Tuesday, June 25th

State

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MADISON - The top administrators overseeing juvenile corrections are out of their jobs at a time when lawmakers are struggling to put in motion a plan that would dramatically change how the state incarcerates teenagers.

Both administrators of the state Department of Corrections' Division of Juvenile Corrections left their jobs in the last two months — leaving oversight of the state's troubled youth prisons and implementation of lawmakers' plans to close it to others within the state agency.

Administrator John Paquin retired in May and Assistant Administrator Shelby McCulley started work at the state Department of Children and Families on Monday.

Both had overseen the juvenile corrections division since 2015, through a period of department turnover amid a federal investigation into abuse at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls youth prisons at Irma in Lincoln County.  

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MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed itself Tuesday by ruling the state schools chief cannot set education policy without permission from the governor, delivering a blow to Democrats who have controlled the education agency for decades.

The ruling makes successful an eight-year effort by Republicans to have more influence over the state schools superintendent, who oversees the Department of Public Instruction — a fight that began with Gov. Tony Evers when he oversaw the agency.

The court's conservative majority ruled 4-2 Tuesday against state schools Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor, Evers' successor who must now seek approval from the Democratic governor before crafting rules for Wisconsin schools. 

Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson did not participate in the decision. 

Tuesday's decision essentially overturns the court's ruling just three years ago when a split panel of justices said in Coyne v. Walker that Evers could write rules and regulations related to education policy on his own — without permission from then-Gov.

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Deer ticks are the only breed that carry Lyme disease.(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

MADISON - It's officially summer, and lawmakers are aiming to curb the growing problem of Lyme disease in the state through education and prevention efforts.

A bipartisan package of five bills would direct the state Department of Natural Resources to post signs about the tick-borne disease in public parks, sell bug spray with the powerful DEET repellent and conduct an awareness campaign each May. 

The legislation would also create an epidemiologist position in the Department of Health Services focused on the disease and establish a 16-member study committee tasked with recommending to the Legislature policy changes regarding awareness, prevention and treatment of Lyme disease.

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Democratic Sen. Mark Miller of Monona, one of the sponsors of the bills, said raising awareness about Lyme disease is important not only for the public, but also for health care professionals.

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An initiative by former Gov. Scott Walker’s administration to use millions of dollars in state funds to subsidize a project that would generate natural gas from manure is struggling with delays and public opposition.

The project in Brown County, which has so far failed to win local approval, highlights unease over the growing tide of animal waste in some regions of the state and how best to manage manure as dairy farms grow larger. 

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A large dairy farm in Brown County, where the state Public Service Commission has approved spending $15 million to help build a system that will capture and sell naturally occurring gas in animal waste.(Photo: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The state Public Service Commission approved spending $15 million in September 2017 to help finance a biodigester system by a Milwaukee-area developer, BC Organics, that would harness methane — a gas produced by manure.

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Mount Pleasant Sgt. Eric Giese was identified as the police officer who shot and killed Tyrese West on June 15.(Photo: Village of Mount Pleasant Police Department)

The police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Tyrese West in Mount Pleasant on June 15 was identified as Sgt. Eric Giese, a 12-year veteran of the village's Police Department, according to a news release from the state Department of Justice. 

Giese has been a sergeant for a year and a half. He was placed on administrative leave immediately following the incident. 

The Racine Police Department, which is handling the investigation, reported that a Mount Pleasant officer tried around 1:30 a.m. to approach West, who was riding a bike without proper lights in the 2500 block of Racine Street.

According to the DOJ, West fled on the bicycle and Giese pursued the teenager on foot. 

Following a short foot pursuit, Giese observed West was armed with a gun.