From lacrossetribune.com: “Walker signs jail transfer, training bills” – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed bills introduced by area legislators into law Wednesday.

Senate Bill 648, written in the Assembly by Rep. Jill Billings, D-La Crosse, will reduce jail expenses by allowing localities to transfer inmates to less expensive facilities in neighboring counties.

La Crosse County had identified Houston County, Minn., as a potential cost-saving destination, but state law previously barred such transfers. The new law allows transfers to neighboring counties, in or out of state, if the savings is 25 percent or greater.

Assembly Bill 226, co-written by Rep. Steve Doyle, D-Onalaska, allows more businesses to benefit from worker training partnerships with Wisconsin Technical College by expanding the eligibility for Workforce Advancement Training grants to businesses with up to 250 employees (up from 100). This bill also allows the Wisconsin Technical College System Board to award a grant to a district board to provide assistance with market expansion or business diversification.

From nbc15.com: “New advanced manufacturing training center in Milton” — Milton — “This is going to be a state of the art facility,” said Gary Kohn with Blackhawk Technical College.

Right now, it’s hard to see with all of the construction. But you can call it a sneak peek for nearly 230 high school students in Rock County.

Kohn is Wednesday’s tour guide. He’s showing off the college’s new Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Milton.

“We want them to understand the programs a little bit better, so they see what kind of possibilities there are for their education,” said Kohn.

Cory Thomson, is a senior in high school, and among the 230 students, checking out the new construction.

“I can just imagine all the machines around there and all of the cool equipment that’s going to be there for kids to use and learn on,” said Thomson.

In six weeks, Thomson is graduating, and will pursue a career in manufacturing.

“You could make upwards of $75,000 to $100,000 a year,” said Kohn.

A booming business, and one in-demand. That’s the message Kohn is trying to hammer home to the future job seekers.

“All of the manufacturing programs would tell you they are fast growing, and there are many many jobs in need,” said Kohn.

Phase I of the building will be done, and open, by August. Making next school year the first that anyone can sign up.

View video from nbc15.com

From chippewa.com: “Careers may finally separate twins” — EAU CLAIRE — Charles and Sam Welbourn are finally facing the moment when they will likely be going their separate ways, but they are OK with it. They each have their sights on a career in law enforcement, and now that they have their certification after graduation from the Chippewa Valley Technical College Law Enforcement Academy last Thursday, it’s time to look for jobs.

“We are both very close, but we’ll go wherever we get hired. We know we’re not going to be together,” said Sam.

Charles and Sam have been nearly as inseparable as they are indistinguishable from one another. In 2008, the identical twins graduated together from Chippewa Falls Senior High School, where they played both soccer and basketball. They attended UW-Stout together for two years, then both transferred to UW-Eau Claire, where they took up majors in criminal justice. They graduated together in May 2013.

Then came the 14-week CVTC Law Enforcement Academy, which consists of a series of classes held five days a week, eight hours a day, leading up to the granting of the certificate needed for employment as a public law enforcement officer in Wisconsin. A major requirement for admission is a minimum of 60 college-level credits, according to Eric Anderson, associate dean of the Emergency Services programs at CVTC. CVTC’s program is highly regarded, and Academy students can come from all over the state. The Welbourns were among 17 graduates in this spring’s class.

Back at Stout, Charles was listed as an engineering major, but Sam was undecided. They talked together about their next move before choosing law enforcement.

“We like the legal aspect of it,” Charles said. “And we liked the problem-solving aspect of it, and you get to work with your community through many different angles.”

“We like the unpredictability of the job. Every day is something new,” Sam added.

Yes, law enforcement can be a dangerous job, but that did not deter the Welbournes.

“It never crossed our minds,” Charles said. “It’s there, but it doesn’t affect us one bit.”

That’s because they will rely on the training they received at the Academy that taught them how to be conscious of the dangers, and how to look out for their own safety while serving the public.

“We had really good instructors here,” Sam said. “Passing on their life experiences was really valuable to us.”

One of the Welbourns’ fellow graduates, Joshua Pettis, spoke of safety in his remarks as the class speaker.

“Each day on duty, remember officer safety. You want to go home feeling as well as you did when you started,” Pettis said.

Pettis also advised the graduates to use their heads in every situation. “Your mind is your greatest weapon. Be sure to use it,” he said.

The guest speaker was Dallas Neville, the United States marshal for the western district of Wisconsin, who remarked on what he learned at each stage of his career, which included six years as Clark County sheriff. He advised the graduates to maintain high standards of integrity.

“You have all the control over your integrity, but if you ever lose it, it’s very difficult to get back,” Neville said. He added that they should remember that as patrol officers, they will represent not just the departments they work for, but all of law enforcement.

From fox11online.com: “Recruiting women for apprenticeships” – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College says it’s getting the word out to women.

Construction jobs pay well, and companies are looking for apprentices.

Look around the average construction site, and you might notice a gender divide.

“Historically, it’s been about 96 percent male,” said Todd Kiel, the NWTC Apprenticeship Manager.

So is the apprenticeship program .

Only about a dozen of the 500 current apprentices are female.

At this info session Tuesday, NWTC urged interested women, like Delphina Orosco, to apply.

“I was looking to get into carpentry,” said Orosco. “Currently, I work at the casino, so there’s not a lot of room for advancement there. But here, there are a ton of advancement possibilities.”

NWTC says apprenticeships are cost-effective ways of job training. Students get paid to be in the classroom or out on a job site.

“Generally speaking it’s one day every two weeks you get paid your regular eight hour a day salary to be here for apprenticeship training,” said Kiel.

The U.S. Department of Labor says women make up more than half of the minimum wage workers in Wisconsin.

That means they make $7.25 an hour.

Jim Golembeski with the Brown County Workforce Development Board says skilled apprentices make a lot more.

“This one says anywhere between 12 and 24 dollars an hour for a carpenter journeyman,” said Golembeski, showing a listing on the Wisconsin Job Center web site.

Right now the Wisconsin Job Center lists 111 construction openings in Brown County alone.

“After a long drought in the construction industry, things are booming,” said Golembeski.

Hopeful carpenters like Orosco say despite the gender gap, they’ll take the chance on building a better life.

“I’m ready to take that on,” said Orosco.

The Brown County workforce development office says there is no guarantee of work, after you finish an apprenticeship program, because it’s too far out to know what the economy will do.

From wisn.com: “Motorcycle safety on the minds of some riders after two fatal crashes” – Four people died in motorcycle crashes in Wisconsin in the past two days.

“While I’m driving checking my mirrors and looking behind me to see if there’s any cars that are coming up fast,” said motorcyclist Jason Laitsch. “A minor accident in a car can be a life-ending accident on a motorcycle so I’d say defensive driving is one of the biggest things they teach you in safety classes.”

Laitsch learned motorcycle safety classes over the spring and summer at Waukesha County Technical College.

WCTC will host more than five dozen motorcycle safety classes this spring and summer.

“We already completed the liability form we’ll talk more about that,” said instructor Jim Imoehl, a motorcycle riding coach.

Imoehl said this week’s deadly motorcycle crashes should serve as a lesson for those who drive cars.

“As community members and as car drivers we need to be aware that there are going to be more motorcyclists on the road,” he said.

Jill Congelmi is enrolled in the safety course.. She said learning to ride is on her bucket list, having survived breast cancer.

“A year ago I would have told you I just wanted to be a passenger and now I want a little bit of freedom to go when I want to go. So I want to know how to do it right and get some training,” she said.

From jsonline.com: “Seeking savings when filling up, fleets turn to propane, natural gas” — The newest police vehicle in the city of Port Washington is powered by propane instead of gasoline.

The fuel known most for lighting gas grills and heating rural Wisconsin homes has emerged as an alternative that provides savings for owners of small fleets – like the seven patrol cars in the Port Washington police department.

Port Washington Police Capt. Mike Keller said he started exploring alternative fuels as a way to find a way to chip into the more than $60,000 a year the agency spends on fuel.

“For a small department that’s a lot,” so I’ve been doing research since 2012 looking for ways to reduce our operating costs and fueling costs,” Keller said during the Green Vehicles Workshop held Tuesday at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

The department considered vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas before deciding on propane instead. The first vehicle: A Ford sport utility vehicle that can run on gas or propane.

“The squad here went live in very late December a few months in, but based on usage so far saving $500 a month on fuel on one car vs. what we paid for gas,” Keller said.

The propane shortage that hit much of the country during the deep freeze this winter didn’t affect the department because it had already paid for the propane.

Until this year, the price of propane has been stable whereas gasoline prices have been much more volatile, said Jason Ebert, fleet and facilities manager with Go Riteway, which operates propane-powered buses and airport shuttles as well as propane-fueled school buses.

“Typically it’s gasoline that will fluctuate rapidly. Propane in its history has been a very stable fuel so that’s one thing that is very appealing,” said Ebert. “However we did have this issue this winter, due to our wonderful Wisconsin winter.”

Go Riteway had a “ceiling price” on propane that kept its prices from being too exorbitant when prices spiked temporarily this winter, he said.

The type of alternative fuel fleet operators are seeking depends on the kind of vehicles and the size of the fleet involved, said Ted Barnes of the Gas Technology Institute near Chicago.

Propane is best suited to small fleets given the lower up-front and capital costs associated with going with propane, compared with CNG.

Compressed natural gas, Barnes said, is best suited to larger trucks that burn a lot of fuel. Case in point: refuse trucks like those in the city of Milwaukee, which has 21 natural gas-fueled refuse trucks that double as snow plows, with another 22 on order, said Jeffrey Tews, fleet operations manager for the city’s Department of Public Works.

The city is saving about $6,500 per year per truck because of the price advantage natural gas enjoys over diesel.

With an upfront extra cost of $39,000 for buying the natural gas-powered vehicle, “that amounts to a six-year payback if we buy them outright, which is what we’re planning to do,” Tews said.

From postcrescent.com: “FVTC President Dr. Susan May: It’s time to put ‘body farm’ to rest” — You may have seen the flurry of media recently regarding a forensic training field at our Public Safety Training Center. The concept of an outdoor forensic training field may make for a tempting headline, but it is far from being anything final.

I’m sure you may be wondering about this development, so I’ll attempt to provide some clarification about this proposed aspect of the overall facility.

First, the concept of an all-season forensic training field has been included from the very beginning through all planning and referendum communication phases of this center. The very first rough drawings of this facility included this potential outdoor lab, as did early conversations with community leaders in 2009. As the project progressed, we often addressed questions about it, but this part of the center wasn’t highlighted because it’s by no means the primary focus of this new facility. From the beginning, it was considered a longer-range project for possible development in the future.

Right now, the forensic training field is only a concept, an idea, a possibility for further consideration. We are nowhere near actual implementation. Before any action is taken, we would need to address regulatory requirements, reporting standards and operational processes, let alone the research and development our staff would need to undertake. We have many more critical priorities than this, both in getting the PSTC up and running and across the college overall. Ultimately, we may determine that it simply isn’t worth pursuing if the regulations are prohibitive and/or costly.

Looking back, it’s important to remember that public hearings were held to provide information and answer any questions on all of our referendum projects, which were widely supported by the public in 2012. FVTC delivered more than 125 community presentations, our web site included detailed information on the projects, and communications were sent to municipalities, planning commissions, the state Department of Natural Resources, and many other agencies. We sent letters to the adjacent property owners to inform them about the PSTC and invited them to contact us with any questions or concerns.

We were also required to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment for the PSTC development. In that report, the forensic training field was specifically referenced in terms of secured access, visual appearance and odors. This was made available for public review and feedback, and a public hearing was held specifically on this report. The final document has been posted on our website since it was published in September 2012.

Our local media sources have really gotten ahead of themselves on this one; perhaps some of our own exuberant and well-meaning staff has as well. I find it very interesting that all of this media attention has generated a number of inquiries from people about donating their bodies for this type of research, as well as contacts from several universities worldwide interested in working with us at this facility. They, too, are perhaps getting ahead of themselves.

Is there merit to the idea of creating the nation’s first all-season forensic training field to support forensics education, training and research? Absolutely. But, as I’ve tried to convey, there’s a lot more homework to be done. And if this moves forward at some point, it will need to be done with respect for process, laws and regulations, neighbors and communications that are appropriate and timely.

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