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La Crosse State Representative Jennifer Shilling defeated republican Dan Kapanke in one of six recall elections decided in Wisconsin yesterday. Shilling won with 55% of the vote. A race that drew millions of dollars in spending by outside groups. Nearly 60 thousand voters turned out in the 32nd district for the recall race. In the 18th senate district, democrat Jessica King also ended a republican senator's term early; ousting first term senator Randy Hopper by a two point margin. The victories were one short of giving democrats the three wins they need to wrest control of the senate from republicans in Madison. Two final recall elections for democratic senators will be held next week.
Representative Steve Doyle has been appointed to a Special Task Force on UW Restructuring and Operational Facilities. The Committee was created during the State Budget discussions when a proposal to separate the UW-Madison from the UW System was deleted. The Committee will be given the task of determining whether there is a need to change the UW System and, if so, to make recommendations as to a new governance structure.
The Committee is comprised of 17 members appointed by the Governor and the Legislative Leaders. The Committee will include public and business leaders and one member of the public will serve as Chairperson.
If the Committee determines that there is a need to make changes to the current system, they must offer recommendations. The first consideration will be how to transition employees between systems, and how pay plans for System employees should be determined in the future. They will also need to decide if tuition flexibility can be extended to the UW System and what role the Legislature should have in establishing tuition rates. Finally, the Committee will review how transfer of credits between the UW institutions can be improved. The task force must submit a report to the Governor by January 1st, 2012.
A young father from Bangor whose baby died accidentally pleads guilty to child neglect.
Sean Meyer entered an Alford plea, meaning he can be convicted but does not admit to guilt. Meyer said in court that he never would have put his four-month-old daughter atop a bean bag chair, if he had thought she would fall off and become trapped under the chair. The child died in May of last year. Judge Ramona Gonzalez imposed a one-thousand dollar fine against Meyer. The money will be paid from the bond that was posted when Meyer was jailed after his child's death.
The count is now four people accused of hiding a man who died of drug use...and one person accused of supplying the drug.
The alleged supplier, Andrew Seekamp, could be charged later this week for contributing to the death of 40-year-old Anthony Ducharme. Judge Scott Horne imposed a 250-thousand dollar bond for Seekamp. Also in court on Monday...Patrick Valiquette, the latest person suspected of trying to hide Ducharme's body near a north La Crosse park.
Another death has been attributed to last month's heat wave. According to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office, a 65-year-old Sparta woman's death has been confirmed as heat-related. The woman died on July 23rd. She did not have air conditioning in her home and she also had an underlying health condition.
The Monroe County death brings the number of heat-related deaths to five that occurred during the hot, humid conditions from July 15th-24th.
Wisconsin Emergency Management continues to monitor the situation.