Afternoon State News Briefs: UW doctors fined for phony sick noticesWisconsin News
-- Nearly two dozen doctors have been disciplined for giving sick notes to demonstrators at last year’s labor protests. About half of them were fined.
MADISON - Nearly two dozen doctors have been disciplined for giving sick notes to demonstrators at last year’s labor protests. About half of them were fined.
The demonstrators were mostly teachers who took sick time to join thousands as they protested at the state Capitol. In some cases, doctors in senior positions at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health were ordered to surrender their positions for up to four months for approving the bogus sick notes.
Members of the Milwaukee Common Council say they think more transparency will give the public more faith in an investigation of the police department. Seven officers and one sergeant are being investigated on allegations of making illegal body cavity searchers. The aldermen are asking that Milwaukee police, and the Fire and Police Commission, release the findings of their investigation with 30 days of completion. The Common Council will review the proposed resolution calling for more transparency at its next meeting.
The Marinette County Sheriff’s Office has called in state officials to help in the search for Brianna Lujan. The 10 year old girl from Amberg has been missing for almost two weeks. Investigators think the girl might be in the custody of Arlie Yarbrough and she might be going by the alias of Brianna Yarbrough. A felony warrant was issued for Arlie Yarbrough last week. Authorities say the two could be traveling in a 1993 Ford Explorer with Wisconsin license plates 737-TNZ. If you have information, officials want you to call the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office at 715-732-7600.
Governor Scott Walker said early this afternoon that he privately signed just over four dozen bills into law yesterday – including some controversial bills that Democrats called a “war on women.” They include the requirement that school sex education classes go back to teaching abstinence as the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The Republican Walker also signed bills that no longer let employment discrimination victims sue for punitive damages in state courts – prohibit insurance plans from covering some abortions under the federal health reform law – and require doctors to prescribe abortion-inducing medicines face-to-face, and not on a Web camera. Democrats said all those measures would hurt women and their health. Madison Assembly Democrats Kelda Helen Roys and Mark Pocan – who are both running for Congress this fall – slammed Walker for not holding a public ceremony to sign the bills. Roys accused Walker of trying to hide his actions by signing the bills in secret just before a holiday weekend when he thought nobody would notice. Among the other bills Walker signed will prevent the private voucher program from starting in other parts of the state beside Milwaukee County and Racine. And Walker agreed to force lawmakers to disclose who sponsors pet projects that are introduced in last-minute state budget amendments.
A group that searches for ship-wrecks has found what it believes to be a 19th-century vessel that sank in Lake Michigan 138 years ago. The Michigan Shipwreck Research Association said today that it located the boat in about 350-feet water off the coast of Grand Haven Michigan. And they believe it to be the Saint Peter, a 90-foot two-masted schooner. It was delivering wheat from Chicago to Buffalo when it went down in 1874 about 35 miles east of the Milwaukee shore. All crew members on the boat survived. The research group said it located the vessel during a dive last fall – but it was not mentioned publicly until today. The group plans to discuss its explorations during a program on April 21st in Holland Michigan.
Milwaukee Police were still looking this afternoon for a missing 58-year-old man who has a severe cognitive disability. Isaac Bester was last seen around 10 yesterday morning at the Community Support and Target Case Management building on Milwaukee’s northwest side. He’s described as a 5-foot-7 African-American man with a shaved head.
Wisconsin gas prices are still teetering near the four-dollar mark heading into the Easter weekend. The Triple-“A” said the average price of unleaded regular was $3.96-a-gallon around the state today. That’s just over a penny less than yesterday, and it’s three-cents lower than a week ago. Prices for mid-grade and premium fuel are well above four dollars. And it’s no secret that folks are driving less. The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group says college students in particular are tossing aside their car keys, and turning more to public transit. Chuck Kamp of the Madison Metro bus system said a new smart-phone app makes it easier for students to plan bus routes – and to check GPS coordinates to see how long they’ll have to wait at the bus stops. Madison Metro had a record 14-point-nine million riders last year, and other Wisconsin transit systems have also seen growth in their ridership.
An ethanol plant near Jefferson has agreed to pay 17-thousand dollars to settle a state air pollution lawsuit. State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced the settlement this morning which involved Valero Renewable Fuels. He said the plant exceeded air pollution limits from February through June of 2010, after Valero had acquired the operation from the bankrupt firm of Renew Energy. Van Hollen said Valero had inherited a plant with major compliance problems and air emission violations.
About 130 Wisconsin National Guard soldiers are spending the Easter weekend with their families, before they take off for Afghanistan. Members of the 1157th Transportation Company, based in Oshkosh, have been training at Camp Shelby in Mississippi since mid-February. Commander Chris Menden said the training ended last Sunday – and the troops are on a week’s leave with their families before returning on Monday for final medical evaluations. The group will spend nine months in Afghanistan providing security for convoys. It’s the unit’s fifth mission since 1990, and the first in about six years. While at Camp Shelby, the group received a surprise visit from former Packers’ quarterback Brett Favre and his wife Deanna, who live close by at Hattiesburg, Mississippi. They signed autographs and posed for pictures with the soldiers.