MADISON - Wisconsin lawmakers have taken their first votes on a bill to address conditions at the state's troubled youth prison since problems at the facility came to light more than a year ago.
The bipartisan bill would make it mandatory for guards at the prison to report child abuse incidents. The Senate judiciary committee approved the bill 5-0 on Thursday, sending it on to the full Senate.
The FBI is currently investigating allegations of widespread inmate abuse at the prison outside Irma. Current and former inmates have filed two federal lawsuits demanding improvements.
Word of problems at the facility broke in December 2015 after state agents raided the prison. Democrats introduced a dozen bills as the legislative session ended last spring, but Republicans didn't allow the measures to go anywhere.
RHINELANDER - Oneida County needs more foster care homes. Right now, there are nine licensed foster homes in the area, most of which are full according to the county's social services department.
Foster Care Coordinator Rachel Nelson says that in Oneida County there are 24 children currently living in foster homes. The department participated in a statewide foster care recruitment project last fall, and discovered just how great the need is.
RHINELANDER - A snow storm caught Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander off guard last weekend and collapsed a greenhouse. Now that spring weather is here, Hanson's is ready to move forward by making some adjustments. "We got by for 25 years doing what we were doing," said Hanson's Garden Village Co-owner Brent Hanson. Last weekend's spring snow storm set back Hanson's. "We thought we were ahead of schedule having that greenhouse nice and filled," said Hanson's Manager Beth Hanson.
"One bad storm and there you go. Things happen," said Brent. The storm collapsed a greenhouse holding thousands of plants. "For years we've gotten by with these lighter cheaper green houses," said Brent. "We'll be down a greenhouse for a little bit here," said Beth. Now Hanson's will only use sturdier and solid greenhouses so that collapses don't become a pattern.
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