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Wisconsin roundup: Evers chooses his successor to head up education; more state news stories

Evers chooses his successor to head up education

Incoming Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has appointed one of his assistants to take his place as the head of the state Department of Public Instruction.

Carolyn Stanford Taylor will assume the position Jan. 7 when Evers takes his oath of office. He says he has known her for the better part of three decades and he is certain she will do an exceptional job. Stanford Taylor will become the first African-American to be superintendent of public instruction in the state.


U.S. cheese back-up reaches record proportions

The United States stockpile of cheese is setting a record.

The combination of increased production and decreased international demand for American cheese is causing the problem. The United States reportedly has 1.4 billion pounds of cheese in cold storage right now. Consumers in this country don't buy as much processed cheese as they used to, and the growing stockpile could make things even worse on the bottom line for Wisconsin dairy farmers. The cheese is what hasn't been sold in China and Mexico because of this year's tariff tensions. There's also fear that the stockpile will grow. If that happens, many dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other states worry that prices for cheese and milk could fall even lower.


Mother of 15-year-old fasting death victim pleads guilty

Authorities say the mother of the 15-year-old Reedsburg boy who died during a 40-day fast in September pleaded guilty Thursday to one of her charges.

Prosecutors say 48-year-old Titilayo Omosebi pleaded guilty to felony child neglect causing death. Her felony charge of child neglect causing great bodily harm was dismissed. Reedsburg police say the boy's father, 49-year-old Kehinde S. Omosebi, reported his son's death in September. Police then responded to the home where they had to force entry because the doors were padlocked from the inside.

Officers found 15-year-old Ayanfe O. Omosebi "extremely emaciated" and dead. They also found an 11-year-old in similarly thin and weak conditions but still alive. The child was taken to the Reedsburg Area Medical Center for treatment and placed into protective custody. Police say Titilayo Omosebi, was responsive, but was also emaciated. She refused medical treatment because of religious reasons. Kehinde Omosebi described himself to police as a religious minister affiliated with Cornerstone Reformation Ministries. He said his family had started a fast on July 19 that would continue for 40 days.


Woman, 95, says 75-year-old son’s fatal gunshot was in self-defense

Ninety-five-year-old Hazel Kendrix tells police she and her son were just defending themselves against two people trying to rob them Wednesday.

Seventy-five-year-old Henry Bell had just parked his vehicle and was walking toward the home they share when he was attacked. Kendrix retrieved a gun and handed it to her son as they told the two women to leave. He fired three times, hitting one. A 32-year-old woman died at the scene and Bell was taken into custody.


Driver accused of causing chain-reaction crash on interstate pleads not guilty

A 37-year-old Stockton man accused of causing a chain reaction collision on Interstate 39 has entered a not guilty plea.

Investigators believe Joshua Cisewski lost control of his car because he was driving under the influence. They say several empty vodka bottles were found inside his vehicle last November. His southbound car wound up on its roof on the northbound side, causing an accident involving seven vehicles. Cisewski was bound over for trial Wednesday and he returns to Portage County Circuit Court next month for a hearing.


Madison police arrest third suspect in night club shooting

Madison police report the arrest of a third person connected to the shooting at Visions nightclub earlier this month.

Forty-two-year-old Dashawn M. Robert of Milwaukee will face charges of reckless injury and possession of drugs. Investigators think 35-year-old Cole Foster of Madison was the one who started shooting. Twenty-nine-year-old Spencer Jackson was also arrested a few days after the Dec. 9 incident where four people were shot and one was stabbed.


Wis. child care centers struggle to hire staff members

Wisconsin child care centers have a hard time competing with other opportunities when they try to hire staff members.

Low wages and no benefits are strikes against them when recruiting. Highly-qualified people are needed to care for vulnerable young children, so the centers can't hire just anybody. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families is trying to help by offering a $540 stipend to some child care and early education workers if they remain in the field.


Conviction upheld for man who sent snake to former girlfriend

The 2nd District Court of Appeals has ruled the stalking conviction of an Elkhart Lake man was appropriate.

Eric Burrows had been accused of sending threatening messages to his former girlfriend. He was also in trouble for sending a box to her apartment complex containing a live snake, a ball python. Prosecutors say the messages Burrows sent asked her to resume their relationship, but others also accused her of lying and cheating on him. An attorney for Burrows told the Wisconsin appeals court authorities had no probable cause to arrest his client.