May 23, 2015

Milwaukee alderman dead after overnight crash

Ald. Joe Dudzik

Ald. Joe Dudzik

Milwaukee Alderman Joseph Dudzik, 56, was killed late Thursday night in a motorcycle crash. Police said Dudzik hit construction barricades while riding his Harley-Davidson around 11:25 pm on Milwaukee’s southwest side. Dudzik was taken to a hospital, where he died as the result of his injuries.

Dudzik has been a resident of Milwaukee’s 11th District most of his life. He was active in the community, volunteering for the Special Olympics and the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Dudzik joined the Common Council in 2002, when he won a special election. He was re-elected three times since, most recently in 2012. Dudzik had previously worked for Milwaukee’s public works department for two decades.

Dudzik is survived by his wife and two sons.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate down to 4.4 percent in April

The state’s jobless rate in April was at 4.4 percent, down from 4.6 in March.

April’s preliminary unemployment rate of 4.4 percent is the state’s lowest rate since April of 2008 — and lower than the national rate of 5.4 percent. That’s according to numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Manufacturing, construction, and professional services jobs are up.

Wisconsin gained 35,736 private-sector jobs in all of 2014, for a growth rate of 1.5 percent. However, the tally over the past four years is only slightly more than half of Governor Scott Walker’s 2010 campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs during his first term.

About 130,000 jobs were created during Walker’s first term — slightly more than half of his stated goal.

The new preliminary estimates for April from the BLS were released Thursday by the state Department of Workforce Development.

Former deputy charged with child sex crimes back in court

Zachary Dorr

Zachary Dorr

The former Lincoln County deputy sheriff facing child sex charges was in court Wednesday, but little was accomplished.

Zachary Dorr, 34, was brought from the Marathon County Jail to a preliminary hearing with Judge Greg Huber, but Dorr does not have an attorney and he does want one.

Deputy District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon outlined the case, but the court could not proceed until Dorr has an attorney.

There are three felony charges. Dorr is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl at his Wausau home, and committing other sexual acts with the same girl in his car.

He did resign from the sheriff’s department last week. If convicted, Dorr faces almost 70 years in prison.

Dorr claims he cannot afford an attorney, so an indigency hearing was scheduled for today at 10:30 a.m.


Wisconsin soldier buried at Arlington, 65 years later

Francis Knobel

Francis Knobel

A La Crosse soldier who went missing during the Korean War almost 65 years ago gets a full military burial Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Francis Knobel was a 20-year-old corporal in the Army’s 31st Infantry Regiment. He was reported missing in December of 1950 at the end of a 17-day battle in North Korea. He was among 154 U.S. troops said to be killed in combat that day.

Last year, with advances in technology, the Department of Defense re-examined records from the U.S. Army’s Central Identification Unit (CIU) in Japan. Human remains were exhumed, analyzed, and identified — using circumstantial evidence, radiographs, and dental comparison.

Knobel will receive several honors posthumously — including the National Defense and Korean service medals, and the Purple Heart.

Nearly 8,000 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Remains of 310 have been recovered and identified. Of 174 missing service members from Wisconsin, Knobel is one of only three to be identified. There are 144 troops from Minnesota still unidentified. (From La Crosse Tribune)

Civics test requirement added to state budget

U.S. Constitution

U.S. Constitution

It appears more likely Wisconsin high school students will have to pass the civics part of the U.S. citizenship test before they can graduate.

The Joint Finance Committee put the requirement into the state budget early Wednesday morning. Freshman Assembly Republican James Edming of Glen Flora recently proposed a separate bill to make students pass the civics test.

“Some of the questions include, ‘How many justices are on the supreme court? What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? Who vetoes a bill?'” Edming said, “These may appear to be relatively simple questions for many, but for many young Americans they are not.”

At a recent public hearing in Madison, Edming cited a study conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “It found that only 36 percent of adults could name all three branches of the government and other 35 percent could not name any.”

The GOP-controlled finance panel decided to make the requirement part of the budget along with thousands of other items, which makes it easier to pass than a separate bill.

Educators oppose the measure.

Supporters say it would encourage more young adults to get involved with government.

Under the budget measure, students would have to answer 60 of the 100 questions correctly in order to graduate.

Public school students would have to pass the test, as well as those in charter and voucher schools. Students can take the test as many times as necessary.