WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Hudson student to go on trial for threats
HUDSON - A 19-year-old Hudson High School student is scheduled to go on trial July 21st for allegedly threatening school staff members who sought restraining orders against him and his mother.
Evan Groehler is charged in Saint Croix County with four misdemeanors -- making phone and computer threats, harassment, and disorderly conduct. The Groehlers have contended that Evan was bullied and harassed after he blew the whistle on alleged misconduct by members of the Hudson High boys' swim team. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram said the allegations included hazing, racial slurs, and alcohol use by the athletes -- and while most claims were unfounded, several swimmers were disciplined. When a picture of the swim team appeared on Facebook with Evan's face blacked out, court records said he responded that "I am out for blood ... If you or anyone else gets in my way, I'll come for you ... I've put up with enough." The newspaper said the Groehlers repeatedly had contact with school officials, despite desist orders -- and extra security was in place at times. School officials also said several families feared for the safety of their kids because of what was described as the Groehlers' "hostile, threatening, and disrespectful" communications.
Six new religious schools in eastern Wisconsin will be added to the state's private school voucher program this fall. The state Department of Public Instruction said today that the schools are in Appleton, Bonduel, Neenah, Menasha, Sheboygan, and Fond du Lac. The DPI also said that over 3,400 youngsters applied to receive tax-funded vouchers to be in the private school choice program. That's almost three and a half times the enrollment cap for this fall of a thousand youngsters outside Milwaukee and Racine -- the only places where the choice program was established before last fall. A limited expansion of the vouchers was approved in the current state budget. Supporters said it would help youngsters get out of poor-performing public schools and get a better education for themselves. However, 80-percent of the 500 students in this year's choice expansion were already in private schools. It cost just over three-million dollars to expand the voucher program this past year. That figure is expected to grow to around seven-point-three million in the next school year.
Four foundry employees were still hospitalized at mid-day, after they were hurt during a machine failure in Saukville. Police said three other victims were sent home after their hospital treatments. There was no immediate word on the conditions of those still hospitalized. Two were flown to a burn center, while two others went there by ambulance. The incident happened late yesterday afternoon at the Johnson Brass and Machine Factory in Saukville. Authorities said they were on a platform that collapsed -- and molten brass was sprayed from a failed piece of equipment. It triggered a small fire that was put out by foundry employees.
Waukesha officials are making a lobbying trip to Washington this week, to push for $50-million federal dollars to help the city tap into Lake Michigan for its drinking water. Waukesha is under a state order to remove radium from its water by 2018. The chemical is generated by inland wells which have been running low. The city still needs to get approval from all eight Great Lakes states to tap into Lake Michigan, because Waukesha falls just outside the lakes' natural basin. City officials hope the federal government would pick up a quarter of the cost of building pipes and pumping stations to get Lake Michigan water to Waukesha, and sending clean, treated wastewater back to the big lake. If the diversion request is approved, Oak Creek has agreed to supply water to Waukesha through its existing system.
Questions are still being raised about the death of an eastern Wisconsin soldier, even after she was buried in her home town yesterday. The Army continues to investigate the death of 33-year-old Sergeant Heidi Ruh from Kiel. Her family was told that she was shot to death at her base in Kosovo on May ninth. The Army has said there's no evidence of hostile gunfire, but investigators have not ruled out foul play. A funeral service was held late yesterday at a church in Kiel. She was in the military since 2003 as a bio-medical equipment specialist. Ruh most recently lived in the Chicago suburb of Barrington before her latest assignment.
A new museum exhibit in Milwaukee features the dressing of Muslim women from southeast Wisconsin. The exhibit is called "Beyond the Veil," and it's at the Milwaukee Public Museum through September first. It features 30 traditional female Muslim outfits -- plus numerous items of jewelry and table sets from different generations. The exhibit demonstrates the significance of cultural clothing, with the goal of getting people to see beyond cultural stereotypes. The display is jointly presented by the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Muslim Women's Research and Resource Institute.
A state appeals court said Milwaukee County did nothing wrong when it fired a deputy airport director for viewing pornography, and setting up dates on his work computer. Kenneth Kraemer was arrested in 2007, but was never criminally charged. Authorities suspected that he physically and sexually abused a minor, and had child porn on his computer. The county, which owns Mitchell International Airport, suspended Kraemer during its investigation. After seeing porn and other questionable materials, his boss gave him a chance to quit before he could be fired. Kraemer did resign, but he filed a discrimination complaint with the state which alleged that he should not have been let go based on his arrest record. Today, the First District Appellate Court in Milwaukee said the materials on Kraemer's work computer clearly violate the county's technology policy -- and he would have been fired had the county checked out his machine, regardless of whether or not he was arrested.
As the Menominee Indians await a decision on their proposed Kenosha casino, the tribe will renovate the gaming hall that's on its reservation. The tribe broke ground yesterday for an eight-million dollar renovation. Table games and the poker area will be centralized. Older slot machines will be replaced, and the casino's bar and lounge will get bigger. Also, the casino will try to be more attractive to non-smokers by more efficiently removing tobacco odors. The Menominee expect the renovation to be finished by this fall. In the meantime, Governor Scott Walker now has until February to decide whether the tribe should get the okay to build its proposed off-reservation casino at Kenosha's former Dairyland Greyhound Park.
A Waukesha native is among 25 men trying to win the heart of ABC's latest "Bachelorette" this summer. He's Nick Viall, who made the initial cut after last night's series opener. The 33-year-old Viall won a state high school track title at Waukesha, and was a stand-out middle distance runner at U-W Milwaukee. He now lives in Chicago, where he's an executive for SalesForce-Dot-Com. You might have heard of one of Viall's sisters, too. Maria Viall starred on the UWM women's basketball team -- and she was inducted just last year into the school's athletic Hall-of-Fame. Her brother Nick is trying to earn the right to court Andi Dorfman, this summer's Bachelorette. Sturgeon Bay physician Jason Leep did not make the cut. He was sent home on last night's show.