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Wisconsin roundup: Ellsworth among 6 cities to hold Walker budget hearings; man accused of poisoning wife with Visine; 9 more state news stories

MADISON — Six public hearings, including one in Pierce County, have been scheduled across Wisconsin on Gov. Scott Walker's state budget proposal.

The first hearing will be held April 3 at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. That will be followed by one on April 5 at State Fair Park outside of Milwaukee and April 7 at Berlin High School.

The final three hearings will be April 18 at Spooner High School, April 19 at Ellsworth High School and April 21 at Marinette High School. The Joint Finance Committee will hold state agency briefings in Madison prior to the public hearings. Votes on the budget are expected to begin in early May.


Man accused of poisoning wife with Visine

BURLINGTON — A Racine County man is facing over 10 years in prison if convicted of charges for allegedly poisoning his wife's beverages with Visine.

Forty-five-year-old Darin Tiedt of Burlington was charged this week. Court documents say he also choked her when she confronted him about putting the eye drops in her Diet Coke, which caused diarrhea, blurry vision, and low energy. She told police she started feeling sick shortly after telling Tiedt about a month before the incident that she wanted a divorce.


DNR responds to 100,000-gallon manure spill

TOWN OF HUMBOLDT — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says the manure from an accidental spill earlier this week has reached a tributary of the Kewaunee River.

An estimated 100,000 gallons of manure was released Monday when a farm employee left a valve open. The DNR says there is some risk of groundwater contamination, so private well owners are being advised to monitor their water quality closely. The spill was originally reported by the Kroll farm as 1,000 gallons, but state workers realized it was much larger when the cleanup started Tuesday. It is contained.


Lawsuit: Woman shackled during pregnancy at Milwaukee County jail

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office is facing a federal lawsuit from a woman who says she was shackled while in labor in the jail.

Twenty-seven-year-old Melissa Hall was in jail from February to August 2013. She says in the lawsuit that she was shackled during hospitalization for pre-natal care, labor, and post-partum treatment after her child was born. The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday seeks class-action status, claiming at least 40 other women experienced similar circumstances at the jail since 2011. The lawsuit doesn't state why Hall was being detained.


Wisconsin election commissioners worry about budget cuts

MADISON — The bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission is cautioning legislators that staffing reductions in the current budget proposal will significantly curtail the agency’s ability to serve candidates, local election officials and voters.

Members of the Elections Commission and its staff will attend the Joint Finance Committee’s agency briefing on March 28. They will request continuation of six positions as requested in the agency’s original budget proposal. Commission members say they need all 22 of its current federally funded positions to keep up with expanding state and federal election laws. Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal includes funding for only 16 of the 22 positions.


Walker repeats opposition to Trump call for Great Lakes funding cut

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker says it makes sense to continue protecting and improving the Great Lakes. Walker reiterated his opposition to President Donald Trump's plan to remove federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Washington has sent $2.2 billion to the eight states surrounding the lakes over the last seven years. Walker says he will hold meetings with the Trump administration and Republicans who control Congress about restoring the money. At least one expert says cutting the funding now will mean higher costs in the future.


High school students suspended for Instagram posting

KIMBERLY — Fox Valley Metro Police and Kimberly High School officials say they are taking two Instagram posts seriously.

The two boys involved have been suspended. One of the posts showed a student at the high school holding what appeared to be an assault-style rifle, but was later determined to be an air soft gun. The second showed Columbine High School, the site of the 1999 Colorado mass shooting that left 13 people dead. Searches were done of the vehicles and homes of the two students. Their names haven't been released.


Senate panel OKs governor's choice to head VA

MADISON — The Senate Transportation and Veterans Affairs Committee has voted to recommend confirmation of Gov. Scott Walker's choice to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dan Zimmerman was supported by the president of the County Veterans Service Officers and the state commander of the VFW at a hearing Thursday. Zimmerman will replace John Scocos, who resigned in the middle of accusations about alleged mismanagement at the King veterans home. The next step is a vote by the full Wisconsin Senate on Zimmerman's confirmation.


Woman who shot husband gets 18 months in prison

MADISON — A 35-year-old Sun Prairie woman will go to state prison for one-and-a-half years for shooting her husband in the hand as he ran away from her.

Kassandra J. Brown told a Dane County judge Thursday she is "ashamed," saying she has received drug abuse and mental health treatment and is working to build a future. She lured Charles Brown to the house will a fake family emergency, then began screaming at him, threw a baseball bat and shot him as he ran to a nearby elementary school. The defense asked for probation, but the judge said the fact the Brown's children were witnesses led him to impose prison time.


Wisconsin Dems propose gun restrictions for buses

MADISON — Democratic lawmakers from the Madison circulated a bill Thursday that would give state and local governments the authority to prohibit weapons on public transit.

The measure's unveiling comes even though leaders of the majority GOP have already said they have no interest in such legislation. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled last week that Madison's Metro Transit cannot continue banning weapons on city buses under the state's concealed-carry law. Other cities whose policies were impacted include Oshkosh, Janesville and Beloit.


UW-La Crosse dispatcher fired over Trump offered job back

LA CROSSE — A University of Wisconsin-La Crosse police dispatcher who says she was fired for supporting President Donald Trump's travel ban will get her job back.

Chancellor Joe Gow says the university system's legal counsel recommended dispatcher Kimberly Dearman be rehired. Dearman was fired on Monday following a university investigation into a complaint by a colleague that Dearman used unbecoming or threatening language.

Dearman told the colleague that the travel ban would prevent terrorists from entering the United State and that those immigrants should go back where they came from. Gow says Dearman wasn't fired for her political opinions.