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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: AG says high school students can't be charged tuition for UW courses

MADISON - Wisconsin's attorney general says high school students who take University of Wisconsin courses cannot be charged tuition.  

In a legal opinion issued today, Van Hollen addressed concerns about a state budget item that lets prep students enroll in up two courses from state colleges and universities -- with the school districts paying the costs.  Concerns were raised about that.  So in May, the UW said it would cover the first year's total tuition costs, estimated to be around a million dollars.  Van Hollen said the law requires the state's K-to-12 school agency to determine who pays for the classes.  DPI spokesman John Johnson says the university needs to work with school districts to figure out a way to pay for the classes that's the most cost-effective for both systems.  


A fisherman missing since Monday has been found dead in an eastern Wisconsin lake.  Somebody called 911 just before 10:30 last night about an unresponsive man on the east shore of Lake Winneconne near Oshkosh.  Winnebago County authorities identified the victim as 52-year-old Roger Inderdahl of Weyauwega.  He vanished Monday while fishing on the lake.  Witnesses later saw his empty boat running in circles.  


Gogebic Taconite has asked state officials to renew permits for exploratory drilling at the company's proposed iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin.  The DNR granted the drilling permits a year ago, and the firm wants them continued for another year.  The state has until next Tuesday to respond.  One permit would allow Gogebic Taconite to drill six new holes at its site in Ashland and Iron counties -- plus another hole the firm wanted to dig over the past year but did not.  The other permit would allow more investigation into the groundwater at six holes which have already been dug.  Officials say the holes are about two-inches in diameter.  


Fond du Lac County sheriff's deputies have arrested one of two men suspected of disarming one of the department's officers.  A 19-year-old Campbellsport man was arrested yesterday.  Authorities said he took the deputy's Taser stun gun and resisted arrest last Saturday.  Officers are still looking for a 22-year-old Eden man who reportedly struck the deputy numerous times, and tried stealing his service revolver.  The deputy responded to a complaint, and said he found the two men plus a third man involved in a drug deal.  


The state agency that runs elections and looks into government corruption does not have to give its confidential investigative records to state auditors.  Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a legal opinion today, which said the Government Accountability Board is not authorized by law to give details of its investigations to the Legislative Audit Bureau. The Bureau is auditing the agency, after majority Republicans questioned its fairness.  State Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) the chairwoman of the Senate Elections Committee, says Van Hollen's opinion raises "major concerns" about the board's accountability.  Still, Lazich said she would withhold judgment until the final audit comes out. Republicans were highly critical of the accountability board during the Walker recall campaign of 2012, and again this year when the panel endorsed a John Doe probe into the recall votes against Walker and GOP senators.  A while back, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said he wanted to return to the more partisan Elections-and-Ethics Boards which the current board replaced.  He did not, however, propose a bill to that effect.


A state appeals court has thrown out restrictions on training dogs to hunt wolves.  A group of humane societies sued the state in 2012, saying the use of dogs would result in violent confrontations with wolves.  A Dane County circuit judge ruled that hunters could use dogs during the controversial wolf hunting season each fall and winter -- but those dogs could not be trained for that purpose any other time of the year.  Today, the Fourth District Appellate court in Madison found that the training ban had no legal effect.  That was after the Legislature and the DNR failed to include any restrictions on hunting dogs when they first set up the wolf hunt early in 2012.  Jodi Habush Sinykin, an attorney for the humane societies, says the ruling makes it incumbent on the new Legislature to ban wolf hunting dogs after they return to session next year January.


Former Green Bay Packer Mark Tauscher is going deeper into the media business.   He's one of three partners who have purchased Isthmus Publishing Company of Madison -- which puts out the alternative weekly newspaper "Isthmus" and "The Daily Page" Web site.  The seller is Vince O'Hearn, who co-founded Isthmus in 1976 with Fred Milverstedt.  Tauscher's partners are Craig Bartlett, most recently with Adams Outdoor Advertising -- and Jeff Haupt, who has headed regional operations and sales for The Onion.  Tauscher is originally from Auburndale, east of Marshfield.  He starred as an offensive lineman with the University of Wisconsin and with the Packers in the NFL for 11 years ending in 2010.  He's now a commentator for both Packer and Badger radio broadcasts -- and there's another reason he's no stranger to the media.  His late father Denny Tauscher spent many years as a sportswriter for the Marshfield News-Herald, and was later a broadcaster for WDLB and WOSQ Radio and Marshfield Community Television on cable.


Wisconsin got some good news from Washington today on the unemployment front.  The U.S. Labor Department said the Badger State had the nation's fifth-highest decrease in new applications for jobless benefits during the week ending June 28th.  Wisconsin residents submitted 1,063 fewer claims for new unemployment benefits than they did for the previous week.  State officials did not give the Labor Department a reason for that.  California had the biggest drop in weekly benefit applications, about 7,300 fewer than the preceding week.  New Jersey had the largest increase, of around 8,600.


He swears he didn't do it.  Not this time, anyway.  Joseph Kubiak has organized the annual Oshkosh Pub Crawl event in the past.  He denies organizing this year's event in April -- but the city doesn't believe him, and they're suing him for not getting a permit for special events.  Oshkosh officials are suing Kubiak in small claims court for 38-hundred dollars to cover things like police protection, plus a-thousand dollars for not getting the permit.  Kubiak has paid about two-thousand of that bill -- even though he told the Oshkosh Northwestern that all he did this year was sell "T"-shirts for the Pub Crawl.  In its lawsuit, the city said Kubiak knows how the system works -- and it can only conclude that his failure to get a permit was "willful and deliberate."  Kubiak has until July 30th to file a response.  The city says it might also bill taverns which took part in the Pub Crawl.