One of the many complaints I heard or read online when I was in the newspaper business the last time was, ‘We live in Wisconsin, not Minnesota. I’m sick and tired of reading or hearing about news in the Twin Cities. I have no idea what is happening in Madison.’
I told myself if I ever get back in this business and specifically in this area, I was going to try and do something about that.
So, that’s why when I started in this position in October, I wanted to get more state news in this paper and fortunately, our publisher signed off on it. That’s why you’ve seen stories since about homelessness, methamphetamine, tax ratings, removing wolves from endangered species list and the opioid epidemics.
Because of space, not every issue is going to have a feature-length state story, but I’m going to try.
In this line of work, you don’t know the successes or negatives you’re going to have, unless the public tells you.
On Monday, a woman came into our office to renew her subscription. She also decided to renew her subscriptions for her two children because of these stories and not give her money to the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.
Accomplishments or highlights in this job are going to be few and far between. I accepted a long time ago my newspaper career isn’t going to be filled with state awards. Yet, hearing someone say they like and enjoy what is in your paper, carries even more weight than a State award, because your role in the media is informing the public and the public is being informed.
Due to space, this week’s edition won’t have a feature-length story, but I wanted to give you, dear reader, at least a capsule of state stories.
-- Altoona Superintendent Daniel Peggs, 32, was released from federal custody in Madison Monday. He was indicted last week on child sex crimes, which alleges from October 2015 through May 2016, Peggs recruited and maintained an individual knowing that the individual was a minor and would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act. The indictment also alleges that in December 2015, Peggs used the minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of the conduct. Specifically, the indictment alleges that Peggs used an iPhone to produce a video of the child pornography. Peggs was placed on administrative leave from Altoona and isn’t allowed around minors, including his own children, without permission from U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services.
-- Kettle Moraine High School in Wales was sued in Milwaukee federal court alleging it is violating the constitutional right of two students by forbidding them from wearing T-shirts on campus that depict guns in a “non-threatening, non-violent manner.” The attorney for the students’ mothers told the ABC affiliate in Milwaukee said they are not seeking any monetary damages but are requesting a permanent injunction prohibiting the school from barring the students wearing those T-shirts.
-- Willie Champ, 19, Madison was sentenced to 150 months prison in District Court last week as he pleaded guilty to two gun charges and 11 robberies. Between June 2018 and May 2019, Champ robbed 11 convenience and liquor stores in Madison, Fitchburg and Oregon, Wisconsin. During 10 of those robberies, he brandished guns. In addition to the robbery charges, Champ was charged with brandishing and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
-- Gov. Tony Evers appointed Brig. Gen Paul Knapp to lead the Wisconsin National Guard. Knapp is a Wisconsin native and current Whitefish Bay resident who has not served in the Wisconsin National Guard but boasts more than 25 years of experience with the Air Force and Air Force Reserve. Knapp replaces Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, who stepped down in December in the wake of an investigation finding the Guard mishandled sexual assault and harassment complaints.