- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014
Convicted Wisconsin bigamist sentenced for forgery

NEW LONDON, Wis. (AP) - A convicted bigamist was sentenced Monday to three years in prison on forgery charges, ending a saga that began when he fled before his original sentencing date.

Forty-six-year-old Tim Swinea, of Wausau, was convicted in Calumet County of stealing thousands of dollars from his ex-girlfriend by writing checks on her account. He fled before a Jan. 21 sentencing date but was arrested weeks later in New London.

Daily Herald Media reports (https://wdhne.ws/1s0c8PChttps://wdhne.ws/1s0c8PC ) Circuit Judge Jeffrey Froehlich said probation wasn’t an option for Swinea, who defrauded a “vulnerable, widowed woman” and showed no remorse.

Swinea could face additional prison time because Marathon County prosecutors are expected to ask a judge to revoke his probation on a bigamy conviction in an unrelated case. A hearing in that case has not been set.


Information from: Wausau Daily Herald Media, https://www.wausaudailyherald.comhttps://www.wausaudailyherald.com


Assembly Republicans to discuss expelling Kramer

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republican leaders in the state Assembly plan to discuss this week whether to remove embattled former Majority Leader Bill Kramer from office.

Waukesha County prosecutors charged Kramer on Friday with sexually assaulting a political aide in 2011. The charges come on the heels of separate allegations he sexually harassed a lobbyist and a legislative staffer in Washington D.C. in February.

Assembly Republicans stripped Kramer of his leadership post after the Washington allegations surfaced and Kramer said he won’t run for re-election in November. On Saturday Republican leaders called on him to resign outright.

A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he plans to meet with other Republicans on Thursday to talk about Kramer.

It would take a two-thirds vote of the Assembly to expel Kramer from office.


GM recall: Many victims were young drivers

DETROIT (AP) - As the deaths are tallied from General Motors’ delayed recall of compact cars, one thing is becoming clear: Of those killed, the majority were young.

In a way, this isn’t surprising. Low-priced cars like the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion were marketed to young, first-time buyers and parents shopping for their kids.

But price may not be the only reason for the disproportionate number of youthful deaths.

The faulty ignition switches behind the recall can shut off the engine while the car is in motion. When that happens, power-assisted steering and power brakes are lost, and the air bags won’t inflate in a crash.

In such a situation, inexperienced drivers are more likely to panic and be overwhelmed by the extra effort needed to control the car, safety experts say.

GM has linked 13 deaths to the problem. Others have a higher total, with the majority of victims under age 25. Many also were women, who safety experts say are less likely to have the upper body strength to wrestle a stalled car safely to the side of the road.

“With an entry-level car where you have a newly licensed driver, the freak-out will win the day,” said Robert Hilliard, a Texas personal injury lawyer who is suing GM in several cases. “All that those young drivers are going to do is respond to the panic.”


Wisconsinites rush to meet insurance deadline

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Pamela Nunn didn’t expect to have to wait an hour to speak with someone about how to sign up for health insurance.

But on Monday, the deadline for most people to sign up for health insurance through the new online exchange or face penalties, Nunn faced a long wait at a Madison jobs center as she and others raced against the clock and faced computer problems.

“I’m scared,” said the 58-year-old co-owner of a custom welding business in Madison as she waited for a health insurance enrollment counselor. “I’m not sure what to do.”

Meeting the deadline means avoiding financial penalties on 2014 federal taxes. Starting Tuesday, only people with limited special circumstances - such as a loss of insurance or a change of job or family status - will be able to get coverage that meets the federal law’s requirements. Most people are keeping their employer coverage or staying on programs like BadgerCare in Wisconsin or Medicare.

The steady flow of people at the Madison center, along with the long waits, stood in contrast to Oct. 1 when the exchange first went live and the room was empty much of the day. Since then, there’s been a blitz by President Barack Obama’s administration, local agencies and health advocates to inform people about the law’s new requirements and what they need to do to be in compliance.

Just like on the first day, computer glitches complicated things on Monday, knocking out the federal website, HealthCare.gov, for several hours both in the morning and again in the afternoon. But millions of people nationwide were potentially eligible for extensions, including those who began enrolling by the deadline but weren’t able to finish.

Bobby Peterson, executive director of ABC for Health, a nonprofit law firm in Madison that helps people get health care, had a simple message for those trying to sign up by the deadline: “Stay calm.”

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