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Afternoon State News Briefs: Regents believe UW officials should have been more transparent with budget

MILWAUKEE - Several members of the UW Board of Regents said university officials should have been more open about the schools' finances.

At a meeting today in Milwaukee, several members of the UW's policy-setting committee said legislators might not have reacted so harshly, had they not been blindsided about the $650-million dollars in reserves that schools were found to have in April. Regent Jose Vazquez said UW officials should have clarified how much of the money was earmarked for various things. Tim Higgins said his fellow board members need to make sure that legislators know the money taxpayers give to the UW is being used wisely. Last month, the Joint Finance Committee reacted to the surplus funds by reversing a planned funding increase, freezing tuition, and making the university use some of its reserves for various expenses. The panel also refused to move ahead with a plan to give the UW more autonomy over its finances, saying the schools need more scrutiny instead of less. Earlier today, UW officials told the Regents they'd lose $202-million - the proposed extra allocation, plus required funding transfers.


A former police chief in the Milwaukee suburb of Butler viewed pornography at work, used racial slurs, and made derogatory remarks in e-mails to employees. That's according to a report released today about an investigation of the police force by the Waukesha County sheriff's department. The village administrator ordered the probe after numerous allegations were raised. Chief Michael Cosgrove retired while the investigation was taking place. The report said the police department had a fraternity-like atmosphere. Several employees viewed porn, and one started his day by calling it "porn in the morn." The report cited rule violations, but deputies said the chief himself did not commit criminal activity. Lieutenant Brian Pergande was found to have engaged in misconduct-in-office. The report blacked out details, but it showed that he viewed porn, made racial comments, and used a police system to check criminal histories of others for personal use. One officer was said to have exposed himself multiple times. And the report said two others had used police equipment improperly.


A Wisconsin lawmaker is recovering, after he had surgery to remove a tumor. State Assembly Republican Tom Larson of Colfax had the operation on Tuesday. His office said today that his prognosis was good both before and after the operation - and he would stay in the hospital for 3-to-6 days before going home to recover. The 65-year-old Larson is in his second two-year term representing an Assembly district that includes northern Chippewa County and parts of Dunn County in northwest Wisconsin.


A state budget proposal would honor the Kringle as the official state pastry. The oval-shaped danish is an iconic Wisconsin product of Racine County, introduced in the late 1880's. Assemblyman Cory Mason of Racine is behind the proposal. A similar proposal failed in 2012, which called for the cream puff to be the official state dessert.