Morning State News Briefs: Two of the 12 killed in the Colorado shootings had Wisconsin connectionsWisconsin News
-- President Obama offered the nation’s sympathy last night to survivors and the relatives of those killed in Friday’s movie theater shooting rampage in Aurora, Colorado.
AURORA, Co. - President Obama offered the nation’s sympathy last night to survivors and the relatives of those killed in Friday’s movie theater shooting rampage in Aurora, Colorado.
UW-Whitewater graduate John Larimer was among the 12 people murdered – along with 23-year-old Macayla Melek, who has relatives in Milwaukee. Among the 58 wounded was Carey Rottman of Mequon. The 27-year-old Rottman told his father he saw James Holmes throw a smoke grenade during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” When Holmes started shooting, Rottman said he ran out as quickly as he could. In the parking lot, four young people pulled him to a grassy area and used a belt for a truncate – and one of them waved down a policeman. Rottman’s father Dale said his son had surgery later on Friday, and he’s expected to fully recover. Larimer graduated from UW-Whitewater in 2008 with a double major in history and political science. He grew up in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake. ABC News said Larimer was shot while protecting his girlfriend from gunfire. He was among a group of sailors watching the movie. He was a Navy cryptologist at Buckley Air Force Base.
They say birds-of-a-feather stick together. And that’s definitely true for several types of aircraft flying into the EAA’s Air-Venture Show in Oshkosh. One-hundred-16 Bonanza planes arrived in a single group during the weekend – and they all landed within 14 minutes of each other. Fifty Cessnas entered the grounds together – as did 75 Piper Cubs and 35 Mooney aircraft. Pilots mention a special camaraderie within their groups – and it keeps them coming back to Oshkosh each-and-every year. More than 10-thousand planes and a half-million spectators are expected at the EAA, which begins today at runs through next Sunday.
Wisconsin lawmakers generally agree that technical college students can use more financial aid. But some wonder if the state can afford a nearly 100-percent increase sought by the board of Wisconsin’s 16 tech schools. The Board has asked for an additional 34-million dollars in Higher Education Grants for job-based training in next year’s two-year state budget. That’s on top of the nearly 38-million dollars funded in the current budget. Oshkosh Democrat Jessica King, who chairs the Senate’s Job Training panel, says more people are beginning to realize there’s a gap between what employers need and the numbers of workers trained to meet those needs. King said the tech schools need to be a priority in the next budget. But a spokesman for GOP State Assembly Colleges Committee chair Steve Nass of Whitewater says the money might not be available. Mike Mikalsen says schools should focus on specific local job demands, instead of just funneling more students to the classroom. Last year, Governor Scott Walker rejected an extra 23-million dollars in financial aid for tech colleges. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie says the new request will be considered as part of an overall review of next year’s available funding and needs. For now, he said the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation has created grant money that’s tied to specific jobs. The foundation recently gave almost four-million dollars to five technical colleges.
Wisconsin companies that are cited for causing deaths in the workplace paid average fines of just $4,200 during the first decade of the new century. Gannett's Wisconsin Newspapers checked the Occupational Safety-and-Health Administration's reviews of 184 workplace death cases in the Badger State from 2000-through-2010. They found that two-thirds of OSHA's initial penalties are reduced by employer settlements. OSHA's Rhonda Burke said her agency seeks to educate employers about better job safety, instead of just punishing the violators. But starting in 2010, the biggest violators have been put onto a list in which OSHA makes more follow-up inspections. Almost 275 companies are on that list, including six in Wisconsin -- Cooperative Plus of Burlington, North Central Power Company of Radisson, Northeastern Wisconsin Wood Products of Pound, W-R-R Environmental of Eau Claire, Lewis Construction of Chippewa Falls, and United Contracting of Forest Junction.