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Latest: Nurse charged in cognitively impaired woman’s death

RACINE, Wis. (AP) — A criminal complaint says a cognitively impaired Illinois woman whose body was dumped in southeastern Wisconsin in 1999 suffered burns, abrasions, lacerations and broken bones at the hands of a nurse who employed her as a nanny and housekeeper.

The victim’s identity had been a mystery since her body was found in a Racine County cornfield, but officials on Friday identified her as 23-year-old Peggy Lynn Johnson. A criminal complaint charges 64-year-old Linda La Roche in Johnson’s death.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said Friday that Johnson met La Roche when she went to a medical clinic in McHenry, Illinois, seeking help after her mother died. La Roche, recognizing Johnson’s disability, took her into her home, he said.

The complaint says Johnson suffered burns, blunt force trauma to much of her body, a fractured nose and had “branding marks” that were inflicted within five days of her death. Schmaling says the abuse occurred over a long period of time.

An autopsy shows Johnson died of an infection sustained from chronic abuse and that the manner of death was a homicide.

CONTAMINATED WELLS-RESOLUTION

County board’s resolution warns journalists on reporting

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Some local government officials in southwestern Wisconsin want to prosecute journalists who “selectively report” on the results of an upcoming water study in the region.

The study is due soon in Lafayette, Grant and Iowa counties. A resolution introduced for a vote at Tuesday’s Lafayette County Conservation Committee calls for a press release on the results and warns the media to print it without alteration and not to “glean information and selectively report it in order to interpret the results for their own means.” The resolution calls for violators to be prosecuted.

The resolution cited past leaks and slander, but it wasn’t immediately clear exactly what prompted the resolution. The body’s chairman didn’t immediately respond to a message.

Board member Kriss Marion, who posted the resolution on Facebook, called it “nonsense.”

WISCONSIN GRIDLOCK

Wisconsin gridlock between Democratic governor, lawmakers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A tumultuous week that put on full display the partisan agendas of Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the Republican Legislature also revealed the limitations both face under divided government that more and more is resulting in gridlock.

Republicans started and ended an Evers-called special session on guns within seconds, taking no action. Republicans fired an Evers Cabinet secretary as a scowling Evers watched from the floor of the Senate. And Democrats rebuffed three attempts to reverse Evers vetoes, the first override votes in nearly a decade.

Former Republican state Sen. Dale Schultz says he is disappointed with the partisan fighting and gridlock because “I know we’re better than this.”

And former Democratic lawmaker Tim Cullen says the gridlock is “bad for Wisconsin.” He says there “are no outer boundaries beyond which partisanship doesn’t go any more.”

POLICE SHOOTING-TWO RIVERS

Driver of car in Two Rivers police shooting faces charges

(Information from: HTR Media, http://www.htrnews.com)

TWO RIVERS, Wis. (AP) — Gun and drug charges have been filed against a man prosecutors say was driving a car involved in a fatal police shooting in Two Rivers.

Thirty-one-year-old William Tyler Langrick of Menasha faces multiple counts, the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter reported. He was arrested Monday after a traffic stop in which an officer fatally shot 30-year-old Nash Fiske of Green Bay, a passenger in the car.

Prosecutors say there were two handguns in the car, and Fiske gave one to Langrick during the stop. The complaint says police found 558 grams of marijuana in glass jars in the car, and more marijuana in the glove compartment.

The officer who shot Fiske is Two Rivers Officer Dakota Gamez. Gamez has been with the department for nearly three years. He’s on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.

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MINIMUM WAGE

Evers wants to raise state workers’ minimum wage to $15

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is proposing raising state employees’ minimum wage to $15.

Evers’ administration quietly released its 2019-21 state employee compensation plan Friday. It calls for raising all permanent state workers’ minimum wage to $15 an hour beginning June 7, 2020. It also calls for a 2% across-the-board salary increase in each year of the biennium and raises for prison guards. Their starting wage would increase from $16.65 to $18.22 an hour.

According to Evers’ administration, the entire package is expected to cost $84.15 million.

The plan is subject to legislative approval. The Legislature’s finance committee has already authorized money to cover the 2% raises and the prison guard raises.

HOLIDAY TREE

Evers goes back to calling Capitol evergreen ‘holiday tree’

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers has gone back to calling the state Capitol Christmas tree a holiday tree, reigniting an old fight over what to call the evergreen.

Wisconsin politicians began referring to the tree as a holiday tree in 1985. Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker declared the tree a Christmas tree in 2011, drawing the ire of the Madison-based Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Evers called the tree a holiday tree Friday. He announced that the tree’s theme will be “Celebrate Science” and asked schoolchildren to submit science-related ornaments for the tree.

Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff didn’t immediately respond to an email asking why the governor has gone back to calling the tree a holiday tree.

WISCONSIN-ABORTION-LAWSUIT

Appeals court says GOP can’t join Wisconsin abortion lawsuit

(Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A federal appeals court has affirmed a lower court ruling that Republican state lawmakers can’t intervene in a Planned Parenthood lawsuit challenging certain Wisconsin abortion restrictions.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Thursday’s ruling from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals leaves it up to Democratic state Attorney General John Kaul to defend Wisconsin’s abortion laws.

Republican lawmakers don’t trust Kaul because he has supported abortion rights before and was endorsed by Planned Parenthood last year.

The appeals court backed a ruling from federal Judge Willian Conley, who said Republicans hadn’t come close to showing that Kaul would shirk his duties.

Planned Parenthood is seeking to overturn laws that only allow doctors to perform abortions, that require women seeking medication-induced abortions to see the same doctor twice, and that require doctors to be present when dispensing such drugs.

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NATIONAL GUARD INVESTIGATION

Wisconsin Guard whistleblower says he’s being discharged

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin National Guard sergeant says he’s being discharged in retaliation for complaining about sexual misconduct in his unit.

Wisconsin Air National Guard Master Sgt. Jay Ellis’ complaint last year has triggered two federal investigations. Ellis has alleged that Guard officials have launched a review of his medical history to set up a medical discharge and deny him retirement benefits in retaliation.

The Wisconsin Guard’s top commander, Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, has ordered an investigation into Ellis’ reprisal allegations.

Ellis says a representative from a Scott Air Force Base medical evaluation board has informed him that he will receive a medical discharge. He says he plans to appeal the decision. He says if his appeals fail he’ll be discharged in February.

Guard spokesman Joe Trovato didn’t immediately respond to a message.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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