Saturday State News Briefs: Majerus funeral to be held today in MilwaukeeWisconsin News
-- A funeral mass will be held today in Milwaukee for college basketball coach Rick Majerus.
MILWAUKEE - A funeral mass will be held today in Milwaukee for college basketball coach Rick Majerus.
St. Louis University held a public memorial service last night to honor the Wisconsin native. He compiled a 517-216 career record in 25 seasons of coaching, spending the last five leading the Billikens. His team reached the third round of the NCAA tournament last March. Majerus had announced he was taking a leave of absence to deal with his health problems last August. He died of heart failure in Los Angeles a week ago today. Majerus coached at Marquette University and was an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks before coming back to the college game at Ball State, Utah and St. Louis.
One of three men charged with attacking Wisconsin Badger running back Montee Ball has reached a plea agreement with Dane County prosecutors. Wendell Venerable of Madison will make a court appearance December 17th. Trial for the other two men accused in the attack is scheduled to start that same day. Venerable is charged with substantial battery. He, 22 year old Robert A. Wilks and 21 year old Deonte J. Wilson are accused of attacking Ball August 1st while he walked behind two friends. Ball was left unconscious and with a concussion. He has said he doesn’t remember the attack.
A Racine County judge says Brandon Seibert was “a train wreck waiting to happen.” Seibert will spend six years in prison, then be on probation for 10 years after he is out. He was the driver of a motorcycle which crashed in September of last year, leaving his passenger dead. Twenty-four year old Melissa Corona was raising a son, who is now four years old, was attending classes at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and was working as a waitress in a restaurant. Authorities said Seibert was speeding, didn’t have a license and fled the scene when he crashed his bike in a construction zone, killing Corona.
Sixty-two year old Kevin Kavanaugh is the fifth person close to Governor Scott Walker to be convicted in a long-running secret investigation. A sixth person has a trial scheduled to start next month. Kavanaugh will spend two years in prison for stealing more than $51,000 from donations which were supposed to help military veterans and their families. Though Kavanaugh apologized before sentencing, Judge Michael D. Guolee spoke with emotion as he recalled the testimony of soldiers’ widows and called the apology, quoting here, “worthless.” Walker had appointed Kavanaugh to the Milwaukee County Veterans Service Commission. Walker himself has never been charged with any wrongdoing in any of the cases.
Sun Prairie High School officials say it is too soon to know if a student who made a comment about a shooting at next spring’s graduation will face any charges. The unnamed student is no longer attending classes at the school. The comment was made to a classmate last week. That classmate became concerned the student was planning to shoot someone at the school. District officials say everything possible was done to ensure the students’ safety, with all actions taken in accordance with federal law. One official says it’s likely the suspended student didn’t realize his comment might instill fear.
Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Vince Megna shook up the race this afternoon by declaring himself a Democrat, and incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack as a Republican. Megna is a Milwaukee attorney who made his name representing the rights of those who bought defective vehicles under the state’s Lemon Law. He issued a statement that quote, “It’s time to stop lying” about the Supreme Court being non-partisan – and he said voters deserve to see a “letter designation” behind a candidate’s name. Megna also said he would vote to throw out Wisconsin’s photo ID law for voting if it comes to the high court. Roggensack’s main adviser is Brandon Scholz, a former state Republican Party director and chief-of-staff to ex-GOP Congressman Scott Klug of Madison. Scholz issued his own statement that Megna is campaigning as if he’s running for the Legislature instead of the state’s highest court. Scholz said voters should consider the candidates’ experience, independence, and integrity – and he said the Supreme Court’s decisions should be based on the rule of law, and not quote, “partisan horse-trading.” Scholz also said Megna probably disqualified himself from ruling on the photo ID case if it were to come before him. Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi and Marquette law professor Ed Fallone have also said they’re considering a run for Supreme Court. If three or more candidates make the ballot, a primary would be held February 19th. The general election is next April.
For the first time, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents could soon get administrative control over all UW employees. The Board today approved the creation of two new personnel systems – one to oversee the state’s largest campus at Madison, and the other to govern the other four-year and two-year schools, plus the Extension service and central offices. University officials say it will help the UW be more competitive with other schools by allowing market and merit considerations in granting pay raises – and seniority will no longer be the only factor. Madison Provost Paul DeLuca said it would make it easier for the U-W to hang onto its best professors – so they won’t be as encouraged to leave for other campuses that offer more money. Faculty and staff members were allowed input into the plans – but before the 2011 union law, this would have a subject for collective bargaining. Several employees who opposed the plan protested, by carrying signs outside the meeting room. But a Madison faculty senate member said the personnel plan for his campus came mostly from the suggestions of union members. The state Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations must still okay the plan. It’s due to take effect next July.
Governor Scott Walker has asked Washington’s governor to return a suspect wanted for killing his half-brother in Dane County. Jeffrey Vogelsberg was arrested a few weeks ago at a military base in Washington State where his wife works. And he has refused to waive extradition back to Wisconsin, where he’s due to face criminal charges in the beating death earlier this year of Matthew Graville, an autistic man from Mazomanie. A spokesman for Washington Governor Chris Gregorie said Walker’s paperwork is on its way for a rendition warrant – basically a request to send Vogelsberg back to Madison. The spokesman said Gregorie has never turned down such a request. Walker’s office has not commented on the move.
Governor Scott Walker’s budget includes money to add 25 full-time nurses and 58 nurse assistants at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King. Walker says he would spend nine million dollars over the next two years to improve staffing at the facility which is home to about 700 military veterans. The veterans home has long been criticized by unions as needing more staff. The governor released a statement yesterday saying it is vitally important to make sure veterans are well cared for. Walker’s budget will be submitted to the Legislature in February. Lawmakers will work on the spending plan and send it back to the governor for his signature next summer.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approves a new personnel system which would give it administrative authority over nearly 45,000 system employees for the first time. UW officials say it will help them be more competitive by allowing them to give consideration to merit and market competition, in addition to seniority, when deciding pay levels. There are actually two separate systems – one for employees in Madison and another for those who work on the other campuses. The approval earlier today is aimed at giving the system greater operational flexibility. Even though faculty, academic staff and classified staff were allowed to give input as the two plans were developed, a small group of employees still protested outside the room where the regents were meeting.