Saturday State News Briefs: Walker comments on tragic shootings in ConneticutWisconsin News
-- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker calls the Connecticut school shooting a tragedy that, quoting here, “takes your breath away.”
MADISON - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker calls the Connecticut school shooting a tragedy that, quoting here, “takes your breath away.”
Walker paused to acknowledge the shooting that has left 28 people dead during a Madison ceremony yesterday honoring state utility workers who went to the Northeast to help make repairs in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Walker said he has called the office of Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy to offer condolences. He told reporters he doesn’t want to make judgments about what could be done to prevent similar mass shootings in the future, saying right now is the time to focus on the victims.
Governor Walker says he supports efforts to switch more patients at Milwaukee County’s Mental Health Complex to community care. Walker calls the complex, quoting here, “old and busted.” The governor says suggestions that the state of Wisconsin take over the complex is something to consider, but he didn’t take a firm position on either side of the question. Disability Rights Wisconsin has called for state intervention. It argues the problems are so bad and the pace of reform is so slow that the state needs to make such a dramatic step.
A Madison man has been charged with two counts of battery and retail theft in connection with an incident yesterday at the Capitol city’s Hilldale Shopping Center. Thirty-four year old David Vickers is accused of punching two security guards when he was stopped for shoplifting. Police say Vickers used some sort of tool to remove the theft detection devices from the pair of Polo pants costing $145. They say he tried to leave the Macy’s store when the first of two security guards tried to stop him. While those two struggled, two more guards stepped in to help handcuff Vickers. When he was asked, Vickers said two men jumped him outside the Madison department store. He gave an inferred admission of guilt when police quote him as saying about the guards, “I can’t believe they went that far for only $145 dollars.”
The Legislative Audit Bureau says the Department of Employee Trust Funds should beef up the way it investigates the rehiring of retired government employees. A bureau study shows the University of Wisconsin System and assorted state agencies rehired nearly 2,800 retired workers over a five-year period. It’s called double-dipping. Drawing a salary from the state while also drawing pension payments. Wisconsin law allows it to happen as long as the retiree was off the job for at least 30 days and didn’t cut a deal to be re-hired before they left.
Showing a Facebook photo to two members of the Milton School District staff has cost superintendent Mike Garrow his job. Garrow resigned yesterday after the incident had been investigated. The incident happened last June when Garrow was talking to the two. He reportedly brought up a photo on Facebook of a woman which made them uncomfortable and the investigator decided that picture could have been inappropriate. Garrow submitted a written response saying his decision to show the photo was, in his words, “not a great choice,” but he didn’t believe his conduct called for a full investigation. The superintendent has been on leave since October and his resignation takes effect June 30th. He is also going to receive a 35 thousand dollar severance check.
An outside jury will hear the murder trial for an Argyle man accused of starting the house fire that killed his three children last September. Judge Thomas Vale also ruled the jury will be sequestered while the case is heard. Prosecutors say 32 year old Armand Wand the Third started the fire that killed his children with his brother’s help. The judge decided the potential jury pool in Lafayette County had been tainted by the publicity surrounding the fatal fire and the subsequent charges. Wand’s trial starts February 25th. The district court administrator says this is just the second time in her 20 years on the job when a jury has been brought in from another location. It’s also rare for a jury to be sequestered.
A Wisconsin congressman says he is frustrated by the lack of information about negotiations on the fiscal cliff solutions between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. Eighth District Congressman Reid Ribble says the Senate and the House of Representatives are not getting regular, comprehensive updates. Ribble says his constituents are asking what’s going on and he doesn’t know. The Appleton Republican says members of Congress are being told to get ready for a long week when they return to Washington, D.C. Ribble says the majority leader says Congress will stay in session until the situation is resolved, including being at work next weekend.
A plea hearing is scheduled next month for the former treasurer of the Wausaukee Rescue Squad on embezzlement charges. Forty-one year old Amanda Stumbris was in Marinette County Court yesterday, but had her hearing delayed until January 24th. Stumbris is accused of taking more than $132,000 dollars from the squad bank account over a three year period. She used a debit card to withdraw cash, using part of the money taken to cover gambling expenses.