Source: Local News
With two growing boys, Laura Cotting said she cannot risk them skipping a meal. But thanks to what she calls the “lunch of shame,” -- it’s happened more than once at school in Waterloo. "I think all told, it was five or six times that my sons ended up with no lunch," Cotting said. Cotting said both of her sons are on the same account to pay for their lunch every day. She said on more than one occasion, one or both of the boys would reach the end of the line with their trays full of hot food when the cafeteria cashier told them there wasn’t enough money in the account to cover their meal. Cotting said the food was thrown out, and her sons were handed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. "They felt humiliated. They felt shamed," Cotting said. "For them it was a nasty surprise during the school day because they had no idea where the lunch account balance was." Stories like Cotting’s led PTO secretary Angie Stinnett to push for new policies. "It's embarrassing, and then they're afraid to get back in the line, afraid that it's going to happen again," Stinnett said. Stinnett has gone to district administration, asking them to eliminate the so-called “lunch of shame” and serve all kids the same meal, whether they have money in their account or not. An online petition has more than 400 people supporting the cause. "I don't care if it works. We can find another way that works that doesn't embarrass children," Stinnett said. Waterloo district administrator Connie Schiestel said the policy wasn’t created to embarrass kids. According to current policies, students who are not able to pay for full-priced lunches are served an alternative lunch of a sandwich and milk. That meal is served to any child in fifth through 12th grade for up to three days. If parents do not replenish their account within those three days, schools do not serve the child. Schiestel said under USDA law, school districts make their own rules of how to handle empty accounts. That means districts could deny lunch altogether to any student with a negative balance if that’s how they chose to do it. "The fact that we have few negative balances, I think, does speak to the fact that this has been very consistent," Schiestel explained. "Here's our policy, this is what happens, and the parents have responded by making sure that their accounts, they have been responsible." Schiestel said when a child’s account is less than $10, those students are sent home with daily written notices, warning parents of the low balance. Parents are also supposed to receive emails if the account reaches that level. Schiestel added lunches that cannot be covered by a negative account have to be thrown away since the food cannot be served to another student under health department requirements. Schiestel said the policies in place have prevented debt from unpaid lunch fees, which would have to be made up with funds from the school’s other operational budgets. While the current rules have proved to be effective, Schiestel said the district is up for looking at other options. "If there is a better way to work through this and to still run a viable lunch program, we're certainly willing to make that effort," Schiestel said. The district’s policy committee recommended the Waterloo school board do away with the alternative lunch and serve kids the meal they came up to the cashier with. School board members will have their first reading on the policy changes Monday. If they vote to adopt the new rules, the district will run a trial period on the policy for the last eight weeks of this school year. At that point, the school board will reassess any acquired debts and make a decision on permanent policies. Cotting said she never got an email warning from the district about her boys’ low balance. Regardless, she said the way the district deals with the issue is unacceptable. "There is no excuse for a school to make a child suffer in an attempt to try to control the parents. Find another way," Cotting said.
Published: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 16:30:04 GMT
The city and local cab companies are speaking out against new ride-sharing companies that Madison police and the city attorney are calling illegal taxi services. New companies, Lyft and Uber, which launched in the last month, are ride sharing companies that allow customers to order a ride from drivers using a downloadable phone application. The drivers are then paid a fee based on how far the trip was. To most, this sounds like an average cab company, but the difference is the drivers aren't licensed or vetted by the city. "There are taxi cab regulations and as they've been interpreted by the Madison Police Department, they are not operating illegally," said Madison District 8 Alder Scott Resnick. According to Madison law, taxi and cab services must have operating licenses, vehicle and driver permits. Currently, neither Uber nor Lyft, which have been deemed taxi services, are registered. "The whole idea of another transportation company in Madison is pretty offensive to all of us if they don't have to follow the same rules we do," said Mark Adkins, who's been driving for Union Cab for 16 years. Cab companies said they also have serious questions about how drivers and passengers are protected accidents and surge pricing by the new ride-sharing services. Phil Anderson of Green Cab, said he isn't concerned about competition as much as he is safety. "Between the vehicles, the drivers and their particular issues and the insurance; none of those are a guarantee with Uber or Lyft," he said. According to the websites of both companies, cars and drivers are insured by standard $1 million dollar liability coverage and various amounts for uninsured drivers or passengers. The general manager of Uber - Wisconsin, Nick Anderson, said in an email his company is solving a large problem in the transportation system and said "certain government bodies are protecting the taxi industry and some misunderstand our business model entirely." Resnick said he's excited these businesses have chosen Madison and is hoping to find a way to accommodate both existing taxi companies and newer ride-sharing services. The city's transit and parking commission is set to meet March 12 to discuss how to address the new companies.
Published: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 16:38:51 GMT
What's behind the tradition of turning our clocks ahead each spring?
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 07:00:00 GMT
A state report alleges Dane County mis-handled one of the worst child abuse cases in county history. County leaders dispute the report and say they weren't required to change anything following the investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. The report was done after abuse was reported to a 15-year-old known as "SLC" in February of 2012. A passerby found the emaciated girl walking in her pajamas along Siggelkow Road, and she reported being locked in a basement where she was abused and tortured. The report was sealed because of the criminal proceedings against her father, Chad Chritton, his wife Melinda and their son Joshua, but News 3 obtained the report this week. The report looked into all the contacts that Dane County Child Protective Services had with the Chritton family over the years, which totaled 8 interactions since 1997. According to the report's summary, CPS made mistakes in four total interactions. That includes two contacts in 2007, where the state found initial assessments lacked sufficient information to determine if the child was safe, that sources of information were not contacted or not documented, and that reports weren't completed in the required timeframe. Two other cases in 2009 were deemed to be "screened out in error," or weren't considered serious enough for follow-up by a county CPS worker. But despite these errors listed, Dane County Human Services Director Lynn Green says there was no corrective action plan required. "We were not required by the state to implement any corrections in this area based on this incident," said Green. Green claims the state determined this case was not representative of the department's work and they had lengthy discussions about what took place. She tells News 3 she disagrees with the report's findings. "Those are the state's conclusions of the situation and they ultimately write the report," said Green. "I believe we have talked to them about their opinions on this and that you could draw other conclusions." Green says she isn't allowed by law to talk about details of the interactions with the family, but can say one thing for sure. "Knowing the facts of the case I honestly don't know what we could have done differently," said Green. "I will admit that I don't know." District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said in a sentencing hearings for Melinda Drabek-Chritton that the system had failed this child. News 3 asked Green if she agreed. "I heard the DA say that and knowing the DA and what he was saying I think I didn't hear him say the department failed this girl," said Green. "I heard him say the system, the community failed this girl. No child should have to go through what this girl went through." Green says her department has added staff and addressed caseload since this case, but no changes were a direct result of what happened. State investigators at the Department of Chidlren and Families declined to answer any of our questions about how their opinions differed on the incidents or whether or not they required changes at the county level. The report says the state "worked with Dane County Department of Human Services to address issues identified during the review." News 3 also requested to speak to DCF Secretary Eloise Anderson and our request was denied
Published: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 03:07:59 GMT
A 20-year-old man is dead after he lost control of a snowmobile and crashed into a tree in Wheaton. The Chippewa Herald reported that the crash happened Friday night on a public snowmobile trail. The Chippewa County Sheriff's Department said the man was snowmobiling with three friends when he lost control and hit a tree. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor. Authorities said speed and the driver's unfamiliarity with the trail contributed to the crash.
Published: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 19:53:35 GMT
It may be too soon to write brick-and-mortar's obituary, but there's been a slew of store closings already in 2014.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17:13:17 GMT
The nearly 200 students at St. Lawrence Seminary are safe after a five-alarm fire at the boarding school. School spokesman Philip Van Ermen says all students have been allowed to return to their dorms, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. No one was injured in the fire, which happened before dawn Saturday in St. Joseph Hall. Action Reporter Media in Fond du Lac reports that St. Joseph Hall is the oldest building on campus, and is severely damaged. The building houses offices and classrooms. The cause of the blaze is still being investigated. No other buildings were damaged. St. Lawrence Seminary High School is a private, Catholic boarding school for male students. It was founded in 1860 by Capuchin Franciscans.
Published: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 19:44:19 GMT
The Wisconsin Hospital Association said it will soon post data online that will show expecting parents whether the hospital where they plan to have their baby promptly sends newborn screening samples to the lab for testing. The hospital group announced its plan Friday. It will begin posting the data on its CheckPoint website in April, and will publish the data for a year before deciding whether to keep listing it publicly. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that newborn screening has been under review since a November investigation by the newspaper found dozens of Wisconsin hospitals weren't quickly sending samples to the state lab. Thousands of hospitals nationwide were also delaying in sending samples in. The newspaper investigation started after a baby almost died from a treatable condition. The New London hospital where he was born delayed sending his blood test to the lab. About one in every 800 babies is born with a potentially severe condition that can be treated if testing is done properly. Nearly every child has blood sample taken within 24 to 48 hours of birth for the screening. The sample is supposed to be sent to a lab within 24 hours. An analysis of one year of data in Wisconsin showed 2.9 percent of samples -- or 1,769 -- were delayed five or more days. Statewide, 87 percent of newborn screening samples arrived at the lab within three days of collection. Federally backed guidelines recommend samples take no more than three days to arrive at labs. Data published to CheckPoint will gauge how many samples are received at the state lab within four days of collection. Hospitals began receiving monthly reports of newborn screening metrics in January, including the time it takes to send samples to the lab. The information hadn't been given to hospitals before the newspaper's investigation. Kelly Court, the association's chief quality officer, said hospitals are glad to have the data to improve their programs. "The results are going to look really good," she said.
Published: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 21:30:09 GMT
A state agency is investigating after a 64-year-old man fell out of a roller coaster at Mount Olympus in the Wisconsin Dells Thursday night. The Department of Safety and Professional Services has sent OSHA Amusement Ride and Ski-tow inspection staff to the scene where a man fell 15 to 20 feet and landed on the floor. A Mount Olympus employee said the man fell off the Opa roller coaster at the theme park, which is in a building behind the water park. The theme park is closed, but the water park is still open. Officials said the man was not moving but he was breathing when they took the 911 call around 5:35 p.m. The man was transported to St. Clare's hospital in Baraboo, and was then transported by Med Flight to UW Hospital, authorities said. Lake Delton police said this is not a criminal investigation. According to Patrick Salvi, an attorney who has handled several cases involving injuries and deaths resulting from amusement park rides, the investigation will focus on the actions of the person injured and roller coaster ride itself. “The first thing you have to find out is what happened, how did this happen and that would include witness statements, statements from people operating the roller coaster,” says Salvi. “Then you go to the documents having to do with having it been inspected. You inspect the roller coaster yourself and you involve people that are experts in amusement ride safety and are familiar with this device.” A spokesperson for Mt. Olympus Resort said that first and foremost their thoughts and prayers right now are with the gentleman who was injured and his family. According to a release, Mount Olympus staff members have been very cooperative. The ride’s manufacturer, Zamperla Manufacturing, is investigating the incident as well.
Published: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 03:22:40 GMT
Wisconsin college students and others looking to escape the cold and snow over spring break are being warned to watch out for scams. The Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin is offering a variety of tips to avoid getting duped. The BBB recommends booking a trip using a reliable travel agent. The agency's background can be checked on the BBB's website. It also said travelers should get details about the trip in writing, use a credit card for payment and consider purchasing travel insurance. The BBB also cautions about accepting deals that appear to be too good to be true, and to be wary about being told that a trip has been won.
Published: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 16:28:25 GMT
The U.S. Coast Guard is beginning to break the ice on Lake Superior and officials said the process will be difficult this year. The director of the Coast Guard's Vessel Traffic Services, Mark Gill, said it's the most ice he's seen on the lake in 25 years. Gill said the record-setting cold winter has ice exceeding 42 inches on the Superior side of the harbor and up to 36 inches of plate ice on the Duluth, Minn. side. Gills told Wisconsin Public Radio that they'll use commercial tugs to help get boats moving by March 17. He said the "lakers" are already asking for help to leave the harbor later this month. The Soo Locks are set to open March 25. ___ Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org
Published: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 19:41:12 GMT
A Madison man accused of stabbing his girlfriend Semilla Anderson 29 times pleaded guilty, Friday in court. Eric Prunn, 40, is being charged with first-degree attempted intentional homicide after being arrested in September at an east side home. Police said Prunn stabbed his girlfriend inside a home on Brigham Avenue. Police said they found a woman in her early 30s with multiple stab wounds to her upper body inside the residence. Anderson was Prunn's live-in girlfriend at the time of the attack. The judge has ordered a pre-sentencing investigation. A sentencing date has not been set.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 22:46:56 GMT
A New Orleans arrest warrant says detectives learned from witnesses that former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper and an associate acknowledged they had nonconsensual sex with two women. The warrant was released by New Orleans police on Thursday in an investigation of Sharper and associate Erik Nunez. The warrant does not elaborate on the allegations by witnesses. Sharper remains in a Los Angeles jail after pleading not guilty to rape and drug charges in California. His attorneys were set to argue for his release Friday afternoon. Louisiana prosecutors have not yet formally charged Sharper. The athlete's Los Angeles-based attorney Blair Berk referred a call for comment to Sharper's New Orleans lawyer, Jason Williams, who was not immediately available. Nunez has been arrested in New Orleans, where a judge on Friday set bail for at $400,000. His lawyer Herbert Larson there is no evidence against his client.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 20:15:31 GMT
A construction accident resulted in the severing of fiber optic lines on Madison’s west side, causing outages for some TDS Telecommunications customers. An announcement on the company’s Facebook before noon on Friday said the accident occurred near the intersection of the Beltline and Gammon Road in Madison and the repair could take several hours. Customers in Verona, New Glarus, Monroe, Monticello, Juda and Albany are affected. The company said it’s working to find alternate routes for services ahead of the completion of the repair work. Numerous TDS customer services are affected. Customers were told they do not need to call to report outages.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 18:46:54 GMT
A Madison man was arrested on numerous charges after a domestic battery incident early Friday morning, according to a release from the Madison Police Department. Police said Brent L. Benton, 30, punched a woman in the face multiple times while they traveled inside her SUV. The woman told police Benton punctured two of her tires, possibly with a knife and later broke into her apartment in the 200 block of North Thompson Drive. She said he began yelling and waving a handgun around. Police were called and Benton was later found at his north side home and taken into custody. Benton was arrested on suspicion of battery, felon in possession of a firearm, criminal damage to property, disorderly conduct while armed, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of marijuana and a parole violation. Crime map
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17:19:38 GMT
Anchor Bank is offering free fraud protection to approximately 175 people after sending part of their mortgage statements to other customers. Joe Martin, a railroad engineer in Janesville, received page two of his March statement and page one of a Madison couple's statement. "My major concern is if I have someone else's page one, who has mine?" Martin said. "I really don't know the full ramifications of this. How does anybody know?" The bank said the errors include loan numbers, the loan's balance and payment information. However, a spokeswoman said they did not including checking or savings account information or Social Security numbers. Still, she said the company would offer one year of fraud protection to those impacted. "I want to make it clear, we apologize for the inconvenience that (the customers) have experienced," said Anchor Bank spokeswoman Jennifer Ranville. "The most important thing we want (customers) to know is we are taking aggressive measures to protect their information. Their accounts are safe and it won't happen again." Ranville said a mailroom mechanical malfunction was to blame for the problem. She said the company identified the problem just after the statements went out and that customers had been contacted about it. However, Martin said he is still waiting for a phone call back from the bank after trying to reach multiple people last week. He normally shreds all personal information and is hoping the homeowner who received the page one of his March statement will do the same to help prevent any form of identity theft. "When you think about it, if your identity is stolen, what can these other people do with it," he said. "It's just not a good thing." Any Anchor Bank customer who remains concerned about the mailing can call 1-800-252-6246.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 02:26:38 GMT
The murder trial of a Purdue University engineering student accused of killing another student on campus has been postponed for six months. The trial date for 23-year-old Cody Cousins was rescheduled for Oct. 6 during a hearing Friday in a Tippecanoe County court. It had been scheduled to begin April 22. The Warsaw resident has been charged with murder in the January killing of 21-year-old Andrew Boldt of West Bend, Wis. Prosecutors and police said Cousins attacked Boldt around noon Jan. 21 in Purdue's Electrical Engineering Building on the campus in West Lafayette. Court documents said Boldt suffered both gunshot and knife wounds and that several people were in the classroom and witnessed the attack. Court documents have not cited a possible motive for the slaying.
Published: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 22:40:33 GMT
The Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team is reporting more than 3,000 public sector retirees returned to work for a public employer last year while drawing pensions from their old jobs. The team reported Thursday state Department of Employee Trust Funds data show 3,025 Wisconsin Retirement System retirees returned to work in 2013. The state began tracking retiree rehires after provisions in the current state budget required WRS retirees who go back to work for a public employer to stop collecting a pension and resume paying into the system if the job is two-thirds time or more. A DETF spokesman said no retirees halted their pension to return to work full-time from July 2013, when the new law took effect on Jan. 31 of this year.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 18:22:48 GMT
After a decade leading the Middleton police force, Chief Brad Keil will retire his public service hat later this month for a figurative one working in corporate security.
Published: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 00:03:07 GMT
A Fitchburg man accused of supplying the heroin that killed a teenager in 2012 has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Twenty-three-year-old Milton Moore pleaded no contest Thursday to first-degree reckless homicide by delivery of drugs. After his prison term, Moore will be on extended supervision for seven years. The Portage Daily Register reported Moore apologized to the family of the victim, 17-year-old Jacob Adler of Lodi. Adler's mother, Shelly Johnson, said she hopes her son's story might save other lives. Moore's co-defendant, 20-year-old Lars Atkinson of Lodi, was sentenced in October to 5 ½ years in prison and 5 ½ years on extended supervision. According to the complaint, Atkinson told police he and Adler purchased the heroin in Madison, giving Moore $75 for half a gram.
Published: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 20:51:36 GMT