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Wisconsin roundup: Wisconsin gets sweltering heat for first day of Fall; and more state news stories

In the same hour his political opponent was signing the new state budget, Wisconsin superintendent Tony Evers demanded a fix to what he called a "broken" school funding system during his annual "state of education" address at the Capitol Rotunda. File photo

It's the first day of fall, but you wouldn't know it by the sweltering forecast for Wisconsin. Afternoon highs will be in the 90s in southern and western portions of the Badger State -- and the heat index could reach 100 in the La Crosse area and the upper 90s in the Milwaukee and Madison regions.

The National Weather Service says the unseasonably hot air mass will hang around through the weekend, and we won't see a major cool down until Tuesday when parts of the state could have highs in the 60s.

Meanwhile, heavy thunderstorms rumbled through north central Minnesota and into far northwest Wisconsin during the night -- and more storms are predicted on and off throughout the weekend. Fallen trees blocked at least two roads in Burnett County, and Oliver in Douglas County had one inch hail.


Report: GOP health package could give millions more to Wisconsin

WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- Wisconsin could get its own windfall from the Republican health care package that's up for a vote in the U.S. Senate next week.

The bill from GOP senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy would reduce Medicaid funds in states that took extra federal money in the Affordable Care Act -- and it would give more to Wisconsin and 18 other states that turned down the additional Obamacare Medicaid funds.

Also, Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson's office confirms that the Badger State would receive extra funds because of what it calls "the innovative reforms of Wisconsin."

When Obamacare began, Gov. Scott Walker made families below the poverty line eligible for Badger Care for the first time -- while reducing eligibility to childless adults just above the poverty line. The legislation would convert the federal money to block grants, which supporters say would give states more flexibility while opponents fear an overall reduction in funding.


New UW program helps families' first generation of students

WAUKESHA -- UW-Madison holds a kickoff ceremony Friday for a program that helps Wisconsin families' first generation of college students.

The Badger Promise covers tuition and fees for first generation students transferring from the UW's two year colleges throughout the state, and the kickoff event will be at the Waukesha college.

Almost 140 transfers have started their fall classes in the program, which pays the tuition and fees not covered by students grants and merit scholarships. The program is capped at 150 students each year -- and federal, state, and private funds are paying for it. The university expects the average payment to be almost $5,000 per student.


Two charged in killing of Milwaukee pizza delivery man

MILWAUKEE -- Two cousins have been charged in the killing of a pizza delivery driver in Milwaukee.

Seventeen-year-old Mekael Kennedy is charged with felony murder and armed robbery, and his 25-year-old cousin D'Andre is charged with aiding and harboring a felon -- and both are jailed with $200,000 bonds. They're both charged in the Sept. 15 robbery and shooting death of 60-year-old Clarence Taper while he was making a house delivery on Milwaukee's northwest side.

Prosecutors say the younger Kennedy was wearing a Halloween mask of the character Jason from "Friday the 13th" -- and after killing Taper, he allegedly went to his cousin's apartment where they ate pizza and wings stolen in the robbery. Officials say the teen also robbed another pizza driver the previous night.


Lawmakers hear pros, cons of defining and controlling riots

MADISON -- A Wisconsin Assembly panel hears the pros and cons of creating a legal definition of riots, and making it easier for police to control them. The judiciary committee heard testimony Thursday on three bills from Marshfield Republican John Spiros which would make it a felony to carry weapons during a riot and participate in violence -- and it would be a misdemeanor to block streets during a riot.

Spiros, a former police officer, insisted he did not want to ban peaceful demonstrations, and he only wanted to make sure everybody stays safe. He would define a riot as three or more people who constitute or threaten "a clear and present danger of property damage or personal injury."

The head of the Milwaukee police union said it would clarify "rules of engagement" for officers during violence like last year's Sherman Park riots in the city -- but opponents say the bills are too vague and their language could allow peaceful protesters to get arrested.


Walker continues road tour on budget, Dem leader criticizes

Gov. Scott Walker continues his road tour of Wisconsin Friday to highlight the new state budget he signed into law Thursday in Neenah.

The Republican Walker has visited numerous public schools to promote the $639 million increase in state school aid he approved in the two-year budget, after reducing state funds by the millions after the GOP's public union crackdown in 2011. Friday he'll visit schools in Chippewa Falls, Mosinee and Sheboygan.

Meanwhile, the Assembly's incoming Democratic minority leader -- Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh -- calls this the third straight budget without a long-term solution to highway funding. Hintz also slammed a repeal of the state's alternative minimum tax, saying it would benefit the wealthy -- and he said the GOP's two-and-a-half month delay in approving the budget was all about political games and earmarks.


Three Green Bay officers suspended, retrained after incident

GREEN BAY -- A Green Bay police lieutenant and two patrol officers have been suspended for five days and were given new training, after a late February incident.

The Press Gazette says an unarmed man was tackled and stunned three times by police Taser guns, was handcuffed, and then sent to jail for charges that were later dropped.

Officer Michael Rahn resigned in March after he reportedly falsified a report on the incident -- and an internal investigation found that officers interpreted the man's slow responses to commands as resisting arrest which led to the use of force. Green Bay's daily newspaper says some other officers take issue with the discipline to Lt. Paul Lewis and officers Paul Spoerl and Tom Behn -- and the officers union found the conclusion on excessive force "troubling." The suspect was not named, and he has since moved away from the city.


Milwaukee Airport ranks about average in flyer satisfaction

MILWAUKEE -- Wisconsin's largest airport ranks 13th among 21 mid-sized airports in a national survey of consumer satisfaction. Mitchell International in Milwaukee received the score in the annual JD Power satisfaction study for North America's airports.

In general, the national survey found passengers' satisfaction to be at an all time high -- due in part to faster security checks as the result of fewer TSA staffing problems. Check ins, baggage checking, and food and retail service also got higher marks. Construction and congestion were the biggest problem areas.


Walker signs budget, touts highlights

NEENAH   -- Fourth and fifth graders surrounded Gov. Scott Walker Thursday when he signed the new state budget into law.

The Republican Walker approved the two year, $76 billion package at Tullar Elementary School in Neenah.

The Republican Walker did not try to give the kids a civics lesson by explaining why the budget was almost three months late -- the main reason being a dispute among majority Republicans on how to pay for new roads. But Walker did tout an extra $639 million in public school aid. He also said it eliminates the state portion of the property tax that generally went to forestry programs -- and it said the typical homeowner will pay less in local taxes when their bills come in December.


Senate leader snuffs possible budget veto overrides

MADISON -- Assembly Republicans are said to be grumbling about some of the 99 items their party's governor vetoed from the new state budget. And the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says there's at least some talk that the majority might to try to override what they don't like -- including extra state aid for districts that get the smallest amounts now for each student.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said there would be "zero chance" his chamber considers any veto overrides if the Assembly tries that approach. Any veto of a governor's action is rare, and the last time it happened was in 1985 when Democrat Tony Earl was governor.


Evers: Let's fix state's "broken" school finance system

MADISON -- In the same hour his political opponent was signing the new state budget, Wisconsin superintendent Tony Evers demanded a fix to what he called a "broken" school funding system.

Evers -- a Democratic candidate for Walker's post -- delivered his annual "state of education" address at the Capitol Rotunda. As Walker was approving a $639 million increase in state school aid, Evers was saying Wisconsin has fallen below the national average in state education funding for the first time in his memory.

He called on the state to pay for roads and schools without heavy debt. And Evers called on Walker to accept the additional federal Medicaid dollars from Obamacare that he has rejected for years -- a move Walker said was wise, as congressional Republicans keep trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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