Sunday, January 21st

State

Man smoking cigarette(Photo: Wavebreakmedia Ltd)

All public housing throughout the U.S., including thousands of households in Wisconsin, will soon become smoke free.

And to help residents kick the habit, the American Lung Association is offering free support to smokers living in multi-unit public housing in the state.

The federal Housing and Urban Development rule takes effect July 31, forbidding cigarettes, cigars, pipes and hookahs from being smoked in all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing units. Electronic cigarettes will be allowed.

"Not all are happy about it. Some are happy about it," said Ken Barbeau, director of community programs for the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee.

In Milwaukee, where roughly 7,500 residents live in around 4,100 housing units, officials have gotten the word out about the no-smoking change through mailings and resident council meetings. Fliers with information about tobacco cessation help have been posted.

Kevin Nicholson (left), Tammy Baldwin (center) and Leah Vukmir (right)(Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin raised more than $2.8 million in the last three months of 2017 and had more than $7 million cash on hand, her campaign said Friday.

Baldwin's fundraising numbers far exceeded those already announced by the two Republicans seeking to challenge her in the fall, Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson and state Sen. Leah Vukmir of Brookfield.

The Nicholson campaign said it raised more than $800,000 at the end of 2017 and had more than $500,000 cash on hand.

Vukmir said she raised more than $400,000 in the last quarter but did not give give a cash-on-hand figure.

Baldwin's campaign said it received "$35 average grassroots online donations" as it attempts to counter millions of dollars in outside money that has already poured into the race.

The Center for Responsive Politics said late last year that there had been more than $3.1 million in outside spending against Baldwin, and around $532,000 against all other Democratic Senate incumbents combined.

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (right), speaks at a workforce development roundtable in June at Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee.(Photo: Associated Press)

MADISON - Tens of thousands of needy but able-bodied adults in Wisconsin could have to work to qualify for state health coverage under a plan from Gov. Scott Walker that has won support from President Donald Trump's administration. 

Seema Verma, head of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, opened the way this week for states to require "able-bodied, working-age Medicaid beneficiaries" to participate in skills training, education, job search, volunteering or caregiving.  

Walker and his fellow GOP governors in nine other states have sought to impose work and training requirements on the Medicaid program known in Wisconsin as BadgerCare. But to do it they needed the backing of federal officials. 

“Medicaid needs to be more flexible so that states can best address the needs of this population," Verma said in a statement.

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The Devil's Doorway is one of a handful of distinctive rock formations at Devil's Lake State Park near Baraboo.(Photo: Chelsey Lewis/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

The Department of Natural Resources is rolling out plans for a new pricing system for camping and daily admission to state parks that will mean higher rates at the most popular campgrounds and price cuts at parks not as popular.

The DNR is raising fees for camping at 38 properties across Wisconsin this year and is cutting fees at 36 others. The biggest increases would be $7 per day and the biggest cuts would be $5 per day.

Also, the daily entrance fees at three popular parks — Devil’s Lake, Peninsula and Willow River — would increase.

The changes have been approved by DNR Secretary Dan Meyer and will reviewed by the Natural Resources Board at its next regular meeting on Jan. 24 in Madison.

The DNR says the new pricing is expected to take effect after Feb.

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Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls have been the subject of a criminal investigation for three years.(Photo: Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

MADISON - The state's troubled teen prison on Thursday got its fourth leader in just over two years — a Wisconsin deputy warden with extensive experience in adult corrections but not juvenile facilities.

Gov. Scott Walker's administration announced it was putting Jason Benzel, the deputy warden of Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution, in charge of Lincoln Hills School for Boys, which has been under a criminal investigation for three years.

Separately, a federal judge last summer ordered the state to greatly curb its use of solitary confinement and pepper spray at the teen prison north of Wausau. Walker has said he plans to close the prison and convert it to an adult prison if he is re-elected this fall. 

Benzel replaces Wendy Peterson, who stepped down as superintendent in September to take a lower-paying job as the prison's education director.