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Local law enforcement officials will leave their police cars at the station and trade their uniforms for sneakers as they start running and biking, carrying the Flame of Hope. This isn’t a training camp; it’s the 25th Anniversary of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, a movement initiated by officers to raise funds for and awareness of the 350 hometown Special Olympics athletes. That eternal flame burns with even more vigor today as Special Olympics Wisconsin celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Collectively, nearly 120 Wisconsin communities will run a total of 2,200 miles on this intrastate relay. Local law enforcement will converge in Stevens Point with hundreds of officers from across the state today at the State Summer Games Opening Ceremonies. Together, the officers will run the Final Leg of the Torch Run carrying a torch ignited with the Flame of Hope, light the caldron, and kick off the state event. Throughout the weekend, 2,000 athletes will participate in soccer, athletics, aquatics, and powerlifting competitions.
The Torch Run is the largest grass-roots fundraising program and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics. Law enforcement officers from the 50 United States, 12 Canadian provinces and territories and 40 countries carry the Flame of Hope in honor of Special Olympics athletes. Wisconsin's Law Enforcement Torch Run is the fifth highest grossing program in the world, raising nearly $2.3 million in 2010 with more than 1,000 registered participants representing 170 law enforcement agencies.
Would random, sobriety checkpoints catch drunk drivers in Wisconsin? Undoubtedly, says Frank Harris from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. But the point of sobriety checkpoints, he says, is to deter drunk driving in the first place with the threat of getting caught. He says, drivers in Wisconsin, facing the possibility of checkpoints, are much more likely to get a ride from sober friend or use services like the Safe Ride program. Lawmakers in Madison are currently considering a sobriety checkpoint measure. Wisconsin is currently one of just ten states where the checkpoints are prohibited.
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.