TCD’s week in review
Kelly Rindfleisch pleads guilty, Dave Wineland wins the Nobel Prize, the FBI will investigate the Derek Williams case and the U.S. economy shows signs of life.
Nobel Prize winner Dr. Dave Wineland
The winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics is a Milwaukee-area native. Dr. Dave Wineland, who shares the award with Serge Haroche of Collège de France, is a physicist in the U.S. Department of Commerce‘s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He won the award “for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems.”
According to the NIST’s press release congratulating Wineland, “The Nobel citation notes that Wineland and Haroche’s methods have enabled science to take “the very first steps towards building a new type of super fast computer based on quantum physics. Perhaps the quantum computer will change our everyday lives in this century in the same radical way as the classical computer did in the last century. The research has also led to the construction of extremely precise clocks that could become the future basis for a new standard of time, with more than hundred-fold greater precision than present-day cesium clocks.”” Wineland was born in Wauwatosa, and now lives and works in Boulder, Colo.
Putting the Derek Williams case in good hands
A Federal investigation has been launched to further investigate the death of Derek Williams that occurred while he was in custody of the Milwaukee Police Department. The FBI Milwaukee Special Agent in Charge of the investigation is one Teresa Carlson, who led the Federal investigation at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. The FBI and U.S. Attorney probe is being officially categorized as a civil rights investigation. In announcing the investigation in a news conference, Carlson, who was put in charge of the Milwaukee Division on Oct. 19, 2011, said, “We have all seen the video and it’s extremely difficult to watch. Our mission however is to fully investigate that night, everything that happened that night and to do so as objectively as possible.”
Several recent indicators have pointed to a legitimate turnaround for the beleaguered U.S. economy. Jobless claims fell to a four-year low, home foreclosures hit a five-year low, and the U.S. debt is now at a six-year low.
Sussex-based printing company Quad/Graphics made news this week. On Monday, they announced a $900 million, multi-year agreement with Time Inc. Quad/Graphics will now be responsible for more than 85 percent of Time’s printing, which includes such magazines as People, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, and Time. On Wednesday, Quad/Graphics agreed to buy direct-mail marketing firm Vertis Holdings Inc. for $258.5 million.
The Water Council hosted its sixth annual summit this week, furthering efforts to establish Milwaukee an internationally-recognized hub for water technology. The mission appears to be on the right track, as Richard A. Meeusen of Badger Meter, Inc. said a new five-year plan is needed after the initial five-year plan was completed two years ahead of schedule.
To begin the summit, Mayor Barrett announced the winner of the contest to rename Pittsburgh Avenue—Freshwater Way. The street runs through the redeveloped Reed Street Yards, which contains the new water technology business park. Regular Winners & Losers readers might remember when we lobbied for the name to be “Coast Avenue” (based on an UrbanMilwaukee reader suggestion) that would make the Water Accelerator Center on the corner of Third and Coast, so clearly, they could have done better than Freshwater Way. But at least it’s not one of the other possible selections, Aqua Avenue, or worse yet, Fonzarelli Road.
Kelly Rindfleisch: Federal criminal
Former aide to Gov. Scott Walker, Kelly Rindfleisch, pleaded guilty to felony misconduct in officeon Thursday. She first tried to plead “no contest,” but Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge David Hanscher wouldn’t allow it, and she changed her plea to guilty. Gov. Walker was subpoenaed to take the witness stand in the trial, but the plea prevents the governor from having to testify under oath.
Rindfleisch was Scott Walker’s deputy chief of staff when he was Milwaukee County Executive. While at this taxpayer-funded job, she spent a significant amount of time doing campaign work for Brett Davis (R), who was running for lieutenant governor, and communicated through a secret online network along with other Walker campaign staffers.
Also on trial this week is former Walker appointee Kevin Kavanaugh, who is accused of embezzling $42,000 from veterans groups. Timothy Russell, another former Walker staffer who is accused of embezzling from veterans groups, will stand trial in December. Gov. Walker is on the witness list for that case as well.
Not only has the Milwaukee Police Department been under intense scrutiny for its handling of the Derek Williams case (and to a lesser extent, the Darius Simmons case), but for officers’ alleged participation in illegal strip searches. Four officers—Michael Vagnini, Jeffrey Dollhopf, Jacob Knight and Brian Kozelek—were charged on Tuesday with violating the strip search law. Vagnini, 34, was hit with the largest number of charges; he now faces 25 counts of violating the strip search law, along with charges of misconduct in office and sexual assault. Several Milwaukee Common Council members, including Council President Willie Hines, have called for a federal investigation on the matter, and reports are indicating that such an investigation could start soon. Milwaukee Police Association President Michael Crivello also responded this week, saying MPD policy is to blame, and that officers are under pressure to meet arrest quotas.
Tragedy at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex
25-year-old Brandon Johnson died at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex on Saturday, three days after he was admitted. According to WITI Fox 6, “An autopsy done at the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office indicates that Johnson died of a broken neck that caused a blood clot to form in his leg that went into his lung, causing him to die of a pulmonary embolism.” On Thursday, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm said his office, along with the MPD and the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, are investigating the death. Johnson’s family has hired an attorney. This is the fifth death at the Mental Health Complex this year.
A mailing sent by the Republican Party told people in some Madison and Dane County areas to send voter applications to the wrong location. According to WUWM, the Government Accountability Board says the mailings have caused questions and complaints and is reminding people to rely on information from municipal clerks or the GAB’s voting website, myvote.wi.gov.
The Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers suffered their second legitimate loss and third actual loss of the season last Sunday, collapsing in the second half on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, losing 30-27. Led by rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne (13 catches, 212 yards and the game-deciding touchdown), the Colts outscored the packers 27-6 in the second half. Things aren’t exactly looking up for the Pack, as this Sunday, the team faces the 5-0 Houston Texans, led by (Pewaukee’s own!) J.J. Watt, on NBC’s Football Night in America, and will be without offseason acquisition Cedric Benson due to injury for at least eight weeks.