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Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Wausau Center mall owner: We will meet lease terms

WAUSAU - The corporation that owns the Wausau Center mall owed the city more than $97,000 in back rent dating to early 2014 and hasn't complied with other terms of its 1980 agreement with the city, according to records obtained by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

The city warned mall owner CBL & Associates in a July 13 letter that unless CBL meets all terms of its lease with the city within 30 days, CBL will be declared in default of its lease. The letter, obtained by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin under state open-records law, also says CBL has not provided the city with certified audits of mall income for years.

Those audits are important because CBL pays the city, which owns the land on which the mall is built, rent that is based partially upon sales generated within the mall. Without those reports, the letter says, the city has no way of knowing precisely how much more CBL might owe Wausau.


The notice is the latest setback in the city's relationship with CBL, which also is under investigation by the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission.

Read more: http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/story/news/2016/07/20/city-mall-owners-owe-97k-rent/87336812/

Transgender student sues Wisconsin school district over bathroom restriction

KENOSHA -- A transgender student has filed a lawsuit alleging a Wisconsin school district won’t let him use the boys’ restrooms and repeatedly uses his female birth name, violating federal anti-discrimination laws and the U.S. Constitution.

The Transgender Law Center and the civil rights law firm Relman, Dane and Colfax PLLC filed the federal lawsuit Tuesday in Milwaukee against the Kenosha school district. The filing states Ashton Whitaker, a 16-year-old student at Tremper High School, was designated a girl on his birth certificate but began identifying as a boy in middle school.

The lawsuit alleges the district has denied him access to boys’ restrooms and directed staff to monitor his restroom usage, forcing him and other transgender students to wear green wristbands to help staff recognize them. As a result, Whitaker drastically reduced his liquid intake, aggravating a medical condition that causes him to faint, and suffered stress migraines.

Teachers also continue to call him by his female birth name, he had to room with girls on an orchestra trip to Europe and the principal initially denied him the ability to run for junior prom king, telling him he could run only for prom queen, according to the lawsuit. School administrators relented only after his classmates protested, the lawsuit noted.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/transgender-student-sues-wisconsin-school-district-over-bathroom-restriction/article_3ea631d8-82f1-5a7f-b215-2d123a902a8b.html

Wisconsin DNR may buy land once eyed for nuclear plant on Chippewa River

A sprawling river bottom in western Wisconsin that was the site of a contentious plan for a nuclear power plant could soon be owned by the state.

The Natural Resources Board will be asked to approve the purchase of 990 acres along the Lower Chippewa River in Dunn County, southwest of Eau Claire, at its meeting on Aug. 3 in Ashland.

The Department of Natural Resources would pay $2,080,155 for the property, which is owned by Xcel Energy, the Minneapolis-based utility that has a large service area in the region.

The property includes a portion of the Chippewa River trail and 18,000 feet of shoreline on the south side of the river.

Read more: http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/state-may-buy-land-once-eyed-for-nuclear-plant-b99764207z1-387528221.html

Koch brothers pull ad buy backing Ron Johnson

Madison — A day after U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin spoke at the Republican National Convention, a group affiliated with the conservative Koch brothers pulled more than $2 million in ad time in the Badger State.

The move came a day after the National Senate Republican Committee modified its planned help for Johnson, pushing back an ad campaign that was to start next month until October.

Wednesday's development provides another sign Johnson could get less outside support than had been expected. Johnson faces former Sen. Russ Feingold in one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country.

Freedom Partners Action Fund began an ad campaign in May attacking Feingold about the handling of the over-prescription of opiates at the veterans clinic in Tomah. Freedom Partners is funded by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.

Read more: http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/koch-brothers-pull-ad-buy-backing-ron-johnson-b99765361z1-387673851.html

'Hate cops?' sign prompts controversy

MUNCIE — Amid a tense atmosphere nationwide over report after report of police-action shootings and police officers being shot, it only took a billboard to set off an online controversy in Muncie.

A billboard reading "Hate cops? The next time you need help call a crackhead" was visible for at least a few hours on Saturday on an electronic billboard near the Wheeling and Riverside intersection in Muncie. Megan Thomas said she noticed it around 1 p.m. Saturday while walking with her niece along the Riverwalk. She was offended not just by what she called a message that was "vulgar, discriminatory to many different classes of people in our city," but also by the fact that it appeared to have gone up right before the start of a planned demonstration against police brutality, starting just a few blocks away.

"I was very ashamed that something so dividing was present in Muncie," Thomas said on Sunday.

Her Facebook post of a photo of the billboard, along with a question about whether tax dollars had paid for the sign and contact information for the billboard company, prompted a flurry of responses, positive and negative, and — as of Monday afternoon — more than 1,000 shares. Thomas said she drove past the sign around 5 p.m. Saturday, and saw by that time the "Hate cops?..." one was no longer in the rotation appearing on the electronic billboard.

Read more: http://www.jconline.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

Private school vouchers cost Indiana $53 million

Indiana's private school voucher program cost $53 million during the 2015-16 school year, up from $40 million in the previous year, according to a new report released Monday by the Indiana Department of Education.

Nearly 33,000 students received a voucher during the most recent school year, making it one of the nation's largest programs. Costs to operate the program have jumped over the years as lawmakers have broadened eligibility requirements for a student to qualify for a voucher.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, a staunch critic of vouchers, has routinely fought lawmakers' efforts to expand the program. Ritz, a Democrat who is running for re-election, did not comment Monday on the report's findings.

During the program's first years, the state saw around $4 million to $5 million in annual savings. But with increasing enrollment, the program began running a deficit in the 2013-14 school year when the calculation showed a nearly $16 million cost.

Read more: http://www.courierpress.com/news/state/report-private-school-vouchers-cost-indiana-53-million-37ea4733-53a6-2ac5-e053-0100007fbebd-387313861.html

With Pence gone, Gregg lands $500,000 from Democratic Governors Association

The Democratic Governors Association infused $500,000 into John Gregg’s campaign for governor Tuesday as he now faces an open race for the seat.

With Gov. Mike Pence departing the race last week, Indiana is a “significant pickup opportunity” for Democrats, said Elisabeth Pearson, the association’s executive director.

“With Mike Pence gone, this race is an open seat — and whichever Republican emerges will be saddled with Pence’s baggage,” Pearson said in a statement. “We look forward to playing offense in Indiana this year.”

The association previously gave nearly $470,000 in cash and in-kind donations to Gregg’s campaign during the second quarter of this year. Comparatively, the Republican Governors Association provided nearly $1.5 million to Pence’s now-disbanded campaign.

Read more: http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/behind-closed-doors/2016/07/19/gregg-lands-500000-democraticgovernors-association/87306536/

Michigan prisoner, daughter-in-law sentenced in $250K Social Security scheme

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — A Battle Creek woman and her father-in-law have been sentenced for their roles in a scheme to bilked $250,000 from the Social Security Administration.

Kathryn McPeters was sentenced to prison for 3 years for her part in a scam that illegally claimed benefits paid to an account of her father-in-law, David McPeters.

David McPeters, who is serving two life sentences for murder, has been an inmate of the Michigan Department of Corrections since 1983. As a prisoner, David McPeters is prohibited from receiving benefits, including Social Security.

Kathryn McPeters agreed to help him circumvent the law by applying online for benefits in his name using his identifying information, but not disclosing that he was incarcerated. Authorities said the scam ran from 2006 to 2015.

Read more: http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2016/07/michigan_prisoner_daughter-in-.html

Dams vandalized, lowering water levels on Grand River

HAMLIN TWP. - An effort to repair one of two dams that was vandalized Tuesday is underway just outside of Eaton Rapids.

Six or seven 10-foot long wooden boards that held back water on the Smithville Dam in Hamlin Township were removed sometime Tuesday afternoon, leaving an 18-inch hole in the dam.

It's caused river levels there to drop as much as three feet.

On Wednesday morning water from the Grand River rushed through the hole in the dam as its ranger, Terry Hansen, worked with nearby resident Nathan Foote to patch it.

Read more: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/local/2016/07/20/dams-vandalized-lowering-water-levels-grand-river/87332912/

Detroit rally marking Aiyana death leads to arrests

Detroit police took six demonstrators into custody Wednesday after they chained themselves to a police precinct building gate and entrance during a rally commemorating the 2010 fatal shooting by police of a 7-year-old girl.

The arrests capped an emotionally charged march and rally on what would have been the 14th birthday of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, the youngster who was asleep on a sofa when police raided her family’s east side home May 16, 2010. Camera crews filmed the nighttime raid for the cable TV show “The First 48.”

Organizers with Black Lives Matter Detroit and other groups who gathered first at Pallister Park about 6 p.m. Wednesday and moved to the Third Precinct building demanded the immediate firing of Officer Joseph Weekley, who led the Detroit Police Special Response on the raid. Seconds after entering the Jones home, Weekley claimed the girl’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, slapped at his gun, causing it to fire and kill Aiyana.

After two mistrials, the charges against him were dropped. In April 2015, he returned to the Police Department on “limited duty” after a five-year absence. This year, Weekley was named co-chair of a police Committee on Race and Equality, which demonstrators decried.

Read more: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2016/07/20/police-prepare-remove-black-lives-matter-protesters/87364960/
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