Wisconsin roundup: Federal civil rights investigations at youth prisons ends with no charges; more state news stories
The U.S. attorney's office in Madison says its investigation found insufficient evidence to file charges connected to alleged civil rights violations at the state's youth prison.
Staff members at Lincoln Hills had been accused of using unreasonable force multiple times. The challenge for prosecutors would have been to prove the staffers used more force than necessary. The Wisconsin Legislature has passed a measure closing the prison in Irma by 2021. The state plans to build two new juvenile facilities in Outagamie and Milwaukee counties.
Chippewa County judge declines to dismiss charges in fatal hit-and-run case
A Chippewa County judge won't dismiss charges against the 22-year-old man accused of huffing chemicals before causing the hit-and-run accident that left three Wisconsin Girl Scouts and an adult dead.
Colten Treu made a court appearance Friday for a preliminary hearing. His attorney told the court there was no evidence he had been huffing, pointing to testing which didn't find any chemicals in his blood. The Girl Scouts were picking up litter along a highway in Lake Hallie when they were killed in the November accident.
Shopko reaches deal to sell optical business
Wisconsin-based Shopko has reached an agreement with a buy to sell its optical business for $8.5 million.
The company had just announced it was selling that business last Thursday, so the agreement came quickly. The buyer is Shoptikal LLC, an affiliate of Monarch Alternative Capital. The final agreement and the takeover process still have to be approved by a bankruptcy court. The deal could save as many as 700 jobs at the former Shopko locations.
Sanders vows to win back Midwest during Madison campaign rally
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he's building a "blue wall" coalition in Wisconsin and the Midwest to beat President Trump in 2020.
Sanders kicked off a campaign of states narrowly won by Trump in 2016 with a rally Friday in Madison. The Democratic presidential hopeful told more than 2,400 supporters, "We're going to win here in Wisconsin...and together we're going to win this election." Sanders is pushing for a single-payer health care program and said, "we're going to take on the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the health care industry and we will pass a Medicare for All." Sanders also accused President Trump of lying all the time.
Organic Valley reports record sales in 2018 — despite $7M loss
Organic Valley is reporting an all-time high for sales in 2018 with more than $1.1 billion, but still took a nearly $7 million loss.
Interim CEO Bob Kirchoff said at the annual meeting the net income number doesn't mean the cooperative is financially unstable and Organic Valley was able to achieve several financial goals in 2018. Kirchoff says they reduced debt by $40 million, improved cash flows, invested in the all the businesses they needed to, and most importantly held a stable pay price for farmers. Kirchoff says 2019 will be an exciting year for innovation at Organic Valley which includes two product launches this summer. The cooperative brought on 63 new members last year.