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National Guard probing whistle-blower's reprisal allegationsSubmitted: 10/22/2019
National Guard probing whistle-blower's reprisal allegations
Story By Associated Press

Photos By US National Guard / CC BY 2.0

MADISON - The National Guard is investigating allegations that Wisconsin commanders are trying to force a sergeant out of the service after he complained about sexual misconduct in his unit.

Wisconsin Air National Guard Master Sgt. Jay Ellis' complaint last year has triggered two federal investigations. Both probes are ongoing.

Ellis has since alleged Guard officials have blocked him from his squadron's facilities and are reviewing his medical history to set up a medical discharge and deny him full-time retirement benefits.

Wisconsin National Guard spokesman Joe Trovato says the Wisconsin Guard's top commander, Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, has ordered an investigation into Ellis' reprisal allegations. Trovato says Dunbar has brought in an officer from another state to conduct the probe independently.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON - The University of Wisconsin-Madison has received less than 1% of the money that Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group pledged to it two years ago amid the electronics giant's expansion plans in Wisconsin.

In August 2018, Foxconn committed $100 million to the university to help fund an engineering building and for company-related research. It gave the school $700,000 in the first year of a 5-year agreement and records show the school has received no additional money over the past year.

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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.

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MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin man has pleaded guilty to vandalizing a synagogue last year as part of a neo-Nazi plot, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Yousef Barasneh, 22, of Oak Creek, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal civil rights charge, U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin said.

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Hodag Lanes Closing Submitted: 08/14/2020

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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. 

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- The Rhinelander school district announced today a blended reopening plan for the 2020-21 academic year. The blended option will include high school and middle school students attending in-person classes twice a week, with the remainder of the week being online. Meanwhile, K-5th will have a four day school week, with Wednesdays off for a school-wide cleaning. Despite the district's decision to offer partly online classes, not all parents are ready for their students to return back to the school hallways.

"We have to put health in front of money. we have to put health in front of other important things to make sure everybody is okay to continue to enjoy the things we like so much. and if this is just one way we can keep her safe and the family safe,..again we just decided as a family that's the best route for us," Rhinelander parent, Kate Bauman said.

For parents wanting an alternative option, they can sign up for the districts online option by tomorrow night, August 9th, 2020. 

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WASHINGTON - The number of Americans applying for unemployment dropped below 1 million last week for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak took hold in the U.S. five months ago, but layoffs are still running extraordinarily high.

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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.

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