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Wisconsin roundup: Lincoln Hills teacher blames court injunction, state for beating; more state news stories

A teacher at Lincoln Hills beaten by a teenage inmate says a court order to cut back on punishment has the teens "emboldened" and "basically running the show now." Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Corrections

IRMA — A teacher at Lincoln Hills beaten by a teenage inmate says a court order to cut back on punishment has the teens "emboldened" and "basically running the show now."

Pandora Lobacz is a longtime teacher at the state's juvenile school for male offenders at Irma — and she tells reporters in Milwaukee and Wausau she had a heart monitor installed after a larger inmate beat her in the face last week. Lobacz blames the July court order from federal Judge James Peterson which ordered reductions in the use of pepper spray, handcuffs, and solitary confinement.

Lobacz also said it's "horrible" that Gov. Scott Walker has never visited Lincoln Hills to see the conditions for himself. The state corrections agency says officials have visited Lincoln Hills often, and major changes have been made as a federal probe treatment of inmates is about to end its third year.


Dems make new pitch for medical marijuana

MADISON — Two Madison area lawmakers are traveling across Wisconsin to try and get more people to support their bill to allow medical marijuana.

For years, Democrats have brought people struggling with pain to the state Capitol for a news conference — and it has never helped, as majority Republicans have turned aside several efforts to allow pot for medicinal purposes. This time, Assembly Democrat Chris Taylor of Madison and Jon Erpenbach of Middleton are taking their case to the people.

They were in La Crosse Tuesday, and they plan to be in Wausau and Green Bay Wednesday and Milwaukee Thursday. They introduced their latest bill in February, and the GOP has not held hearings on it.


Forbes 400: Menard still state’s wealthiest

NEW YORK — John Menard Jr. of Eau Claire is still the wealthiest person in Wisconsin.

The annual Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans has Menard 47th, one spot lower than last year as the head of the Menards' home improvement chain has a net worth of $9.9 billion. Herb Kohler, who chairs the Kohler Co. of Sheboygan County, is 52nd, same as last year with a net worth of $8.5 billion.

Diane Hendricks of ABC Supply in Beloit rose 28 places from last year to No. 122. James Cargill II of Birchwood, an heir to the Cargill food company, is 161st. Four members of the SC Johnson family of Racine are 186th — and Judy Faulkner of the Epic Systems medical record software firm in Verona, jumped more than 100 places to 219th.


UW medical school dean opposes GOP abortion training limits

MADISON — The dean of the UW-Madison medical school says a bill to limit abortion training would kill the university's program to train all pregnancy health professionals.

Robert Golden made the remark Tuesday at a Senate hearing on a GOP bill to ban UW employees from using private clinics to train medical residents, and performing abortions at non-hospitals. The bill seeks to nullify an agreement between the UW medical school and Planned Parenthood that allows university faculty to train students at the group's clinics.

Golden says it seeks to comply with the law that bans tax resources for abortions — while keeping the school's accreditation for its OB/GYN program. He said the bill would not prevent abortions, but it would weaken a program that addresses a shortage of OB/GYN across the state.


UW-Eau Claire grad home from hospital after Vegas shooting

LAS VEGAS — A UW-Eau Claire graduate injured in the Las Vegas shooting spree is home from the hospital.

His sister in law says Philip Aurich has made a "huge step" in his recovery, even though he still has a drained bullet wound and he'll need home visits from nurses for a while. Aurich, a native of St. Paul, was shot in the lower back by gunman Steven Paddock at the Route 91 country music festival at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Oct. 1. Fifty-eight people died and more than 500 were wounded.

His family said Aurich had two surgeries, but doctors have consistently been optimistic about his chances to recover. Aurich now lives in Vegas where he's an area president for a mortgage company.


Spectrum cable subscribers to keep Viacom channels

MADISON — Wisconsin cable subscribers will not have to worry about losing their MTV.

Charter Communications and Viacom issued a joint statement Tuesday night announcing an "agreement in principle" to keep carrying 23 channels from Viacom — including Nickelodeon, CMT, Comedy Central, and Spike. The two companies said they still had to finalize terms of the deal, which includes how much Spectrum and its customers will pay to have the Viacom channels on their cable system, plus channel placements. Charter/Spectrum is by far the largest cable provider in Wisconsin after it acquired the old Time Warner Cable.


Orkin: Milwaukee 21st ‘rattiest city’; Madison, Green Bay in Top 50

ATLANTA — Don't be surprised if you smell a rat in Milwaukee.

The state's largest city is the 21st "rattiest," two places higher than last year according to an annual survey from Orkin Pest Control. The rankings are based on the numbers of rodent treatments Orkin performs during the year ending in mid-September. Madison is the 48th rattiest city, up one spot from 2016 — the Green Bay/Appleton area is 50th, down six places.

Chicago is the nation's No. 1 rat haven for the third year in a row. Orkin says that as the weather gets colder, rats and mice look more actively for food, water, and indoor places to survive.


Elections chair says attorney general is clamming him up

MADISON — The head of the state Elections Commission says Attorney General Brad Schimel is stopping him from speaking with others at a forum on the gerrymandering case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mark Thomson tells the Journal Sentinel he'll speak separately at Friday's program at UW-Milwaukee. Thomson is a Democrat who was invited to be on the same stage with lawyers challenging the state Legislature's district maps as drawn by Republicans in 2011. But because Thompson is named in the suit, the Republican Schimel says he cannot join opposing lawyers at the same discussion table without the state's counsel present. A Justice spokesman tells the Journal Sentinel, "Find me an attorney in Wisconsin who will allow their client to speak to opposing counsel without being present."


Coolest thing in Wisconsin? Find it in Oshkosh

OSHKOSH — The newest version of the military's standard vehicle has been named the "coolest thing made in Wisconsin."

The Oshkosh Corporation builds the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle that began replacing the Humvee for field operations in the Middle East. And it received about 200,000 total votes in the Coolest Thing contest by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group.

The truck was among four finalists that people chose in online voting — the others being Mercury Marine's Joystick pilot system, the Ariens Sno Thro, and Generac's XC electric generator.