Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2013 -- 4:43 a.m.
WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT
Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates debate
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Justice Pat Roggensack and Ed Fallone are disagreeing over which one of them has the better experience in the race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Both candidates made their arguments during a debate Friday at the state Bar Association in advance of the April 2nd election.
Roggensack says her 17 years' experience as a judge make her the better candidate. Fallone is a Marquette University law professor and has never worked as a judge. He says he brings a breadth of experience to the court.
Fallone says experience isn't the key issue in the race, but rather the way the court is operating. He says the court is dysfunctional and Roggensack is partially to blame.
FAA to close 8 Wis. air traffic control towers
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Federal Aviation Administration says it will close eight air traffic towers at small airports around Wisconsin because of federal budget cuts.
The agency announced the decision Friday, a month after it released a preliminary list of facilities that could be closed. The Wisconsin airports are in Eau Claire, Janesville, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee's Lawrence J. Timmerman, Mosinee, Oshkosh and Waukesha.
Pilots will be left to coordinate takeoffs and landings among themselves over a shared radio frequency with no help from ground controllers, which they've been trained to do.
Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport was on a previous list of airports whose control towers could go dark during overnight hours. But that list hasn't been released yet and airport spokesman Harold Mester said Friday he hasn't heard any updates.
WISCONSIN PENSION FUND-BONUSES
APNewsBreak: Investment board gives $8M in bonuses
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Records released to The Associated Press show Wisconsin's pension fund managers are on track to get more than $8 million in bonuses as a reward for strong investment returns.
The bonus totals released Friday to the AP are nearly double what the State of Wisconsin Investment Board paid out in 2012. And they come at the same time that most retirees will see their pension payments decrease in May for the fifth year in a row due to effects of the 2008 recession.
Twenty-nine people will receive six-figure bonuses as long as they stay with the agency through the end of the year. Nearly everyone on staff, 139 out of 145 employees, will receive some bonus.
Chief Investment Officer David Villa is getting the largest bonus of nearly $421,000.
Bill changes public worker retirement calculation
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Pension payments to public workers in the Wisconsin Retirement System would be based on the average of their last five years' salary instead of three under a bill being circulated in the state Assembly.
Republican Representative Duey Stroebel of Saukville says in an email seeking co-sponsors sent Friday that he believes the current formula has been abused over the years as employees have taken unusual amounts of overtime to increase their salary shortly before retiring.
Stroebel says averaging the last five years of work rather than three years will be more representative of the person's entire career. The bill wouldn't take effect for five years, so no current employee near retirement would be affected.
Department of Employee Trust Funds spokesman Mark Lamkins says the agency is reviewing the bill.
Blank: UW-Madison needs to emphasize fundraising
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The woman selected as the University of Wisconsin-Madison's next chancellor says her top priorities will include a strong emphasis on fundraising.
Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank will be the university's next chancellor, subject to approval by the Board of Regents in two weeks.
Blank told reporters on a conference call Friday the school needs to launch a major fundraising campaign. She says she'll work closely with school and alumni foundations to figure out the best way to reach potential donors.
Blank says improved fundraising could help keep tuitions low and allow the school to offer professors more competitive salaries. She says she'd also like to re-examine out-of-state tuitions, which bring in more money but have to remain low enough that out-of-state students don't go elsewhere.
Blank: No plans to try to spin off UW-Madison
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A former University of Wisconsin-Madison chancellor tried and failed to spin off the campus from the rest of the UW System. The incoming chancellor says she has no plans to try again.
Rebecca Blank will be the school's new chancellor, subject to approval from the Board of Regents. She told reporters on a conference call Friday the UW System benefits from having all its schools under one umbrella.
She says in states without a unified system, schools fight between themselves for limited resources. She says that's not an issue here.
Blank does acknowledge that UW-Madison has a global reputation, while smaller UW schools are more regionally focused. She says that could entitle UW-Madison to some leeway and different rules -- but that's different from removing it from the system altogether.
Blank: Badgers' NCAA loss busted my bracket
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Rebecca Blank isn't the University of Wisconsin-Madison chancellor quite yet, but she already feels the pain of the Badgers' loss in the NCAA tournament.
Blank told reporters Friday she had Wisconsin going all the way in her brackets. She says she's very sorry about the outcome, but she reassures students, "There'll be another year," and Wisconsin will redeem itself.
The fifth-seeded Badgers were upset Friday by Mississippi 57-46. The loss snapped a string of six straight first-round wins for Wisconsin.
Blank was selected as Wisconsin's new chancellor, subject to approval from the Board of Regents next month.
Blank is currently the acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce. She says she prefers not to leave that post until a new secretary is nominated. She expects to arrive in Madison by late July.
Expect delays due to NB US 41 closure in Brown Co.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Drivers can expect delays this weekend due to construction on part of a freeway in Green Bay.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says northbound lanes on U.S. 41 from Shawano Avenue to Velp Avenue will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. Southbound lanes will remain open.
That stretch is being closed so a sanitary sewer pipe can be installed beneath the northbound highway. The closed part is about one mile.
Officials say motorists can find alternate routes on the department's website. WisDOT reminds people to drive carefully near work zones.
Wis. deputy cleared in inmate shooting at hospital
ELKHORN, Wis. (AP) -- A Walworth County sheriff's deputy won't face charges for fatally shooting a hospitalized inmate who tried to escape.
District Attorney Daniel Necci found that Deputy Richard Lagle was justified in using deadly force.
Lagle was guarding 18-year-old Alfredo Villarreal of Janesville at Aurora Lakeland Medical Center in Elkhorn, where Villarreal was taken for tests January 21st.
Villarreal asked to use the bathroom, so Lagle removed his shackle. When the deputy tried to re-shackle him, Villarreal kicked him in the face with his shin, then began punching the deputy in the head.
Lagle had trouble with his stun gun. The inmate began hitting the window of his hospital room with a chair and after he raised the chair toward Lagle, the deputy shot him five times. Villarreal died at the scene.
Agency: Never buy living trusts without a lawyer
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin agency says consumers should use a qualified attorney to protect their interests when purchasing living trusts.
Living trusts help consumers administer their assets and transfer them to designated beneficiaries when they die.
The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions says living trusts are legal documents that should be developed and reviewed by licensed estate planning attorneys.
The department has received two consumer complaints this week involving an Eau Claire company selling living trusts. It has found no wrongdoing of the company.
Department spokesman George Althoff says senior residents and farmers are primary targets of living trust sales.
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