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News from around Wisconsin (9:35 p.m. 10/31/09)

Wis. Corrections Dept. defends vaccine for inmates

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Responding to a state lawmaker’s complaints about inmates receiving swine-flu vaccine while other citizens wait, Wisconsin Department of Corrections officials said most of the vaccine was going to staff, not inmates.

The DOC has received 900 doses of vaccine, but only 5 percent of that has gone to inmates, agency spokesman John Dipko said Friday.

“The vast majority of the vaccine has been going to our staff,” Dipko said. “We’re not making the vaccine available to our general inmate population at this time.”

Dipko was responding to complaints by state Rep. Brett Davis, R-Oregon, who said he was concerned after seeing a media report that some inmates at a Fond du Lac women’s prison had gotten the swine-flu vaccine while members of the public were still waiting.

“No one wants to be inhumane,” Davis had said, “but there are pregnant women who have been law-abiding citizens who are having trouble getting the vaccine.”

Because of a nationwide vaccine shortage, health officials have recommended that people in high-risk groups get priority for inoculations. Those groups include pregnant women and health care workers.

The DOC administered vaccine to 45 high-risk inmates, including pregnant women at Taycheedah Correctional Institution, Dipko said.

Aaron Rodgers Drive sign stolen, recovered

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — A 47-year-old Green Bay man has been arrested for stealing a temporary street sign named for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Green Bay police Lt. Mark Hellmann says an officer spotted a car in the area Saturday about 2 a.m. with a green glow coming from the interior. Hellmann says the officer drew closer and spotted the Aaron Rodgers Drive sign inside.

Mayor Jim Schmitt had changed the name of Minnesota Ave. temporarily to honor Rodgers. It was one of several cheerleading efforts this week leading into Brett Favre’s return Sunday with the Vikings.

The driver says he took the sign as a joke. He says he planned to donate it to charity but was unable to specify which one.

The man was issued a theft citation, given a $366 cash bond and had his car towed.

Information from: Green Bay Press-Gazette,

Defense for alleged Wis. killer wants DA replaced

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — The lawyer for a Wisconsin man accused of homicide says the district attorney should be replaced by a special prosecutor because of apparent misconduct.

Greg Petit represents 38-year-old Scott E. Schmidt, a former Appleton firefighter charged with killing his estranged wife and wounding his mother-in-law.

Petit wanted to survey possible jurors to support his request to move the trial due to pretrial publicity. He commissioned a Lawrence University professor to do the survey.

Petit says an investigator for district attorney Carrie Schneider followed up with the professor and questioned her in an intimidating manner.

Schneider says she simply sent the investigator because of concerns about the survey’s methods.

But Petit says her actions justify the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Wis. man: Volunteer with daylight saving hour

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Milwaukee man has an idea about what to do with the hour you’ll gain this weekend when daylight saving time ends.

L. Maxwell McKissick says it’s a great excuse to donate 60 minutes of volunteer work to a local charity.

He says if every American pitched in, communities and nonprofits would get 300 million-plus hours of assistance.

Federal law specifies that daylight saving time applies from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday of November in areas that don’t exempt themselves.

That means most Americans lose an hour when they spring forward in March, and gain it back eight months later.

McKissick says people should volunteer on both occasions. He says so many charities need help that volunteering two extra hours per year isn’t too much to ask.

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