Thursday, October 31, 2013

UWL Cited for Diversity Program, by Amanda Wallman

UW-L will be featured in the INSIGHT magazine along with 55 other recipients of the 2013 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award for diversity and inclusion.

Barbara Stewart, UW-L associate dean for Campus Climate and Diversity, says "we are very grateful for the tremendous support we receive from the campus community. Winning this award is a powerful indicator of how far we have come with regard to diversity and inclusion. But also it should motivate us as a campus community to strive to make even greater progress in the future."

UW-L focuses on the many diverse groups by embracing a broad definition of diversity on campus, including gender, age, race, ethnicity, Veterans, first generation, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQIA community.

UW-L has TRIO programs which focus on supporting low-income students, the first in the family to attend college and people with disabilities.  UW-L also is always open to recruiting and retaining the diversity.  One example is that the university invites multicultural students annually to visit from Rufus King Middle School from the Milwaukee area.

Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, says "We hope the HEED award serves as a way to honor those institutions of higher education that recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as part of their everyday campus culture."

Employment Stuck, Better For College Grads, by Shelby Jacobson

Unemployment is still a major concern even, while decreased from 10% to 7% since 2007.

On average, says Professor of Economics Mike Haupert, people can live without a paycheck for one month before running into any serious problems. Even though the unemployment rate decreased 3%, the rate has been stuck.

According to, the 2013 unemployment rate in Wisconsin has decreased from 7.9% in January to 7.3% in August.

College graduates have less to worry about after graduating. Graduates on average go without a job for two to four weeks. The unemployment rate for college students is 4%, even less for those with their masters. Those with their M.D. or PhD have an even smaller unemployment rate.

Haupert says the 2007 recession compared to the economic meltdown of the 1930s Great Depression is not an accurate parallel. Still, he says, the people now without jobs are hit hard.

Haupert says there is a permanent 4% unemployment rate in the United States with any increase depending on the economy. This 4% consists of people between jobs, quitting their jobs, and graduating from school.

Contact Career Services with any questions or assistance, at any time, at 608.785.8514 or at

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Hunting Rules for 2013, by William Ricioppo

New DNR rules this fall will have an impact on the way Wisconsin hunters enjoy the upcoming season. Modifications recently made to existing outdoor recreational statutes will limit trapping and shooting on state lands.
In an emergency session recently, the DNR Board amended 2012 law to prohibit shooting from or across any trail or other property closed to hunting. Under new restrictions, discharging a firearm, air-gun, bow, or crossbow within 100 feet of a designated use area− a campground, parking lot, picnic facility, or hiking trail− is prohibited. A hunter on open hunting land cannot shoot across or over any such restricted area at a target on open land on the other side of the prohibited area.
Hunters will also be limited to the type of traps they may use. These rules are designed to protect animals not targeted by hunters. Under the new stipulations traps are limited to dog-proof and underwater traps. A dog-proof trap has a trip mechanism housed inside a recessed compartment to prevent being triggered by a canine. Underwater traps are specifically designed to catch prey such as beavers, protecting unintended targets.
The legislation in 2012 allowed broader access to other outdoor activities in state parks and similar public space as well as permitting the practice of trapping for the first time. The move was aimed at getting more people involved in outdoor activities.
DNR makes available to the public maps identifying all areas open and closed to hunting on any state property.

Hunting is allowed in Wisconsin April 1 into the first week of May. Gun and trapping season run from November 15th to December 15th, and archery hunting continues to run until early January.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wolf Hunt Continues, with Success and Criticism, by Sofia Beccarelli

Wisconsin’s second wolf hunting season is underway, lasting until the end of February.  However it is still surrounded by controversy, since the removal of wolves from the endangered species list in 2011. Nearly half the quota for the season was killed with a few days last week.

Debates are still going strong as to how to manage wild wolf populations in Wisconsin, among wolf campaigners, sportsmen and the Department of Natural Resources.

Approximately 24 members of the wolf campaigning group, Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf, assembled recently in Madison, protesting for an end to the hunting. Melissa Smith, a member of the group, states, “There is no legitimate reason to be hunting wolves in Wisconsin." The group argues that the state’s management plan is based on false information; scientific research, they claim, shows the wolf population as threatened.  "The wolf hunt is not something supported by the public," Smith states. "This has become a politically-based, not a science-based, issue."

The state management plan came under similar criticism last year, when the state’s native tribes strongly opposed the idea of managing the wolf. The wolf is part of their culture and tribal creation story and is highly respected by the tribal members. The story is the Great Spirit warned man that if the day came when the wolf no longer had a safe place to retreat and be removed from existence, then humans would follow.

The protests were on the same day  DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp released an article defending Wisconsin’s wolf management plan. According to this article, hunters in Wisconsin are able to cull 275 wolves this hunting season,  reduce the state’s population by only 13 percent, making the population closer to the state’s goal.

Stepp states, "The DNR strives to balance many of the social aspects of wolf management with the need, and the department’s responsibility, to manage the state’s wolf population."

Transported Firewood Limited, by Mikaela Kornowski & William Ricioppo

Wisconsin DNR proposes to decrease the distance firewood can be transported from 25 miles to 10.  Any wood carried from distances greater than set limits must be certified by state Department of Agriculture.

This comes from the increased risk of invasive species and diseases transported in the firewood.  As of February of this year, La Crosse is already considered a “quarantined” county. Firewood from hardwoods, ash chips, limbs or the tree itself are not allowed to be transported out of the  county. There are 15 quarantined counties in Wisconsin.

There are 727 million ash trees in Wisconsin’s woodlands, all potentially destroyed by the invasive species. The trees make up seven percent of the state’s native tree population, and they can constitute 20% of trees planted in urban areas.

Insecticide treatments can stop or reverse the effect of the disease for trees in residential areas. However, there is no practical way to stop the spread in entire forests. Landowners should consult professional foresters for help managing their private woodlands.

The Emerald Ash Borer beetle specifically has been established in Wisconsin since 2008 in Ozaukee and Washington counties. The green beetles live beneath the bark of ash trees and emerge in late May through mid-July. A single female beetle can lay 60-90 eggs.

The emerald ash borer kills ash trees by tunneling through the bark and consuming the softer tissue underneath. This disrupts the tree’s ability to move water and nutrients between its leaves and root system, eventually killing the tree from malnutrition.

The DNR asks that citizens report possible cases of the infestation to the Wisconsin EAB hotline (1-800-462-2803).

Monday, October 28, 2013

Abandoned Bikes Go Green, by Amanda Wallman

Some UW-La Crosse students neglect their bicycles, and the university claims them at the end of each semester.  The campus issues out a warning, saying that it will eventually take them if they are not moved from a particular spot if left for a certain length of time. 
Bicycles no longer claimed by their students end up part of the Green Bike Program.  
The Green Bike Program allows students can rent a bicycle for $15.  All the bicycles are donated, spray painted green for rental or scrapped for parts that could be used.  The metal that it does not use from the bicycle is then recycled rather than thrown away.  Those involved in the program have also begun to use the bike parts for making chairs.

The program was started by the UW-L Environmental Council in 2004 and has since then expanded.  It is now part of the Outdoor Connection, having rented over 200 bicycles and recycled as much as 40,000 pounds of metal.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Concealed Carry & Campus Gun Rules, by William Ricioppo

When a UW-L student was taken into custody by campus police for carrying a firearm in April, the incident raised questions about rules concerning guns on school property. While the hunting shotgun in this incident was cased and unloaded, the act still violated the law. School policy prohibits any weapon−concealed or exposed, permitted or not− from being carried here.

State law governing the carry of concealed weapons in public prohibits any weapon from being brought onto federal property, such as a post office or prison. Also included are jailhouses, courthouses, and mental health facilities. CCW laws additionally cover schools. However, “schools” refers only to institutions serving grades 1-12.

So, if Wisconsin laws don’t specifically apply to universities, where do the restraints come from?
 “The UW Administration in Madison sets those rules for the entire system,” says Chief of University Police Scott Rohde. According to the chief, no weapons are allowed at La Crosse or any other state campus. However, if a student commutes to a UW school and is armed while in the possession of a valid CCW, that student is allowed as far as a parking lot with the weapon, providing it is left in a locked car, not carried. Aside from around campus and in classrooms, that constraint extends to the athletic field, administration offices, bookstore, and dining halls. Rohde adds, “Those facilities operate in direct support of the education process, so they fall under the law as well.”

Weapons are not authorized to be in UW housing, either. Should a student bring a hunting gun or other such item when they move onto campus, that weapon is secured, stored, and accounted for by university police. It does, though, remain available for the student to check out for use off school grounds. These rules and UW Police authority reach off-campus to adjacent student housing immediately connected to the school by surrounding side streets.

A concealable weapon, as defined by the law, is a handgun, stun-gun, billy club, or knife other than a switchblade which can be hidden on the person. Most states have laws in place for the carry of concealed weapons by licensed individuals. 

Although restrictions vary from state-to-state, Wisconsin residents have relatively liberal rules if in possession of a license. If a citizen is at least 18 years of age with no criminal history or record of domestic violence and is not a felon, a license may be granted. To qualify, a hunting or firearms safety class must be taken, an application submitted to the State Department of Justice, and a background check completed along with a fee. Prior military service streamlines the process for eligible veterans and lowers the roughly $100 overall cost considerably.

Although a license may be granted for concealed carry, there are no provisions in place allowing for the general carrying of rifles or shotguns in public.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tuition Reciprocity & Discount Opportunities, by Carly Vail

            UW-La Crosse, along with many other universities in Wisconsin, participates with Minnesota regarding reciprocity for tuition.
            There are students at UW-L from 37 different states. The Midwest Exchange Program allows some of those students from Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin to be eligible for tuition reductions at certain Midwest public and private schools. Minnesota and Wisconsin have a separate tuition discount agreement as well. Wisconsin and Michigan officials have occasionally discussed another agreement, but nothing has ever been implemented.
            Illinois is not included in this list. Sophomore Emily O’Conner attested to this. She said she does not get a discounted tuition rate. Because of her merit and grades in high school, she was eligible for an Illinois resident scholarship.
           According to the UW-La Crosse website, students from Wisconsin and Minnesota pay $8,769 for the 2013-2014 school year. Students eligible for the Midwest Student Exchange Program pay $11,918 during the 2013-2014 school year, and non-residents, including Emily O’Conner and other students from Illinois, have a tuition rate of $16,342 for the 2013-2014 school year.
            Minnesota residents must apply to receive reciprocity; otherwise they will have to pay the non-resident tuition. And only new freshmen are eligible to enter the MSEP program.  Transfer, re-entry, and graduate students are not eligible.  Students ranking in the top 25% of their high school class and scoring a 25 composite or higher on the ACT exam will be stronger candidates for this tuition discount.
            UW-La Crosse also offers a Return to Wisconsin program. This gives students a 25% discount on the difference between resident and non-resident tuition rates for eligible students with parents, stepparents, or grandparents graduated from UW-La Crosse. Students must apply for this opportunity as well. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

30th Anniversary US Marine Barracks Bombing, Beirut, by William Ricioppo

October 23 1983 isn’t like 9/11 in the minds of most UW-La Crosse students. Most were too young to remember, and many others weren’t born yet. Today is the the 30th anniversary of the first large-scale terrorist attack against America. Widely unfamiliar today, the date will never be forgotten for the friends and families of 241 US servicemen lost.
“I don’t know − I think I might have heard something about it, but it’s not something I’m familiar with or think much about,” says Josh, a UW-L philosophy major. He adds, “I was just a kid then.”
A premonition of things to come, the terrorist bombing of October 1983 on the Marines in many ways represents the ignominious relationship the US has with the region. The attack not only took the lives of 241 Americans, but set in motion events still playing-out today.
The bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, changed the way foreign policy is conducted to this day. Stout security, complex intelligence, and increased vigilance are paramount considerations when operating in a forward-deployed area. Troops are inserted and extracted in the manner best to minimize their exposure to danger. Also, US forces abroad now also work in tandem with other units in their proximity and draw support from a network of elements. The bombing affected the way by which the American military operates in hostile environments, and it ended US involvement in unarmed “peacekeeping missions.”
America’s involvement in the Middle East goes back decades, and hostility in the region is nothing new. In the early 1980s, then President Ronald Reagan committed 1,800 US Marines to an international peacekeeping force in Lebanon. Civil war and religious unrest between rivaling factions were tearing the country to pieces. One of the main warring groups involved, Islamic Jihad, was the precursor of the modern-day Hezbollah.
Assuming the role of peacekeepers, the Marines were there to quell violence and build relationships. In keeping a non-confrontational posture, they were not armed with live ammunition, and their barracks, a four-story concrete building protected only by a chain-link fence, afforded little protection.
“I lost my best friend from sniper fire in Beirut. He was right beside me and got the whole back of his head blown off,” says Jeff Lee, a Beirut veteran with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “We had no ammo and no means of retaliation. I escorted him all the way home to Kansas. It still haunts me and pisses me off.”
Like today, foreign presence− let-alone that of Americans− in the Islamic world was not welcomed by all. One Sunday morning, a yellow Mercedes truck slowly approached the Marines’ perimeter. Expecting a water delivery and unaware that the truck had earlier been hijacked, sentries were not concerned as they watched the truck approach. The lumbering truck suddenly picked-up speed and crashed through the gate. Horrified sentries frantic for authorization to engage helplessly watched the driver speed across the compound towards the main barracks. Seconds after the truck slammed through the command post and came to rest in the large central atrium, a flash of light accompanied the detonation of 12,000 pounds of explosives and compressed natural gas. 220 Marines, 18 sailors, and three soldiers, most still asleep at just after 6 that morning, were killed instantly.
A subsequent FBI investigation would determine that the blast lifted the barracks a foot in the air before collapsing all at once on the Americans. The explosion still stands as the largest intentional non-nuclear detonation in history. To this day the bombing remains the greatest single-day loss of life for the Marines since World War II.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Alternate Side Parking Resumes, No Campus Area Exemption, by Erich Schnell

            The city of La Crosse has re-instated an alternate side parking policy  frequently forgotten or misunderstood by students.

Last year the University of Wisconsin La Crosse and surrounding neighborhood was exempt from normal city parking rules.  Instead alternate side parking rules were instituted during “snow removal periods” on a need basis.

The policy has changed this year, and students will no longer have to park according to “snow removal periods.”   Instead students must now park according to the city alternate parking plan,  in effect on November 1st.

The city policy states that vehicles must be parked on the proper side of the street between the hours of 1:00am and 6:00am every evening to allow for snow removal and cleanup to occur. On dates with an even calendar number after midnight, vehicles must be parked on the even side of the street, and on odd calendar dates vehicles must be parked on the odd side. 

The La Crosse Police Department does not hesitate to ticket violators of the alternate side parking plan. For a first and second parking offense the ticket is $10.00 and must be paid to City of La Crosse.  Ticket costs also go up if the vehicle is not moved or if the ticket is not paid on time. A ticket must be paid within 10 days or the cost (of a 1st and 2nd offense) goes up to $20.00.  A vehicle registration in Wisconsin cannot be renewed with unpaid fines.

Further information about ticketing and the alternate side parking policy can be found at the City of La Crosse Public Works Website:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Athletes "Win" GPA Competition, by Melissa Koch & Crystal Oravis

Melissa Koch and Crystal Oravis
UW-L athletes are attempting to keep a streak going about more than just winning games.  
For thirteen years now, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has held the highest GPA in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.  The success of the student athlete population can be credited in part to the coaches at UW-L.

A women’s track and field athlete says, “My coaches are very supportive of the idea that school is first priority. If I were to talk to my coaches and ask to do a workout early or at another time because I needed to meet with a teacher, study group, or tutor, they would be very accommodating. I think that’s a huge help to know I can balance everything.”

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse holds more athletic national championship titles than any in the WIAC conference. UW-L student athletes also consistently rank higher than all WIAC schools. In the 2011-2012 school year, the student athlete population averaged a grade point average of 3.186. For the past ten years, the student athlete grade point average has been higher than that of UW-L’s student body grade point average.

Basketball and baseball students at UW-L all say the same thing of their coaches; if ever an academic concern came up, their coaches would be quick to help out. Kevin Johnson, a student athlete who graduated in May, was a pitcher on the baseball team for four years and finished schooling in that time with a degree in Mathematics and a concentration in Actuarial Science.  “I realized that my academic ability would have a greater impact on my life than my baseball ability. The biggest difficulty was allocating an appropriate amount of time towards each.”
According to UW-L’s Athletic Director, Josh Whitman, “the same attributes that make students successful academically make them successful athletically.”  These qualities include time management, focus, understanding of responsibilities, and leadership.
Asked if being a student athlete has hurt or helped the GPA, all of the athletes spoken to for this story had the same response. A senior on the women’s basketball team says, “I have noticed that out of season my time management gets so much worse, which reflects onto my GPA. I can definitely say that being an athlete has helped to motivate me to work harder in school.”

Many UW-L sports teams are also required to do mid-semester and end of semester signed check off sheets for each class. Having teachers sign off on each athlete and how they are doing is a way for coaches to stay involved.

Whitman believes that the 2013-2014 year will be another strong academic performance for student athletes.  “Over the years, athletically our teams go up and down, but I think academically we stay pretty consistent.  We have students coming here for the right reasons.”
The WIAC is made up of nine different schools.  It has been around for 100 years, and in that time the teams playing for the WIAC have won 98 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III national championships.  
Contrary to the usual stereotype of a student athlete, D-III athletes have to work harder for their own benefit. Division one athletes have the fear of losing scholarships to help motivate them through their studies. Division three athletes have to fight for their spot on the team, but also in the classroom, all for personal satisfaction.

The report for the 2013-2014 year won’t come out until around mid-July next year, but the will for student athletes to perform well is there now.  In a meeting with student athletes  earlier this Fall, this year’s motto was revealed: “The ceiling of our past must become the floor of our future.”

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fed Drop Wolf Protection, Season Opening, by William Ricioppo

Because of rebounding numbers, gray wolves will be taken off the endangered species list by the US government after being hunted to near-extinction in North America in the 20th Century.

Of 16,672 applications filed in Wisconsin this year, DNR will issue 2,510 wolf hunting permits. Maintaining the 10-to-1 permit-to-quota ratio set in 2012, 251 of the animals are permitted to be killed in 2013. Wolves are authorized to be harvested from six hunting zones within the state.
Dan Ashe, director of Fish and Wildlife, says the resurgence of the wolf population since federal protection was put in place over 30 years ago has led to one of the greatest success stories in conservation history. With exception of several smaller packs in the Southwest to remain under federal protection, the government will begin to allow broader hunting of wolves.

Once numbering in the millions throughout North America, the gray wolf was essentially extinct by 1980. U.S. policy in the 1800s and laws allowing the killing of the wolves to protect property and livestock through modern times decimated their presence. Efforts to revive the species were put in place over 30 years ago, restricting the hunting of the animals in much of the country. Today, the number of gray wolves in the Great Lakes region and the Rocky Mountains is believed to be over 5,000, with similar populations growing in other areas of the country.
Under increasing pressure, the Obama administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife are defending their decision to limit federal protection. As the number of wolves has increased over time conflict with humans has become more common. Ranchers and farmers have reported significant increases in problems with wolves, and they argue the numbers need maintaining.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Military Suffering from Shutdown, by Mitchell Spoerl

One group in suffering especially from the government shutdown since September 30th is the United States military’s current and former members.

Members of Congress voted to continue payment for the troops, but that only covers part of the problem. There are still numerous government-run veteran programs affected. Two of the programs are the education of soldiers and death benefits for the families of fallen soldiers.

For a soldier killed in action, the family is granted $100,000 to cover things such as the funeral. However, during the shutdown these benefits were delayed, with families forced to wait. Or, that was the case until the non-profit Fisher House Foundation vowed to pay the families the death benefits until the shutdown ended. The House of Representatives voted unanimously, 425-0, to restore the death benefits, but the Senate did not vote on the issue.

Tuition assistance for servicemen was delayed. According to, any information about the GI Bill was offline because of the shutdown, but the organization, Student Veterans of America, has taken control of the matter and is open for any questions regarding benefits for soldiers and the GI Bill.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The End (of Shutdown?) Is Near, by Ellen Barrett

The government shutdown, since October 1st, has already had its effects on the La Crosse community. This has ranged from furloughing government workers to the end of the ROTC program on the UW-L campus. Mike Haupert, Professor of Economics at UW-L, predicts that the shutdown will last until 11:59pm on October 17th. Then another problem will arise in America: reaching the debt ceiling.

So far the government shutdown has continued to deepen America’s deficit and recession. Some government programs were not in the annual spending bill since they are mandatory. An example of this would include paying Social Security. On the other hand, the defense budget requires a spending bill. Many aspects of defense were shut down, but Congress quickly passed an emergency bill to pay active military sections.  Those shut down, employees are not receiving a paycheck. This inhibits them and their families from heightened spending. There will be a trickle-down effect throughout the community economy. “It’s not as big of an impact as the economic meltdown 5 years ago, but it will have an impact,” says Haupert.

On October 17th the U.S. is predicted to reach its debt ceiling. This is the maximum amount the government has made legal to borrow. Every year the government decides its spending, how much it can collect through taxes, and how much it can borrow to make up the difference. This difference it needs to make up by borrowing is called the deficit. Almost every year since 1950 the government has run a deficit. These deficits  comprise America’s total debt.

 America’s total debt continues to rise even with certain sections of government shutdown. The next big question that government will need to answer is, “What bills will we not pay?” This is unless the government decides to raise the amount the U.S. is allowed to borrow.

“Nothing good will happen. So on Oct. 17th, at 11:59pm, at the last minute they can possibly do it, they will settle,” says Haupert. Professor Haupert also predicts that Congress will bend since the President has the upper hand. He also thinks the Affordable Care Act will be put back on the table and tax on medical devices will be removed.

Everything in stocks suggests that the debt ceiling will be raised. As Haupert believes, “Both sides are ramping up the rhetoric, doomsday scenarios; world chaos is going to break out for not extending debt ceiling.  Nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen.  Neither worst case scenario is likely to happen.  Interest will be paid, Social Security will go out, other bills will be put off, but the longer you go on, the more problems you have.”

Legislative Update: Speed, Racial Mascots, Underage Drinking

A higher freeway speed limit has Wisconsin Assembly approval & goes now to the state Senate.

Protection of race-based school mascots has Assembly approval & goes now to the Senate.

Taverns could sue underage drinkers & collect up to $1,000, approved by both Senate & Assembly and now goes to the governor for his signature.

Domestic Violence Awarweness Month, by Shelby Jacobson

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a rising concern in the state of Wisconsin. An estimated one in four women will be abused in their lifetime.

In 2011 homicides happened in twelve counties in Wisconsin. In 2012, there were homicides in twenty-one counties. The 2011-2012 domestic abuse report  from the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence shows victim age range was anywhere between less than one to eighty-four years old. A rising percent from 2011 to 2012 shows that male perpetrators went from 72% to 86% of incidents.
Investigator Tim O’Neill told WXOW in La Crosse there were 2021 domestic abuse related calls in 2012. He adds, he can only assume there are more unreported cases.

The 2011-2012 report on domestic abuse can be viewed in full detail at The report suggests key indicators include stalking, strangulation and gun violence.  A bill looking to enforce stricter gun laws on domestic abusers is currently being considered.
Domestic violence victims are not alone. End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin provides shelter and volunteer law enforcement, legislators, and advocates making each victim feel safe.

National Domestic Violence Hotline number is (1 800) 799-SAFE (7233).
A list of domestic violence victim services can be found at

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Legislation Will Protect Race-Based Mascots in WI, by Sofia Beccarelli

A bill could change the process of schools choosing their mascots in Wisconsin, affecting Mukwonago High School and others, by forcing strict regulations.

A petition of signatures from people of the school district, above or equal to ten percent of the district student population,  have to be collected 120 days before the complaint is put forward, and a burden of proof must be placed on the complaint. A hearing must be held by the Department of Administration’s Division of Hearing Appeals, who makes the decision.

Assembly speaker Robin Vos stated “These changes are reasonable and address the concerns brought forth by all parties. It puts the proper mechanism in place for appeals from the community without putting an undue burden on school districts.”

A mascot that can be seen as discriminating a particular group can still remain as long as less than ten percent of the student population do not object to it.

Barbara Munson, one of the people who backed the law that restricts the race-based mascot’s states,
"This particular law is not constitutional and in fact is racist. This law is a form of discrimination."

Some believe that this new legislation, instead of being a form of discrimination will actually allow an opportunity for a partnership between the tribes and the school districts.

Sam Hall, a Mukwonago School District attorney, commended the legislation, stating “This proposal strikes the right balance in protecting the constitutional rights of local taxpayers and preserving local control of schools, while also restating that racial discrimination and harassment have no place in our schools”

The legislation will be considered in the coming weeks.  




Monday, October 14, 2013

Drake Hall Fire Investigation Is Closed, by Eric Schnell

The Drake Hall Fire that relocated 271 students to alternative housing in February of 2012 is closed a year and half later.

“No active investigation is underway,” says UW-L Police Chief Scott Rohde. “However this case can be re-opened if sufficient evidence is presented.”

UW-L police department interviewed hundreds of students and Drake Hall residents. The Police department even administered a polygraph exam, which one student passed. 

The fire was investigated by arson specialists and was determined to have human involvement. It is not known if the fire was lit intentionally. Investigators found no sufficient evidence describing to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty that the fire was truly arson. A couch in the basement was the fuel for the fire, but it is still unknown how it was ignited.

The blaze only damaged the basement of the hall directly.  However significant smoke damage travelled through the building’s ventilation system, causing the hall to remain closed for the semester. Under contract, Servpro fire and water restoration deep-cleaned the building, making it safe for students.

Today Drake Hall has new residents. Despite not having a sprinkler system, Drake Hall is very safe.  “The smoke detectors are very sensitive,” says Chief Rohde. “We have already had several calls due to pizzas setting off the alarms.”

For any information regarding the fire, contact the UW-L police department at 608-789-9000. Anyone can remain anonymous, and a reward still exists. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cyber-Bullying Bill Advances, by Crystal Oravis

         A Wisconsin  bill addressing cyber bullying is moving through the legislature after a public hearing by the Senate Committee on Education.

Recently, schools have begun expanding anti-bullying policies to cover cyber-bullying as well. Cyber-bullying has become a large problem throughout the country and has long-lasting effects on its victims. School districts are now required by law to have an anti-bullying policy of some sort.

The bill in proposal requires a school’s policy to include a specific definition for bullying through electronic devices such as texting and social networking. The policy also contains a statement in regards to bullying that occurs off school property, “if the bullying creates a hostile environment at school for the pupil being bullied or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a school or school-sponsored event.”

A middle school teacher from the northern part of Wisconsin said, “It’s difficult to determine what can be considered school business and not school business. But how do we draw the line? The closer we get to figuring out that line, the more proactive we can be.” The existing law on bullying does not clarify that schools can and should take action against cyber bullying that includes Facebook, twitter and even texting when it creates a hostile environment for educational facilities.

State Senator Tim Cullen says, “This bill is necessary for Wisconsin Law to catch up to current technology.” He adds, “A threatening or abusive private email can be painfully harassing enough, but a public harassment post for everyone to see can have much more detrimental effects.”

Schoolteachers and officials, police officers, and physicians gave testimony in favor of the urgency of this bill. In order to add testimony to the importance of the cause, Dr. Zorba Pastor, a well known physician, asked his audience to crumple a piece of paper, then asked them to flatten the paper again, to show point being, that it was not possible to get the piece of paper as flat and smooth as it was before.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Duck Hunting Begins, "Shutdown" Limits Access, by Melissa Koch

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, La Crosse area duck hunters will still be able to go out on the river and hunt this weekend, opening weekend, despite the closure of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge.  Due to the government shutdown, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had closed off the 240,000 acre refuge; however the Wisconsin DNR is taking the initiative to allow hunters access to the river.

In a press release on Tuesday, the chief warden of the Wisconsin DNR, Randy Stark, stated that waterfowl hunting is “business as usual.”  The DNR has not received the official word from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that this is ok, and with the shutdown it is difficult to get a hold of the workers.

The DNR is requiring that hunters enter the river through a state or private boat launch.  Hunters shouldn’t use a federal launch to get to the river. The federal boat launches are barricaded and land is off limits.  John Wetzel, secretary of the La Crosse County Conservation Alliance, asks that hunters be respectful to closed land areas.

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge covers 260 miles and is made up of land and water in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.    It would be difficult to regulate this entire area and to create boundaries for people entering the water.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to give a definite statement on the situation by the weekend.

Depression Screening Day, Today, by Mitchell Spoerl

Physical health is a frequent topic of college students; however, mental health, an equally important topic, often goes un-discussed. October 10th is National Depression Screening Day, and UWL will be offering free screenings at the Counseling & Testing Center between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM for any university students.

Due to the stress of balancing a budget, relationships, school work, and a job all at once, college is a likely place for mental illnesses to begin. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, 75 percent of lifetime cases of mental health conditions begin by age 24.

Because it cannot be physically seen, mental health issues are hard to diagnose by people not qualified, especially if the person suffering doesn’t come forward. Even if a student’s professor or co-worker notices a problem with the individual, it is considered bad etiquette to ask such personal questions.

Implying that a person does not look “okay” might just close them off from the world even further. The social stigma surrounding mental issues is reason enough for college students to avoid the topic. At the risk of being ridiculed or judged by their peers, many people will convince themselves that they don’t need any help.

The best way to get help is to talk to someone about it, whether it be a friend, family member, or a doctor it is important to address the illness as soon as possible. Depression is a very serious and potentially deadly mental disorder. If an individual knows someone who is suffering from depression they must approach the situation carefully. While talking about it is the best route, saying the wrong thing could make things worse. says that when talking to someone who is suffering from depression the person should “Acknowledge the depression and don’t trivialize it. Let the individual know that you recognize that their not just lazy or feeling sorry for themself. Give the person permission to feel depressed.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death on college campuses.

"Responsible Action" Protection Proposed, by Crystal Oravis

State lawmakers are considering a “Responsible Action Law.” This law will allow underage students under the influence of drugs or alcohol to avoid legal punishment when reporting things such as sexual assault, health problems, and other crimes on their behalf or someone else. It is believed that adopting this law state-wide will allow for a decrease in alcohol related deaths among college students.

Many campuses in Wisconsin, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have already begun honoring this policy. Despite the moral code all college students may believe they have, some avoid reporting emergency situations for fear of being ticketed.

Though students would not be held under legal consequence, colleges  practicing this policy usually require students to complete some sort of drug/alcohol counseling, classes, or assessments. Many colleges  have added consequences  for student  organization leaders, student athletes, and students involved in work study.

According to an article in The Badger Herald, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s school newspaper, ASM Legislative Affairs Chair Dan Statter states most Big Ten universities already have similar laws protecting their students.

An informal survey for this story, at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, showed that almost all of the students surveyed believe that the Responsible Action law is a good idea. Forty percent of students asked claimed to have known of someone falling victim to sexual violence or assault while under the influence of alcohol but neglecting to report it. An even higher 70 percent claimed to have been in a situation where they thought someone may have needed medical attention but did not take action for fear of being ticketed.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Retaining Race-Based Mascots in Wisconsin, by Sofia Beccarelli

A bill being considered today could change the process of schools changing race-based mascots in Wisconsin, affecting Mukwonago High School and others, by forcing strict regulations.

A petition of signatures from people of the school district, above or equal to ten percent of the district student population,  have to be collected 120 days before a complaint, and a burden of proof must be placed on the complaint. A hearing must be held by the Department of Administration’s Division of Hearing Appeals, who has the decision.

Assembly speaker Robin Vos stated “These changes are reasonable and address the concerns brought forth by all parties. It puts the proper mechanism in place for appeals from the community without putting an undue burden on school districts.”

The new regulations would allow a mascot that can be seen as discriminating a particular group to remain as long as less than ten percent of the student population do not object to it.

Barbara Munson, who backed the law that restricts the race-based mascots states, "This particular law is not constitutional and in fact is racist. This law is a form of discrimination."

Some believe that this new legislation will actually allow an opportunity for a partnership between the tribes and the school districts.

Sam Hall, a Mukwonago School District attorney, commended the legislation, stating “This proposal strikes the right balance in protecting the constitutional rights of local taxpayers and preserving local control of schools, while also restating that racial discrimination and harassment have no place in our schools”

A public hearing is scheduled for today.  




Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Ramp May Help Winter Parking Problems, by Melissa Koch

The new parking ramp on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus hopes to resolve some past issues with parking spots for commuting students and staff: availability and bad weather.

Commuter student Shelby Jacobson says had no problems finding an open spot during the first two weeks of Fall.  If she ever does have a problem, the university has a solution to offer.  According to Jacobson, if the ramp ever fills completely, students with ramp parking passes can stop into the parking office, within the ramp, and will be given a permit for the other commuter lots for the day.

The ramp’s success plans to continue for the increase of commuters the snow and cold of winter brings. Jacobson suggests that people who need to park on campus choose ramp parking.  “I would encourage more people to look into the parking ramp permit because of many reasons.  First of all it is not a long walk from campus halls.  Second, when winter comes you don’t have to worry about taking time to clean snow and ice off your car.  Third, it’s the same price as a commuter lot space!”

The new structure, finished this summer, provides a sheltered area to leave vehicles.  The ramp has three levels and adds 600 more available parking spaces than last year.  Sheltered levels will not lose spots to plowed piles of snow or inability to see dividing lines for spaces under snow.

A pass for the new parking ramp is the same price as a pass for the university’s other commuter lots.  The first two levels offer parking for visitors, commuter students, faculty, and staff.  The third level is the only level offered to students living on campus.  

Parking passes that could be purchased online were sold to commuter students in the middle of July.  The rest of the permits were sold at the parking office on a first come first serve basis following the first week of class. 

The office is located at 605 17th St. N.  Students with questions about university parking can visit the Parking & Transportation Services link on the university webpage.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Next Fest, Much Less, by Amanda Wallman

Many students are looking forward to the next Oktoberfest.  Some may not be aware of the significant changes that Oktoberfest will undertake during the 2014 school year.

The festivities will actually decline from nine days to a smaller four days. This change will be accompanied by more robust and energetic activities. The plan is to bring more attention to the North Side fairgrounds by making the festival shorter and still keeping the same amount of activities. Kam-Lin Roswell, president of the Oktoberfest Board of Directors, states, "The Oktoberfest board has shared their thoughts with the fest family groups, and there is strong consensus that this is the right move at the right time.

Although the event will be shorter, there are still plenty of activities and traditions that will still draw in fest-goers. The Maple Leaf parade will still take place on Saturday as usual, but the organized festivities will end on Sunday.

If people wish to reserve a spot for the Maple Leaf parade next year, they will have to purchase a permit. Each of 55 spots will cost $35, though there will still be some available seating left over for those who do not save their spot via permit. There will be no camping out.

There is still debate on whether the price for Oktoberfest buttons will be changed in 2014 due to the shorter amount of days.

For more information and updates on the issue, check out

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tales of the "Shutdown," by Ellen Barrett

No, the government shutdown does not entail a real life “The Purge,” and yes, students must still attend scheduled classes, but the recent government shutdown does affect UW-L students and the surrounding community in multiples forms.

On Tuesday, Chancellor Joe Gow stated, “So far, I’m not aware of any effects the Federal Government shutdown has had on our university.” As of Thursday, students have been informed by Gow that UW-L’s Reserves Officers Training Corps Eagle Battalion (ROTC) will be shut down after more than 40 years of involvement at UW-L. The U.S. Army decided to close the program due to insufficient funds likely caused by the sequester and government shutdown, said a ROTC cadet yesterday.
According to a press release from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, “The root of the pending Republican plan to shut down the federal government if they can't defund ObamaCare and allow employers to legally deny women birth control goes back to Paul Ryan’s budget.”

According to David Rogers, the unofficial dean of of the congressional press corps, "He (Paul Ryan) is too smart not to have seen the holes in his budget plan. And once the Senate followed with its own resolution, he failed to follow up by aggressively pursuing a conference with Democrats.”
Paul Ryan commented in a press release on September 30th, "We have an opportunity to help families in need and help grow the economy. I hope we can find willing partners on the other side of the aisle.”

After countless hours of deliberation between the House and the Senate regarding a spending bill to fund the government, no agreement was reached. As promised by Tea Party Republications, if a provision to defund or derail Obamacare was not added, they would not agree to a spending bill. With no incoming money to the government, a shutdown commenced early Tuesday morning. The new health care law (The Affordable Care Act commonly known as Obamacare) does not have direct connections to the spending bill. The first stages of Obamacare still commenced on October 1st.

Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan reacts, “This is a sad day for the American people, and our American democracy. Instead of working together to fulfill our most basic duty—to keep the government running—the extreme Tea Party wing has taken Congress hostage all the way to a government shutdown. Instead of being the world’s greatest example of representative government, we seem to have become the nation’s largest kindergarten—only with control of the nation’s checkbook and nuclear arsenal.”

Wisconsin Congressman Reid Ribble continues, “Whether two days, two weeks or two months from now it is irrational to assume the President is going to sign a law eliminating his hallmark legislative achievement.  The only outcome this yields is additional acrimony, risk to our economy, and escalating but appropriate distrust of government to actually get its work done.  I hope congressional leadership in both chambers and both parties will work expeditiously to resolve this issue and bring this shutdown to a close."

President Obama states in a press release, “We know that the last time Republicans shut down the government in 1996, it hurt our economy.  And unlike 1996, our economy is still recovering from the worst recession in generations.” Other implications include veteran services and benefits that American seniors, veterans, and business owners depend on must be put on hold. Certain government offices, national parks and monuments will also be shut down. Many government/military workers on the job will be furloughed. This means they will be forced to stay home and be unpaid. President Obama did sign legislation to ensure that 1.4 million active-duty military personal will remain paid.

These effects will remain in place until the Senate and the House of Representatives come to an agreement. Until then, families with government paychecks and local businesses which rely on government workers will suffer. Losses such as the ROTC Eagle Battalion to the UW-L campus is but one of many to come which will affect students in the area.