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Afternoon New Briefs - Five Wisconsin teachers in running for Presidential Awars of Excellence

Five Wisconsin teachers are in the running for the nation's highest awards for math and science instructors. The five are candidates for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. One teacher from each subject area will each win $10,000 dollars, and be honored by the president in Washington next year. The five Wisconsin finalists are math teachers Tina Parker of Eau Claire and Mary Fernan of Milton and science teachers Kathleen Hiteman of Middleton-Cross Plains, Sheila Kohl of West de Pere, and Jacalyn Cebertowicz of the Oak Creek-Franklin district. All are either elementary or middle school instructors. The national winners will be announced next spring.


A youth basketball coach from Hartford is arrested in Indiana, accused of punching a 17 year old player. Forty seven year of Fred Freeman faces a battery charges in suburban Indianapolis. Witnesses say he verbally abused the girl after their team lost a game, then hit her in the face, threw her to the ground, got on top of her and put his hands around her throat. Freeman was arrested last night. The girl reportedly suffered scrapes and scratches to her arms and legs.


Officials with the Wisconsin State Fair say there will be more security cameras in place for this year's event. The youth admission policy adopted after the disturbances on the first night of the last state fair will also be continued. A news conference will be held tomorrow in West Allis details the steps being taken to make sure the fair is safe for those attending opening night. Under the youth policy, people younger than 18 have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to be admitted after 5 p.m. Last year, trouble broke out on opening night at about 7 p.m. in the midway area when young people began fighting.


Habitat for Humanity plans to build 18 environmentally friendly homes in River Falls, trying to show going green can actually be cheap. Groundbreaking for what will be called Eco Village will come a week from today. The project will be constructed on seven acres donated by the city near the center of town. Half of the 18 units will be townhouses and the other half single-family homes. Habitat leadership says the units will produce more energy than they will consume. The new homes will cost more than the usual Habitat homes to construct, but they will cut costs in the long run, the agency says.


A Stevens Point man will spend about a year and half in prison, for cooking up a plot to kill his estranged wife. 51 year old Rocky Neuman was sentenced today in Portage County Circuit Court. He pleaded no contest to hiding a corpse. Charges of attempted homicide and stalking were dropped in a plea deal. Prosecutors said Neuman told his roommate about a plan to strangle his wife and bury her body. The roommate recorded a conversation about the plot and Neuman was arrested soon after that. His prison time is being reduced by 406 days he had spent in jail while his case was going through the court system. Neuman must also spend four years under extended supervision once he leaves prison.


Democrats will officially take control of the Wisconsin Senate as early as tomorrow. That's when the state Government Accountability Board will certify the results of the June fifth recall election, in which Republican incumbent Van Wanggaard of Racine conceded defeat today. Wanggaard said he would not file a lawsuit against the results, which showed that Democrat John Lehman won by 819 votes after a recount. He and his fellow Republicans had claimed massive voter fraud, but he said he did not have enough time to make a case. And Wanggaard said the expenses would keep piling up for taxpayers, who've already been quote, "forced to spend $20 million dollars on the recall election." Lehman said he believed the election was conducted fairly, although with some irregularities. Democrats have said any mistakes were inadvertent on the part of election workers - and they said there was no evidence of outright fraud. Lehman can be sworn in as soon as the final election results are certified. When that happens, the Democrats will have a one-vote majority in the Senate at least until the November elections. He says he'll focus on creating high-demand jobs in areas with high unemployment - and look for ways to make sure there are enough trained workers. Lehman's term is scheduled to run through 2014, and he's not sure if he'll seek a full term after that. He said the GOP re-drew his district to favor Republicans. Wanggaard says he'll definitely run next time.