- Associated Press - Saturday, May 24, 2014
Walker unsure about effect of gay marriage

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked a federal judge on Friday to place on hold any future order she may make that would strike down the state’s ban on gay marriage - the second time this week the Republican expressed doubt in the state’s chances to succeed in defending the law.

And Gov. Scott Walker, who voted for the state’s ban and has been a longtime opponent of gay marriage, dodged questions Friday about whether he still supports the prohibition. He said he didn’t know whether the ban would withstand legal challenges, and that he can’t judge that because he’s not an attorney.

Walker also said he didn’t know how significant it would be for the state if gay marriage were to be legalized.

Van Hollen, during a Sunday interview that aired on WISN-TV, said that while he intended to aggressively defend Wisconsin’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, he expected to lose in federal court given recent rulings across the country in favor of gay marriage.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in February on behalf of four gay couples challenging Wisconsin’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. The lawsuit contends that the ban denies gay couples the civil rights that other married couples enjoy.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb has put the case on an expedited schedule and asked the ACLU not to seek a temporary halt to enforcement of the ban in the meantime, given that she hopes to rule on the merits of the case quickly.

State marriage bans have been falling around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Gay and lesbian couples can wed in 19 states and the District of Columbia, with Oregon and Pennsylvania becoming the latest to join the list this week when federal judges struck down their bans and officials decided not to appeal.

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2 soldiers off funeral duty after photo flap

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Two Wisconsin National Guard members are off funeral duty after an online uproar over a photo showing soldiers clowning around by an empty flag-draped casket.

Guard spokesman Maj. Paul Rickert confirmed that Spc. Terry Harrison and Sgt. Luis Jimenez are not currently on the funeral honors team.

Rickert says both Harrison and Jimenez remain Guard members. He tells WISC-TV (https://bit.ly/1j8P7C0) the internal investigation into the February photo incident is complete, but policy prevents him from disclosing any disciplinary actions.

Both Jimenez and Harrison had been suspended from honor guard duties - Harrison for apparently posting the photo to social media and Jimenez for comments he posted on social media defending the photo.

The photo was taken at a Guard training facility.

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Information from: WISC-TV, https://www.channel3000.comhttps://www.channel3000.com

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Man charged in Wisconsin man’s drug OD death

WHITEHALL, Wis. (AP) - Prosecutors have charged a La Crosse man with delivering the heroin that killed another man last summer.

The Trempealeau County district attorney’s office has charged 27-year-old Jered Hellerud with first-degree reckless homicide.

Hellerud is charged in the death of Robert Gordon, who lived in the Village of Trempealeau. Gordon was pronounced dead on Aug. 17 of a drug overdose.

Hellerud was in jail Friday. Online court records do not list a defense attorney.

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UW-Whitewater staff to get 1 day to sit and think

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A university marketing director is asking her staff to take a “thinking day” this summer, when employees will unplug from email and cellphones and just think about how they can do their jobs better.

Sara Kuhl, the director of marketing and media relations at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, said she hopes the experience leads to ideas and enhanced creativity. The concept has been around at least since the dot-com era, and has been both praised and ridiculed, but Kuhl said she’s confident her team will find the effort productive.

Kuhl got the idea from a TED talk, one of many short speeches by artists and intellectuals designed to share ideas.

She emailed her 12-person staff this week inviting them to spend one day thinking about what they do and how they can do it better.

“We’ll put up a sign that simply says, ‘I’m thinking today,’” she wrote. “And then you go about your thinking in whatever way inspires you most.”

That could involve visiting the library, walking around campus, watching TED talks or surfing online tutorials, she said.

Tom Altstiel, who teaches principles of advertising at Marquette University, was a little skeptical. He said people are often struck with inspiration at odd times, such as when they’re commuting or in the shower - not when they’re actively searching for ideas.


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