Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.
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Second Thoughts “If you choke on that, you’d better hope someone here knows the Heimlich, because I’m not saving you,” I warned my grandson. I was spending the week with 8-year-old William while his parents were on vacation, and the treat I had promised was supper at McDonald's after his karate class. For the second time, the boy stuffed an apple slice sideways in his mouth and gave me a big smile so I got the full view.
When I got to the microphone I froze. It was the All Saints service at our church, and people were asked to come forward to light a candle in honor...
WAUSAU -- Last week a state appeals court threw out a St. Croix County conviction of a man arrested for walking near a Somerset school while carrying a loaded semi-automatic rifle on his back and a loaded handgun on his hip. The District III Court of Appeals ruled that Judge Scott Needham should have dismissed Mark Hoffman’s case during his jury trial because the evidence suggested the only reason police stopped and arrested Hoffman was that he was carrying the weapons.
Late-arriving absentee votes tipped the scale, and District 6 Supervisor Carah Koch lost her seat on the St. Croix County Board to Bob Long. Unofficial election night results gave Koch 715 votes to Long’s 714. But when the last absentee ballots were added, Long had 718 votes and Koch, 716. A recount held Friday, April 15, didn’t change that tally.
When they go to the polls April 5, Wisconsin voters will elect a justice for the state’s Supreme Court, choosing between Rebecca Bradley, appointed to the state’s highest court last October, and JoAnne Kloppenburg, an appeals court judge. Bradley was named last fall to the Supreme Court by Gov. Scott Walker after Justice N. Patrick Crooks died with 10 months left in his term. Previously Bradley served on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge.
Earlier this month, St. Croix County supervisors thought they had worked out a temporary patch for a conflict over funding for municipal libraries. They were wrong. Last week, county attorney Scott Cox told Administration Committee members a 1993 Wisconsin attorney general’s opinion indicates using the county contingency fund to pay five other libraries money they had expected to receive from the Hudson Area Joint Library is not allowed under state law.
St. Croix County cut slightly the amount it charges work-release prisoners for electronic monitoring and will begin billing other counties for the use of its computer forensic lab. County Board members voted March 1 to reduce the per day charge for GPS bracelets on jail inmates in the work-release program from $10 to $5.25. The jail is using a new vendor, and the cost is less, said Supervisor Andy Brinkman, chairman of the Public Protection Committee.
Although they have asked to borrow $5 million from the State Trust Fund, St. Croix County supervisors voted 15-3 to limit the draw on that loan to $3,707,099. The resolution adopted March 1 says the draw and another $50,000 from the jail improvement fund will be spent this way: $68,530 court teleconferencing equipment; $2,298,247 for the second phase of an upgrade to the 911 system; $240,822 for remodeling for a day-reporting center at the jail; $1,142,000 for a jail upgrade; and $7,500 for a forensic computer for the Sheriff’s Department.
Although the dispute is not resolved, the St. Croix County Board put a Band-Aid on a library funding issue that pits the county’s largest municipalities against one another. County Board members voted Tuesday morning to pay the Hudson Area Joint Library 100 percent of its cost of serving rural patrons in 2015 and to ask the Administration Committee to use contingency funds to pay the county’s other libraries the amount they are owed for serving residents of the towns of Hudson and St. Joseph.
Development of a day reporting center at the St. Croix County Jail could assure that persons out on bond or on probation are being monitored as the judges assume they are, say those championing the project. “This is not done widely throughout the state. We’re really on the cutting edge,” said Sheriff John Shilts of the center that could be used by over 2,800 people who, at any one time, are involved with the courts and are ordered to report for urine or preliminary-breath tests, DNA collection or fingerprinting.