WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Transportation official fired for comparing immigrants to Satan
Governor Scott Walker fired the Number-three official in the state Transportation Department, for comparing undocumented immigrants to Satan during a rant on Facebook. Assistant Deputy Secretary Steven Krieser was let go yesterday, less than two hours after the governor’s office caught wind of the incident. Kreiser was responding to comments about a controversial bumper sticker when he wrote that a “stream of wretched criminals” is crossing the border, ruining southern states and industries, and breeding what he called “the animus that many American citizens feel toward them.” Walker spokesman Tom Evenson called the remarks “repugnant, completely unacceptable, and have no place in Governor Walker’s administration.” It all started on Wednesday, when state Assembly Democrat Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh posted a note on Facebook criticizing a bumper sticker that’s being sold at a Germantown gas station. The sticker read, “U-S-A Illegal Immigrant Hunting Permit – No Bag Limit – Tagging Not Required.” Former Assembly Republican Joe Handrick of Minocqua later posted another criticism of the bumper sticker, saying it would cause people to focus their anger on the immigrants instead of what he called a broken system. Krieser then disagreed with Handrick, and went into his blistering attack. He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he withdrew his post, and he did not write it on a state computer during work hours. Among other things, he said quote, “The whole social safety net and educational systems of entire southern states have been crushed under the weight of these criminals, who commit another crime with every breath they take here, having snuck across the border.” The Journal Sentinel said it bought the last hunting permit bumper sticker at the Germantown gas station yesterday for six-dollars.
A cash bond was set at 10-thousand dollars yesterday for a Waupun police lieutenant suspected of committing two burglaries and stealing two vehicles earlier this week. Charges have not been filed yet against 43-year-old Bradley Young, who was still in the Burnett County Jail in Siren as of late yesterday. The district attorney’s office said Young would have to post bond by this afternoon in order to be released. A 50-thousand-dollar signature bond was also ordered during an initial proceeding yesterday in Siren. Authorities said Young broke into a restaurant and stole a pick-up truck in Green Lake early Monday, and then headed to northwest Wisconsin. Officials said Young crashed the truck Monday night during a police chase in Barron County and ran off into a wooded area. He allegedly stole a vehicle near Rice Lake on Tuesday morning, and broke into a cabin west of Spooner where he was arrested late Tuesday afternoon. At last word, authorities did not know why the incidents took place. Waupun police officials said they had no indication that Young was in any trouble. He’s a 22-year veteran of that city’s police force.
President Obama issued federal disaster declarations yesterday for eight Wisconsin counties and the Red Cliff Indian reservation. They’ll get federal funds to repair road, bridges, and other public facilities damaged by the heavy rains and flooding from late June. Grant County was the hardest, with 13 inches of rain over two days in Boscobel. That county was declared a disaster area along with Crawford, Iowa, Richland, Vernon, Saint Croix, Ashland, and Bayfield counties – plus the Red Cliff lands north of Bayfield. The Federal Emergency Agency will provide 75-percent funding for public facility repairs. Certain non-profit groups can also get reimbursed for emergency assistance and repair work. No disaster relief will be available for homes and businesses affected by the flooding. They did not have enough damage to qualify. Governor Scott Walker said the June flood damage to public facilities totaled just over nine-million dollars.
State, county, and tribal police are investigating the shooting death of a 26-year-old man on the Lac Courte Oreilles Indian reservation in northwest Wisconsin. Sawyer County authorities said the man was shot late Wednesday night in an apartment where he did not live. The victim’s name was not immediately released, and authorities have not said whether foul play was involved. Sawyer County sheriff’s deputies are investigating along with tribal police, the state Justice Department, and the State Patrol.
The state government did not lose any data, after a massive computer crash last weekend that affected at least five agencies. Stephanie Marquis of the Administration Department said a vendor was working on equipment, when it knocked out storage devices and servers last Saturday. The agencies most affected were the D-N-R, Health Services, Administration, Corrections, and Safety-and-Professional Services. Marquis said the system is still being scanned for errors, and there have been no issues with any of the data or applications. She said the vast majority of state file servers are available, but some data backups are still being restored.
A man from Superior is due back in court next week, after he allegedly forged over 30-thousand dollars in checks from the account of a local feed store. 27-year-old Eric Meteraud is charged in Douglas County with five felony counts of forgery. The owner of Dan’s Feed Bin in Superior called police after several of the store’s checks had bounced. Investigators later learned that 25 checks were stolen and later cashed – all payable to Meteraud and forged with the signature of another employee. Meteraud is free on a signature bond. A preliminary hearing is set for next Wednesday, when a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to order a trial.
An Iraq War veteran will find out today if he’ll have any chance at freedom, after he killed his wife while she was working as a Wauwatosa police officer last Christmas Eve. 30-year-old Ben Sebena is scheduled to be sentenced at 1:30 this afternoon in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. He’ll get a prison term, but the judge can set a minimum date for a supervised release. Prosecutors have recommended at least 50 years before a release can be considered. He pleaded insanity at first, but he changed his plea to guilty after two doctors found that his mental illness was not severe enough to justify a ruling of insanity. Sebena was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide after he ambushed and shot his 30-year-old wife Jennifer, right after she left a break room at the Wauwatosa downtown fire station early last December 24th.
No charges will be filed against two Minneapolis police officers who got into a racially-charged street confrontation in Green Bay, and then reportedly criticized local officers. Minneapolis officers Shawn Powell and Brian Thole – who are white – reportedly argued with a group of black men outside a bar June 29th, and one of the officers admitted throwing a punch. The black group was gone by the time Green Bay Police got there, and their names never got into a police report. Assistant City Attorney Kail Decker said it would have been hard to prove assault charges without knowing who the victims were. Also, Decker told Minneapolis Star-Tribune he did not know why police didn’t pursue non-criminal disorderly conduct citations in municipal court – since the officers were caught on police video making racial slurs. A police spokesman did not comment on that. The Minneapolis mayor and police chief have both expressed outrage. The chief apologized to Green Bay Police, removed the two officers from the Minneapolis SWAT team, and put them on paid leave pending an internal investigation.
Milwaukee’s budget director says Governor Scott Walker is wrong by claiming that the city saved 25-million dollars in the state’s Act-10 public union bargaining limits. Mark Nicolini said the governor should have also mentioned the reductions in state aid and grants that Milwaukee suffered since 2011, when the Republican Walker took office. When those are figured in, Nicolini said Milwaukee actually lost six-point-six million dollars due to Walker’s overall budget actions. The city’s chief budget analyst said Milwaukee did save around 20-million in direct Act-10 reforms – things like increased employee payments for their health insurance and pensions, and costs that are no longer be bargained by the unions. But Nicolini said Milwaukee’s state street aids and shared revenues fell by almost 14-million dollars since 2011 – and some other grant monies were lost as well. Walker mentioned Milwaukee’s Act-10 savings when he rejected the mayor’s request this week for a half-million dollars in state funds to help the city end its recent rash of shootings.