Closure will last throughout weekend
Walker taking applicants for state Supreme Court justice opening
Is our system of choosing a President rigged? We hear that message, even from some of the candidates. And a new poll suggests that most people agree. A new Reuters...
We should have known 2012 would be a crazy year for weather when the Onalaska Hilltoppers celebrated their state basketball title with an outdoor rally. On an 80-degree day in mid-March.
The record warmth of March was voted the second-biggest weather story in the La Crosse area this year by the National Weather Service. The number one weather event was a tie between the warmest local July ever, and the year-long drought. The very mild winter of 2011 and '12, and our recent pre-Christmas blizzard, also made the list of top local weather stories.
(AP) Two Republican legislators say they'll try again this session to overhaul Wisconsin's drunken driving laws. Rep. Jim Ott of Mequon and Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills say they plan to introduce bills that would criminalize first-time offenses for drivers with high blood alcohol percentages; require first-time offenders to appear in court; make a third conviction a felony; establish mandatory minimum sentences for drunken drivers that cause injuries or death; and require police to seize drunken drivers' cars beginning with a third-time offense.
The package closely mirrors bills Ott and Darling pushed during the last session. None of those proposals got a vote after fiscal estimates showed they would have cost the state tens of millions of dollars.
Ott says those estimates were unrealistic.
(AP) The University of Minnesota plans to review the cost of tuition for out-of-state residents. The university dropped its nonresident tuition four years ago to attract more undergraduates from elsewhere. It is now the cheapest school in the Big Ten for those students, but it's the fourth-most-expensive for residents.
The number of nonresident students has swelled since 2007 from nearly 8 percent to more than 17 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of resident students dipped slightly and the number of students from reciprocity states such as Wisconsin shrank.
University President Eric Kaler says it's probably a good time to look at nonresident tuition and whether it needs to be changed. He says the university first needs to study how sensitive out-of-state students are to price.
(AP) Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wants to make ending child trafficking a priority in the next year. He says he wants to hire five full-time employees, including three special agents and two criminal analysts, who would work to fight child sex trafficking.
In addition, he wants to hold more training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and victim and witness coordinators and to work with lawmakers to draft human trafficking-related legislation. Van Hollen asked for more than $900,000 in his department's two-year budget request.
Gov. Scott Walker's spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor's office is reviewing it. Van Hollen's spokeswoman Dana Brueck says the department doesn't have statistics on the scope of the problem in Wisconsin. But she says it would naive to think it isn't happening.
Recent State Senate candidate Bill Feehan has launched a campaign for mayor of La Crosse. Feehan was the Republican nominee against Jennifer Shilling in the 32nd District Senate election this fall. He told a group of supporters at the Radisson on Saturday that people have urged him to run for mayor on the April ballot. Feehan lists his top priorities as public safety, economic growth, and reducing property taxes. He believes that his Senate campaign will help him with name recognition in a field of about a dozen candidates for mayor.
(AP) If background checks are any indication, Wisconsin's gun sales seem to be up. Total sales figures for firearms don't exist. But a good yardstick is the number of background checks when a gun is purchased.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice's background check hotline for handgun purchases has handled 60 percent more calls year to date as of Dec. 23 than it did for the same period last year. And the total number of calls this year has far surpassed all of 2011.
There also appeared to be a spike after the Connecticut shooting Dec. 14. State figures show for the week of Dec. 9 to 15, the hotline handled more than 3,700 calls. That number jumped to nearly 6,000 the week after.