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UW panel to consider recommending Johnsen as new president

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A search committee is set to meet to consider whether to recommend the University of Wisconsin System regents hire Jim Johnsen as system president. The committee advanced Johnsen as the lone finalist for the job after other would-be finalists dropped out of the running for fear if they were identified they wouldn’t be able to effectively combat the coronavirus on their current campuses. The UW search committee’s chairman, Michael Grebe, has said Johnsen was the committee’s favorite anyway. The panel is set to meet in closed session Friday afternoon to discuss whether to recommend Johnsen’s hiring. 


Madison mayor apologizes for private message to police

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The mayor of Madison has apologized for a private message to the city’s police force in which she sympathized with officers dealing with civil unrest that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The private video was made public when it was posted on Facebook Tuesday and drew criticism from social justice advocates. The State Journal says on Wednesday, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway apologized publicly saying she failed to make it clear in her message to police that black lives matter. Peaceful protests in Madison following Floyd’s death May 25 were marred by several nights of violence near the Capitol. Some demonstrators threw rocks and bottles at police, who responded with tear gas and pepper spray. 


‘It’s broken’: Fears grow about strength of US voting system

ATLANTA (AP) — The chaos that plagued Georgia’s primary this week is raising concerns about a potential broader failure of the nation’s patchwork election system that political leaders and elections experts say could undermine the presidential contest. Less than five months before the November contest, fears are mounting that several battleground states are not prepared to administer problem-free elections under the continued weight of the pandemic. The reasons are both complex and simple: a dramatic shortage of poll workers scared away by coronavirus concerns and an emerging consensus that it could take several days after polls close on Election Day to determine a winner because of increased mail voting.


Bipartisan call for Evers to fire whoever recorded meeting

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is facing bipartisan calls to fire the staffer who secretly recorded a private telephone meeting between him and Republican legislative leaders last month. Evers declined to say Thursday what action, if any, is being taken against his staff member who recorded it. Audio of the call was released under an open records request. The Republicans on the call, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, say the staff member who recorded it should be fired. Democratic Rep. Jonathon Brostoff also says the person should be dismissed. The staff member has not been named.


Evers appoints state Rep. Chris Taylor to circuit court

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has appointed state Rep. Chris Taylor to the Dane County Circuit Court. The Madison Democrat will replace Judge Jill Karofsky, who is joining the Wisconsin Supreme Court in August. Evers announced the appointment Thursday. Taylor is one of the most liberal members of the Assembly, where she’s served since 2011. She announced in March that she was not seeking reelection. Republicans criticized the appointment. Taylor says those who served with her know how hard she works. Taylor has been a vocal advocate for abortion rights, gun control and programs for sexual and domestic violence victims.


Wisconsin Democrats gathering online in bid to defeat Trump

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Democrats are uniting virtually for an abbreviated, online state convention with a primary goal in mind: defeating President Donald Trump. They had originally planned for a weekend meeting at a Wisconsin Dells convention center, situated in the self-proclaimed “water park capital of the world,” to serve as a rallying cry and set-up for the national convention in Milwaukee later this summer. While Democrats are still planning to meet in person in Milwaukee in August, the state convention was scaled back from a two-day event to a two-hour virtual meeting Friday night. But the goal of focusing on beating Trump remains the same.


Fitness company apologizes for ‘I can’t breathe’ workout

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (AP) — A health club company is apologizing on behalf of a franchisee who posted an “I can’t breathe” workout at a gym in suburban Milwaukee. Photos of the workout instructions drawn on a dry erase board at Anytime Fitness in Wauwatosa were shared widely on social media. The Journal Sentinel says the workout included burpees, or squat thrusts, and the instructions “don’t you dare lay down.” Woodbury, Minnesota-based Anytime Fitness said it was “profoundly sorry.” The words “I can’t breathe” have been chanted at hundreds of protests and rallies, echoing some of the final words of George Floyd, a black man who died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee against his neck.


Hunters take 17% more Wisconsin spring turkeys

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Hunters killed nearly 17% more turkeys during Wisconsin’s spring season than last year. That’s according to data from the state Department of Natural Resources. Preliminary totals show hunters registered 44,963 birds, up from 38,576 registered in 2019. The 2020 youth season yielded 2,880 kills, up 47% from 1,953 in 2019. The DNR issued 224,452 permits, up 5% from 2019. The department noted that a warmer spring and favorable brooding conditions last year boosted the 2020 harvest.

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