Posted Saturday, October 12, 2013 --- 5:16 a.m.
Milwaukee Fire Department fires 2 firefighters
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Fire Department has fired two of the nine firefighters who were suspended for allegedly damaging the inside of a fire station.
But Assistant Chief Gerard Washington tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the terminations had "nothing to do with the incident per se," although he says the two were working that day. He says that since they were probationary employees, the fire chief had the authority to dismiss them without cause.
The nine firefighters were suspended Sept. 30 after Engine House 32 was vandalized. It was the last shift before many of the firefighters were dueto be transferred to other fire houses. The other seven remain on paid suspensions.
Washington says official internal hearings into the vandalism began Wednesday.
HEALTH OVERHAUL-KEEPING SCORE
Obamacare a success so far? It's hard to say
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- After more than a week in action, is President Barack Obama's health care overhaul a success or a bust? It's hard to say because there's hardly any data.
The federal government hasn't released comprehensive data on how many people have signed up for health insurance in the 36 states using federally run exchanges, the online marketplaces for comparing and buying insurance.
In the 14 states running their own exchanges, it isn't much better. For example, it'll be mid-November before California says how many people signed up. In Oregon and Colorado, the official number is zero. In Minnesota, which embraced the Affordable Care Act, basic data won't be released until next week.
As a result, a nation trying to determine winners and losers is finding it difficult to pass immediate judgment.
Wis. to accept federal beer apps during shutdown
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin tax officials say in-state brewers won't need approval from Washington to sell new beers within the state during the federal shutdown.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, is the federal agency that approves new beer labels. It has closed its doors as part of the shutdown, preventing brewers from getting new products approved and on the shelves.
The state Department of Revenue regulates beer sales in Wisconsin. Federal regulations don't mandate brewers obtain TTB approval to sell new labels within a state but DOR has required it.
DOR officials said Friday they're relaxing that requirement. They say brewers can sell new labels in Wisconsin if they've completed an application for TTB label approval.
Brewers who need TTB approval for new recipes, however, remain in limbo.
Crash leads to apparent homicide victim
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- If not for a car crash, Milwaukee police might not have found an apparent homicide victim a few blocks away.
Police found the body of 84-year-old Robert Johnson in his home after his car was found slammed against a tree Thursday. A witness saw a woman flee on foot.
Investigators tracked the car's registration to a home five blocks away. They forced entry into the home and found Johnson's body inside.
Sergeant David Muehl declined Friday to say how Johnson died, citing the ongoing investigation.
Police are looking for the woman who fled from the crashed car.
CLEARED BUT CONFINED
Judge: Man who was cleared must remain confined
RACINE, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge says a man who served more than a decade behind bars for a murder conviction that was dismissed can't go free until next year.
Xavier Rockette might have been released this summer if it weren't for an unrelated 2004 conviction for recklessly endangering safety, which was the subject of Friday's decision by Racine County Circuit Court Judge Allan Torhorst. He said he would not reduce Rockette's sentence in that case.
Defense attorney Ellen Henak tells the Racine Journal Times that Rockette now won't be released until later this spring.
Rockette was convicted of first-degree murder in 2003 and sentenced to 35 years in prison, but the charge was dismissed after the district attorney learned that one of the prosecution's witnesses had lied in his testimony.
Copyright 2013: Associated Press