WUWM News

Tuesday, February 20, Wisconsin voters will head to the polls to narrow the list of three candidates vying to become the next Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice down to two. 

There’s an opening on the state’s highest court created by Justice Michael Gableman, who after only one 10 year term has decided not to seek reelection.

In recent years, Wisconsin Supreme Court races have been controversial due to the amount of outside money being spent to influence voters.

Eric Epstein

Republican Rep. Jim Steineke of Kaukauna authored the bill making it easier for landowners to fill some wetlands – not high quality systems, he says, but low-grade isolated ones.  The bill passed in the Assembly last week.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Mayor Tom Barrett gave Dr. Patricia McManus, head of the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, the official green light Thursday, but the process was far from seamless.

Six weeks ago former commissioner Bevan Baker stepped down after evidence surfaced that the health department had botched protocols surrounding lead testing in children.

Mayor Barrett then announced his choice for interim commissioner - Paul Nannis.

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Wisconsin is evolving in the way in which it treats its juvenile offenders in state run facilities. On Thursday, an assembly committee approved legislation that would close both Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls in northern Wisconsin in favor of giving counties more control.

In recent years, the two facilities have been marred by lawsuits and a federal investigation into how kids there are treated. While some state lawmakers are singing the plans praises but counties have some concerns.

PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK

The Milwaukee County District Attorney is investigating the death of a 22-year-old West Milwaukee man who died after being tased by police.

Adam Trammell suffered from schizophrenia, so mental health advocates are watching the case develop.

Officers entered Trammell's home last May, after receiving calls from a neighbor that he was behaving erratically. He was tased repeatedly and died soon after he was taken to the hospital.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

The topic of lead contamination continues to consume Milwaukee leaders. The Milwaukee Health Department is under scrutiny for mismanagement of its lead paint abatement program. And, at the same time, community pressure for a comprehensive plan seems to be mounting.

Wednesday morning at a meeting of the Public Works Committee, Alderman Tony Zielinski pushed for a companion strategy. “Key components of the legislation include inserts going out with the water bill quarterly as opposed to semiannually and that would provide educational material about lead," he said.

Prosecutors are reviewing possible criminal charges against three West Milwaukee police officers who allegedly used a stun gun on a man suffering from mental illness -- who later died.  A medical examiner's report says the use of taser shocks led to the death of 22-year-old Adam Trammel in West Milwaukee last May. 

PHOTO COURTESY OF WISCONSINEYE

Native Americans in Wisconsin had the opportunity to share their concerns with state lawmakers Tuesday. The occasion was the annual State of the Tribes Address at the Capitol.

The speaker, former Menominee chairman Gary Besaw, focused on issues important to the different nations, such as preserving wetlands and limiting mining, but he also urged more communication between the state and the tribes.

Wisconsin Department of Corrections

There’s a new proposal for where to house juvenile inmates after the troubled Lincoln Hills prison closes. Earlier this year, Gov. Scott Walker unveiled a plan to shutter Lincoln Hills in northern Wisconsin by 2020. But on Tuesday, a number of Walker’s fellow Republicans – and Democrats – shared their idea to have counties house the less serious offenders and help cover the costs. 

Legislative leaders touted the plan as a cheaper solution to what Walker had proposed.

Photo courtesy of WisconsinEye

At the first State of Black and Brown Wisconsin address in Madison Monday, members of the Black and Latino Caucus focused on the racial disparities that continue to challenge the advancement of people of color in the state.

The lawmakers highlighted disparities in housing, education, health and employment.

One of the participants was Milwaukee state Sen. LaTonya Johnson. She shared statistics that illustrate disparities in education between black and brown children, versus white children.

Marti Mikkelson

Three Milwaukee County jail employees have been charged in the dehydration death Terrill Thomas, a 38-year-old man who died in custody in April of 2016.

Thomas was arrested on April 16, 2016 and died around a week later.

He suffered from bipolar disorder and had previously flooded a cell. After the flooding incident, jail staffers were ordered to turn off his water supply.

Surveillance video does not show the water being turned back on. Thomas died from dehydration.

Susan Bence

Like many Milwaukeans, Deb Schampers of Bay View has driven past the wind turbine just south of the Hoan Bridge countless times. For years, she’s been wondering about it: Why is it there? Why only one? Who benefits?

Just for fun, during her daily commutes, Deb made up her own answers -- “It was possibly helping us make Milorganite for the world... It’s heating the ovens at DiMarini’s (a pizza place a half mile from the turbine.)”

Teran Powell

Milwaukee’s search for an interim police chief is down to two candidates - Inspector Michael Brunson and Captain Alfonso Morales. 

Assistant Police Chief James Harpole withdrew his candidacy and announced his retirement days before the three were set to attend a public forum.

Last night, the two remaining candidates had the chance to answer questions from the community, and explain how their experiences in law enforcement would influence their role as chief.

Stefan Schnitzer

Marquette University biologist Stefan Schnitzer spends months at a time at his lab on Barro Colorado Island in Panama. Amidst the fauna and flora, the island is home to dozens of woody vine species, or liana.

“And what’s happening now is that the forests are changing enough that they (lianas) seem to be thriving when many trees are not,” Schnitzer says.

Trees are important not simply to a balanced tropical forest ecosystem, they are vital to the planet. “What we want from these forests is that they pull the carbon into the tree trunk for a thousand years,” he says.

In just a couple of weeks Wisconsin voters will be one step closer to electing a new state Supreme Court Justice. There was an opening on the bench after Justice Michael Gableman announced he would not run for a second term.

A three-way primary will be held on Feb 20 between Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet, Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock and Madison Attorney Tim Burns. The top two vote getters will advance to the April general election.

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