UW's requested $95 million faces uphill fight at the Capitol; Obama to honor fallen Delafield soldier -- 151 years late; 9 more Wisconsin stories
MADISON -- Two months ago, University President Ray Cross said the UW needs an extra $95 million over the next two years to develop key industrial talent that's holding back the state's economy.
The Board of Regents endorsed it -- but Wednesday, two Republican legislative leaders said it would be a tough sell in their chamber.
Joint Finance Committee co-chair John Nygren told reporters that the UW should not ask lawmakers for potential funds lost after the Legislature froze tuition last year.
Gov. Scott Walker told state agencies not to seek any funding increases in their next two-year budgets but several did so anyway.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the UW needs to focus its teaching and research on growing the economy instead of what he called the "ancient mating habits of whatever."
Cross told the UW Regents in August he was talking with lawmakers and the governor's office about the proposed talent initiative on a weekly basis.
In response to the new criticism, Cross simply told the Associated Press he looks forward to working with the new Legislature.
New leadership being chosen in both Houses MADISON -- Wisconsin Senate Republicans were expected to decide Thursday who will be leading the upper house in the new session that begins in January.
Media reports indicate Senators Jerry Petrowski of Marathon, Mary Lazich of New Berlin, and Frank Lasee of De Pere all want to become the next Senate president. The winner will replace Mike Ellis of Neenah, who did not run for re-election this week.
Senate Democrats are scheduled to elect their minority leader next Wednesday. Chris Larson expects to win a second two-year term in the post. He'll be challenged by La Crosse Democrat Jennifer Shilling.
In the Assembly, the Republican majority plans to choose new leaders on Monday.
Majority Leader Pat Strachota of West Bend did not seek re-election, and reports say three lawmakers hope to replace her. They are current Assistant Majority Leader Jim Steineke of Kaukauna, Andre Jacque of De Pere, and Joan Ballweg of Markesan.
On the Democratic side, there was no immediate word of a definite challenger to Minority Leader Peter Barca of Kenosha.
The Journal Sentinel said Milwaukee Democrat Evan Goyke was "seriously considering" that post.
Walker promises 'aggressive' action, pursuing his agenda On Wednesday, Gov. Scott Walker said he'll more be aggressive in pursuing his agenda in his second term, after voters elected a more conservative Legislature on Tuesday.
Walker also told his cabinet they'll have stronger allies in the Assembly and Senate. He said voters want a state government that's more effective, efficient, and accountable. Walker told agency leaders to see what they can do better, and what they can scrap.
He plans to meet with GOP legislative leaders in the coming days. Republicans added one member to its Senate majority after Tuesday's elections, and up to three members in the Assembly depending on the final outcomes in a pair of close races.
GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says the first bill he wants is a comprehensive school accountability package that failed to pass in the last session. Vos also said he wants changes in the state Government Accountability Board, saying it's too partisan in enforcing election laws.
Vos also wants to change Wisconsin's long-running John Doe investigating system -- a secret process in which prosecutors gather evidence to decide whether to charge suspects. Vos has said the system has been used as a "witch hunt" against Walker.
Senate GOP leader Scott Fitzgerald said quick approval of the next budget is his top priority. It could include more tax cuts, which Walker has said he wants in the next session.
Speculation ramps up about presidential intentions of Walker, Ryan With the Iowa caucuses 14 months away, Gov. Scott Walker and Janesville Congressman Paul Ryan don't have much more time to sit on the presidential fence.
A national Republican official warned Wednesday that GOP White House candidates only have about three months to get in gear because they'll all be going after the same national donors and support networks. Walker punctuated his potential White House bid by winning re-election on Tuesday and then using his acceptance speech to mention America's challenges more than Wisconsin's.
Walker has told reporters he wants to speed through his state agenda with the help of a more conservative Legislature that voters gave him on Tuesday and then consider a White House bid which may or may not be too late.
Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus from Kenosha said both Walker and Ryan have the ability to achieve whatever goals they want, including a presidential victory with a formative field that may include U.S. senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio.
Former Governor Tommy Thompson, who ran for president a few years ago, says Walker and Ryan owe it to themselves to try. He says a person only gets one such opportunity, and not many can follow that path.
Both Walker and Ryan have followed the pre-candidacy script by rounding up national donors, writing books, and making themselves known around the country while stumping for others.
Fallen Civil War officer from Delafield to be honored in 'DC WASHINGTON D.C. -- A Wisconsin Civil War officer who died while standing his ground at the Battle of Gettysburg was to posthumously receive his nation's gratitude Thursday.
President Obama will present the Medal of Honor to two cousins of Alonzo Cushing of Delafield.
The 22-year-old Union Army first lieutenant was killed in July, 1863 while holding off confederate officers during Pickett's Charge, part of the three-day battle in Pennsylvania which is often cited as the turning point of the Civil War.
The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest military award. It's been given to about 1,500 soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Cushing's descendants and others have tried since the late 1980's to award the medal. It's not known why it wasn't done earlier. Normally, recommendations must be made within two years of an act of heroism. Congress approved an exemption for Cushing, despite previous attempts to block it. Four years ago, ex-Virginia Senator James Webb removed the award from a defense spending bill. He said it was possible to go back 150 years and determine who should get medals posthumously. Webb feared that Cushing's case would create a flock of claims.
'Honey princess' tells kids bees pollinate about a third of what we eat Wisconsin school kids are learning more this week about a disorder that affects honey-bees, and why it's important to keep bee colonies healthy.
American Honey Princess Susannah Austin of Florida is spending the week in Wisconsin. She's telling youngsters about the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder, in which mites and viruses have taken a toll on bee numbers.
Austin said the industry is making progress in fighting the disorder. She told the Brownfield Ag News Service that the publicity about it has resulted in new efforts to improve the bees' habitat.
Austin said about 30 percent of American bees are lost each year, but the toll dropped to 23 percent last year with hopes of a further reduction in 2014.
Two federal assistance efforts were announced last month to help bee-keepers maintain the health of their colonies. Austin tells youngsters that honey-bees are responsible for about a-third of our diet, as they provide pollination for a large majority of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.
While in Wisconsin, Austin is attending the annual meeting of the state Honey Producers Association. Wisconsin is the nation's 10th largest honey producer.
Learn more about the Honey Association's work here: http://www.ahpanet.com/?page=LatestNews
Green Bay police repeat woodland search for woman -- missing 16 years GREEN BAY -- Green Bay Police combed about 30 acres in central Wisconsin Wednesday, checking a fresh lead in the 1998 disappearance of a college student.
The site was also searched in 2000, as part of the effort to find 19-year-old Amber Wilde. The acreage is located west of Waupaca in Portage County.
Wilde was attending UW Green Bay, and was 18 weeks pregnant when she vanished in September, 1998.
Media reports said Wilde got into a minor traffic accident on her way to school and she called her father and another unidentified person before disappearing for good.
A week later, Wilde's car was found at a Green Bay tavern. Reports said it had about 700 miles on it which were not accounted for and it appeared that Wilde did not drive the vehicle there.
Detectives said her disappearance is still officially a missing person's case, but they have little hope that she's still alive.
Pseudo cancer 'victim' gets probation for bilking contributors MERRILL -- A woman will spend a year on probation and five days in jail for faking lung cancer to convince people to give her money.
Celina Winchell, 20, of Merrill was originally charged in Lincoln County with 16 counts of theft by fraud, violating a lease, and obstructing authorities.
On Wednesday, she pleaded guilty to one theft charge plus obstruction. The other 16 counts were dropped in a plea deal.
Authorities said Winchell and her father Edmund arranged to have donation jars placed at 16 Merrill area businesses.
An elaborate social media campaign noted that Celine had advanced-stage lung cancer. Officials said she tried to look like she had chemotherapy, but she actually did a poor job of cutting and dying her hair.
Winchell's jail term includes work release privileges. She must also pay $255 to the American Cancer Society and write an apology letter in Merrill's Foto News.
Her father was given a five-day jail sentence earlier.
Hit & run driver located in Racine mother-child injury case RACINE -- Racine Police say they've found a hit-and-run vehicle that injured a pregnant woman and her three-year-old daughter.
Officials have also identified the driver who caused the injuries and then drove away. No arrests were reported as of early Thursday.
Police said the woman was 38 weeks pregnant when she was struck by a vehicle on Tuesday night while crossing at an intersection. Her baby was born prematurely during an emergency Caesarean section. The infant and the mother were both hospitalized in serious condition at last word.
The young girl was thrown several feet by the vehicle, but she suffered only minor injuries.
Jury takes just 20 minutes to convict shooter in playground killing MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee jury deliberated for only 20 minutes Wednesday before convicting a man who exchanged gunfire with another man, and killed a 10-year-old girl in the crossfire.
Sylvester Lewis, 19, faces nearly 40 years in prison when he's sentenced on Nov. 26.
Ten-year-old Sierra Guyton and her 12-year-old sister were shot in May while playing at Milwaukee's Clarke Street Elementary School. Sierra later died from her injuries.
After three days of testimony, Lewis was convicted on all three charges against him -- reckless homicide, reckless endangerment, and illegal firearm possession as a convicted felon.
Prosecutor Mark Williams said 16 shots were fired -- eight by Lewis, and eight by the person shooting at him.
Police said Lewis was approaching a group of men when he got into an argument with one of them. After he walked away, Lewis saw the man pull a gun, and that's when the shooting began.
The other alleged shooter, Jamey Jackson, is scheduled for a trial this month on illegal firearm possession.
Accused murderess now facing prison assault charge too APPLETON -- A woman who's accused of murdering her husband is facing additional charges, after she reportedly got into a fight with a jail inmate.
Mastella Jackson, 37, of Appleton, is charged with felony battery by prisoners and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
An Outagamie County judge added a $500 bail to a $500,000 bond on her previous charges of homicide and bail jumping.
Prosecutors allege Jackson got into an argument Oct. 18 with fellow inmate Latia Fink, who was cleaning her jail cell at the time.
Officials cited surveillance video which showed Jackson throwing, punching, and kicking Fink while swinging her head back and forth.
Jackson was arrested early in 2012, after she reportedly confessed to stabbing Derrick Whitlow to death at a motel west of Appleton.
A judge tossed out the confession in June, saying police never told Jackson about her right to remain silent. The district attorney and the state Justice Department are appealing that ruling.
The Appleton Post-Crescent reports a state appeals court may rule on it by the end of the year.