February 6, 2016

Braun faces uncertain future with endorsements

With Ryan Braun getting suspended for the rest of the season and him admitting to doping, how will this hurt his endorsements and marketability?

Richard Reider, who teaches a sports sponsorship course at Marquette University, says, “I don’t think anybody really knows. When you get back down to it Ryan is still a very young guy. He’s highly marketable. He’s loved by the fans of Milwaukee and he’s got a national following.”

As to how this will affect the Brewers image or fan base, Reider says the scandal won’t “help the team,” but he doubts it will harm the team much as tthey have done a “remarkable” job in engaging the Milwaukee fan base.

Bill targets huffing and driving

Current state law falls short in trying to prosecute someone who is under the influence of an inhalant while driving, according to sponsors of a bill that would change the law’s definition of an intoxicant.

During a public hearing on the bill, the case of an Appleton woman accused of huffing and driving was cited numerous times. Following a crash in 2011, Marilyn Torbeck was cited for a third offense — operating while intoxicated. However, a circuit court dropped the charges as the chemical in her system “1, 1-Difluoroethane”, found in spray cans, is not covered under state OWI law. An appeals court upheld the ruling.

State Rep. Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) says the bi-partisan bill would include all inhaled substances as an intoxicant under OWI laws, adding to the statute’s existing coverage of alcohol and nitrous oxide. Bies says the measure will give law enforcement the “tools they need” when dealing with those who huff and drive.

The bill was heard by the Senate Transportation, Public Safety, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.

Bill to give veterans priority in college registration

Lawmakers hear a proposal that would give military veterans priority in registering for classes on UW campuses. State Senate sponsor Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) says the measure would help vets who may face challenges of being an older student in class while working and supporting a family.

A number of those who testified spoke about the difficulty those in the military face when trying to register for classes while deployed.

The proposal was spearheaded by David Tuseck, a student at UW-Milwaukee who spent six years in the military. He learned about other states with similar laws while meeting with student veterans from around the U.S. After his nearly 200 emails to lawmakers, state Representative Diane Hesselbein (D-Middleton) began drafting the bill which has since picked up bi-partisan support.

No one spoke against the legislation during the public hearing held by the Senate Transportation, Public Safety, Veterans, and Military Affairs.

Push to keep paramilitary mine guards from returning

The Sierra Club has requested the state Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) deny a license application by Arizona-based Bulletproof Securities. Its military-style guards had been stationed by Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) to protect its North Woods mining site, but were removed after it was discovered that security firm was not licensed in Wisconsin.

GTAC claims the masked guards were needed after a June incident, caught on video, which depicts masked protestors threatening the safety of workers and their families.

“There are plenty of local in-state security guards that could’ve been hired. There could’ve been more coordination, I think, with local law enforcement,” says Shahla Werner, director of the Sierra Club John Muir Chapter. She is also concerned about the possibility of tourists being injured as the project is located in an area open to public recreation. The group is also asking the Iron County District Attorney’s office to criminally charge GTAC.

Iron County D.A. Marty Lipske says any possible charges would involve more investigation and information from state officials on the company’s licensing violations.

Lipske says a Wisconsin security firm would alleviate the licensing issue, but adds the aggressiveness of the demonstrators gives “some legitimacy” to GTAC’s response. He cites the actions documented in the criminal complaint of 26-year-old Katie Kloth whose alleged group of protesters threatened mine site workers and their families. He says they are seeking information about the identities of the other demonstrators.

Lipske says he’d like all parties involved to go forward in a manner that is “non-threatening, non-violent, and non-destructive.”

DSPS confirmed it received a complaint from the Sierra Club.

New WEAC head at national convention

Immigration reform is among the topics that top officials from the nation’s teachers unions are taking up at the annual National Education Association meeting.

“It’s time to fix the system and create a road map for citizenship for those who’ve been part of our communities and our families for many, many years,” says Betsy Kippers, president-elect of the Wisconsin Education Association Council. “And we just want some common sense solutions to reflect our values.”

More than 10,000 educators are taking up issues surrounding school safety and student interest rate hikes this week in Atlanta, Georgia. Kippers adds that the event is also to “celebrate what our educators do every day for our students.”

The event runs through Friday.