- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014
Former Wisconsin governor Lucey dies at 96

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Former Wisconsin Gov. Patrick Lucey, a hard-nosed Democratic politician who later became the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has died. He was 96.

Lucey, who also ran for vice president of the United States as an independent in 1980, died Saturday night at the Milwaukee Catholic Home after a brief Illness, said his son, Paul Lucey, of Milwaukee. He said funeral arrangements are pending.

“Governor Lucey was a dedicated public servant who loved Wisconsin,” Republican Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement. He called it “a particular joy” to be with him last summer for the 40th anniversary of the Kikkoman Foods Inc. soy sauce plant in Fontana.

Patrick Lucey was elected governor in 1970 and won re-election in 1974, but left midway through his second term to serve as then-President Jimmy Carter’s ambassador to Mexico.

In Wisconsin, he will perhaps be remembered most for pushing to merge the University of Wisconsin in Madison with the state college system, a fierce battle that created today’s system of 13 four-year state colleges.

Lucey was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 1918. He worked as a grocery store manager from 1937 until 1940 and served in World War II in the Caribbean. He was elected to the state Assembly in 1948 and became executive director and later chairman of the state Democratic Party. He served as lieutenant governor in 1966.

Lucey’s biggest legacy was creating the modern UW System. Before he was governor, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Green Bay, UW-Parkside, 10 freshman-sophomore centers and the extension system operated outside the chain of nine other state schools such as Platteville and Eau Claire. Each group had its own board of regents.


Court ruling may change Wisconsin open records law

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Government officials can consider the intentions of people who file open records requests when deciding whether to fill them, according to a recent court ruling that experts say marks a significant change in Wisconsin law.

The Court of Appeals ruled last week that the Milwaukee school board acted appropriately when it denied a request for an employee’s attendance and disciplinary records from a man accused of abusing her. The employee had obtained a restraining order against Korry Ardell in the past, and the board said it worried about her safety.

The appeals court said records custodians rightfully considered Ardell’s history when denying his request. Ardell’s attorney, Rebecca Mason, said that had not been allowed in the past and the decision changed state law.

“We’re setting a precedent where you could have a custodian who doesn’t agree with a media outlet or a particular citizen’s viewpoint and … deny the request,” Mason said. “That is not supported anywhere in the case law and it is a slippery slope.”

The woman obtained a restraining order against Ardell in July 2008. He violated it twice by sending the woman text messages and he served three months in jail. But he was free and the order had expired when he filed his open records request in November 2012.

Wisconsin law denies access to most public records to people who are incarcerated. The appeals court said Ardell’s history put him in the same category as inmates even though he wasn’t in jail and had never been criminally charged with abuse.

“Ardell’s violent history with the MBSD employee … align him more closely with the class of persons statutorily denied access to public records for all safety reasons, that is, committed and incarcerated persons,” the appeals court wrote in a decision upholding a May 2013 lower court ruling.


Authorities investigate human remains as homicide

SHAWANO, Wis. (AP) - Authorities in northeastern Wisconsin are treating the discovery of human remains as a homicide case.

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department says the remains were discovered around 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the Town of Richmond. Two young people discovered the remains along County Highway MMM west of Shawano.

Shawano County Sheriff Randy Wright told reporters Sunday that the remains, artifacts from the scene and other evidence were sent to the state crime lab for further examination and identification.

Investigators were on the scene until 2 a.m. He says deputies then kept the scene secure until detectives returned in the morning to comb the area for further evidence.

The sheriff says there will be no further updates until the results of the forensic examinations come back.


Authorities ID toddler found in Wisconsin river

TOWN OF PELICAN, Wis. (AP) - Authorities in Oneida County have identified a toddler who died after being found in a river that runs along the child’s back yard.

The sheriff’s office received a 911 call about 1:30 p.m. Saturday reporting a missing 15-month-old in the Town of Pelican.

Deputies say the mother was outside with Kaleb Kennedy and another sibling. The mother says she went inside to move laundry into the dryer, and when she came back she couldn’t find the 15-month-old.

A deputy found the toddler in the Pelican River about 30 minutes later, downstream from the home. Kaleb was rushed to a hospital and was declared dead about 3 p.m.

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