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Last July, 46 year old Jefferey Skarda of Soldiers Grove was driving home on his motorcycle when he was hit and killed by a drunk driver. Now that driver awaits sentencing in the case.
22 year old Rebecca Kulas of Viroqua pleaded no contest Thursday to one charge of homicide by negligent use of a vehicle and two counts of reckless driving causing great bodily harm.
Kulas was arrested following the accident on Highway 61 between Soldiers Grove and Readstown. Skarda was pronounced dead at the scene.
Kulas will be sentenced in May.
With a controversial new law set to take effect on Saturday, La Crosse mayor Matt Harter says he'll sign union contract extensions agreed to by the city council unanimously Thursday night. One of the contract extensions is for the city's largest union, SEIU 180. Its 170 members gathered petitions to encourage the mayor to sign the contract agreements as quickly as possible before the law could take effect. Harter says he'll do it to give workers some security. The 180 contract increases health and pension contributions by employees and gives workers just one percent annual raises. The contract is good through the end of 2013.
There may be some argument about some of the cuts or spending priorities in governor Walker's two year budget plan. But there's little argument that the state will be in better fiscal shape if his spending proposal is adopted. That's the analysis from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. The group doesn't endorse the budget but does say that spending cuts will decrease the amount of growth in the state's official deficit significantly. The amount of red ink on the state's financials will still be above three billion dollars but that's only slightly more than it is now. And that's also after the deficit more than tripled from ten years ago.
As collective bargaining rights for public employees seem on the verge of getting severely curtailed in Wisconsin, contract extensions for public unions seem in vogue. The La Crosse city council gave unanimous approval of an extension for its largest union Thursday night. A two year extension with modest one percent per year annual raises and higher employee contributions to health and pension benefits. The contract extensions also include elimination of no-layoff provisions. Under the conditions, says union head Rich Smith, it was the best deal available.
The Reverand Jesse Jackson will encourage UW-La Crosse students to get out to vote and speak about voter registration issues during a bus tour to college campuses across Wisconsin early next week. Jackson, an American civil rights leader who ran for president in 1984 and 1988, will speak at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 29th, at Valhalla Cartwright Center-Gunning Addition at UW-L. Jackson starts his tour Monday at UW-Oshkosh. He’ll speak at four other campuses, ending at UW-Madison. Jackson plans to tackle issues such as the rising cost of tuition and proposed changes to same day voter registration and voter identification and how these changes affect students. The UW-L Student Senate wrote a letter to Gov. Scott Walker earlier in the semester expressing concern about changes to same day voter registration and the voter ID bill.