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Wisconsin roundup: UW president calls for zero tolerance in sexual abuse cases; more state news stories

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross says campuses must have zero-tolerance for cases of sexual abuse and harassment. File photo

MADISON — University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross says campuses must have zero-tolerance for cases of sexual abuse and harassment.

The Board of Regents adopted a policy on abuse and harassment in 2016, and Cross argued at Friday's meeting that more can and should be done. He says everyone needs to do their part in creating a culture that helps to prevent sexual assaults and harassment from happening the first place, and also to encourage and empower survivors to come forward.

Cross plans to work closely with chancellors and shared governance groups to find how the UW System can build on the work that’s already been done. The push comes after data released by the UW showed 11 employees were fired or resigned since 2014 as a result of sexual misconduct complaints.


Judge overturns ruling placing sex offender in Forest County

CRANDON — A Forest County judge has granted a temporary restraining order to keep a convicted sex offender from living in the town of Blackwell.

Another judge has ordered 52-year-old Jeffrey LeVasseur to live in a rented house there — but Judge Leon Stenz countered that with the restraining order granted last week. Residents living nearby had filed a civil suit against the property owner, arguing the neighborhood doesn't allow rentals. The property owner has filed a motion requesting a new judge.


House fire kills 1 in Madison

MADISON — One of the two people rescued from a Madison house fire Saturday died Saturday night.

Several crews responded at about 7 p.m. to the fire on the city's west side. Several nearby houses were evacuated as a precaution, but firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading. Extensive damage was done to the house. The fire marshal is investigating to determine the exact cause of the fatal fire.


NW Wis. governments want their money back

SUPERIOR — State, county and local officials are going to court to get their money back from a company which had promised to bring jobs to northwestern Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Douglas County and Superior had given millions of dollars in loans to Kestrel Aircraft. It got the incentives to build a manufacturing operation where turbo-prop jets would be produced. Kestral ran into cash flow problems after repaying $865,000. It still owes more than $3 million and the last payment was made in November 2016.


GOP challenger’s Twitter account suspended

JANESVILLE — Twitter has suspended the account of a politician after a series of controversial tweets over the weekend.

Republican Paul Nehlen wants to challenge House Speaker Paul Ryan for his southern Wisconsin seat. Nehlen's tweet included a picture of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Nehlen had replaced Markle's face with a photo of Cheddar Man, an ancient man recreated from the DNA in a fossil found in the English village of Cheddar. Nehlen says he was making a joke.


Teen dies in Jefferson County snowmobile crash

TOWN OF SUMNER — The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department reports a snowmobile crash in the town of Sumner has taken the life of a 14-year-old boy.

The fatal accident happened at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The teenager was operating the snowmobile on a trail when he failed to negotiate a curve and lost control. Fellow snowmobile riders and passers-by provided life-saving measures until emergency responders could get to the scene. The death is being investigated.


New state office building going up in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE — Gov. Scott Walker says construction of a new state office building in Milwaukee could save Wisconsin $1.2 million a year in rent, energy and maintenance expenses.

Walker says the current building will be sold and four more leased sites will be combined into one structure. The governor says the move also frees up some prime real estate for economic development. The new location should be chosen by the end of May. Wisconsin's current state office building has been located at 6th and Wells streets for nearly 55 years.