Afternoon State News Briefs: UW Board Regents approve tuition hikeWisconsin News
-- “If I were king for a day, we wouldn’t have any tuition.” That’s what UW System President Kevin Reilly said today, just before the Board of Regents voted to raise tuition by five-and-a-half percent this fall for the sixth year in a row.
MADISON - “If I were king for a day, we wouldn’t have any tuition.” That’s what UW System President Kevin Reilly said today, just before the Board of Regents voted to raise tuition by five-and-a-half percent this fall for the sixth year in a row.
Despite his desires, Reilly said he had no choice but to recommend the maximum tuition hike allowed by state law. He said it would partially make up for losses in state aid to the university. Regent Charles Pruitt said the tuition hike was better than further spending cuts, which he said could have led to larger class sizes and more students needing an extra year to graduate. Milwaukee Chancellor Mike Lovell said his students were having trouble graduating on time anyway. But UW President Reilly said he had a plan to try and fix that. He said he asked chancellors to create over 660 schedules for majors-and-minors guaranteed to take four years to complete. He said it would save students $15,000.
The tuition hike will put the flagship Madison campus in about the middle of the pack among schools in the Big Ten Conference – but critics said that doesn’t reflect that fact that Wisconsin is last in financial aid. Milwaukee Regent John Drew cast the only vote against the increase, citing a lack of increases in personal incomes throughout Wisconsin. Wausau Regent Gerald Whitburn suggested a lower tuition boost of four-percent, but the panel voted it down 15-3.
A fourth person will soon be convicted of federal charges in the defrauding of the tax-funded Wisconsin Shares child care program for the working poor. 44-year-old Telisa Hopgood of Milwaukee struck a plea deal which averts a trial scheduled to start on Monday. Hopgood will plead guilty next week to a single reduced charge of fraudulently getting less than a-thousand dollars in federal money. Prosecutors said she claimed excessive government reimbursements from Wisconsin Shares, by falsely claiming that Latasha Jackson’s kids attended the child care center that Hopgood ran. Jackson – who got over three-million dollars from Wisconsin Shares – pleaded guilty earlier to federal charges. Duane and Shontina Gladney also helped operate Hopgood’s facility, and they pleaded guilty as well. Jackson will be sentenced in August, and the Gladneys will be sentenced in September. Several other child care operators throughout Wisconsin have been convicted on state charges. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel won a Pulitzer Prize by reporting on millions of dollars that were bilked from Wisconsin Shares, while government workers looked the other way. It led politicians to approve a crackdown a couple years ago.
A Madison man failed today to win a chance at freedom, after a state appeals court upheld his murder conviction. 39-year-old James Bohanan was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for a supervised release, for shooting 26-year-old Kevin Cobbins to death in 2007. Bohanan failed to convince the Fourth District Appellate Court that a Dane County judge made mistakes in the way he handled two matters involving testimony in his trial. Bohanan said the judge refused to allow testimony about Cobbins’ drug-dealing activities, which would have shown that the murder victim could have had other enemies. Bohanan also claimed that the judge violated his constitutional rights, by letting his ex-girlfriend’s boss testify that she missed work for a day because Bohanan was involved in a homicide. Prosecutors said the defendant committed the murder because Cobbins was dating a woman who used to date Bohanon.
He turned down nine months in jail. Now, a 17 year old De Pere man will have to serve the eight year sentence he was given after a jury found him guilty of second degree sexual assault. Loren Sero the Third had appealed his Brown County conviction, contending his attorney gave him ineffective counsel when he failed to convince Sero to take the plea offer. The District 3 Court of Appeals wrote nothing in the record suggests that attorney discouraged the defendant from taking the offer. Sero had sex with a 14 year old girl during a consensual relationship.
Prosecutors are saying the 16 year old boy accused of shooting a Campbellsport girl with an arrow should be charged as an adult. Aryanna Schneeburg was hit in the back May 21st while playing with friends. The seven year old girl had to go through a surgical procedure. The teenage suspect reportedly told police he and a friend were shooting at squirrels when one of the arrows they were shooting went astray.
The first lieutenant governor to ever face a recall election is giving credit to social media – and voters – for her victory Tuesday. Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch says she is especially grateful to new voters who went to the polls. She says retaining her office involved a grassroots appeal unlike anything she’s seen. She credits Twitter, Facebook, e-mail and other forms of new media for the victory. Kleefisch held off state firefighters union president Mahlon Mitchell in the balloting.
Candidates and special interest groups will have spent well over $125-million on 10 Wisconsin recall elections over the past year. And that does not include whatever was spent on this week’s lieutenant governor’s recall vote, plus contests in four state Senate districts. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said today that Governor Scott Walker’s recall challenge will cost $75-80-million dollars alone. And last year’s nine Senate recall contests cost an estimated $44-million in campaign ads.
Forty-six people were killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes last month – the lowest for May since World War Two in the mid-1940’s. The state DOT said today that last month’s traffic deaths were four fewer than the same month a year ago, and nine fewer than the average for the last five years. Six people lost their lives on Wisconsin roads during the Memorial Day Weekend, down from seven last year. But for the year as a whole, the state’s highway death toll is 14-percent higher than in the first five months of 2011. Two-hundred-three people were killed in state crashes from January-through-May, 25 more than the year before. State Patrol Major Sandra Huxtable says officials are trying to reduce fatal crashes with better roads, tighter law enforcement, and education. With summer being the deadliest time on state highways, Huxtable said quote, “We are striving to reverse this tragic trend.”