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October 23, 2017

Audit points to more oversight of state rehiring policy
During the past five years, thousands of former employees in the Wisconsin Retirement System took advantage of a state policy permitting them to retire, draw their pensions, then return to work and draw two checks, a new audit has found.
Friday, December 21, 2012

Industry: Obama's new forest rule violates federal law
It’s been seven months since the Obama administration formally released a new planning rule for the nation’s national forests, but an industry lawsuit to stop it is finally getting to the deliberative stages, and the outcome could have far-reaching effects on a variety of interests. 
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Obama signals support for treaty for UN regulation of guns
In an abrupt about-face from last summer, and before the last ballots in the presidential contest had even been counted, the newly re-elected Obama administration signaled on Nov. 7 its willingness to finalize a treaty providing for the regulation of conventional arms by the United Nations.
Friday, November 30, 2012

Fight against Affordable Care Act shifts to the states
Wisconsin has joined a growing number of states that are refusing to set up a state health insurance exchange under the nation’s Affordable Care Act – a move that reflects a deepening and broad tension between the states and the federal government as much as it does concerns about the health-care law itself.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

CBO: Recession looms if nation heads over the fiscal cliff
The election is behind us, and no one knows what is going to happen in Washington when it comes to the looming fiscal cliff – the series of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes scheduled to kick in at the beginning of the new year – but one thing is likely if the nation barrels over it: Recession in 2013.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Critics: Obama rule rewrite threatens students' privacy

All through the contentious debate about whether President Barack Obama should release his sealed college transcripts, most Americans have at least taken solace that their educational records are protected, too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Health care for all Americans: Finally, a bipartisan solution?

As the nation’s candidates hotfoot it toward an extremely close November presidential election, and health care remains as controversial and convoluted an issue as ever, it’s only rational to believe the nation is way too polarized to develop a consensus solution to health-care delivery and access for all, at least anytime soon.

Others, though, believe such a consensus could be just around the corner, literally. 

Can such an outcome really be so close, so simple? Can the nation create a bipartisan model that gives all Americans access to affordable health care, that is patient-centered and evidence-based rather than profit-driven, that improves overall quality while dramatically reducing health-care costs and eliminating skyrocketing Medicare and Medicaid bills, all the while preserving patients’ choice and marketplace competition?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The fiscal cliff: It's closer than you think
The term has been floating around the Internet and various news sites for months, but so far the so-called fiscal cliff has remained a remote speck in the distance for most Americans as they live their daily lives.
Friday, October 5, 2012

Landmark case tests DNR's Public Trust authority
It hasn’t come up much in recent years, but once again the state Department of Natural Resources is in court over how much regulatory authority the state’s Public Trust Doctrine gives it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Supreme Court's decision could still gut health care law
In the wake of last week’s Supreme Court decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate and the debate about whether it is a tax or a penalty, or both, have received most of the attention, but the court’s ruling on Medicaid also will have far-reaching implications.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Report calls for major government actions to curb obesity
Is your zoning ordinance making you fat?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wisconsin rule writing: Where no emergency is an emergency
It has been called Wisconsin's "dirty little secret," the administrative rule-writing process that has put in place thousands of rules with the force and effect of law and that regulate almost every aspect of life - statuteless decrees the Legislature can only passively review and occasionally overturn.

But if writing permanent rules, ostensibly to implement legislatively derived laws, is the dirty little secret, as former Assembly speaker John Gard once called it, get ready, because there is a dirtier little secret lurking in the bureaucratic shadows: emergency rules.

In recent years the use of emergency rules to quickly enact regulations without legislative review has increased and become commonplace. Indeed, the state's agencies have imposed 158 emergency rules on the people of Wisconsin since Jan. 1, 2008. That's an average of 36.4 emergency rules a year.

Friday, May 11, 2012

In 2010, WEAC salaries surged by $1 million; brass top $200k
WEAC president Mary BellWEAC president Mary Bell
The Wisconsin Education Association Council continued to boast a robust financial bottom line in its latest reported fiscal year, with wages and benefits for union staff employees in 2010 surging by nearly a million dollars over the fiscal year ending in 2009.

The organization's net assets rose substantially as well, jumping from $15,301,436 to $16,142,325, a gain of 5.5 percent.

The figures are gleaned from WEAC's 2009 Form 990 filing with the Internal Revenue Service for the year ending Aug. 31, 2010. It is the latest filing.

All totaled, WEAC's revenue for 2010 slipped just slightly from the previous year. The union took in $25,102,225 compared to $25,480,973 in 2009. Of the 2010 total, $23,322,957 came from union dues, also down a little from 2009's take of more than $23.4 million.

According to the IRS documents, the union mustered $1,543,455 from the National Education Association last year, up by more than $100,000 from the NEA's 2009 addition of $1,419,819.

The revenue dip occurred mostly in the union's investments. WEAC had $367,482 in investment income in 2009 but only $42,256 in 2010.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wakefield: Studies point to heavy metal link to autism
Dr. Andrew WakefieldDr. Andrew Wakefield
Internationally known gastroenterologist and autism researcher Dr. Andrew Wakefield says new numbers showing a spike in the rate of autism among young Americans isn't telling the whole story.

It's likely worse than what they are reporting, Wakefield said in an exclusive interview with The Lakeland Times.

What they are reporting is that one in 88 eight year olds in 2008 - based on sampling zones - has an autism spectrum disorder. That's up from one in 110 in 2006. Wakefield says he's not surprised, and neither are many parents.

"What the numbers confirm is what the public has suspected for a long time and that is there is an epidemic," Wakefield said. "When I was in medical school - I qualified in 1981 - autism was so rare that we were not even taught about it. If you were a child born in 1994, clearly things had changed dramatically. Now it was one in 166. If you were a child born a few years later, in 1998, it was one in 110. If you were a child born in 2000, then it's the staggering level of one in 88, and of course three to four times more common in boys."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dr. Andrew Wakefield: Exclusive interview on American Investigator
Dr. Andrew WakefieldDr. Andrew Wakefield
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Richard Moore on the American Investigator and for The Lakeland Times, internationally renowned and controversial autism researcher Dr. Andrew Wakefield says recently announced numbers on the prevalence of autism - which showed a two-year spike from one in 110 children diagnosed with ASD to one in 88 - are likely understated and by a dramatic order.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Reducing hit counts may help reduce concussions
If Lakeland Union High School football coach Mike Mestelle had his way, he would have 11 starters on offense and 11 different starters on defense when the Thunderbirds take the field.
Friday, April 13, 2012

Scientific search intensifies for causes of autism epidemic
Third in a series

According to the federal government, one in every 88 American children now has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and not all of the increase, most officials concede, can be traced to better diagnosis or awareness. The actual incidence of the disorder is increasing, they say, and the question is why.

Scientists have been on the hunt, and have rolled out a spate of new studies over the past several years. Is it genetic? Is it environmental? Is it perhaps both, an environmental factor that pulls the genetic trigger? What role do vaccines play?

The raft of recent studies link autism to any number of factors, from older mothers to older fathers to maternal obesity to pesticides to routine household cleaning chemicals to taking antidepressants during pregnancy.

Through the years, though, most of the research - and most of the money for research - has focused on trying to prove that autism is a genetic disorder, and, just this past week, three research papers published in the scientific journal Nature again pointed to the role played by genetics, this time by genetic mutations, also called de novo mutations. Essentially, a de novo mutation occurs spontaneously and is not an inherited defect.

Friday, April 13, 2012

New CDC numbers: Autism rates continue to skyrocket
The federal Centers for Disease Control issued its estimates for autism prevalence rates last week, and the numbers, while expected, were staggering nonetheless: One in 88 children in the United States has been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder, the agency now calculates.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Heading toward denial: As autism rages, funds could be cut
First in a series

Two years ago, The Lakeland Times ran a series on the growing autism epidemic - its costs, its causes, the concerns for the future - and now it is time to revisit the arena for an update.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Rep. Paul Ryan's budget takes center stage in 2012
Whether it's a blueprint for continued Republican electoral success or an albatross around the GOP's neck remains to be seen, but the proposed budget unleashed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan and House Republicans this past week has quickly become a hot topic in election campaigns stretching from the presidential race to local Assembly and state Senate races.
Friday, March 23, 2012

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