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A steady stream of people right now heading to La Crosse economic support offices. They're applying for money to help pay heating bills. Actually pretty typical, says Tom Miller, who administers the program in the county. Miller says the typical surge in heating assistance applicants happens in October and at the end of the season when utilities can start disconnecting. Last year, the county provided state funded heating assistance to four thousand households. He expects smaller amount of heating assistance will be available to each household this year.
So, those couple hundred inmates released early from Wisconsin prisons should make a big impact on the state's budget. That was the idea, anyway, behind the early release program adopted this year as part of a budget shaving plan for the state's corrections department. But virtually no savings have been realized by the plan, says West Salem state rep, Mike Huebsch. He says all the program has done has put communities in danger from those getting released early from prison.
Huebsch also criticizes the program because the Department of Corrections doesn't have a good grasp of how many get released early, only to wind up back in the court system shortly after.
Angelo Ervin must have known things weren't going to go his way Sunday evening. La Crosse police say the Onalaska man managed to stall out while towing his big boat through the intersection of Clinton and Rose street on the northside. Cops suggest the problem with the towing may have had something to do with the condition of the operator. They say Ervin blew a .26 on a breathalyzer at the scene. Fourth OWI for Ervin. After they searched the 41 year-old at jail, they shook free a bag of wax from his pants. Ervin says he was going to try and sell the wax as crack cocaine. Ervin's already in trouble for a knife fight he got into in a northside La Crosse bar over a card game earlier this month. Cops say, in that one, he was hiding cocaine in his mouth. But that was the real stuff.
A La Crosse guy faces potential trials in state and federal courts for meth. La Crosse Police have charged Larry Bailey for manufacturing and dealing methamphetamine. He was originally arrested last month but apparently wasn't playing ball with cops so, on Friday, they rounded up the 37 year-old and put him behind bars. Besides the local charges, Bailey's been told he's also close to an indictment on federal drug charges.