Wisconsin roundup: Snow brings 3-day weekends to thousands; some Kohl's stores to shrink; 7 more state news stories
Thousands of Wisconsin school students have three day weekends, thanks to a snowstorm that could bring up to 12 inches in the western third of the state by Saturday morning.
As of 6 a.m., about 90 of the state's 424 public school districts closed their doors Friday — and some made the decision Thursday night. Districts closed Friday in St. Croix and Pierce counties include Ellsworth, Spring Valley, Baldwin-Woodville and Prescott.
Wausau, Marshfield, Wisconsin Rapids, and Chippewa Falls are among the largest districts to close — plus Midstate, Northcentral, and Chippewa Valley technical colleges. Four to 8 inches of snow are predicted for the Hayward area — and organizers of the American Birkbeiner must decide whether that's enough to hold North America's largest cross country ski race Saturday. Some other Friday skiing events were moved earlier to Saturday.
Kohl's to reduce inventories in about 300 stores
MENOMONEE FALLS — The CEO of the Wisconsin based Kohl's Department Store chain says it plans to reduce inventories and square footage in about 200 locations this year.
Kevin Mansell told industry analysts Thursday it's important to keep brick and mortar stores open as a way to grow its online sales — and with earnings down, he says he'd rather reduce store sizes than close a lot of stores like Macy's is now doing. Kohl's of Menomonee Falls has slimmed down about 115 full sized stores to a smaller template that it now has in almost one fifth of its 1,150 total locations. Kohl's only closed 19 stores nationally in 2016, and Mansell does not expect that to continue. His comments came after Kohl's reported a nearly 3 percent drop in sales for the three months ending Jan. 28
State AG announces deal on drug overdose treatment
MADISON — Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has struck a deal with the manufacturer of a drug used to reverse overdoses to make it more readily available at a lower cost.
Schimel on announced the partnership with Adapt Pharma for the drug Naloxone. Known as Narcan, it is used in emergencies to treat people who have overdosed from heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioids. The one-year deal gives a 40 percent discount to police, first responders, state and local governments and community-based organizations who buy more than 48 nasal spray doses of Narcan at a time. That will reduce the price from $125 to $75 for two four-milligram doses.
Clarke urges federal charges against 'sanctuary cities'
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says "sanctuary cities" would disappear if federal prosecutors start issuing charges for harboring aliens.
Clarke was on a panel Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington — and as he put it, "You charge one mayor, one governor, one council president that adopts these laws — this stuff is going to end right away." Sanctuary cities do not cooperate with federal officials on most matters involving illegal immigrants — and Clarke says those places are "havens for criminal activity."
Clarke is a big supporter of President Donald Trump's immigration policies, and he's letting his deputies help enforce immigration laws. Clarke, whom several groups are trying to recruit as a 2018 candidate for U.S. Senate, is due to speak to the full conservative conference Saturday.
Lawmaker cites Madison case for changes in police shooting probes
MADISON — State Rep. Chris Taylor says the Madison police killing of Tony Robinson exposes problems with the law that requires outside agencies to investigate officer involved shootings.
And the Madison Democrat says she's working on bills to change that. Police and the Dane County District Attorney's Office cleared officer Matt Kenny in Robinson's 2015 shooting death — but the family still won a $3.5 million settlement of their civil lawsuit.
The state Justice Department investigated Robinson's death — and his family's lawyer says Kenny got to review police evidence before being asked about the incident, which non-police suspects don't get to do. WKOW-TV says the Justice agency did not comment. Taylor says local DAs are too close to their local officers to issue fair rulings, and she says special prosecutors should make the final decisions on charges.
Embezzlement convict accused of threatening judge
WAUKESHA — A Green Bay woman convicted of embezzlement is now accused of threatening the judge who sentenced her.
Thirty-four-year-old Michelle Boswell is scheduled to appear in Waukesha County Circuit Court Friday afternoon on a felony charge of threatening a judge, and two counts of disorderly conduct. She was sentenced in January to 45 days in jail with work release privileges for writing$2,500 in checks from a Waukesha heating company where she used to work, so she could pay her rent.
Circuit Judge Michael Maxwell told investigators he saw two threatening posts from Boswell on Facebook — one of which said she hopes a black person, in her words, "shoots you on the way home from work, you pathetic excuse for a honkey." Officials say she also threatened to kill her state probation agent, and she moved to Green Bay after quitting her job.
Dems oppose OT pay expansion that judge halted nationally
MADISON — Two Democratic state lawmakers want new overtime pay requirements for Wisconsin workers similar to what a federal judge halted nationally last year.
Green Bay Sen. Dave Hansen and Racine Rep. Cory Mason introduced a bill this week to make employers pay overtime to salaried workers making less than $50,440 dollars per year, affecting about 80,000 workers. Hansen and Mason say the percentage of Wisconsin salaried workers getting overtime beyond 40 hours fell from 65 percent in 1975 to 13 percent in 2013.
Democrats say it's squeezing down the middle class, but businesses say labor costs would skyrocket with the overtime change and employee morale could be hurt as salaried employees get demoted to hourly status. In late November, a federal judge in Texas halted a similar national measure pending further review.
Walker names new utility commissioner, financial secretary
MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker has made another change in his Cabinet.
State Financial Institutions Secretary Lon Roberts will join the utility regulating Public Service Commission and Deputy Financial Secretary Jay Risch will move up to the top spot in that agency. Roberts, a former partner for the Ruder Ware law offices in Wausau, replaces former GOP state lawmaker Phil Montgomery on the PSC. Montgomery's term on that panel expires in March.
Former Milwaukee priest charged with child sex assault
MILWAUKEE — A former Milwaukee Catholic priest is free on a signature bond, after he appeared in court Thursday on charges that he sexually assaulted a young girl.
Seventy-five-year-old Rev. Robert Marsicek is charged with three felonies of first degree sex assault of a child younger than 13. He's due back in court March 6 for a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors say Marsicek repeatedly touched a child at the Pius Parish and School in Wauwatosa from 2007-2010, starting when she was six. Reports say Marcisek had numerous complaints from parents in past years, and he avoided a criminal case in 2013.