 26-year-old Logan Paulson was struck about 7:30 this morning near Upper Turtle Lake on Highway Eight.  That's between Almena and Turtle Lake.  He lived in the area.  Officials said he was walking on the roadway when a vehicle struck him and drove off sometime during the night.  The only description officers have of the vehicle is that it's white.  They don't know the make or model.  The State Patrol was re-constructing the crash scene today.  Anyone with information was asked to call the Barron County sheriff's office in Barron.

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Journalist Katie Couric will be the commencement speaker at U-W Madison on May 16th.  Chancellor Rebecca Blank made the announcement today.  Couric will speak to this spring's undergraduates and most master's candidates during a noon ceremony at the 80-thousand-seat Camp Randall football stadium. Couric has been with C-B-S and N-B-C in various capacities.  She now works for Yahoo News as a global anchor, reporter, and producer.  Blank said that as journalism has weathered dramatic changes, Couric has found "innovative ways" of engaging with Americans -- and her experiences should resonate with graduates as they look beyond their college years at the U-W.

(End)


Wheeler News - Afternoon State Sports - 1/29/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - Afternoon State Sports

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

It won't be the Green Bay Packers, but somebody from Wisconsin's only Division-One college football program will get a Super Bowl ring.  Ex-Badgers' quarterback Russell Wilson and defensive end O'Brien Schofield are playing for their second straight Super Bowl titles with the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.  Former Wisconsin defensive back Jonathan Casillas (kuh-see'-iss) will be on the other side with New England, where he was traded from Tampa Bay in late October. He has played in ten games for the Pats, with 31 tackles.  Casillas also won a Super Bowl ring with New Orleans five years ago.  Former Badgers' star running back James White has not had much playing time in his rookie season with the Pats.  He had 61 all-purpose yards in three games, and was inactive for the Patriots' first two post-season contests.  Wilson is 10-and-0 when starting against Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks -- including Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.  Wilson was well-received during his one stellar year in Madison.  But he didn't exactly endear himself to Packer fans when he threw the game-winning T-D pass in overtime to beat Green Bay in the N-F-C Championship Game.  Schofield has quietly settled into Seattle's defensive line. He has played in every game this season with two sacks, and a forced fumble in the playoffs.  

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The Milwaukee Bucks have dropped their last 17 games at Orlando -- and they'll try to avoid making it 18 tonight.  The Bucks are coming off a seven-point win at Miami on Tuesday, and they still lead the Heat by three games for the sixth-of-eight playoff spots in the N-B-A's Eastern Conference.   The Bucks could be short on front-line players this evening.  Power forward Ersan Ilyasova is out with a groin injury suffered at Miami.  Starting center Zaza Pachulia is questionable with a calf injury suffered in that game.  Veteran forward Kenyon Martin could see more action tonight, after he signed a contract today to stay with Milwaukee for the rest of the season.  The Bucks are 23-and-22 overall, and 13-and-12 on the road -- while Orlando has the third-worst record among the 16 East teams at 15-and-33.  The Magic have lost six straight games, after falling to Memphis by nine points on Monday night.  Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and 12 rebounds in that contest, while the Magic committed 18 turnovers. Orlando is just 5-and-15 at the Amway Center this season, and they've dropped 12-of-14 overall.  

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The Green Bay women's basketball team will try to extend its winning streak to seven games, when it plays at Valparaiso tonight. The Phoenix are 5-and-0 in the Horizon League and 15-and-3 overall.  They've outscored their opponents by 15-and-a-third points during their six-game winning string while averaging 65 points per night.  Mehryn Kraker leads the Phoenix starters with 12 points and almost five-and-a-half rebounds a game.  Valparaiso comes in with a league-low scoring average of 59 points a game.  The Crusaders are 0-and-6 in the conference, and 4-and-15 overall.  Green Bay leads the Horizon standings by one game over second-place Wright State.  Milwaukee is sixth at 3-and-3, but the Panthers are going for a three-game winning streak tonight at Cleveland State. U-W-M is coming off a 64-63 overtime win over Illinois-Chicago last Saturday. Ashley Green had 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Panthers in that contest. The Panthers are 7-and-11 overall, and will play a Cleveland State squad that's 2-and-3 in the Horizon League and 10-and-8 overall.  Also tonight, the Wisconsin women host Ohio State.  The Milwaukee men entertain Illinois-Chicago.  And the U-W Parkside men-and-women host Indianapolis.

(End)

Minnesota News from MNN - 1/29/15

"Minnesota Summary"  1-29-15

Have You Had Your Measles Vaccine?

(St. Paul, MN)  --  Now that the first new case of measles has been confirmed in Minnesota, some adults are wondering if their M-M-R (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccination is up-to-date.  Lynn Bahta with the state Department of Health says the recommended two-dose vaccination has been in place for about 20 years, and people born in 1978 and later likely have had both shots.  If you were born before 1978, you may want to consider a second dose.  Bahta adds it's highly likely that people born before 1957 have had measles and are protected from it -- except in very rare cases where they might want to be evaluated more closely.

Most Car Dealers Oppose Sunday Sales

(St. Paul, MN)  --  Most car dealerships in the state oppose a bill in the Minnesota House that would repeal the 58-year-old ban on Sunday auto sales.  Scott Lambert of the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Assocation says there are logistical issues with Sunday transactions, noting that
banking, insurance, Driver and Vehicle Services, title transfers and the like are all harder to do on Sunday.  Lambert adds thousands of employees at Minnesota dealerships cherish their Sundays off.  Consumers can still browse auto lots on Sunday or check out the inventory online.

Destination Medical Center Board Considering Rochester Redevelopment Plan

(Rochester, MN) --  This is decision day for the Destination Medical Center Corporation Board.  Today's (Thurs) meeting agenda includes a resolution to submit a development proposal to the Rochester City Council.  The 20-year plan calls for dramatic changes to the downtown in an effort to make Rochester a more inviting place for Mayo Clinic patients to visit and others to live.  The report recommends implementing the plan in four phases with an infrastructure investment of nearly two billion dollars over 20 years.  The Rochester City Council will have 60 days to consider the plan and take action.

Child Custody Reform Plan Unveiled At Capitol

(St. Paul, MN)  --  More focus in custody decisions on the child's best interest rather than comparing parents -- that's the thrust of a family law reform package unveiled today (Thurs) at the State Capitol by a bipartisan group of House lawmakers.  DFL Representative Tim Mahoney from St. Paul says the plan has been a long time in the making and calls it substantial reform.  The proposal also encourages courts to consider the impact domestic violence between parents and other household members has on children. 

Women's Economic Security Summit Under Way

(St. Paul, MN)  --  The 2015 Women's Economic Security Summit is underway in St. Paul today (Thurs a-m).  Governor Dayton in his welcoming remarks said one of the key issues continues to be equal pay for comparable work.  Dayton thanked those in the audience for working hard and tirelessly, but admits there's still much to be done. During today's summit, advocates and legislative leaders are discussing family caregiving while working, transportation alternatives for low-income families and issues facing minorities in the Minnesota workplace. 

Franken Questions Attorney General Nominee About Mental Health Policy

(Washington, MN)  --  During attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch's confirmation hearing in the Judiciary Committee, Senator Al Franken asked if she planned to reform the way mental health issues are handled within the criminal justice system -- because the current system "is not just wasting money, but wasting lives."  Lynch agreed that training for police and corrections officers to recognize mental illness is important, saying "sometimes conditions may manifest themselves in ways that appear to be disruptive but are, in fact, a reflection of the illness."  Lynch also answered questions about America's large prison population, veterans' courts, cell phone "stalker apps" and the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. Her confirmation hearing continues today (Thu).

Kvamme, Strong Voice In Beef Industry, Retiring

(Arlington, MN)  --  Conrad Kvamme (QWA'-mee) of Arlington - one of the strongest voices in the Minnesota beef industry - has decided to retire.  For many years consumers and producers became friends with Kvamme, who was special projects coordinator for the Minnesota Beef Council. He says he would not have had such a storied and successful career without the entire Minnesota ag community.  Kvamme says he'll stay busy as a public speaker and advocate for the beef industry.

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Werner

Wheeler News - Afternoon State News #1 - 1/29/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - Afternoon State News #1

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

The Wisconsin Senate's majority leader says his colleagues need to consider a right-to-work bill as it works on the new state budget for the next two years. Republican Scott Fitzgerald issued a statement today which indicates the voters support the idea of prohibiting workers from having to join labor unions or pay union dues.  Fitzgerald cited a poll commissioned by the Wisconsin Manufacturers-and-Commerce group.  It said 69-percent of 500-plus voters favor the right-to-work concept.  Fitzgerald said the budget process will pose "difficult financial challenges" -- and before lawmakers consider asking taxpayers for more revenue, he said, "We must first consider any initiatives that could increase Wisconsin's competitiveness."  The Senate G-O-P leader said the Legislature has an obligation to try and make the state a more attractive place for business, and to foster economic growth.  Governor Scott Walker will release his proposed 2015-17 budget next Tuesday.  As he considers a run for president, Walker is trying to stop lawmakers from acting on right-to-work early in the session. However, the governor has not said if he would sign the measure if it gets to his desk.  Supporters of right-to-work say it fosters workplace freedom.  Opponents say it would drive down wages.  

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If you want to know if an Appleton area murder trial is on for next month, you'll have to ask the clerk-of-court.  The state's online court records have sealed the file that describes Kandi Siveny's homicide and substantial battery case. According to W-L-U-K T-V of Green Bay, defense lawyer Daniel Sanders convinced Outagamie County Circuit Judge Nancy Krueger to hide the online file. He said he wanted an impartial jury, and he didn't want those getting notices for jury duty digging up official information about the case.  The 35-year-old Siveny is scheduled to go on trial February 16th.  She's accused of shooting and killing her mother's domestic partner, Lara Plamann, in 2007 on suspicion that Plamann was cheating.  Authorities said Rosie Campbell of Saint Paul was hired to kill Plamann -- but she backed out at the last minute, and watched Kandi Siveny carry out the shooting.  Campbell had a homicide charge dropped in exchange for her testimony against both Kandi Siveny and her mother Dianna -- who's due to stand trial in June.  Sanders still has a request pending to bar Campbell from testifying against his client.  Campbell was sentenced earlier this month to five-and-a-half years in prison for her role in the slaying.

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Stockholders of Spectrum Brands will get a higher quarterly dividend than they expected.  The Middleton consumer products company said it would pay 33-cents a share, three-cents more than projected.  It's payable March 10th to stockholders on record as of February 17th.  Spectrum Brands makes Ray-o-Vac batteries, Remington shavers, Cutter insect repellent, and more.  The company initiated quarterly dividends in the spring of 2013, and had its first increase almost a year ago.

(End)

World / National Midday Summary - 1/29/15


Opening statements are being given in a Boston courtroom in the murder trial for a former N-F-L standout.  Aaron Hernandez is accused of killing a semi-pro football player in June 2013.  The jury is expected to hear weeks of testimony.  Once this trial is finally over, Hernandez is expected to face a second trial for a drive-by shooting in 2012 which left two men dead.


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The U-S Department of Labor reports first-time requests for unemployment benefits have reached their lowest level in nearly 15 years.  The 265-thousand initial claims received by the government last week are down by 42-thousand.  Most analysts had predicted about 300-thousand claims.  The last time the number of claims was this low was in late 1999.


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The U-S Supreme Court tells the state of Oklahoma to put lethal injection executions on hold until a court ruling is handed down on challenges to the controversial sedative being used.  Both the state and the lawyers for three inmates facing execution between now and March has asked for the interruption to the process.  The court's order doesn't say that Oklahoma isn't allowed to carry out an execution as long as it uses a different sedative.


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A Chinese company says it is sending out a mandatory firmware update which won't let the drones it makes fly over the restricted flight zone which encompasses most of the U-S capital.  The man who owns the drone found on the White House lawn last week has said he didn't mean to fly it there.  He is said to be a federal intelligence worker.


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Ford and Nissan have announced major safety recalls. Ford is recalling nearly a quarter-million vehicles due to problems with door latches and seatbelts.  Nissan is recalling more than three-quarters of a million vehicles for electrical and hood latch issues.  No deaths or injuries are being reported by either car company.  The recall notices are coming in the mail to car owners.


Nebraska Midday Summary - 1/29/15


A 19-year-old Omaha man has pleaded no contest to charges of discharging a firearm at an occupied building.  Jaylen Montgomery admits he shot a rifle and the bullet penetrated the wall of the home where five-year-old Payton Benson lived.  She was fatally wounded.  Montgomery could get more than 50 years in prison when he is sentenced in April.  He is one of four men accused of riding in a stolen vehicle last year when they saw what they thought was a rival gang member.  They started shooting and one of the bullets passed through the wall, through the victim and out a second wall of the home.

 

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U-S Senator Ben Sasse has been named chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Sub-committee on Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security.  The Nebraska Republican says his state leads the U-S in red meat production and he plans to “promote responsible policy to keep the future of agriculture strong.”  That subcommittee has jurisdiction over livestock issues, agricultural marketing program, pest and disease management, and dairy programs.  Sasse replaced Mike Johanns in the U-S Senate after winning last November’s election.

 

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The collapse of a cell phone tower in Scottsbluff injures two workers.  They were taken to a nearby hospital after getting trapped in the wreckage.  One man fell about 10 feet and the other about twice as far.  The area was under a wind advisory when the tower collapsed.  One of the men suffered a leg injury and the other had a shoulder injury.  A gust of wind reportedly caused a section of the tower to shift while the work was being done. 

 

Missouri Midday Summary - 1/29/15


A Platte County jury only took 90-minutes to find a Kansas City man guilty of sexually abusing two underage girls.  He won’t be eligible for parole for 60 years.  Robert F. Seaton was convicted on charges of statutory rape, statutory sodomy and child molestation.  He was in a relationship with the victims’ mother at the time.  The older victim was about 13 years old and the younger girl was eight-to-11-years old during the time the abuse was occurring.  One girl told the court Seaton blew crack cocaine smoke into her mouth before molesting her.  He is scheduled to be formally sentenced March 26th.


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Attorney General Chris Koster says police should wear body cameras, but the media and the public shouldn’t get access to the recordings without some restrictions.  Koster says he has concerns about individual privacy rights.  Wearing those body cameras is one response filed by Missouri lawmakers to the fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson last summer.  Supporters say using those cameras would provide conclusive evidence of what happened in situations like that. 


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Winter storms at the start of 2014 account for most of the drop in passenger traffic at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.  Arriving and departing numbers were both off from the year before.  A total of 12-point-four-million travelers passed through the terminal, down one-and-a-half-percent from 2013.  Southwest Airlines has the biggest presence at the airport, accounting for more than half of all passengers.  American Airlines is a distant second with 14-percent, followed by Delta Airlines.


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A former central Missouri Boy Scout leader is going to federal prison for 20 years on a child pornography conviction.  Ian Burow pleaded guilty last year to seven counts of receiving and distributing explicit material involving a minor.  He also pleaded guilty to producing child porn.  Prosecutors had told the court the 25-year-old man pretended to be a woman while he was online to trick teenage boys into sending him nude photos of themselves.  Burow apparently knew some of his victims from his time as a Scout leader.


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Despite the opposition of state Senator Robert Schaaf, he and other lawmakers will be getting a pay raise.  So will statewide elected officials.  Legislative efforts to stop the raise stalled Wednesday.  A state commission had recommended a four-thousand dollar per year raise last November for lawmakers and eight-percent for the governor and state officials.  The raises would go into effect in fiscal years 2016 and 2017.  Schaaf is a Republican who says lawmakers don’t need a pay raise.  He says the money could be spent better on raises for state employees or funding for other state programs.  Missouri legislators make a little under 36-thousand dollars a year.

Iowa Midday Summary - 1/29/15


A 26-year-old Denison man has been found guilty of first-degree murder in March shooting deaths of two elderly people near Deloit.  Michael Schenk was also convicted of second-degree arson for setting a trailer home on fire in an effort to cover up his crime.  Eighty-year-old Marvin Huesling and 81-year-old Alice Huisenga were the victims.  The verdict was delivered after four hours of deliberation.  Schenk faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.  Nineteen-year-old Jayden Chapman also faces murder and arson charges in the case.  Thirty-seven-year-old Erika Dains pleaded guilty to burglary and being an accessory.  Dains says the three had smoking meth and were at Huesling's trailer to steal scrap metal.


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The Iowa Court of Appeals rules a Sioux City man can proceed with his challenge of his conviction on child endangerment charges.  Paul Hill is serving 50 years.  He claims that police violated his right to remain silent and his attorney should have moved to suppress the statements he made when he admitted hitting the child while buckling her into a car seat.  The girl died several hours later.  A judge hearing his appeal in 2011 found that Hill had asked to stop at least 11 times during questioning, but the detective in the case kept going.  In that appeal, the judge decided some of the statements should have been suppressed, but he decided Hill would have been convicted anyway.


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A new shopping center is being planned at a busy intersection in Des Moines.  The Des Moines Business Journal reports the Apple Valley center will be torn down to be replaced by the Midtown Center.  An anchor store will occupy one of the four buildings going up at the busy corner of 73rd Street and University in Windsor Heights.  The old shopping center has been there for more than 30 years.  The Windsor Heights City Council still has to give its approval for the project to move forward.


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An accused burglar spent some time cooling off Tuesday night while Des Moines police were arriving.  Workers at RoCA, a restaurant on Court Avenue, spotted a man in the alley.  When they investigated they found a second man inside the restaurant’s cooler.  One of the employees shut the door of the cooler with the man inside, then called police.  James Reddick and Robert Williams now face charges of third-degree burglary.  The men told investigating officers they were dumpster diving when they found the cooler unlocked.

Wheeler News - Mid-Day State News #2 - 1/29/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - Mid-Day State News #2

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

U-S Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin took a more aggressive stance today to get to the bottom of drug-and-personnel problems at the V-A Medical Center in Tomah.  In a letter to Undersecretary Carolyn Clancy, the Wisconsin senator asked the Veterans' Administration to consider concerns not addressed in last year's inspector general's report.  That report did not mention the extent of the alleged over-prescription of painkillers at Tomah -- or the death of a 35-year-old Marine from Stevens Point from an overdose at an inpatient care unit.  Baldwin asked Clancy to consider a criminal investigation of those involved in the Marine's death.  And for the first time, Baldwin disclosed that Tomah Chief-of-Staff David Houlihan has been suspended while an investigation continues into his role in the alleged over-prescriptions.  Last week, the V-A said Houlihan was re-assigned, amid reports that the numbers of opiates prescribed at Tomah rose by 500-percent from 2004-through-2012 while patient numbers dropped. Baldwin's letter to Clancy also asked that whistle-blowers' testimony be taken into account.  A few days ago, Baldwin blamed mis-communication with the key whistle-blower in the case for not disclosing the Tomah issues earlier -- or seeking a Senate investigation into the matter.

-1/29-

Harley-Davidson blames a stronger U-S dollar for a reduction in its quarterly earnings.  The Milwaukee-based firm reports a net income of 35-point-nine million dollars in its motorcycle operations from October through December. That's 41-percent less than the same time a year ago.  The company blames it on foreign exchange rates, as sales in other countries have resulted in fewer U-S dollars coming back.  All told, Harley made 74-and-a-half million dollars in its fiscal fourth quarter, down from 75-point-four million in the same period of 2013. Stock-holder earnings were 35 cents a share, up from 34 cents a year ago when more shares were outstanding.  Despite the declines, Harley's earnings still exceeded the 33-cents per share which was forecast by Zachs Investment Research.  Total revenues were one-point-oh-three billion dollars in the last quarter, down from the projected one-point-oh-six billion.  

-1/29-

It appears that some lawmakers won't take no for an answer on the proposed Kenosha casino.  The A-P said state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and other legislators of both parties who support the casino would meet today, and again urge Governor Scott Walker to change his mind about rejecting it.  They tried getting Walker to budge earlier this week, but he said no yesterday.  The Republican Walker said taxpayers could be left on the hook for millions of dollars if the Menominee tribe is allowed to build the proposed Hard Rock Casino and Hotel. Walker said taxpayers might have to reimburse the Potawatomi tribe for both present and past payments it made to the state, if it loses money from a Kenosha gaming house.   Casino backers said Walker ignored the Menominee's commitment to cover those losses -- and Vos is among those who believe the jobs and additional visitors to Kenosha would be too good to pass up.

(End)

Wheeler News - Mid-Day State News #1 - 1/29/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - Mid-Day State News #1

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

U-W System President Ray Cross struck back today at Governor Scott Walker's comment that the university's faculty should work harder.  On a Wisconsin Public Radio show, Cross said U-W faculty work 50-to-60 hours a week as it is -- and he said, "It's a shame that people don't understand what faculty really do." This all has to do with the Republican Walker's budget proposal to slash state funding to the U-W by 300-million dollars over the next two years in exchange for more autonomy.  Walker suggested limits on the university's shared governance between faculty and administrators.  He's portraying it as hindrance to making college more affordable, while maintaining the U-W's high quality of education.  Walker told reporters yesterday the university's front office should consider asking faculty to teach one more class each semester.  Cross said he's tired of faculty being blamed for the U-W's problems.  In his words, "Blame administrators.  Don't deride faculty."  Cross told Public Radio host Joy Cardin (car-deen') he's looking at cutting "backroom costs" like administrators, human resource personnel, and other non-teaching functions.  Cross said a few months ago he hired a consultant to look into current practices with an eye toward being more efficient.  He says he expects to have a sense of possible efficiencies by mid-March.

-1/29-

Twenty-two tornadoes touched down in Wisconsin last year, and only four took place outside the month of June.  The National Weather Service released an update this week on the state's 2014 tornadoes.   The total was one short of the state's annual average of 23 twisters.  Last year's strongest was an E-F-Three tornado on June 17th that heavily damaged the Country View Elementary School in Verona.  At least 30 homes also had major damage from that storm. The E-F-Three severity was slightly above the mid-range in a zero-to-five rating system. The Verona twister was only on the ground for a few minutes, with estimated wind speeds of 136-miles-an-hour.  According to the weather service, 17 of last year's 22 Wisconsin tornadoes landed in five south central and southwest counties -- Dane, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, and Grant.  The others landed in Bayfield, Pierce, Dunn, Winnebago, and Outagamie counties.  The 2014 total was just over a-third of the record number of tornadoes for a one-year period in Wisconsin -- 62 back in 2005.

-1/29-

A state appeals court ruled this morning that it was unconstitutional to force protest singers at the State Capitol to get a permit.  The Fourth District Appellate Court in Madison agreed with a Dane County circuit judge's decision to throw out a citation against Michael Crute of Middleton.  He was ticketed in 2013 for conducting a demonstration without a state permit, after he joined in the Solidarity Singers' then-daily noon-hour protests against state Republicans and Governor Scott Walker.  At the time, state rules barred people from watching or taking part in events at state buildings which did not obtain permits.  The appellate court said the regulations were not narrowly-written to advance a significant interest on the part of state government.  The American Civil Liberties Union reached a settlement with the state in the fall of 2013 which allowed smaller Capitol events without permits. 

(End)

Wheeler News - Noon State Sports - 1/29/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - Noon State Sports

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

Former Green Bay G-M Ron Wolf will find out on Saturday whether a complete turnaround of the Packers' organization is enough to get him into the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame.  He's among 18 finalists a selection committee will consider for enshrinement.  Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote this morning about the horrid state of the Packers that Wolf found when he got to Green Bay in late 1991.  McGinn said it was the best way to demonstrate what may be described as "the greatest reclamation project in National Football League history."  Wolf said no to the Green Bay job once before, in 1987 -- but when team president Bob Harlan promised him total control of the football operation, he accepted.  The first thing he did was fire coach Lindy Infante -- after Wolf reportedly told a friend he was appalled by the team's lack of toughness. He then brought in San Francisco offensive assistant Mike Holmgren -- traded a first-round draft choice to Atlanta for a then-unknown Brett Favre -- made a splash by bringing in free-agent defensive star Reggie White -- and helped the Packers get to two Super Bowls, winning the 1996 season title. Wolf said his goal was to win 100 games in ten years.  He won 101 in nine years. And he brought a winning tradition that has seldom let up over the years.  Green Bay has had 19 winning seasons in the 23 years since Wolf arrived.  Five of Wolf's former lieutenants are now G-M's of their own teams -- Ted Thompson in Green Bay, John Schneider in Seattle, John Dorsey in Kansas City, Reggie McKenzie in Oakland, and Scot McCloughan in Washington..

-1/29-

The U-W Milwaukee men's basketball team will try to end a two-game losing streak tonight, when it hosts Illinois-Chicago.  The Panthers are 2-and-5 in the Horizon League and 7-and-14 overall.  They've won two straight at home, in which they out-scored Youngstown State and Wright State by a total of 41 points.  Last time out, however, Milwaukee lost by 25 at Valparaiso.  This evening, they'll face an Illinois-Chicago team that's 1-and-5 in the conference and 5-and-16 overall.  The Flames, who are coached by ex-Badgers' assistant Howard Moore, have lost five straight games after winning back-to-back contests.  Illinois-Chicago is 0-and-9 in true road games this season, and they've only beaten U-W-M twice in their last 14 match-ups.  Guard Jay Harris leads U-I-C with just over 14 points a game.  Milwaukee guard Akeem Springs has averaged almost 15 points in his last four home appearances.

-1/29-

The Wisconsin women will try to snap a three-game losing streak tonight, when it hosts Ohio State.  The Badgers are 3-and-6 in the Big Ten Conference and 7-and-12 overall.  They're coming off a six-point loss at Michigan State last Sunday which followed defeats to two teams in the Top-25, Nebraska and Rutgers.  Junior Nicole Bauman scored a career-high 23 points against Michigan State.  Ohio State comes into the Kohl Center with a 5-and-3 conference mark, and an overall record of 13-and-5.  The Buckeyes have won two straight, after beating Purdue by eight points in overtime last Sunday.  Kelsey Mitchell scored 37 points for Ohio State in that game, a record for women's play at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette.  Elsewhere tonight, the Green Bay women are at Valparaiso.  And the U-W Milwaukee women are at home against Illinois-Chicago.

-1/29-  

In Division-Two college basketball tonight, the U-W Parkside men-and-women are at home against Indianapolis. The Ranger women have won seven straight, with an overall mark of 14-and-4 and a Great Lakes Valley Conference record of 7-and-2.  The Parkside men ended a 12-game winning streak with a 23-point loss at Bellarmine last Saturday.  That dropped the Rangers to 8-and-1 in the league, and 16-and-2 overall.
In Division-Three men's play tonight, Lakeland hosts Rockford in the N-A-C-C. The Silver Lake men-and-women are at Maranatha Baptist of Watertown.  

-1/29-

On the P-G-A Tour, Pewaukee native Mark Wilson is part of the field for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  He'll tee off during the noon hour.  Shawn Stefani, Jamie Donaldson, and James Hahn had the early lead -- all at one-under-par.  

(End)

Minnesota News from MNN - 1/29/15

"Minnesota Summary"            1-29-15   

Fatal Crash Involving Snowplow

(Duluth, MN) --  A Brookston man is dead following a head-on crash with a snowplow in the Floodwood area. The Minnesota State Patrol says the wreck happened just before 10:00 last(wed) night. Investigators say pick-up driven by Winston Lahti was heading east on Highway Two when he swerved into the other lane and collided, head-on, with the MnDOT snowplow. The force of the crash sent the pickup truck rolling onto its side on the south shoulder, killing the 19 year-old. The plow driver, a Duluth woman, was injured, but not seriously.

Minnesota Man Sentenced In Fatal DWI Crash

(Hillsboro, ND) --  A Nielsville, Minnesota man has been sentenced to 15-years in prison and another ten years on probation for a drunk driving crash north of Hillsboro, North Dakota that killed two sisters.  51-year-old James Yahnke, pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide. He was driving his girlfriend's car when he lost control and crashed last May. 23-year-old Mercedes Rowley, of Sharon, North Dakota and her sister, 23-year-old Teja Beyer, of Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, were thrown from the car.  A Highway Patrol reconstruction team determined Yahnke was going 94 mph at the time of the crash.

Winona Man Already in Jail Faces 24 More Felony Charges

(Winona, MN)  --  Winona officials say a local man serving a nine month jail sentence, who has a history of domestic assault, is now facing two-dozen more felonies for calling the mother of his child from jail repeatedly.  Prosecutors say 35-year-old Eric Burfeind called the victim, who had taken out a restraining order, 87 times from the Winona County Jail  in December. The calls began the day he started serving a 9 month jail sentence as part of a plea bargain that included a domestic assault charge.  Since she answered the phone on 24 of the attempts he has been charged with 24 felony counts of knowingly violating a restraining order.  Burfeind has a lengthy history of domestic violence convictions.

Search For Missing Snowmobiler Concluded

(West Fargo, ND) --  The latest search has concluded for a missing snowmobiler on the Sheyenne River in West Fargo. Valley Water Rescue used specially trained dogs from Minneapolis, St.Cloud and Moorhead yesterday(wed) as they searched for the body of 34-year-old Cole Schwindt of Moorhead, who's been missing since December 2nd.  A series of holes were drilled through nearly 3-feet of ice over a three-quarter mile stretch of the river.  Divers had hoped the dogs would be able to pick up Schwindt's scent.

More IBM Layoffs Underway

(Rochester, MN)  --  More layoffs -- or, as the company calls them, "resource actions" -- are underway at I-B-M in Rochester and other locations around the globe.  Because company officials are tight lipped about the number of people they let go in a particular firing cycle and because employees that have been let go risk losing their severance packages if they speak publicly about it there is no firm number of those affected here in Minnesota.  Annonymous posts on a Communication Workers of America hosted blog called Alliance-at-I-B-M (Alliance@IBM) detail stories of now-former employees who have been with the company for decades -- some just months away from being eligible for retirement.  Many of them place the blame squarely on IBM's first female CEO, Virginia Rometty,, who took over as president in 2011.

Police Department Chief Promises Change

(Minneapolis, MN)  --  The head of the Minneapolis Police Department is promising change.  Chief Janee Harteau says she's embracing recommendations included in a U.S. Department of Justice report that indicates the department could do better policing its own officers.  The report was put together at Harteau's request.  The recommendations include increasing transparency of the citizen complaint process, strengthening the coaching many Minneapolis officers receive, and replacing the "early intervention system" that helps flag problem behavior by officers.

Rail Plan Hearing Tonight In St. Cloud

(St. Cloud, MN) --  The Minnesota Department of Transportation is holding a second round of public meetings to get feedback on the 2015 update of the Minnesota State Rail Plan. Tonight's hearing is at the St. Cloud Public Library (5 to 7 p.m.).  The feedback will help guide future transportation decisions and create priorities for improving the rail system into the future.  Additional hearings are next week in St. Paul, Northfield and Duluth.

Tuition Freeze At University Of Northwestern

(St. Paul, MN)  --  University of Northwestern in St. Paul is freezing tuition next year.  Officials say it's effective for traditional undergraduate, adult undergraduate, graduate, online and early college students.  President Alan Cureton says in response to the continued demand for a Christ-centered campus experience, the university will stretch within its means to provide financial relief to students.

###
Redel/Weston

Wheeler News - Morning State News #4 - 1/29/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - Morning State News #4

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

Wisconsin is not the only state considering a ban on micro-beads in soaps, cosmetics, and toothpaste.  A House committee in Indiana endorsed its own proposed ban yesterday.  New York and Illinois have bans in place, and Wisconsin is among several states considering them.  Micro-beads are key exfoliating ingredients -- but scientists recently learned that the often-invisible beads have been flowing from sewage plants into the Great Lakes among other places.  Experts say micro-beads now make up 20-percent of all pollution from plastics in the Great Lakes.  Assembly Republican Mary Czaja (chy'-uh) of Irma and Senate Republican Rob Cowles (coles) of Green Bay announced the Wisconsin proposal last month.  Their bill would prohibit the manufacture of products with micro-beads after 2017.  The sale of those items would then be banned after 2018.  The chief sponsor of the Indiana ban, House Democrat Patrick Bauer of South Bend, said there's been little opposition to the proposals. He said it's because large manufacturers are substituting micro-beads with natural materials like sea-salt and ground-up fruit pits.  The Indiana ban would gradually phase out the sale of products with micro-beads from 2017-through-2019.

-1/29- 

A utility and two railroads have settled a lawsuit over contamination near Chequamegon (sheh-wah'-muh-gn) Bay in Ashland.  X-cel Energy said the Soo Line and Wisconsin Central railroads have agreed to pay the utility 10-and-a-half million dollars to help clean up pollution.  It was partially caused by a former gas plant that operated along the bay from the late 1800's through the 1940's.  The Soo Line owned the property and ran a railroad corridor until 1987, when the Wisconsin Central took ownership.  X-cel said the settlement covers only a part of the total clean-up costs, which are estimated at 100-million dollars.  The Ashland Daily Press said the city is also a defendant in the lawsuit. Ashland City Administrator Pete Mann said officials have been involved in settlement talks with X-cel Energy for about the past year.

-1/29-

A man and a woman have been arrested just south of the Wisconsin-Illinois border, for allegedly abducting their children from Las Vegas nine years ago. Authorities said 40-year-old Maria Malagon-Castillo and 39-year-old Manuel Ruiz-Garcia did not have legal custody of the children at the time.  Officials said the two fled Nevada to avoid an investigation into the mother's alleged use of illegal meth-amphetamines during a pregnancy.  Lake County sheriff's deputies in Illinois said they spotted a suspicious car among semis parked at a truck stop near the Wisconsin border on Tuesday.  Officers then learned that both were warranted on warrants from Las Vegas.  Nevada officials ordered the couple to surrender their two children to the state.  Instead, they allegedly took off.  The youngsters were reported missing, until they were found this week at a mobile home in the Kenosha County village of Pleasant Prairie.  They're now 9 and 14 years old.  Malagon-Castillo and Ruiz-Garcia are being held without bond in the Lake County Jail, while they await extradition back to Nevada.

(End)

Wheeler News - Morning State News #3 - 1/29/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - Morning State News #3

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

State Democrats who represent Milwaukee's inner city said it would have been nice if suburban Republicans consulted with them, before unveiling a plan to fight poverty in the Democrats' back yard.  Brookfield Representative Dale Kooyenga and River Hills Senator Alberta Darling announced a package yesterday to grant tax breaks and state law exemptions in newly-created urban zones.  Businesses would not have to pay corporate taxes there -- employers could not force workers to pay union dues -- struggling public schools could become independent charter schools -- and contractors would get incentives to help those just released from prison avoid re-offending.  The school and union proposals are mini-versions of controversial measures proposed for statewide consumption.  G-O-P Governor Scott Walker says he needs to review the package before passing judgment.  Kooyenga said people are really hurting in Milwaukee's inner city, and the proposals seek to try new approaches.  Senate Democrat Nikiya (nih-kee'-uh) Harris Dodd, who represents the area, said it's also "hurtful" for G-O-P suburbanites to tell Milwaukee what it needs without talking to Milwaukee legislators.  Harris Dodd said she never heard of the Republican package until after Kooyenga and Darling made it public. 

-1/29-

A provider of student housing near two smaller U-W campuses is about to break ground for a third complex -- even though both existing ones have problems and delays.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Bluffstone of Bettendorf Iowa still has building code issues to address at its apartment complexes near the two-year schools at Marshfield and Baraboo.  Both opened in October, later than planned.  The Journal Sentinel said the siding and heat system at Baraboo still needs to be finished.  At Marshfield, rooms at each end of a modular building are reportedly closed off because they're too far from fire exits.  Construction liens filed in Wood County Circuit Court total around 300-thousand dollars.  Electrical sub-contractor John Nikolai (nick-o-lie) of Marshfield told state lawmakers that Bluffstone still owes builders 630-thousand dollars between the two projects.  The company is about to start work on a third complex at the U-W's two-year school in Fond du Lac. Colleges' vice-chancellor Steve Wildeck told the Journal Sentinel that the contracts for the Fond du Lac project appeared to be set before the issues at Marshfield cropped up.  He said the school's dean and the Fond du Lac County executive are "watching like hawks" to make sure everything's finished on time. A Bluffstone official told the Fond du Lac Reporter that Marshfield's problems were due to an out-of-state contractor who didn't know the Wisconsin codes. 

-1/29-

The Berlin School District in east central Wisconsin will keep its Indian mascot and nickname.  The School Board voted this week to calling its teams the Berlin Indians, after 92-percent of 13-hundred people in a community survey favored keeping the moniker. One resident said the name honors a tribe that no longer exists.  An opponent said the mascot exploits Native American culture, and teaches kids that it's okay to stereotype.  Berlin's debate began in 2011, when a graduate complained about the nickname to the state Department of Public Instruction under a complaint system that Democrats created in '09. Republicans virtually gutted that system in 2013, two years after the G-O-P took control of state government.

-1/29-

A Milwaukee police sergeant faces possible discipline, after he accidentally fired a patrol rifle in his police station.  It happened just before five yesterday afternoon, in an area of the First District station that's not open to the public. Lieutenant Mark Stanmeyer did not name the sergeant involved.  He said the officer was inspecting the rifle when it went off.  Stanmeyer said the sergeant is under an internal investigation -- and he could be ordered to be re-trained, and face discipline under the Milwaukee Police Code-of-Conduct.

(End)

Wheeler News - Morning State News #2 - 1/29/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - Morning State News #2

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Winning lottery numbers:
Powerball:  12-24-35-36-49, Powerball 1, Power Play 5
Megabucks:  8-17-30-38-42-49
Five-Card Cash:  J-clubs, A-spades, 7-clubs, 7-spades, J-diamonds
Supercash:  9-12-14-21-25-33 - No Doubler
Pick-3:  9-1-5
Pick-4:  1-5-1-7
Badger-5:  7-10-11-21-23

Here are the details:

University of Wisconsin President Ray Cross has put a moratorium on non-essential hiring, promotions, pay raises, and out-of-state travel.  That's in response to Governor Scott Walker's budget proposal to slash state funding for the U-W by 300-million dollars over the next two years.  In a memo issued yesterday, Cross said that only he and senior vice president David Miller could approve exceptions to the moratoriums -- and they'll stay in effect until further notice.  Walker proposed the budget cut as a condition of giving the university its long-desired autonomy -- including its own authority to set tuition after 2017, and have its own personnel and procurement rules.  During a series of appearances and interviews yesterday, the Republican Walker compared his proposal to the Act-10 bargaining limits for public unions.  He said many school districts cried about possible layoffs, just like U-W officials are doing now -- but he said Act-10 also gave schools the flexibility to save billions of dollars while improving their test scores.  Walker said the university could do the same thing, by going away from its long-held shared governance between administrators and faculty.  Chancellors are vowing to keep that concept.  One of Walker's suggestions is to have faculty teach one more course per semester.  He said it would make the U-W more affordable and still maintain high academic quality.

-1/29-

Fish experts will look for other ways to limit the walleye harvest for sport anglers in northern Wisconsin, besides the unpopular cuts in daily bag limits. Each year, the D-N-R reduces daily bag limits on dozens of lakes where Chippewa Indians exercise their centuries-old treaty rights to spear fish off their reservations before the sport season begins.  For the second year in a row, the state Natural Resources Board approved a "scope statement" yesterday in which the D-N-R could eventually consider size limits or season-wide restrictions on walleye.  Sectional fisheries' management chief Steve Hewett says the D-N-R has gained enough information over 20 years of monitoring to develop better rules for certain lakes -- with the goal of creating something that's more acceptable to the public than reducing daily sport limits to one-or-two walleye. By using other criteria, Hewett says it's possible to develop a solution that would let anglers have higher bag limits on a regular basis.  A year ago, the state passed an emergency rule in which the D-N-R could raise bag limits on some lakes from one-to-two per day.

(Thanks Natalie Jablonski, WXPR, Rhinelander)

-1/29-

Governor Scott Walker says he wants to see if his message is connecting with voters throughout the nation, before he decides whether to run for president. The Republican Walker told reporters in Racine yesterday he'll visit some important G-O-P primary states soon -- including Nevada, South Carolina, and Florida.  Walker spoke to conservatives last weekend in Iowa, where the nation's first caucuses are set for next January. The governor also plans to visit New Hampshire in March, the site of the nation's first primaries.  His trips to other major primary states have not been set yet. Yesterday, Oklahoma Republicans said Walker will speak there in May, at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.

-1/29-

A federal judge in Madison yesterday froze the assets of an insurance agent from Watertown who's accused of running a 10-million dollar Ponzi scheme. Judge James Peterson approved a request by the U-S Securities-and-Exchange Commission to stop Loren Holzhueter (holes-eat-er) and his I-S-C insurance firm from taking or giving money to investors.  His attorney said the order will allow I-S-C to stay in business, which is important because he's working on a plan to pay back everyone affected.  Prosecutors said over 120 investors were falsely told that the money they provided was placed in investment vehicles like mutual funds and I-R-A's.  Instead, the S-E-C said the money was thrown in with other revenues from I-S-C.  The defense lawyer claims that the money was loaned, not invested, and therefore the 69-year-old Holzheuter did not commit wrongdoing. Yesterday's order still gives the defendant money for personal living expenses -- and Social Security and Medicare benefits cannot be frozen. Holzhueter and I-S-C face five federal securities' fraud charges.

(End)

Minnesota News from MNN - 1/29/15

"Minnesota Summary"  1-29-15

More than 2,500 U of M Students Exposed to Measles After Student Becomes Ill

(Minneapolis, MN)  --  A 20-year-old male student at University of Minnesota has tested positive for measles and an infectious disease expert at the U of M says outbreaks of the virus are becoming more common in the U-S.  Dr. Mark Schleiss (SH-lice) says immunizations could have prevented or slowed the recent spread of cases that began at Disneyland in California, because the majority of the cases were in unvaccinated people.  That outbreak has now spread to 11 states and Mexico.  Officials with the Minnesota Department of Health do not believe the U of M case is connected to that outbreak and haven't said whether the student had been vaccinated.  Dr.Schleiss says the recommended two-dose series of measles vaccinations in children offers 99 percent protection.

Before being diagnosed, the student attended class from January 20th to the 23rd on the East Bank, and visited the University Recreation and Wellness Center on January 20th.  He's said to be recovering in "self-isolation off campus."

Trial Of Alleged Cop Killer Continues After Tense Testimony Wednesday

(St. Cloud, MN)  --  Testimony continues in Saint Cloud today (Thurs) in the trial of Brian Fitch, accused of murdering Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick.  There were tense moments in court Wednesday afternoon when Claude Crockson, who briefly shared a cell at Oak Park Heights with Fitch in December, testified that the defendant asked him to kill two key witnesses, including Fitch's ex-girlfriend Taya Moran.  A copy of a map that Fitch allegedly drew showing the way to Moran's apartment was shown in court.  The judge says she expects the case to go to the jury on Monday.

New Hope Police Chief Concerned for Witnesses to City Hall Shooting

(New Hope, MN)  --  New Hope Police Chief Tim Fournier says he's proud of the officers that were involved in the shooting that unfolded at city hall Monday night.  Raymond Kmetz (kuh-METS') was taken down by officers after shooting and wounding New Hope Officers Beau Schoenhard (show-EN-hart) and Joshua Eernisse (er'-NISS'ee), and Fournier says the officers involved were acting upon their training -- they took down the threat, they protected the environment, and secured the building. 
Schoenhard (show-EN-hart) and Eernisse (er'-NISS'ee) are now recovering at home.  The officers who killed Kmetz are not yet being named.  Fournier says he's also concerned for the witnesses to the shooting, because it's something the citizens and the people that were at the council meeting, "Would never, ever expect to experience." The investigation is not yet complete.

Southwest High School To Reopen Today

(Minneapolis, MN)  --  Classes are back in session today at Southwest High School in Minneapolis.  The school was shut down late Tuesday because of a bomb threat.  Police did a walk-through Wednesday morning and no hazardous materials were found. 

>>Protesters Demand Tough Penalties For Man Accused Of Torturing Dog
**MEDIA REFERENCE**
**NOTE QUOTED CONTENT**

(Elk River, MN)  --  Dozens of protesters were outside the Sherburne County Courthouse in Elk River Wednesday, demanding harsh penalities for a man who videotaped himself smiling as he tortured and then killed his girlfriend's dog.  The Star Tribune reports one protester shouted  in court "there's a special place in hell for you" after 25-year-old Anthony Salter made a brief appearance when the judge set his next hearing for March 5th.  Salter has been jailed on probation-violation charges.  He faces a felony count of animal mistreatment and misdemeanor drug charges.

RyKrisp Closing Minneapolis Factory

(Minneapolis, MN)  --  The end is near for RyKrisp.  ConAgra Foods has notified employees that the Minneapolis plant will close in mid-March because of low demand for the cracker.  RyKrisp was founded in the Twin Cities more than a century ago.  Employees will be allowed to apply for other positions within ConAgra. 

Bill To Ban On-Line Lottery Ticket Sales Clears House Committee

(St. Paul, MN)  --  A committee in the Republican-controlled Minnesota House Wednesday afternoon passed a bill that would ban the State Lottery from doing on-line ticket sales.  The vote came over objections of Minnesota Lottery Director Ed Van Petten, who calls on-line sales a "fantastic marketing tool."  Opponents warn on-line lottery ticket sales will choke off business at retail establishments  But Van Petten says research shows the opposite is true.

Task Force Wants More Foreign-Trained Doctors Practicing In Minnesota

(St. Paul, MN)  --  A special task force is recommending state lawmakers ease licensing regulations so more foreign-trained physicians can get back into practice.  Mark Schoenbaum with the Minnesota Department of Health says many immigrant physicians face significant barriers such as securing a medical residency, which is a necessary licensing step.  He says in Minnesota there are 250 to 400 foreign-trained physicians, many educated as primary care providers.  He says this group could bring a wealth of expertise, including fluency in multiple languages.  Schoenbaum says one study suggests Minnesota could save over 63-million dollars by tapping foreign-trained physicians to address shortages in under-served areas of the state. 

Women's Economic Security Summit Today In St. Paul

(St. Paul, MN)  --  Governor Mark Dayton gives opening remarks at the Women's Economic Security Summit this morning (Thurs) in Saint Paul.  Deb Fitzpatrick with the U-of-M's Humphrey School says the governor's proposal to expand child care tax credits and provide state funding to shorten the child care waiting list is a "significant step forward."  Fitzpatrick says there should be a change in the way people think about child care, "as a critically important investment that we ought to automatically make in our state."  The governor outlined his state budget plan on Tuesday.  The legislature is starting to hold hearings on it  and other proposals with the goal of passing a new state budget this spring.

Wanted Man Found in a Tree in Crow Wing County

(Brainerd, MN)  --  A Minnesota man wanted for violating the state law that governs sex offenders was unceremoniously dumped from a tree before he was taken to jail.  Crow Wing Sheriff's officials say they got a tip that the 54-year-old Brainerd man they've been looking for had been dropped off at a home, and deputies sent to take him in found footprints leading into the woods.  When a police dog tracked him down the man was 15 feet above the ground in a tree and refused to come down.  That refusal soon became moot when the tree branch he was on broke and the man fell to the ground.  He was taken to the hospital to be treated and has not yet been booked into jail but deputies says he could also be facing an assault charge for spitting on an officer at the hospital.

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