MADISON - More than 234,000 voters in Wisconsin would be made unable to cast their ballot unless they register again before the next election under a lawsuit that liberals fear could dampen turnout among Democrats in the 2020 presidential race.
The lawsuit being filed Wednesday could affect how many voters are able to cast ballots in both the April presidential primary and November 2020 general election in Wisconsin.
The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty alleges that the Wisconsin Elections Commission broke the law when it decided to wait up to two years to deactivate voters who may have moved. The lawsuit alleges state law requires voters to respond within 30 days of receiving the October mailing or be deactivated.
The commission has said it is confident it is complying with the law.
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee's former police chief, who was demoted to captain in part for using tear gas against protesters demonstrating over George Floyd's death, has chosen to retire instead of staying with the department.
The city's Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously last week to demote Chief Alfonso Morales.
Commissioners criticized how Morales handled multiple incidents involving Black people, including the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown.
Speaking Wednesday on WTMJ-AM, Morales said he's retiring because if he returned as a captain it would be at a reduced salary and would negatively impact his pension payments.
Morales also defended his record as chief.
His attorney says he and Morales are exploring a range of legal action, including filing a claim for damages.
RHINELANDER - After over 50 years of staying open, Hodag Lanes in Rhinelander has officially closed its doors.
"I mean COVID has hit the bowling business really, really hard no matter where your bowling center is," said Sharon Cline, bowling manager at Hodag Lanes.
And with the construction on Stevens Street, the bowling alley was in a tough situation.
"The construction was also a big play for us because with all the construction out here it was tough for anybody to get through," Cline said.
A lot of memories were created in the bowling alley for various citizens in the city.
"I probably started bowling in the early '80s on the Wednesday night women's league," said Sherri Schilleman, Rhinelander resident. "We had the 9 o'clock slot I believe back then."
For her and many families in Rhinelander, bowling was very popular.
"Bowling is actually a big sport in Rhinelander," said Schilleman. "And I think in the last couple of years bowling was actually starting to make another comeback. So it's sad because people are gonna have to find something else to do."
But Cline is hoping that this won't be the end for Hodag Lanes.
"It is costly to have a bowling center but we're just hoping again that we can get up and running again," said Cline.
WAUSAU - The 4th Annual Grand Prix of Wisconsin Powerboat Nationals race weekend event that was scheduled for August 29th - 30th at Bluegill Bay Park in Rib Mountain has been cancelled due to COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on many businesses. Even something as simple as networking with other business owners can be complicated. But, the Wausau Chamber of Commerce is trying to help. They've hosted their networking events for years, but since going virtual they've had to adjust to help local businesses stay on track.
"This desire was out there," said Chamber Marking Manager, Brian Otten.
There was a common desire among businesses to get back to normal and doing so meant making changes.
"It's been well received. We've had individuals who have attended numerous Nothing but Networking Programs," Otten said, "We've got a lot of people that check it out for the first time we do it and a lot of those people return as well."
Nothing but Networking has been a staple for Wausau Chamber members, that includes Health in Motion's Stacey Marcum.
"I think it's been really, really positive. It's also people from different industries who can tell their stories, say what's going on, and pitch their business, and also talk about how we can get through these harder times together. And make our community stronger because of it," Marcum said.
With the meetings moving online for the time being, it's given Chamber members a learning experience. One that will impact the future of business.
"Everything that we've learned the last few months is going to incorporated into what the chamber is and does," Otten explained.
"And I think even moving forward, if there's not an opportunity even after the pandemic. To do an online event, to still connect with each other, and I think that would be very beneficial," Marcum added.
The next Nothing but Networking event is scheduled for August 24th. Marathon County business owners can register for the event on the chamber's website.
MENOMINEE RESERVATION - A 2019 bill aiming to create a task force focused on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, or MMIW, failed to come up for a vote in Madison. Attorney General Kosh Kaul knows the issue is too important to public safety to do nothing.
"I think that this is too important an issue to wait for the next legislative session and then not be sure what's gonna happen so we went ahead and created this task force," says Kaul.
The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Task Force will bring together leadership from Wisconsin's 11 tribal nations, along with municipal, county, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement.
Their first priority is getting a firm grasp on just how bad this issue really is.
"Well as far as data goes, we don't have accurate data," says Rachel Fernandez, an organizer with Manikanaehkem, Community Rebuilders. Manikanaehkem is based in the Menominee Nation, advocating for a holistic approach to healing communities.
"We get lost in that shuffle of violence -- of everything that's going on," says Fernandez.
There are three ongoing investigations announced at the July press conference for the Task Force. Fernandez says there are far more, and more coming forward every day.
"The women are leading right now and we're doing this work because we honor those ancestors who endured years and years of struggle, oppression, assimilation, genocide -- now that everybody is ready, and I think that's a key word, ready, to talk about everything, it's important that we do our part in leading," says Fernandez.
Allyship is important, but the job of non-natives is to support, not lead. "Saving them" was a rallying cry for centuries of genocide, forced assimilation, and other forms of historical and ongoing violence against Indigenous people. Even well-intended, the idea carries forward the colonizer mentality.
"I tell my friends that are trying to do that. "Oh what can I do, I'm gonna come to that meeting, I'm gonna do this" and I'm like - you need to slow up, and you need to listen, and you need to understand that you're not here to save us, you're here to stand with us," says Fernandez.
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