- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014
50 immigrant children placed in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The federal office that helps refugees settle in the United States has placed 50 unaccompanied children in Wisconsin.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement released a state-by-state breakdown Thursday showing where children had been placed. It did not provide specifics on their locations.

The office says it tries to place children with a parent, relative or family friend when possible.

Immigration officials have been overwhelmed by tens of thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing from gang violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said previously that city officials were trying to identify a building that could be used to temporarily house children until they are placed with families or deported to their home countries. His office did not immediately have information on the progress of that effort.


Man gets 3½ years in prison for $5M violin theft

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A Milwaukee man who provided the stun gun used in the theft of a $5 million Stradivarius violin in January was sentenced Thursday to 3½ years in prison.

Universal K. Allah, 37, pleaded guilty in May to being party to felony robbery, a charge with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. His attorney and family asked for leniency, noting that Allah loaned the weapon but didn’t participate in the attack.

Milwaukee County Judge Dennis Moroney was not moved. He told Allah that being party to the crime makes him just as culpable as the man who carried out the attack, especially since Allah knew his acquaintance planned to use the weapon to steal a rare musical instrument.

“You knew what was going on. You knew he was not capable of getting a gun, he wasn’t eligible to get a gun. Yet you helped him get armament to hurt another human being,” Moroney said, anger evident in his voice. “You’re not exactly a Boy Scout in this operation, let’s be frank.”

The instrument, which is almost 300 years old, was missing for nine days before police recovered it in good condition. Moroney said the crime was an attack not only on the concertmaster from whom it was taken but on the Milwaukee community as a whole.

Before sentencing, Allah apologized to the court, the violin’s owner and the concertmaster to whom it had been loaned.

“I just want to humbly apologize to you for making this mistake,” Allah said. “This is a total setback within my life. I plan on changing my life, changing everything from this point on.”


Wisconsin farmers set record for cranberry harvest

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin cranberry farmers increased production by 25 percent last year to harvest a record 6 million barrels.

That’s according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures released Thursday by Gov. Scott Walker’s office.

Each barrel of cranberries weighs 100 pounds.

Walker says Wisconsin harvested two-thirds of the nation’s cranberries last year and three times as much as Massachusetts, the second-largest cranberry producer.

Walker also says Wisconsin’s apple and cherry growers are doing better after a sudden freeze destroyed buds in 2012.

He says the state now ranks fourth in tart cherry production, harvesting more than 12 million pounds last year. It produced nearly 42 million pounds of apples.


AG candidate Ozanne finds spending records

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Attorney general hopeful Ismael Ozanne failed to supply a reason for spending $33,000 in campaign cash on finance reports he filed with state elections officials earlier this week.

But Ozanne campaign adviser Stan Davis sent The Associated Press updated records late Thursday afternoon with explanations for most of the spending, saying he spent the entire day trying to piece them together.

The campaign has yet to turn over the updated records to the state Government Accountability Board; Davis said he’s still trying to fill in some of the blanks and he wants to be sure the information is completely accurate.

Ozanne, the Dane County district attorney, is one of three candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the Aug. 12 primary. The others are Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ and state Rep. Jon Richards of Milwaukee.

Ozanne’s campaign has been struggling financially. According to reports filed with the GAB on Monday, he managed to raise just $39,000 over the first six months of the year and had only $3,405 on hand as of June 30.

Wisconsin law requires candidates to supply reasons for their expenditures. A closer review of Ozanne’s initial reports show he listed no reason for spending $33,500 of the $97,000 he spent during the first half of the year.

The reports show the campaign wrote nearly 20 checks to unknown recipients, as well as indicating 10 ATM withdrawals were made from the campaign account without giving reasons why or identifying who took the money out. One of the withdrawals, for $203, was made from in New Orleans in May.

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