Posted Saturday, October 19, 2013 --- 4:35 a.m.
WPS HEALTH INSURANCE-CUTS
WPS Health Insurance to cut 175 jobs
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- WPS Health Insurance says it will eliminate 175 jobs over the next year.
The company said in a statement Friday the cuts stem mostly from the end of a state insurance plan for high-risk patients, which WPS has administered.
The Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan is ending December 31st because the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges will provide similar coverage starting January 1st.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports in a memo to employees, WPS also cites other factors for the cuts, including federal health reform, automated claims processing technology and decreased premiums "in a very competitive environment."
WPS has about 2,900 employees, including nearly 2,100 in the Madison area.
The company cut about 400 jobs early this year after losing contracts involving Medicare and a military program called TRICARE.
Oneida support Menominee's casino proposal
ONEIDA, Wis. (AP) -- The Menominee's casino proposal has the support of an additional American Indian tribe in Wisconsin.
The Oneida Nation has signed off on the Kenosha casino, leaving the Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk as the only tribes that haven't given the project their backing.
Governor Scott Walker has said the Menominee will need the support Wisconsin's 10 other tribes to win his approval.
The Menominee want to partner with Hard Rock International to build an $800 million casino and entertainment complex at the old Dairyland Greyhound dog track in Kenosha.
WLUK-TV reports Oneida chairman Edward Delgado says the decision to support the Menominee project came after studying casino revenue and visitor information.
Walker has given the Menominee until Tuesday to show it has support from all the tribes.
Block grants available for Wis. storm recovery
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Help is coming for Wisconsin residents recovering from storms and flooding this year.
The Wisconsin Department of Administration is awarding $1.9 million in Community Development Block Grant Emergency Assistance Program funds.
The money is to help Wisconsin residents and communities repair storm-damaged homes.
The program helps local governments repair damage caused by disasters. The money can be used to repair homes, buy and demolish homes that cannot be repaired, or repair utility systems, streets and sidewalks.
Grants were awarded to the City of Boscobel and Crawford, Grant and Iowa counties.
The DOA's Division of Housing approved the grants. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
WISCONSIN TROOPS RETURNING
Wis. National Guard troops return from overseas
OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) -- About 80 members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard are home after serving 10 months in Afghanistan.
The troops were greeted Friday afternoon by their families and Gov. Scott Walker at a ceremony in Oshkosh.
The troops are members of Battery B, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, based out of Plymouth.
Major Paul Rickert says the soldiers conducted fire-support missions. That means they fired rockets in support of special-operations missions.
Rickert says the military is thankful for their service, and happy that everyone was able to come home.
Walker says one of the best parts of his job is seeing troops return home and reunite with their families. He says, "I love to say thank you on behalf of a grateful state."
Dane County DA mulls run for Wis. AG
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne is mulling a run for attorney general.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Friday that Ozanne is seriously considering a run but hasn't set a timeline for a decision. Ozanne didn't immediately return a message from The Associated Press.
Former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle appointed Ozanne district attorney in 2010. He made headlines in 2011 after he unsuccessfully sued to stop Governor Scott Walker's collective bargaining restrictions.
State Representative Jon Richards, a Milwaukee Democrat, declared his candidacy earlier this week. So did Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel, a Republican.
Representative Chris Taylor, a Madison Democrat, and Matt Frank, who served in Doyle's cabinet, also are considering running.
Incumbent Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced earlier this month he won't seek re-election.
SCHOOL BUS DRIVER-OWI
Wis. school bus driver accused of OWI
APPLETON, Wis. (AP) -- A school bus driver in Appleton has been arrested on suspicion of OWI after dropping students off at school.
Superintendent Lee Allinger says 25 to 30 students were on the bus, which runs to four elementary schools.
WBAY-TV reports the driver allegedly finished his route Friday morning before being seen parking the bus and buying alcohol at a store. He was then seen drinking on the bus before someone called the police.
The driver is not a school district employee. A teacher's aide on the bus said she did not notice anything out of the ordinary.
The district notified parents of children who were on the bus.
It's unclear if the driver was drinking before the route was complete. However, Allinger says the driver violated policy and was dismissed.
Ex-DOC worker sentenced for unauthorized purchases
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A former employee of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections has been sentenced after pleading guilty to making unauthorized purchases with state money.
Forty-four-year-old James Hoey was sentenced Friday to three years of probation, with 20 days in jail. Hoey also will have to repay DOC.
Hoey was an information technology worker with the department.
A criminal complaint alleged that between March 2012 and March 2013, Hoey misused his state-issued purchasing card to buy products that were offered for sale through companies that Hoey ran. The items included cameras, printers and other computer equipment.
The complaint also alleges Hoey bought himself a MacBook laptop using his state purchasing card.
Hoey quit his job on March 28th.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports Hoey did not make a statement at his sentencing.
Milwaukee baby dies after sharing bed with parents
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Milwaukee has recorded another co-sleeping death.
Authorities say a 1-month-old girl died Friday after sharing a bed with her mother and father.
According to the medical examiner's report, the girl was born prematurely, but she appeared healthy and well-cared for.
Investigators found no evidence of alcohol or drug use.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the girl is the 14th child to die in Milwaukee this year after being exposed to an unsafe sleep environment. She is the fourth child to die in less than three weeks.
Copyright 2013: Associated Press