- Associated Press - Friday, January 23, 2015
Prosecutors charge man with homicide in cold case

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin prosecutors have accused a Michigan man of killing another man with his car in 2008.

Erik Smith of Iron Mountain was charged Thursday with multiple counts, including reckless homicide, in connection with Eric Volp’s death.

According to the criminal complaint, Smith told a cellmate in federal prison that he ran over Volp with his car and dumped the body in a Marinette County creek. Investigators believe the incident took place late on Oct. 10 or early Oct. 11 but aren’t sure where.

It’s unclear when Smith spoke with his cellmate. Court records indicate Smith was sentenced in 2010 to 19½ years in federal prison on a child pornography indictment.

Online court records didn’t list an attorney for Smith.


Milwaukee County Zoo unveils name for baby gorilla

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A male gorilla born at the Milwaukee County Zoo in November has finally been named.

The name Sulaiman (SOO-lay-man) was chosen for the western lowland gorilla following a seven-day social media campaign among employees at Northwestern Mutual. Thirty-two percent of the votes were cast for Sulaiman, which means peace in Swahili. More than 1,200 employees who voted also considered the names Sherman T., Sharifu, which means noble in Swahili, and Suhubi, which means friend in Swahili.

Sulaiman was the third gorilla to be born at the Milwaukee County Zoo. He was the first baby for 12-year-old Shalia, who’s on loan from the Toronto Zoo. His father, 27-year-old Cassius, has been at the zoo since 1999.

A newly renovated outdoor exhibit is set to open next spring.


Big weekend ahead for Walker with Iowa, California trips

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker said Friday he plans to tout his record and Washington-outsider status when he joins other potential 2016 presidential candidates this weekend at national GOP events in Iowa and California.

Walker is preparing to rub shoulders with other possible White House hopefuls in the state that hosts the nation’s first presidential caucuses before heading to the West Coast, where he’ll speak at an event hosted by billionaire GOP-donor brothers David and Charles Koch.

On the eve of the Iowa trip, Walker’s campaign confirmed he has hired David Polyansky as his senior adviser in Iowa. Polyansky, who helped lead winning Iowa operations in the past for Mike Huckabee and Michele Bachmann, worked on Joni Ernst’s successful Senate campaign last year.

Walker is best known nationally for pushing through a law that effectively ended collective bargaining for public-sector unions in 2011, a fight that led to a recall election that he won the following year.

Walker, 47, frequently points out he’s done more than take on unions. During his first four years in office, Walker and a Republican Legislature cut taxes by $2 billion, passed a voter identification law, signed a concealed carry law and toughened requirements for people to get welfare.

“One of the things I hope people in Iowa and elsewhere will look at is the … powerful message that’s new, that’s fresh, that’s big and bold, that comes outside of Washington and most importantly is proven to work,” Walker said during a news conference in Milwaukee.

Democrats say he’s distorting his record. They said he is ignoring a looming $2.2 billion budget shortfall, has cut funding for public schools, and done nothing for the middle class. The voter ID law was blocked by the courts.


Walker rejects Menominee request for Kenosha casino

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker on Friday denied the Menominee Nation’s request for permission to build an off-reservation casino in Kenosha, saying approving the project could leave the state owing a rival tribe hundreds of millions of dollars.

The decision is devastating for the Menominee, who have been pushing to build a casino at Kenosha’s Dairyland Greyhound Park dog track for years in hopes the facility would pull the tribe out of poverty. But the governor said Friday that the state’s compact with the Forest County Potawatomi requires Wisconsin to refund payments that tribe has made to the state if a Kenosha casino became a reality.

“After a comprehensive review of the potential economic impact of the proposed Kenosha casino project, the risk to the state’s taxpayers is too great,” Walker said in a news release.

Walker, a Republican mulling a 2016 presidential run, had until Feb. 19 to make a decision on the casino but chose to release it Friday, a day before he was scheduled to attend a conservative summit in Iowa for potential GOP presidential candidates. Walker told reporters in Milwaukee Friday morning that the timing had nothing to do with politics.

“If that’s the case, I would have shut it down right off the bat,” Walker said.

Menominee Chairwoman Laurie Boivin said in a statement the project would have improved her people’s lives but the Potawatomi and Walker’s presidential aspirations dashed their hopes.

Potawatomi Attorney General Jeff Crawford said in his own statement that Walker gave the project a thorough review “and we agree with his determination that this project is not in the best interest of Wisconsin.”

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