Yes, he violated part of the city's ethics code. No, he shouldn't be punished for it. That's the conclusion of La Crosse's ethics board in response to a complaint filed against mayor Matt Harter. The board says there's clear and convincing evidence that the Mayor tried to use his position to help benefit his family's business, Harter's Quick Clean-up. That evidence, the board says, comes from two meetings with the county's solid waste director, the last one with Harter's father. The ethics board says it was that last meeting that was their primary evidence that he crossed ethical lines. Although the board is not required to propose punishment, members say the public ridicule and scrutiny Harter has faced so far should be considered punishment enough. The board does, however, recommend that Harter maybe take some classes on ethics.
There's long term employees and then there's guys like John Burnett. After forty years in the Onalaska school district, Burnett calls it quits this June, retiring as the district's superintendent, a job he's held since 1996. Burnett started out in Onalaska as a social studies teacher in 1971. Burnett made his retirement announcement this morning.
To change directions at the Myrick Hixon Eco Park, the park's bosses don't need city council approval. But maybe they should, says city council member Andrea Richmond. She says the city had some say at the onset of the park and have appropriated money to it every year. Also the city owns the land the Eco Park is using. Richmond says she's not happy with the new animal-free direction park director Jeff Su is taking. She says, even if it's scaled down from original plans, the Eco Park should have animal attractions.
A La Crosse police officer has taken his training to another level. Lieutenant Shawn Kudron is just the fourth ever from the department to graduate from the FBI national academy in Quantico, Virginia. The national academy has graduated about 45 thousand cops since 1935. Training at the academy involves a number of graduate and undergraduate courses and admission is highly selective. Kudron and La Crosse police lieutenant Pat Hogan are the only current officers on the force to have graduated from the academy.
It just took passing one law to give Wisconsin something the state has never had before: an "A" grade from the American Lung Association. On the group's latest smoking report card survey of the nation, Wisconsin gains its first "A" grade ever for smokefree air. That grade comes after the enactment of the state's workplace smoking ban. Wisconsin also gets a "B" for cigarette taxes, which are now some of the highest in the nation. But it is two F's for the state in the areas of money spent on non-smoking cessation and control programs. The Lung Association also marks Minnesota and Iowa with A's for smokefree air but both states also do poorly in smoking prevention and quit efforts.
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