Mom asks Baldwin school to work on bullying policy; State swamped with requests for gun-purchase background checks; Oak Creek officer named ‘Chic Sikh’; more briefsWisconsin News
A mother wants Baldwin-Woodville High School to review its policy against bullying after her 15-year-old foster daughter was given a noose by a classmate. The state Department of Justice is working overtime to handle the large increase in background checks required for handgun purchases.
A mother wants Baldwin-Woodville High School to review its policy against bullying after her 15-year-old foster daughter was given a noose by a classmate.
Sarah Hitzeman told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the African-American freshman girl has dealt with bullying since Day One at the school.
The worst incident was reported Dec. 20 when Hitzeman said a white ninth-grade boy placed a noose -- along with a white paper cone hat that resembled a hood of the Ku Klux Klan -- on the girl’s desk in an art class
Hitzeman said the girl “shut down,” and she was afraid to return to school when classes resumed Wednesday after the holidays.
The mother said it was apparently an uneducated juvenile prank. But her issue is with the school. Hitzeman claims the staff has tolerated other bullying incidents.
Principal Eric Russell would not comment on that claim. But he said he’s trying to find out whether a larger bullying problem exists at Baldwin-Woodville High. So far, Russell said, he has not seen a problem and other minority students said they’ve not been bullied.
The boy who supplied the noose was suspended. He’s due back in school Monday. Hitzeman said the two families will get together sometime before then. Hitzeman said the boy’s parents are also upset about the incident, and they’ve asked her how they can help.
State swamped with requests for gun-purchase background checks
The state Department of Justice is working overtime to handle the large increase in background checks required for handgun purchases.
The state handled just over 138,000 requests for background checks last year on its Handgun Hotline – 55% more than in 2011. Last year was the first full year of Wisconsin’s concealed weapons law, but the background checks for concealed carry permits are not the same ones as for actual handgun purchases.
Dana Brueck of the DOJ said her agency hired extra people to keep up the demand, and occasionally they’ve had to pay overtime or move people from other duties.
Terence Pavlic, who follows the industry as the head of a Delafield investment firm, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Wisconsin is following a national trend. He said gun sales are rising and manufacturers can barely keep up with the growing demand.
Last month, the FBI conducted 2.8 million background checks for gun buyers nationally. That’s more than any other month since Washington started keeping track in 1998.
There are no records that show actual gun purchases. The background checks are the closest thing to a state or a national count, but they’re not precise because multiple gun purchases can be handled with one check, and those buy guns from a friend or at a gun show are not required to have their backgrounds checked.
Oak Creek policeman named ‘Chic Sikh’
A Sikh religious publication in Canada has named Oak Creek police Lt. Brian Murphy its “Chic Sikh of the Year.”
The annual award comes from the online art and culture magazine Sikh Chic of Canada. It honors those who serve beyond the call of duty while reflecting the Sikh idea of caring for everyone.
Murphy took 15 bullets from gunman Wade Michael Page during the August shooting massacre at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. Six people were killed, but the magazine said many more could have died if it wasn’t for Murphy intervention.
The magazine said Murphy received an overwhelming number of nominations from Sikhs throughout the world. He beat out notables like author JK Rowling and British House of Lords member Indarjit Singh. A ceremony is planned soon in Oak Creek in which the magazine’s award will be presented.
Expect higher gas prices
Social Security taxes may not be the only things going up for Wisconsinites as the result of avoiding Washington’s fiscal cliff.
Oil industry analyst Jim Ritterbusch said gas prices in Milwaukee might go up to at least $3.50 a gallon this year. When gas goes up, so do the prices of food and everything else carried by motor vehicles.
Ritterbusch says there are “plenty of hot spots in the Middle East that will force up crude oil prices.”
Patrick DeHaan of gasbuddy.com said the sparing of the fiscal cliff also reduces the possibility of a new recession. After the Great Recession took hold in 2008, gas prices dropped below $2 a gallon because lots of folks drastically cut back on their driving.
AAA expects lower average fuel prices this year than in 2012. Pam Moen of Wisconsin AAA predicts flat-to-modest gains in travel as long as the economy shows some signs of getting better.
This morning, AAA said the average statewide price for regular unleaded is $3.21 a gallon, down a fraction of a cent from yesterday. That’s also down by over six cents from a year ago.
Man charged with diverting donations from charities
A Hartford man is accused of bilking two charitable groups out of $13,000.
Prosecutors said Anthony Langlois, 45, deceived almost 650 donors into giving to what they thought was the Alzheimer’s Association and the Briggs and Stratton Run and Walk for Milwaukee Children’s Hospital.
Authorities said Langlois altered donation forms from the two groups, and there’s no record that he gave them any money.
Langlois was charged in Washington County with two felony counts of identity theft and four misdemeanor charges of theft by fraud.
He appeared in court Wednesday, and a $1,500 cash bond was set. He waived a time limit for a preliminary hearing, and he’s due back in court Jan. 30.
Math teacher gets prison term for possessing child porn
A former middle school math teacher in Eagle River will spend three years in prison for possessing child pornography and having sex-related chats with young girls.
Michael Wang, 47, of Florence was sentenced Wednesday. Vilas County Circuit Judge Neal Nielsen ordered Wang to spend five years under extended supervision when he leaves prison, pay a $5,000 surcharge and register with the state as a sex offender.
School officials checked Wang’s work computer and flash drives and they found over 100 pornographic images of kids as young as four.
But special prosecutor David Maas said he was more concerned about online chats Wang was having with girls 14 and younger. Maas said that was evidence Wang was grooming them.
Judge Nielsen said Wang had apologized to children in general, but not the specific youngsters he hurt and that played a role in the sentence the judge handed out.
Wang had taught in the Northland Pines school system for two decades.
Two Great Lakes have record-low levels
Two of the Great Lakes have reached record-low water levels.
Preliminary data from the Army Corps of Engineers shows that Lakes Michigan and Huron had a mean water level of 576.15 feet above sea level in December. The previous all-time low was 576.2 feet, set in 1964.
The Corps says the measurements will be made official later in the week.
The low levels cause problems for boats that run aground and longer beaches that expose more debris from the water.
All five Great Lakes have had low water levels in the past year due to lower than normal precipitation which included light snowfalls last winter. But Lake Superior, which straddles northern Wisconsin, did not have a new December low unlike Lake Michigan on the state’s eastern border.
CWD still moving north in state’s deer herd
Chronic wasting disease continues to move northward in Wisconsin’s deer herd.
The Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday afternoon that two deer in the wild were confirmed to have the fatal brain disease. The deer were shot by hunters in Juneau and Portage counties Nov. 18.
The Portage County deer was an 18-month-old doe taken close to the Mead Wildlife Area near Junction City. The Juneau County animal was a four- to five-year-old buck shot less than two miles north of a boundary where a CWD-zone had already been established.
The DNR’s Kris Belling said neither discovery was a major surprise, and officials have been sampling deer in Portage County for the last decade after CWD was spotted in a captive deer at a game farm in that county.
Officials say the sampling results do not change the dates for the bow and arrow hunt in those places. The baiting and feeding of deer had already been banned in both Juneau and Portage counties.
Belling said it’s too soon to draw conclusions from the latest results. The next steps will be discussed once all the testing of deer from the November gun season is completed.
Former Wisconsin man kidnapped in Syria
It happened six weeks ago, but we just learned that a Marquette University graduate was kidnapped in Syria.
James Foley, 38, is a freelance reporter. The Global Post, an online news outlet from Boston, said Foley was driving toward Syria’s border with Turkey when his vehicle was stopped by another.
His father John said James Foley was forced away by two armed men, and he has not been heard from since then. The elder Foley said his family wants Jim to come home safely or at least talk with him to know he’s OK.
Foley graduated from Marquette in Milwaukee in 1996 with degrees in history and Spanish. He and three other journalists were held in Libya for 45 days in 2011 while they were reporting for the Global Post on Libya’s civil war.
Foley talked about his experience in a visit to Marquette in late 2011. He has also done reporting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Packers call for help shoveling out
The Green Bay Packers are asking folks to help shovel out the seats at Lambeau Field for Saturday night’s playoff game against Minnesota.
Light snow is in the forecast for tonight. The Packers are looking for up to 600 shovelers to clear out snow through the day tomorrow as needed.
It’s the second time in the last two weeks that the Packers have asked for shoveling help.
The shovelers must be at least 15 years old. They’ll get $10 dollars an hour. The shoveling begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow. As always, the Packers will provide the shovels.