Afternoon State News Briefs: Milwaukee schools district asked to renegotiate contractsWisconsin News
-- Wisconsin’s largest school district has been asked to negotiate new contracts with three of its unions.
MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin’s largest school district has been asked to negotiate new contracts with three of its unions.
Milwaukee teachers are under a full contract until June of 2013. But substitute teachers, bookkeepers, accountants, and educational assistants had their contracts expire in June. And with the state’s bargaining limits at least temporarily suspended, the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association has asked for a one-year deal for the four other groups. The teachers also said they wanted to start negotiating again sometime this fall. A judge in Madison ruled a week ago that the state’s bargaining limits for local government and school employees were unconstitutional. And a court hearing is set for October fourth in which the state will ask that the law be reinstated while a full appeal of the judge’s ruling is considered. If that happens, the Milwaukee teachers union agrees that negotiations over everything but basic wages would have to be suspended. But the union says it has a strong belief that collective bargaining is quote, “the best way for labor and management to come to an agreement that reflects the needs of educators, students, and the community.” The school district said it would respond to the union’s bargaining requests soon.
A Green Bay man will go to prison for two and a half years for a stabbing during the 2011 Mifflin Street Block Party in Madison. Twenty-three year old Colin Rosenow apologized to his victim in Dane County Court today. Rosenow wept as he told Matthew Warnert he didn’t expect to be forgiven just because he said he was sorry. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections had recommendation probation for Rosenow, but the judge said he wasn’t sure he could live in a community when one person stabs another five times and isn’t punished properly. Rosenow was originally charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
Bonds of a-million-dollars each were set today for a pair of 13-year-old boys charged as adults with a prosecutor called the “callous” murder of a 78-year-old Sheboygan Falls woman. Antonio Barbeau and Nathan Paape are charged with first-degree intentional homicide. Police said Barbeau’s great-grandmother, Barbara Olson, was killed with a hatchet and a hammer on Monday. District Attorney Joe DeCecco said Paape’s mother dropped off the boys at Olson’s house – and they were ransacking it when Olson came home and caught them. The DA said the two boys then attacked her, and tried-but failed to drag her bloodied body to her car. DeCecco said the boys then put jewelry and other items in her vehicle and drove it to Sheboygan bowling center – and they left the keys in it, hoping that someone would steal it and then become implicated in Olson’s murder. The prosecutor then said the boys went to eat pizza – and then bought cleaning wipes to get their fingerprints off the victim’s car. DeCecco said the boys admitted going to the house with the intent to rob and kill Olson. He said he did not know why they wanted to kill Olson, and would not say why they planned to rob her. He said the “callousness” of the crime would quote, “shock and disturb the community.” The two boys are due back in court October second, when a judge will determine if there’s enough evidence to order trials.
For the second time, Winnebago County’s two top prosecutors have been turned down in their efforts to carry concealed weapons in their courthouse. The Second District Appeals Court in Waukesha ruled this morning that the circuit judges in Oshkosh have the authority to prohibit anyone they choose from carrying concealed weapons in their courtrooms. But District Attorney Christian Gossett and his deputy Scott Cernan say they work in a different building than the courts – and walking to-and-from each location puts them in danger, so they need to carry the hidden heat. And they say they have the right to do so, because they obtained the state permits required under the Wisconsin concealed carry law which took effect last November. The Oshkosh judges turned down the prosecutors’ requests. So the DA went to the State Supreme Court, and the justices turned down his petition in June without saying why. Today, the Waukesha appeals court said the judges can control gun possession in their own courtrooms – and the county’s chief judge operates at the pleasure of the Supreme Court. Among other things, the appeals court also said Gossett and Cernan did not say what grave hardship or irreparable harm they would face from not carrying the weapons. The attorney for Gossett and Cernan has not commented on today’s decision.
Wisconsin is not the only state where the unemployment rate went up last month. The Labor Department said today that the jobless rates for August rose in 26 states, went down in 12 others, and were unchanged in the other 12. Wisconsin’s rate went up two-tenths of a percent to 7.5. That was below the national rate of 8.1 percent. That was down two-tenths from July, but officials said it was only because many people gave up looking for jobs. The federal and state governments only count people as unemployed if they’re actively looking for work. Jobless rates jumped in all but four of the 11 battleground states in this year’s presidential election. Wisconsin gained 4,300 private sector jobs and 35-hundred public sector positions, after a revised loss of 6,500 jobs in July.
President Obama’s campaign office in Milwaukee does not have the proper occupancy permit from the city – and officials have given the campaign until next week to correct the mistake. Police officers joined city inspectors yesterday in a visit to Obama’s Wisconsin headquarters on Milwaukee’s north side. Campaign spokeswoman Gillian Morris tells the Journal-Sentinel there was a clerical error on the permit it obtained. She said it was because the campaign office and the building owner’s business had different categories for allowable usage under Milwaukee’s zoning code. Morris said the campaign was not given a citation, and they’re working with the city to correct the matter.
Wisconsin’s attorney general is warning people to watch out for scammers who say they’re raising money to help the survivors of a deadly house fire in Argyle two weeks ago. An aunt of Sharon Wand, who was critically injured in the blaze, said the family’s benefit fund is not collecting money door-to-door, over the Internet, or by other direct means. Three of Sharon’s sons were killed in the fire, and her two-year-old daughter Jessica escaped the flames. Sharon’s aunt, Leesa Bobak, said the family is grateful for those who’ve shown their support – and the “Wand Children Benefit Fund” is currently taking donations only at Talmer Bank-and-Trust in Monroe. Bobak said the fund briefly used canisters, but they were discontinued to avoid confusion. State Attorney General J-B Van Hollen said donating benefit funds at a bank can quote, “help ensure that the funds will be used for their proper purpose.” Van Hollen said it’s common for people to quote, “exploit the generosity” of well-meaning individuals who want to help. He said donors should make sure they know where their money is going, and that it will help the people they want to help.” Sharon Wand’s husband Armin III, and Armin’s brother Jeremy Wand, are both criminally charged in the fire and the three boys’ deaths.
Wisconsin is having its worst year for the West Nile Virus since the mosquito-borne illness was first discovered in the Badger State a decade ago. State officials this week reported 25 human cases – the most since 2002, when 48 cases were reported. Two of this year’s cases have been confirmed. The other 23 are probable, but they’re expected to be eventually confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Wisconsin has had two people die from the virus, the most since 2008. Both those cases remain probable, and are still being investigated by the CDC. A Greenfield woman and a Waukesha County woman were the ones who died. Both were in their 70’s. All but six of the human West Nile cases were from Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. West Nile is spread by the Culex mosquito, which breeds in pools of stagnant water containing organic matter – like bird baths and clogged gutters. Susan Paskewitz of UW- Madison said the number of larvae in the storm water system is the ighest this season – but it’s similar to what was seen a year ago. Experts say West Nile will continue to be a threat until the first hard freeze, after which the mosquitoes will disappear. The U.S. reports 3,100-plus West Nile cases and 134 deaths – many of which were in Texas.