Man who murdered in Madison meets death himself; Common Core largely affirmed; 9 more state stories
White supremacist Joseph Paul Franklin was put to death Wednesday morning at a state prison in Bonne Terre Missouri.
The Missouri Corrections Department said the 63-year-old Franklin died at 6:17 a.m. -- the first death row inmate in the Show-Me state to die from a single drug known as pento-barbital.
The state was the only one where he was sentenced to death. Otherwise, he was given multiple life sentences for a total of eight murder convictions -- including the shooting deaths of a black man and his white female companion in Madison.
Franklin was tied to a total of 20 killings among other crimes. Franklin's fate was sealed overnight, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn two stays-of-execution granted last night by federal district judges in Missouri.Franklin was a paranoid schizo-phrenic who started drifting across the country in 1977 and robbed 16 banks to pay for his travels. He bombed a synagogue in Tennessee before he began his killing spree. Franklin was in a federal prison when he admitted to a murder near St. Louis -- and he was sentenced to death for it in 1997.In recent days, Franklin told reporters he was no longer a racist, after seeing in prison that blacks were "just like us."
Assembly will convene Dec. 4th to consider Badger Care extensionsMADISON -- The state Assembly will meet two weeks from Wednesday to consider Governor Scott Walker's proposals to delay Obama-care for almost 100,000 Wisconsinites.The Republican Walker asked lawmakers last week for a three-month delay in dropping 77,000 Badger-Care recipients with incomes above the poverty line. They're supposed to sign up for coverage on the federal government's purchasing exchange by Dec. 15th, but Walker cited the Internet problems in getting folks signed up online -- so he wants to delay the dropping of those Badger-Care recipients, so they can have a new deadline of March 15th to sign up for Obama-care.Also, the state's high-risk insurance pool was due to end in January, leaving about 20,000 other residents without coverage. Those people would also get a three-month delay under bills the Assembly plans to take up on Dec. 4th.The measures face an uncertain future in the Senate, where GOP Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has said he'd rather have month-to-month extensions.
Minor tweaks suggested for Common Core educational standardsMADISON -- It appears that Wisconsin's Common Core educational standards will not be thrown out.Members of a state Assembly review panel suggested Tuesday that the standards do more to protect student privacy. They also said the standards should get a periodic review, to make sure they're tailored to Wisconsin public schools.However, the panel did not recommend scrapping the voluntary standards adopted three years ago -- which call for stronger math-and-English requirements used in 45 states. The Assembly panel will outline in its final recommendations in a report to be released by the end of the year.Supporters say the Common Core standards are already improving the quality of instruction, with the goal of getting students better prepared for college and work life. Critics said the standards amount to a national curriculum.Assembly panel members said too much has been invested to throw out the Wisconsin version of the Common Core standards but they did say they could be improved.
Senator requests review of sexual assaults in ROTC programsWASHINGTON D.C. -- Wisconsin U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is supporting a plan to reduce sexual assaults in the military and she wants to expand it to include college Reserve Officer Training Corps. programs.Baldwin spoke on the Senate floor Tuesday in favor of New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand's measure. It would end major criminal prosecutions against U.S. troops by the military's chain-of-command. Independent officials would obtain the power to decide on those charges.Baldwin wants to add a study of sexual violence in ROTC programs, plus a review of how ROTC monitors the conduct of its cadets.Gillibrand's proposal is an amendment to a defense spending package.Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid threw his support behind the measure Tuesday. However, it's still not known whether it has the 60 votes needed to pass.Gillibrand's aides say about 20 Democrats are undecided. Other senators have come out against the plan, fearing it would strip authority from military commanders.An bi-partisan alternative measure has been introduced, cracking down on sexual assaults without changing the chain-of-command.
Balmy weather won't stay much longerIt was almost like late summer in far northern Wisconsin, where temperatures rose into the low-40's overnight. Southerly winds returned to the Badger State, and clouds moved in -- and the north was the main beneficiary.It was 43 in Superior and Siren at 6 a.m. River Falls had 41 degrees. Southern Wisconsin had readings 10- to 15 degrees colder. Burlington was the state's cold spot with 29.The National Weather Service said high pressure moved eastward through Wisconsin Tuesday, with clear-to-partly cloudy skies and highs in the 30's -- about normal for this time of year. When the clouds and southerly winds moved in, it actually got warmer in many places overnight. Today, a weak storm system will move through, with light rain possible today and tonight, mixed with snow in the north. Another low-pressure system is expected to bring more rain and snow late tomorrow and into Friday.Many places could see light snow accumulations as temperatures get cooler. Daytime highs could cool to the freezing mark by Friday.
Rhinelander teacher fired in wake of drug accusationsRHINELANDER -- A Rhinelander High School English teacher has been fired, after he was charged with seven crimes in a drug and theft case.The School Board terminated Joshua Juergens this week on a 6-0 vote, with one member abstaining.The 35-year-old Juergens is charged in Oneida County with six felonies for allegedly growing marijuana in his home, illegally getting prescription drugs, and stealing over $9,000 worth of computers and other equipment from Rhinelander schools. Police said he may have stolen other victims' computer equipment as well.School officials said other staffers and students did not help commit the crimes. Juergens was still in jail at last word under a $1,500 bond. He's due in back in court Thursday to see if he'll be ordered to stand trial on the felony counts.A status conference will also be held Thursday on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge.Juergens was hired last fall at Rhinelander. The superintendent recently said school officials were never made aware of some of his past charges, driver license suspensions, and small claims judgments against him.-- Larry Lee, WSAU, Wausau
DNR restaffs with hire of 18 biologistsMADISON -- Eighteen new wildlife biologists are on the job throughout the Badger State, including four assigned to the agency's Baldwin office.The Department of Natural Resources said the new people began last month, and they're filling jobs that have been vacant for as long as two years. Among other things, the new biologists are involved in overseeing public construction projects and recreation on state land.They're stationed throughout the Badger State at places like Madison, Oshkosh, Mishicot, Green Bay, Wausaukee, Black River Falls, Eau Claire, Baldwin, and Merrill.
Registry can warn you before neighbors treat lawnsMADISON -- State officials have re-opened a registry for people who want to be notified when somebody in their neighborhood hires a pro to apply pesticides on their lawns.The agriculture department is now taking free registrations online. The deadline to sign up is Feb. 1.Notices about the pesticide applications will be given out starting March 15th. The registry began 20 years ago. Some 570 people with 6,400 properties are now on the directory.For more information, go to http://datcp.wi.gov/Plants/Pesticides/.
Republicans keep control of two state Assembly seatsRepublicans will keep control of two Wisconsin Assembly seats, after their candidates won special elections Tuesday to fill a pair of vacancies.In central Wisconsin, Stratford roofer Bob Kulp got a whopping 67 percent of the vote in defeating Democrat Ken Slezak and Independent Tim Swiggum with almost 7,000 votes cast.In the south Milwaukee suburbs, GOP school choice advocate Jessie Rodriguez picked up 56 percent of the vote in eliminating Democrat Elizabeth Coppola will around 8,000 votes cast.Kulp -- a small business owner for three decades -- says he wants to focus on Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to create jobs and make it easier to do business in Wisconsin.Kulp replaces Scott Suder, the former GOP majority leader who resigned in early September. Rodriguez replaces Republican Mark Honadel, who also left in mid-September. The GOP'sThere was also a GOP primary Tuesday in another suburban Milwaukee Assembly district, where long-time Republican Jeff Stone left to take a job with the state Public Service Commission.Franklin Alderman Ken Skowronski eliminated three other candidates, as he picked up half of the 3,600 votes cast. Skowronski will now face Democrat John Hermes in a general election Dec. 17th. Hermes is the village president in Greendale.
Milwaukee's 93rd murder believed gang-relatedMILWAUKEE -- This city's 93rd murder victim this year died in a gang-related shooting.Police identified her Tuesday as 59-year-old Gloria Zuniga. She was slain when bullets sprayed her south side Milwaukee home on Monday night.Police said the shooters targeted the house -- but they do not believe they intended to kill Zuniga. Alderman Bob Donovan lives just two blocks away. He lashed out at what he called a "short-sighted approach to public safety," and he said Milwaukee needs a "definitive safety plan." Still, the alderman hesitated to put blame on the police department.Donovan said violence is not normal in his neighborhood but the current tension is "so thick you could cut it with a knife."Milwaukee now has more murders in the first 10.5 months of this year than in all of 2012. Ninety people were killed in the city a year ago.
Superior area men pinched with large cache of drugsBond has been set at $60,000 for two men from the Duluth-Superior area accused of hauling a large amount of illegal drugs through South Dakota.A state highway trooper arrested Dennis Krivinchuk, 64, of Superior and Richard Ward, 66, of Duluth on Monday.The South Dakota attorney general said the men had 60 pounds of marijuana and 150 grams of hashish in their vehicle when they were stopped.They're charged with intending to distribute drugs, possessing over 10 pounds of marijuana, and having a controlled substance.