- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Wisconsin candidate defends abusive parents policy

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A Democratic candidate for state attorney general on Wednesday defended a Dane County program in which parents accused of disciplining their children too harshly could avoid abuse charges by taking parenting classes, a policy that drew skeptical reactions from his campaign rivals.

Ismael Ozanne, the Dane County district attorney, said the program keeps children safe while helping adults become better parents. He said it replaces a heavy-handed approach with parental assistance and education, which he called an innovative solution that still holds child abusers accountable.

“With the amount of supervision they’re under, this is not a freebie,” he told a panel of reporters at the Milwaukee Press Club. “They’re not getting off.”

The program gives parents who meet certain requirements the chance to avoid child-abuse charges. Instead they might have to take intensive parenting classes, go to counseling and perform community service, Ozanne said.

Parents convicted of first-offense child abuse typically get probation or a short jail term, but then return to their same habits, campaign spokesman Stan Davis said. Instead, by teaching them how to discipline their children without corporal punishment, the cycle of violence can end, he added.

To qualify for the program parents must admit their guilt, show remorse and cooperate with law enforcement.

Brad Schimel, the Waukesha County district attorney and the only Republican running for attorney general, questioned whether Ozanne’s program truly does enough to protect abused children.


Gas main hit, forcing New Holstein evacuations

NEW HOLSTEIN, Wis. (AP) - Some homes and businesses are being evacuated after a gas main break in New Holstein.

Police say a road construction crew struck one of the city’s primary gas mains while working at an intersection Wednesday afternoon.

WBAY-TV (https://bit.ly/1i2IRPQhttps://bit.ly/1i2IRPQ ) reports Wisconsin Public Service is on the scene, as well as Calumet County and New Holstein emergency management and first responders.

New Holstein is about 40 miles south of Green Bay.


Information from: WBAY-TV, https://www.wbay.comhttps://www.wbay.com


Bond set at $500K for suspect in 1997 slaying

RACINE, Wis. (AP) - An Illinois man has made his first court appearance in the cold-case slaying of a teenage runaway whose body was found in a marsh in southeastern Wisconsin in 1997.

Thirty-six-year-old James P. Eaton of Palatine, Ill., is accused of killing Amber Creek, also of Palatine, more than 17 years ago. She was beaten, sexually assaulted and left in a wildlife preserve in the Town of Burlington.

The Journal Times (https://bit.ly/1jv7a8Nhttps://bit.ly/1jv7a8N ) reports Eaton sat motionless during his court appearance Wednesday. A court commissioner set bond at $500,000 and ordered Eaton not to have any contact with Creek’s family.

Eaton’s public defender declined to comment after the hearing.

Authorities used DNA from a cigarette Eaton tossed away at a Chicago-area train station to connect him to the slaying. He remains in jail.


Information from: The Journal Times, https://www.journaltimes.comhttps://www.journaltimes.com


Wisconsin seeks answer to student achievement gap

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin had the worst achievement gap between black and white students among states last year, and officials shouldered the blame Wednesday while putting the onus on teachers to address the issue.

Teachers and principals from schools that have closed the gap will lead a new Promoting Excellence for All Task Force, which was described as a grassroots campaign to end disparities among racial groups and economic classes.

In Wisconsin, American Indian, Asian, black and Hispanic students have posted scores lower than white students in reading and math over the past five years. The gap in performance on math tests widened again this year among some of those groups. Poor students also generally have scored lower.

Education officials said fixing the problem will be tough.

“It’s going to take some heavy lifting on 60,000 teachers in schools across Wisconsin to make this happen,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said.

Just 18.3 percent of the state’s black students scored proficient or advanced on state math exams, according to data released Tuesday. Contrast that with 48.6 percent overall and 56.2 percent among whites.

The new task force is made up mostly of teachers and principals, which Evers and others said is a unique approach.



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