Church coalition extends calls for prison reform
MILWAUKEE (AP) - A coalition of church congregations is launching a second phase in its campaign calling for reforms within the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
WISDOM is an umbrella organization of congregations from around Wisconsin. Its members want reforms that include providing more services to inmates whether they're behind bars or out on parole.
About 100 people rallied Wednesday in front of the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility. They alleged that GPS monitoring has resulted in false alerts due to low batteries or weak signals, and they say people who violate rules while on extended supervision get re-imprisoned when there are less heavy-handed forms of discipline.
The Rev. Willie Brisco is WISDOM's vice president. He says the coalition is speaking up now because it doesn't want the issues to fester and then suddenly explode into civil unrest as happened in Ferguson, Missouri.
Body found may be woman missing for 3 months
CUDAHY, Wis. (AP) - Relatives and neighbors say a woman whose body was found wrapped in a blanket in a suburban Milwaukee apartment had not been seen or heard from in three months.
They believe the body is that of the 50-year-old woman who lived in the Cudahy (KUD'-ah-hay) apartment, although authorities haven't yet identified the person or the cause of death.
WISN-TV reports police have taken the woman's boyfriend into custody on a probation hold.
Police executed a search warrant at the apartment last week after neighbors reported a foul smell and the landlord said the woman hadn't paid rent in a couple months.
The woman's father says he and his grandson gave police DNA samples to help make a positive identification.
Avery wants federal lawsuit dismissed
MANITOWOC, Wis. (AP) - The man imprisoned for killing a 25-year-old photographer on his family property near Mishicot in 2005 wants his federal civil rights lawsuit dismissed.
Steven Avery sued several public officials in 2012, claiming he was subjected to unreasonable search and seizures and was denied his free speech rights while being held in the Calumet County Jail. Avery wanted $15 million in punitive damages.
WLUK-TV reports Avery's handwritten motion to dismiss comes just a few weeks after federal Judge Lynn Adelman denied Avery's request for a publicly-funded attorney. The attorney for the defendants, including Sheriff Gerald Pagel, is seeking to have the suit dismissed with prejudice, so Avery could not refile the claim.
Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were convicted of killing Teresa Halbach on Oct. 31, 2005.
AMISH BUILDING PERMITS
Wisconsin judge rules Amish to comply with permits
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) - A Wisconsin judge has ruled that local Old Order Amish families must obtain building and sanitary permits in accordance with an Eau Claire County requirement.
The Leader-Telegram reports that Judge Michael Schumacher's 11-page decision says the families are not burdened by the county's application process. The judge ordered the families to apply for the permits within 30 days or risk being removed from their residences.
State law requires new homes to include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but the Amish don't use electronic devices.
None of the Amish involved in the case testified in the July trial. Schumacher said that was significant.
An assistant county attorney suggested that the defendants pay forfeitures roughly between $15,000 and $300,000.
The attorney who represents the Amish families says the court is essentially punishing his clients for their religious beliefs.
UW wants $95 million more in next state budget
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - University of Wisconsin System officials want Gov. Scott Walker to give them another $95.2 million in tax dollars in the next state budget.
System officials say they need the money to fund the new Talent Development Initiative, a plan designed to create science and technology jobs, boost graduation numbers, place more students in internships and maintain academic quality in light of a Republican-imposed tuition freeze.
The Board of Regents is expected to vote on whether to approve submitting the request to Walker during a meeting at UW-Oshkosh on Thursday.
Walker sent a letter to state agencies in July warning them to expect no additional tax dollars in the next budget. His spokeswoman didn't immediately return messages.
POWER LINE PROJECT
Power line could cost up to $580 million
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - An environmental assessment estimates the cost of a proposed high-voltage power line linking Madison and La Crosse at up to $580 million.
The power line would be built by American Transmission Co. of Pewaukee and Xcel Energy's Northern States Power utility in Eau Claire. About $87 million of the line's cost would be paid for by utility customers.
The Journal Sentinel reports the utilities say the line would give the state a more robust electrical system as coal plants are retired. But, critics question whether the project is needed, because sales of electricity have been flat in recent years.
The draft environmental assessment kicks off the public comment period for the proposed line.
Wisconsin retains number 2 spot on ACT test
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin retains its number two spot among states on the ACT college entrance exam.
The state's high school seniors scored an average composite of 22.2 out of a possible 36, ranking Wisconsin behind Minnesota. Seventy-three percent of Wisconsin seniors took the exam this year. The curriculum-based test measures students' readiness for the first year of college.
The ACT also sets minimum scores students should achieve in math, science, reading and English in order for them to be successful during their initial year in college. One in five 2014 graduates in Wisconsin met none of the readiness benchmarks.
The national average composite score is 21. Iowa tied with Ohio and Kansas this year for the number three slot.
HIGH SCHOOL FIRE
Damaged Green Bay school to add 18 minutes to days
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - A Green Bay high school damaged by fire will extend each class day by 18 minutes this school year to make up for starting almost two weeks late.
Preble High School officials announced the plan Tuesday. About two minutes will be added to each class period and students will be in school from 7:30 a.m. until 3:18 p.m.
The start date for classes was moved to Sept. 15 from Sept. 2 after a fire damaged the school's gym earlier this month. Investigators say district employees didn't properly dispose of rags they were using to resurface the gym's floor.
Preble students will attend school on Oct. 31, when other Green Bay students have off. They will have full days on some dates when other schools have half days.
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