Tuesday Wisconsin state news roundup
A U.S. Senate panel will hold a hearing in Tomah today (Tuesday) after it reportedly found flaws in the way the Veterans Administration watchdog investigated drug problems at its hospital in Tomah.
USA Today obtained the 350-page report from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, which found that the VA inspector general's office dismissed important evidence from its two year probe ending in 2014, and it did not have standards to define wrongdoing.The Senate probe also confirmed earlier reports that the VA did not publicly release its findings that two Tomah providers gave excess painkillers to patients.The inspector general's probe was closed a few months before Stevens Point Marine Jason Simcakoski died at Tomah in 2014 from a mixture of drugs. Once the problems were disclosed last year, the VA did another investigation and released Tomah's director and chief of staff.A new inspector general took over last month, but USA Today says the top health care investigators remain -- including the one who did not release the original Tomah report.----------Memorial planned for Hmong and Lao veterans of Vietnam WarWAUSAU -- A memorial is being dedicated in Wausau to honor Hmong and Lao veterans who supported the United States during the Vietnam War.The granite and bronze memorial weighs more than 20 tons and depicts two Hmong soldiers supporting a U.S. airman. The names of local veterans will be etched in stone.The Wausau Daily Herald reports the memorial will be dedicated June 25near the Marathon County Courthouse.Organizers have worked on the memorial since 2012 and have raised $240,000.Organizers say Hmong soldiers supported a secret CIA effort in Laos. After the war, many families came to the U.S. as refugees. The first Hmong family arrived in Wausau 40 years ago.---------Motel worker’s tip leads to prostitution arrestWAUSAU -- Police give credit to an alert motel clerk for their prostitution arrest last week.The clerk spotted a man leaving a motel room after a short stay and called police. When stopped, the man admitted he paid a woman $200 for sex.Rebecca Baker, 41, of DePere denied having sex for money. She was charged with misdemeanor prostitution and felony drug possession.The clerk said Baker had been staying at the motel three days a week since December and routinely had male visitors for short periods of time.---------Wisconsin man arrested for hidden camera in Minnesota police stationDULUTH -- A Wisconsin man who worked as a janitor in Duluth is facing charges he secretly recorded a number of police women getting in and out of the shower.Jeffrey Giacomini from Superior is looking at five counts. Police say they found about 20 different recordings on his laptop.---------New international terminal opens near Green BayASHWAUBENON -- An international terminal has been officially opened at Austin Straubel International Airport in Brown County. The $4.3 million facility is in the airport's former firefighting building.More than 400 international flights are expected to land at the airport serving Green Bay each year.U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin said a federal reimbursement program will clear the way for that airport to hire as many as five additional Customs and Border Protection officers.---------Bluff erosion survey under way at Mount PleasantOfficials in Mount Pleasant say they'll find out for themselves today (Tuesday) how much erosion has occurred along the city's bluffs next to Lake Michigan.Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave issued a declaration of emergency last week, saying higher waves and water levels since January have caused severe erosion at a record pace. Mount Pleasant officials have said that about one dozen lakeside homes are at risk of falling into Lake Michigan.The village president, officials from the Mount Pleasant Fire Department and Racine County sheriff's department plan to head onto the water for the erosion survey.The village has been in contact with Gov. Scott Walker's office. WITI TV reported the governor is looking into ways the state could provide assistance.---------Google: Wisconsinites stumble when spelling ‘vacuum’Wisconsinites apparently have the most trouble spelling the word “vacuum.”Google Trends observed the recent National Spelling Bee by tweeting a map of the U.S. which shows the most common word that people in each state search for when typing “how to spell” in the search box.Wisconsinites are not alone as folks in Montana and Maine also forget that vacuum has one “c” and two ‘u’s.Google says Michigan residents have the most trouble spelling “gray,” which is “a-y” not “e-y.” Of Wisconsin's other neighbors, Google says Minnesotans search the word “broccoli” the most when trying to spell it. Other most troublesome words are “maintenance” in Iowa and “appreciate” in Illinois.---------All four victims in Walworth County traffic crash identifiedSHARON -- A medical examiner has positively identified two of the four people killed in Saturday's three-vehicle crash near Sharon in Walworth County, and relatives have identified the other two.Deputies say a pickup truck driver -- Carlos Venegas, 26, of Delavan -- was killed along with an SUV driver, Carol Terry, 67, of Rockford, Ill.A relative said Venegas’ Maria Flores, 27, also died in the crash, along with their two-year-old son Carlos. The boy’s six-year-old sister was among those hospitalized.Media reports say the Venegas family was going to a wedding for Maria’s sister when their pickup truck failed to stop at an intersection and was broadsided by a loaded semi. Terry's SUV was going the opposite way from the semi when it got into the crash.The pastor of Saint Andrew Catholic Church in Delavan said a funeral for the Venegas family is set for Friday. Three Go Fund Me accounts are raising money for family expenses.---------Two State Senate primaries taking shapeAt least two Wisconsin Senate Democrats face primary challenges onAugust 9.The deadline is late Wednesday for county, state and congressional candidates to file nomination papers for the fall elections.Democrat Jared Landry of La Farge has filed for the seat held by Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse. Senate Democrat Lena Taylor of Milwaukee has opposition from Assembly Democrat Mandela Barnes.Also, former Senate Republican Dan Kapanke of La Crosse is trying to win Shilling’s seat -- which he held until he was recalled in 2011. Kapanke also expects a primary challenge from John Sarnowski.Five Assembly members also have primary challengers who've announced their bids. All but one of the seats involved are held by Democrats.---------Autopsy planned on body pulled from Kenosha CreekKENOSHA -- An autopsy is planned today (Tuesday) for a middle-aged man whose body was pulled from Pike Creek near Carthage College in Kenosha.Rescuers were called around 9 a.m. Memorial Day. Officials say they had to cut down a lot of brush before they used a boat to enter the creek.The recovery effort was said to take around two hours.Kenosha police detectives are looking for information about the incident and the victim.---------Mukwonago native to receive Silver StarA native of the Waukesha County village of Mukwonago is set to receive the Silver Star for heroism while serving in the U.S. Army Special Forces.The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Richard Harris will be honored during a ceremony this Friday in Colorado.He received the award for his actions during a 2011 firefight with insurgents in Afghanistan.----------Voucher school operator sues DPI headMILWAUKEE -- A voucher school operator has sued the head of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.Ceria M. Travis Academy Inc. accuses Tony Evers of withholding more than $600,000 in state funding. The federal suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee.A spokesperson for Travis Academy said it almost had to close. The DPI says the academy owes the state $2.9 million, but the academy's attorney denies the claim. The academy alleges the withholding of the funding is “wrongful taking.”---------Two killed in Columbia County traffic mishapPORTAGE -- Two people have died and two others are hospitalized after a head-on traffic crash near Portage.The crash occurred about 7:20 p.m. Monday on Hwy. 33 at an intersection in the town of Fort Winnebago.Details were not immediately released, but officials say high speed and alcohol may have been factors, and an investigation continues. The victims' names were not immediately released.---------Second person dies from crash with stolen SUVMILWAUKEE -- Police are still looking for two teenage boys suspected of killing two people in a traffic crash in Milwaukee.Police say the teens were in a stolen SUV that ran through a stop sign and struck car on Friday and the boys then ran off.Relatives said Dainelle Triggs, 46, died at the crash scene, after she was passenger in the car that was hit. On Sunday, an unidentified eight year old boy died. Five other people were injured in the crash.Officials say the SUV was stolen about one month ago in Racine County.