A number of contentious issues get a vote tonight from the La Crosse city council. After a year of wrangling over chickens, the council is expected to approve an ordinance that will allow backyard chickens. The ordinance is for two years at which time it will sunset and will have to be reaffirmed by the council. The vote on allowing police to write tickets for first time marijuana possession is likely to be close. The council deadlocked on the issue on Tuesday and mayor Matt Harter has previously vetoed the measure. A storm water utility, whether to fund a consultant to evaluate the fire department, a one year moratorium on electronic billboards, and setting the size of the council are among the other weighty issues to be decided by council members tonight.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system will send layoff notices to 6,000 employees Friday if it can't work out a deal to get access to its money in a state government shutdown.
The MnSCU Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting today to discuss the implications of a shutdown.
Chief Financial Officer Laura King says the system has enough money in state accounts to keep operating but might not be able to access it in a shutdown. She says she's confident the system will reach a deal with the state budget department to keep processing MnSCU's money during a shutdown.
But if the deal isn't reached by Friday, the layoff notices will go out. If there's no deal at all, she says, the system could shut down July 1st. And Linda Kohl, spokeswoman for the system, says that would be catastrophic. Kohl says the system avoided the last state shutdown in 2005, when a deal was put in place at the deadline.
Dan Kapanke and other state Senators facing recalls are being accused of violating campaign disclosure laws, and might be fined or forced to give back donations.
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is filing complaints against Kapanke and two other Senators for failing to reveal information about some of their donors. Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe says the law requires the names and occupations of people giving more than 100 dollars a year to a candidate. He wants to know more about six thousand dollars given to the Kapanke campaign since the first of the year. McCabe says most candidates are able to comply with those rules. He thinks others who fail to comply may not care about the law.
An Onalaska man appears in court on charges of enticing teenage boys, and secretly videotaping some boys while they were taking showers.
Michael Kulas of Onalaska faces charges including attempted sexual exploitation and possessing child porn. Kulas is suspected of making pornography, and offering boys money to get sexual images of them. Earlier reports on the case incorrectly identified Kulas as the owner of a restaurant in Brice Prairie where he reportedly met some of the boys. He was not the owner.
A massive volunteer effort to clean the mighty Mississippi has now expanded to 30 cities and is growing into a summer-long campaign. Living Lands & Water will begin its Great Mississippi River Clean-up on June 11th, when volunteers will gather along the Mississippi from Saint Paul, MN to Prairie Du Chien, WI. Other cities joining this northern most leg of the clean-up will be Red Wing, MN; Wabasha, MN, Winona, MN; Alma, WI; Buffalo City, WI and LaCrosse, WI.
The clean-up, which encompassed 22 cities in its inaugural year, has grown to 30, requiring organizers to expand to monthly clean-ups across the summer. In all, 1,200-1,500 volunteers are expected to take part in this year’s clean-up of the iconic waterway.
Living Lands & Waters is an environmental organization established in 1998 and headquartered in East Moline, Illinois. LL&W has removed more than six million pounds of trash through cleanup efforts along the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois and Potomac Rivers since its launch over 12 years ago.
For more information or to sign up as a volunteer, visit www.livinglandsandwaters.org.