UPDATE: Candidate Burke unveils jobs plan; personal income up slightly; 10 more Wisconsin briefs
MADISON -- Seeking to unseat incumbent GOP Gov. Scott Walker, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke has released a five-part jobs plan Tuesday that involves investing in entrepreneurs and focusing on higher education.
Burke says the state should invest in entire industries, rather than individual companies. She says doing so helps promote the common interests of firms and provide more benefit.
She also wants to lower college tuition costs and provide more investment capital for entrepreneurs.
State's personal income rising, but slower than many states
According to the latest government estimates released Tuesday, Wisconsin's personal net earnings have rebounded but at an average annual rate that lags that of the nation and most of its Great Lakes peers.
Personal net income in the Badger State rose at an average annual rate of 3.2 percent starting from a base in 2009, the year that national wages bottomed out after the financial crisis on Wall Street threw the global economy into a tailspin, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Wisconsin's income growth ranked the state at No. 35 out of 50.
Send-off set for Wisconsin National Guard engineer company
TOMAH -- Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general, and other senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders will join family and friends of the 829th Engineer Company for a 10:30 a.m. sendoff ceremony, Friday, March 28 at Fort McCoy.
The 829th Engineer Company is a vertical engineering company located in Chippewa Falls with detachments in Richland Center and Ashland.
While normally the unit's mission is building construction, during its deployment to Afghanistan's Regional Command East the approximately 160 members of the 829th will be deconstructing U.S. forward military bases as part of efforts to reduce U.S. troop presence there.
The 829th's objective in deconstructing U.S. forward operating bases is to prevent the enemy from reclaiming those materials. The 829th will also recover, organize and redistribute military materials to save taxpayer money. The unit is expected to return in the spring of 2015.
The 829th Engineer Company has been training at Fort McCoy most of March, and will continue deployment-specific training at Fort Bliss, Tex. before arriving in Afghanistan.
This will be the unit's third deployment.
It deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and again in 2009 — but its first in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This will be the first deployment for about half of the company.
Wisconsin big importer of smuggled smokes
A report from the Tax Foundation finds Wisconsin is the country's fifth-largest importer of smuggled cigarettes.
The Kenosha News reports that the independent tax policy research organization found 34.6 percent of cigarettes sold in the state have been brought in from other states and haven't been taxed, have been improperly taxed or were counterfeited.
New York led all states with a smuggled cigarette rate of 56.9 percent.
Green Bay teacher facing felony abuse charges
GREEN BAY -- A Green Bay elementary school teacher is facing criminal sexual conduct charges for inappropriate behavior with an eight-year-old student.
Jer Lovaj, 57, an English-language-learner teacher at Anne Sullivan Elementary School, is accused of kissing, hugging and groping a girl in his classroom on multiple occasions, according to the criminal complaint filed Monday.
Lovaj has been charged with two counts of felony sexual contact with a child under the age of 13.
Alleged violin thief to be arraigned
MILWAUKEE -- A second Milwaukee man accused in the theft of a $5 million Stradivarius violin in January is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.
The attorney for Universal K. Allah said Tuesday that he plans to enter a plea of not guilty on his client's behalf. Allah and Salah Salahadyn are accused of felony robbery.
Salahadyn pleaded not guilty last month.
Prosecutors say the 36-year-old Allah provided the stun gun used to attack and rob violin virtuoso Frank Almond. The criminal complaint says Salahadyn had been plotting to steal a Stradivarius.
The 300-year-old violin was missing for nine days before police recovered it in good condition.
Veteran UW-Madison officer fired for in appropriate photos
MADISON -- A veteran captain of The University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department has been fired after an internal investigation revealed he used department cameras to take hundreds of inappropriate photos of department employees and members of the public.
Peter Ystenes, 17-year employee with the department, was fired on March 12.
An internal investigation is ongoing as investigators attempt to identify and contact people in the photos that an agency spokesman said does not involve any nudity.
Appeals court rules for Oneida tribe on energy facility
WAUSAU -- A Wisconsin appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Green Bay City Council overstepped its authority by revoking a conditional use permit for an alternative energy plant backed by an Oneida Tribe-owned company.
Oneida Seven Generations Corp. and its subsidiary, Green Bay Renewable Energy, received a permit for a waste-to-energy facility.
The Green Bay City Council voted in March 2011 to approve a Plan Commission recommendation to grant a permit to Seven Generations and granted it a building permit that August, but after opposition to the plant grew, the city revoked the conditional use permit on Oct. 16, 2012, based on supposed misrepresentations opponents alleged Seven Generations made about the plant's potential environmental impact.
First non-clergyman tabbed as new Marquette leader
MILWAUKEE -- Marquette University has tabbed its first layman president in the Jesuit school's 132-year history.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Michael Lovell is expected to be named the next president at Marquette as early as Wednesday.
Lovell will replace Father Scott R. Pilarz, who unexpectedly announced his resignation in September after two years on the job.
Interim President Father Robert Wild will remain in the role until Lovell assumes the new position.
A 2011 change in school bylaws made it possible for a layperson to be selected as long as the person was Catholic.
Edgewood chooses new president from within
MADISON -- Edgewood College in Madison has chosen its next president from among its own ranks.
Forty-three-year-old Scott Flanagan was named Edgewood's new president on Tuesday. Flanagan currently is executive vice president at Edgewood and has had other roles during his 16 years with the college.
The school's executive board considered four finalists for the job, which opened with the retirement of Daniel Carey after a decade.
Flanagan was the only internal candidate. Flanagan officially takes over from Carey this summer.
Edgewood is a private Catholic college with about 3,000 students.
Newest FBI assignee to Milwaukee is cyber expert
MILWAUKEE -- The city of Milwaukee has a new Special Agent in Charge for its FBI division.
Robert Shields has developed a reputation as a cyber cop by utilizing computers to head off and catch digital felons.
The bureau has launched investigations like Operation Phish Phry and Ghost Click to go after criminals trying to steal access to private information from home and business computers.
Shields help set up a computer forensics lab while he was in Chicago. It's a joint effort between the FBI and local law enforcement to chase down terrorism, child porn, fraud and corruption.
Homeless man opts for friend's steak, fish over shelter fare
MADISON -- A homeless Mount Horeb man turned down a friend’s offer of a ride to a shelter in Madison, then helped himself to steaks and liquor in his friend’s home while the friend and his wife were out of the country.
Gene Rouse, 42, spent two nights in the home, ate about $20 worth of steaks and $10 worth of cod from the freezer and drank all of the liquor in the house, according to a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court.
The couple were also missing a gold watch and jewelry, according to the complaint, which charged Rouse with criminal damage to property, two counts of burglary and two counts of misdemeanor theft.
Rouse was released on bond Tuesday and ordered to stay away from the home.