- Associated Press - Friday, March 21, 2014
US Rep. Ryan foe Kaleka used medical marijuana

RACINE, Wis. (AP) - After a white supremacist gunned down his father at a Sikh temple in 2012, U.S. congressional candidate Amar Kaleka had trouble coping with his grief. He suffered panic attacks, he lost his appetite, he couldn’t sleep and he was nagged by suicidal thoughts.

His mother was also devastated. Her therapist prescribed anti-anxiety medications that sometimes left her in a fog. Because Kaleka was living in southern California he could legally use medicinal marijuana, and it worked for him. His mother could not use marijuana, which is against the law in Wisconsin.

The inconsistency is crazy, said Kaleka, a Democrat who’s mounting a longshot bid to unseat former Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan in the 2014 congressional election. Kaleka said if he is elected, he would work to make medicinal marijuana available nationwide. After that, he’d want to extend decriminalization to recreational marijuana as well.

“Personally I know that medicinal marijuana works,” Kaleka, 35, said in an interview with The Associated Press at his Racine headquarters. “I think it’s disappointing that people who might really need it, someone who’s gone through a tragedy like that, doesn’t have access to that option.”

Kaleka and his family sought grief therapy after the shooting, in which a gunman walked into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee and opened fire. Kaleka’s father was among six people killed. Five others, including a police officer, were wounded. The gunman died in a shootout with police, and the FBI was unable to determine a motive.

The mourning took a toll on Kaleka, a Milwaukee native. He was fine while surrounded by his Wisconsin support group. But when he returned to Tarzana, Calif., to prepare to move back home, his anxiety grew.

His California therapist recommended he try medical marijuana, saying it’s natural and less addictive than pharmaceutical drugs. Kaleka figured he’d heard enough good things about its medical benefits that he’d give it a shot. It would be the first time he ingested marijuana since he ate a pot-laced pizza during what he said was a spiritual ritual of self-discovery in his junior year of college. Kaleka graduated in 2001 from Marquette University in Milwaukee.


EAA, FAA reach settlement over AirVenture fees

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) - The Experimental Aircraft Association has reached an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration over air traffic control fees during its annual convention, the EAA said Friday.

The nine-year agreement will provide air traffic control services on a consistent basis through 2022 for AirVenture, the organization said.

Last year, the FAA told EAA officials that the cost for 87 air traffic controllers and supervisors to come to Oshkosh for AirVenture would be nearly $448,000. The EAA signed a one-year agreement under protest and asked a federal appeals court to review the payments. That petition was still pending.

The EAA said the organization was facing the same uncertainty for this year’s event, since the FAA’s plan was to continue to charge for air traffic control services at the air show. An FAA spokeswoman said last year that automatic federal budget cuts forced it to seek payment for the costs.

“Our ultimate goal was to bring certainty and stability for AirVenture, for EAA and our fellow members,” EAA board Chairman Jack Pelton said in a statement Friday. “Every possible option, from contract and volunteer controllers to canceling AirVenture entirely, was considered.”

Under the agreement, the FAA will provide air traffic control and other personnel for AirVenture as in past years, with the EAA covering the cost of travel, accommodations and other expenses. If the EAA finds a better solution for providing a high standard of air traffic control services at Oshkosh, the organization can use that option with FAA support.

The EAA had asked the appeals court to review the legality of FAA’s assessment of the air traffic control fees and reimburse them. The EAA maintained the fees were imposed without the standard notice and comment procedure from the FAA, making it procedurally improper and unlawful.


Judge rules against blacked-out police reports

NEW RICHMOND, Wis. (AP) - A Wisconsin judge has ruled police must not black out personal information on accident or crime reports.

St. Croix County Judge Howard Cameron ruled Thursday in favor of the New Richmond News.

The newspaper sued the City of New Richmond alleging police were redacting - or blacking out - too much information, a violation of Wisconsin’s open records law. The judge agreed.

An increasing number of Wisconsin agencies are redacting personal information on reports after a federal appeals court ruling in an Illinois case. But Cameron ruled the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act does not require that information to be redacted.

The Wisconsin Newspaper Association is asking the City of New Richmond not to appeal. A phone message left at the city administrator’s office after hours was not immediately returned Friday.


Wisconsin lawmaker to run for secretary of state

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A long-time lawmaker from northeastern Wisconsin says he’s going to run for secretary of state.

Rep. Gary Bies, a Sister Bay Republican, has spent 14 years in the state Assembly. He announced in January he won’t seek re-election.

Bies announced on Friday he is mounting a run for secretary of state, joining seven other candidates including incumbent Democrat Doug La Follette.

Democratic and Republican legislators have stripped away the office’s responsibilities over the years. The only real duty the secretary of state has left is sitting on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. Republican Gov. Scott Walker, advocated for eliminating the position during his 2010 campaign.

Bies says he has supported efforts to eliminate the office but wants to breathe new life into the position.



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