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Rock County group receptive to Ryan's poverty plan

Rock County group receptive to Ryan's poverty plan

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said he has a plan to reduce poverty across the country. He's calling for major changes to how the government helps low-income families, including giving states and local organizations more control.

Ryan spoke at the American Enterprise Institute Thursday morning on the subject, sharing his plan for a new opportunity grant.

The pilot program would consolidate 11 federal programs, including food stamps and housing subsidies, into one, then provide the grant to states to decide how to best use it locally. Ryan said a neutral third party would keep track of results.

"My thinking is, listen to the boots on the ground, the local leaders who are changing the status quo," Ryan told the crowd at AEI Thursday morning. "Let them try unique and innovative ideas with a proven track record, and then test the results."

Ryan said state agencies wouldn't be the only service providers; community organizations doing similar work could get more funding.

Big retailers suing Janesville over tax bills

Big retailers suing Janesville over tax bills

Retailers Sears, Target, Blain Supply and Menards are accusing the city of Janesville of overcharging them on their property taxes.

The Janesville Gazette reported the stores have filed lawsuits seeking refunds totaling $419,000, with the largest being $217,000 sought by Menards. They argue their 2013 city assessments are higher than the companies' own assessment.

Twenty-two percent of the city's active property assessment lawsuits are now tied to assessments of large retailers.

The sudden blip of four large retailers suing at once can be attributed to statutory time limits on tax disputes.

City Assessor Richard Haviza says other cities around the state are seeing more large retailers suing over assessments.

Haviza says there isn't a clear explanation, other than larger retailers have larger assessed property values and higher tax bills.

Beloit officials remind residents of rules, regulations for swimming pools

Beloit officials remind residents of rules, regulations for swimming pools

City of Beloit officials are reminding residents of some rules and regulations the city has for swimming pools capable of holding more than 2 feet of water.

According to a release, all outdoor swimming pools that can hold more than 2 feet of water must be surrounded by a fence that is at least 4 feet high, and owners must have a valid permit before installing the pool.

Above-ground swimming pools that are available at retailers are also subject to the requirements, officials said.

All swimming pools must also be properly disinfected, and pools deeper than 4 feet must have a throwing buoy and lifeline available, according to the release.

Residents that already have a permit and fence for their swimming pools do not need to take any action, officials said.

Anyone with questions or looking to report an unsafe pool should call 608-364-6700.

Retiring senators call for more compromise

Retiring senators call for more compromise

Four lawmakers with a combined 94 years of experience retiring from the state Senate say there needs to be more compromise in politics.

In their final speeches Tuesday on the Senate's last planned session day Tuesday, the three Democrats and one Republican talked of the need for lawmakers to be less partisan.

The retiring senators are Democrats Bob Jauch, of Poplar, Tim Cullen, of Janesville, and John Lehman, of Racine. One Republican, Dale Schultz, of Richland Center, is also not running again.

Jauch says he hopes the Senate returns to its roots as a "place where moderation is the mainstream."

Jauch and Schultz both have spent 32 years in the Legislature. Cullen has served 16 years and Lehman has served 14. Lehman is running for lieutenant governor.

Minor changes in parking, access to polling locations for spring election

Due to recent renovations at some Beloit polling locations, there will be minor changes to parking and access on April 1 for the spring election, according to a release.

There are nine polling locations for the city of Beloit, and due to renovations at Converse, Hackett and Todd schools the following changes will be implemented.

Converse School (wards 1, 2 and 3)

The polling place at Converse School is the gymnasium, which is located on the west side of the building. Voters will need to enter and exit through Entrance No. 5, which is accessible from the parking lot of Poff Street. .Green signage will direct voters to the proper entrance. Voters are asked to park in the western section of the parking lot or in available on-street parking spaces.

Hackett School (wards 7, 8 and 9)

Students compete in high school mock trial semifinals

Students compete in high school mock trial semifinals

Teams from 16 Wisconsin high schools will compete in the Wisconsin High School Mock Trial Semifinals at the Dane County Courthouse in Madison on Sunday, March 9, at 8 a.m.

The Mock Trial program provides high school students with an opportunity to act as attorneys and witnesses in a court case developed by State Bar members. In teams, students argue a criminal case before a panel of volunteer attorneys and judges in the regional competitions.

The two finalists will compete for the state title on Monday. The state winner will advance to the National Mock Trial Competition, which will also be held in Madison this May.

Students from the following schools will be participating in the semifinals:

Treasurer leaves Milton position to work for Sun Prairie

Members of the Sun Prairie City Council unanimously approved hiring a new administrative services director on Feb. 4.

Connie DeKemper will leave her position with Milton after two years as the city treasurer to oversee several Sun Prairie city departments, according to the Sun Prairie Star and Milton Courier. ... Read More