WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Fresh snow for Christmas throughout Wisconsin
Most of Wisconsin has received a fresh blanket of snow, making for an even whiter Christmas than it already was.
One-and-a-half to four inches of new snow fell last night and early today in the northern two-thirds of the state. It was still coming down at 5 a.m., but it was expected to leave soon after. The final winter weather advisory expired at five in the Green Bay region. Temperatures warmed up on Christmas Eve, and many places remained in the teens overnight. No place in Wisconsin reported below-zero readings. Meanwhile, another low pressure system is expected to arrive in Wisconsin around mid-afternoon today. Up to one-and-a-half inches are possible through Christmas Night. South central areas could get the most. A brief warm-up is expected through the end of the week. By Saturday, highs could be above freezing in the south. Arctic air could return early next week.
You'll hear a lot about cutting taxes as we head into 2014, a key election year for Wisconsin politicians. The current state legislative session will end in April -- and state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) says there won't be a lot of time to make some of the most sweeping changes that are being talked about. He says any tax cut would depend on how state tax collections are going -- and we'll get an update about that in mid-January. Governor Scott Walker has floated the idea about dumping the income tax, and perhaps increasing the sales tax. It appears to have a lukewarm reception. Vos said it would a difficult change to make in such a short time. He says he's more interested in a proposal for a sales tax holiday for buying back-to-school items late in the summer.
A fugitive wanted for sex offenses in Arizona was arrested in southern Wisconsin on Christmas Eve. U.S. Marshals took 57-year-old Mark Neuman into custody in Sauk County. Federal warrants were issued for him in September in Prescott, Arizona. Authorities said Neuman tried to have sex with a 10-year-old girl after showing her pornographic photos and making explicit comments. Also, officials said he showed porn to an 11-year-old boy. Neuman was released from custody before a grand jury indicted him. He was tracked to Wisconsin, and officers said he had methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia when they arrested him.
A 40-year-old effort to diversify public schools in Milwaukee and its suburbs is fading away. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says there are mixed feelings about the decline of Chapter 220, which transports youngsters of various races and ethnic backgrounds to schools throughout the Milwaukee area. Today, schools with available space find it better financially to use the state's "open enrollment" public school choice program to attract students from outside their districts. Observers also note that Milwaukee's suburban population is getting more diverse. And hundreds of parents who want to use Chapter 220 are turned away as funding for the program diminishes. Milwaukee lawyer and former state Commerce Secretary Cory Nettles says quote, "part of what's happening is a re-assessment of the value of integration." Still, Milwaukee School Board President Michael Bonds says the loss of Chapter 220 would be a step back for the area. He said the open enrollment program -- which does not have a racial component -- has undermined Chapter 220 and its specific goals for school integration.
Starting this spring, children of prisoners can get financial help to better themselves by going to college. UW-Milwaukee will offer one-thousand-dollar scholarships to the youngsters of parents who are incarcerated or are under extended supervision. The program was launched by Stan Stojkovic, the dean of UWM's Helen Bader School of Social Welfare. He agrees that a-thousand dollars is not a big grant -- but it can be a life-changer for those whose parents are away in the criminal justice system. Stojkovic put five-thousand dollars of his own money into the scholarships. The Creative Corrections Education Foundation of Texas has also given five-thousand. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele donated the same amount. Inmates at the Milwaukee County House of Correction have also chipped in, pledging or donating 900-dollars. Former prison warden Percy Pitzer, who oversees the Creative Corrections firm, came up with the idea. Pitzer, a native of Boscobel, was the warden at the federal prison near Oxford in the 1990's. He said he's been so many prison visiting rooms that quote, "You could almost pick out who had the potential of being the next client." He said that if his effort could keep one person out of prison, he said it would be an accomplishment.
Target now says that customers' encrypted personal identification numbers were stolen, when hackers gained access to 40-million credit-and-debit cards. A spokeswoman said some encrypted data was stolen -- but she's not saying if it included "pin" numbers. According to a senior payment executive, a major bank fears that thieves will use the data to make fraudulent withdrawals from customers' bank accounts. It's all part of the fallout from the second-largest data breach in American history. The U.S. Justice Department and the Secret Service are helping Target investigate.