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Wisconsin roundup: UW-System merger moving forward after approval; more state news stories

The University of Wisconsin System's plan to merge its 13 two-year campuses with seven four-year colleges is moving forward after receiving approval Thursday.

Accreditation, administrative oversight and each institution's reporting structures formally transferred July 1. The UW Board of Regents approved the restructuring last December to address declining student enrollment and strengthen the pipeline from two-year colleges to four-year universities. Four-year schools will be allowed to award associate degrees under the restructuring plan which is expected to take two years. UW-Rock County will become a branch campus of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Sunday and officials propose naming it UW-Whitewater at Rock County. Chancellor Beverly Kopper called it a truly historic and exciting time of transition for both campuses.


Wisconsin’s Johnson ‘highly concerned’ about Trump’s Harley attack

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says he's highly concerned by President Trump's attack on Harley-Davidson.

The Wisconsin Republican told WISN in Milwaukee that he doesn't believe the president should be attacking a company that's just trying to do right by its employees and shareholders. Johnson said he's not sure President Trump understands global supply chains and manufacturers, or has a short-term end-game plan. Johnson says it's necessary to deal with China's unfair trade practices, but he doesn't think imposing tariffs on the European Union and other friendly nations is the answer.


Chippewa County couple charged with defrauding Medicaid

A Chippewa County couple returns to court in August to face charges they defrauded the Medicaid program.

The Wisconsin Attorney General's Office says Terrance Lade claimed he was paralyzed in an accident, needed a wheelchair to get around and needed help for daily tasks. His caregiver Tonia Nye is accused of falsifying records by claiming she gave him care on a nearly 24-7 basis. Lade and Nye are now engaged.

They received nearly $111,000 from Medicaid. Lade's ex-wife and several witnesses say he never used the wheelchair and was often seen driving cars and ATVs. She also said his right side wasn't paralyzed.


3 dozen fire crews respond to recycling plant blaze

A fire at a recycling facility in the town of Norway reignited Sunday night, filling the sky with smoke.

Nearly three dozen fire crews had responded to the first report, coming from as far away at Dane County. No injuries were reported. A one-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 45 was closed to traffic. Firefighters say strong winds, a lack of hydrants and the flammable materials at John's Disposal complicated the job. The fire was first reported at about 1 p.m. At one point, workers jumped into a burning truck and drove it away from a building filled with cardboard.


Ah, rats: Brown County hands out 1,500 traps to battle rodent problem

Brown County officials have distributed 1,500 rat traps to residents to help them deal with a growing problem.

People had to show proof of residency last weekend and then they could receive up to three traps. The county is asking those who received the rat traps to email the county every time a rat is killed. A tally will be kept so the extent of the problem can be measured and the need for another rat trap give-away can be evaluated.


Girl tells police man blocked door as she tried leaving restroom

A 60-year-old Green Bay man is charged with false imprisonment and disorderly conduct after an incident in a retail store restroom.

The girl says Richard Schwantes followed the 13-year-old victim into the restroom, held out his hand and asked her to come with him, telling her she was very pretty. The girl says she asked him to leave, but he blocked the door, so she ran into a stall and locked it while he was trying to push his way in. Store employees escorted him out of the bathroom. Schwantes told police he had walked into the wrong restroom by mistake. A store employee was in one of the stalls during the incident and was able to confirm the girl's version of events.


Sun Prairie man who killed his mom dies of cancer

One day after a judge had agreed to release Matthew J. Skalitzky to an assisted-living facility, the 43-year-old Sun Prairie man died of cancer.

Skalitzky had been found not mentally responsible for beheading his mother three years ago. His release from the Mendota Mental Health facility was so he could die with dignity. Sixty-eight-year-old Jane Skalitzky was killed in September 2015. Her son had used a sword in the fatal attack. He had lived at the Madison home for the last two years.


Dealer draws 5 years in federal prison for Wis. heroin trafficking

A Chicago man will spend five years in federal prison for trafficking heroin in Wisconsin.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says 21-year-old Claudius Fincher was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. The Dane County Narcotics Task Force made four heroin purchases from Fincher and a co-defendant in 2017 and the two were arrested during an undercover buy. A search of Fincher's apartment in Sun Prairie led to 149 bags of heroin laced with fentanyl and a loaded firearm with his DNA on the trigger. His co-defendant received a nine-year prison sentence in connection with the overdose death of a Madison man.