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NEWS STORIES

WI Defendants Hit Sentencing DelaysSubmitted: 05/26/2013
Story By Associated Press

RACINE - Wisconsin defendants waiting to be sentenced are having to wait several weeks longer to learn their sentences.

Corrections officials cite two reasons for the delays _ too few probation agents to conduct pre-sentence investigation reports, and stricter requirements in the reports that take longer to complete.

A Journal Times of Racine report says in 1997 the Department of Corrections implemented a three-week turnaround to complete the reports. But DOC spokeswoman Lisa Yeates says it's become difficult to meet that deadline.

She says the reports can now take six to eight weeks. That's because they have to include the results of a risk-assessment tool, making the reports 20 pages or longer.

The public defender's Racine office says the delay hurts defendants who end up being sentenced to time served.



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RHINELANDER - Northwoods supermarkets want to be prepared for the Superbowl this Sunday. Some local stores have ordered a lot more food for this week to make sure they don't run out of Superbowl staples.

The assistant store director of Trig's in Rhinelander has ordered extra shipments of soda, pizza, and snack food. The store wants to be prepared but it doesn't expect food to sell as quickly as it does during other times of the year.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Children and adults at Lac du Flambeau Public School worked hard to construct a traditional Ojibwe Winter Lodge.

People worked together for nine months to build it.

The entire lodge is made from natural materials. Both the gathering of materials and the construction of the lodge were done in a spiritual way: acknowledging and thanking the earth.

"Native people, we look at the trees, we look at the animals, we look at the fish. We revere those things as our relatives. A lot of non-native people look at those things as a resource," said Ojibwe Language and Culture Instructor Wayne Valliere.

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ANTIGO - Social workers in Langlade County describe last year like a flood.

Applications for health insurance swamped Langlade County Social Services.

The county was one of many in the area facing challenges during the first-ever enrollment period after the Affordable Care Act was put in place.

This year's enrollment window ends in two and a half weeks.

It's going much differently.

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MADISON - Members of the Menominee Tribe, southeastern Wisconsin union workers and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers are urging Gov. Scott Walker to reconsider his rejection of a new casino in Kenosha.

Walker rejected the tribe's proposal last week and reiterated on Wednesday that he would not change his mind.

But advocates for the project gathered at the Capitol Thursday to say Walker can still change his mind by the Feb. 19 deadline.

Walker says he can't reverse his decision even if he wanted to.

But Kenosha casino backers say the Bureau of Indian Affairs would be willing to let Walker change his mind. A spokeswoman for BIA did not immediately return a message asking if Walker could reverse course.


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MADISON - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is asking that the lead investigator probing allegations of opiate over prescription and retaliatory practices at a VA hospital in Tomah take into account the testimony of whistleblowers.

In a letter Thursday, Baldwin asked that VA Under Secretary Carolyn Clancy consider concerns not addressed in an earlier report. Baldwin says an investigation published in March was not thorough in its reporting of opiate-prescribing practices.

Baldwin had recieved the report in 2014, but did not start advocating for the issue until an investigative journalism piece showed a 35-year-old Marine died of an overdose in the inpatient care unit.

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THREE LAKES - It appears Gov. Scott Walker will try to address rural broadband internet in his 2015-2017 budget.

Walker proposes adding $6 million to the state's Broadband Expansion Grant Program.

"The fact that the Governor put another $6 million into the fund that already has $5 million is huge. That's double the size of the grant funding that's going to be available to us," said Don Sidlowski of the Northwoods Broadband and Economic Development Coalition.

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MADISON - A Wisconsin appeals court says a requirement that singers in the state Capitol obtain a permit was unconstitutional.

The case involves Michael Crute was cited for joining in a daily sing-along protest in the Capitol rotunda in July 2013. State rules then prohibited anyone from participating in an unpermitted event in state buildings.

Crute argued the regulations violated his free speech rights. A Madison judge tossed out his ticket in February. The 4th District Court of Appeals upheld that decision on Thursday, ruling the regulations didn't further a significant state interest.

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