Former Wisconsin governors Walker, Doyle join together to promote vaccine

MADISON, Wis. — Former Wisconsin governors Jim Doyle and Scott Walker don’t agree on much, but they are joining together to call for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine in a new public service television advertisement.

The spot released Thursday, produced by UW Health, features the Republican Walker placing a Zoom call to Doyle, a Democrat. Both are in their personal offices and never appear in the same room together.

“I’m just ready to be done with this pandemic,” Walker says.

Doyle responds, “I couldn’t agree with you more.”

“That’s what I thought,” Walker says. “Here’s another thought: Let’s do a commercial together — reminding people in Wisconsin how important it is to be vaccinated.”

Doyle quips, “That may be the best idea you’ve ever had.”

Both Walker and Doyle have been vaccinated.

Both governors said in statements that they hoped the ad would encourage everyone to get vaccinated to enjoy the summer and return to a more normal life.

“It just makes sense,” Walker said Thursday on Twitter in response to a post about the ad.This isn’t the first time that political rivals have appeared together in a public service announcement during the pandemic. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan appeared in a spot last year encouraging people to wear masks.

And a third former governor, currently interim University of Wisconsin System President Tommy Thompson, wielded a sledge hammer in a series of videos last year urging people to “smash COVID.”

Long-serving Polk County Attorney John Sarcone won’t seek reelection

DES MOINES — Polk County’s long-serving top prosecutor, who has faced criticism for his decisions to charge a journalist and others in last year’s protests over racial inequality, has announced he will not run for reelection.

Television station KCCI first reported County Attorney John Sarcone’s announcement Wednesday that he will not seek a ninth term next year. Sarcone is a Democrat who has served as the county’s top prosecutor since 1991, but he has faced recent criticism for his prosecution of protesters and especially Des Moines Register journalist Andrea Sahouri.

Sarcone pursued misdemeanor charges of failure to disperse and interference with official acts against Sahouri, who was pepper-sprayed and arrested while she covered a protest in May 2020. His effort drew widespread condemnation from advocates for a free press and human rights. Sahouri was acquitted in March.

Civil rights activists also criticized Sarcone for pursuing rarely used felony leak charges against two Black Lives Matter activists. Des Moines police had accused one activist, Alexandria Dea, of stealing a police bulletin being carried by officers that included suspects wanted for the destruction of a police car during a protest. The other activist, Viet Tran, shared the bulletin during a local television interview broadcast.

A judge dismissed the charge against Tran last month. Dea is still awaiting trial on the leak charge and other counts.

Sarcone said his decision not to run for reelection was driven by his desire to spend more time with his 10 grandchildren.

Wisconsin GOP to head to Arizona to watch ballot review

MADISON, Wis. — A group of Wisconsin GOP legislators plan to fly to Arizona to watch a contentious review of 2020 ballots.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Thursday that six lawmakers sent Assembly Speaker Robin Vos a letter Wednesday seeking permission to travel to Phoenix today, observe the recount of ballots in Maricopa County and return to Wisconsin on Saturday.

Rep. Janel Brandtjen said in the letter that the group wants to observe a large-scale recount process. A group called Voices & Votes, which describes itself as an organization that protects free speech from cancel culture, will pay for the trip, she said.

A Vos spokeswoman said the speaker has approved the request.Wisconsin’s 2020 election saw recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties, the state’s two most populous counties. The results confirmed Joe Biden defeated then-President Donald Trump in the state. Nevertheless, Vos recently hired former police officers to review Wisconsin’s ballots and election process.

The Maricopa County review has drawn criticism from around the country. The county’s Republican-led board of supervisors called the review a “sham” last month.

A cybersecurity firm called Cyber Ninjas is conducting the review. The firm has no history of auditing elections. Workers are examining ballots using microscopes and ultraviolet lights. One official overseeing the project has said they’re looking for traces of bamboo to support a theory that 40,000 ballots were smuggled into Arizona from Asia.

Wisconsin Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach said that Republicans are “nuts.”

“I hope they bring their tinfoil hats,” he said.

Police: Unmasked man denied Chicago bus entry opens fire

CHICAGO — An unmasked Chicago man denied entry onto a city bus faces attempted murder and weapons charges after allegedly firing shots at the vehicle, police said.

Fred White, 37, was arrested Tuesday night after shooting at a Chicago Transit Authority bus on the far South Side, police said.

White tried to board a bus around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and was refused entry because he was not wearing a mask, as CTA policy requires, police said. He then took out a gun and fired several shots at the bus as it drove away, police said.

Two rounds struck the doors of the bus, police said. No one was struck.

White was arrested a few minutes later, police said.

It wasn’t known whether White has an attorney who might comment on his behalf.

Woman convicted in son’s smothering death

DECATUR, Ill. — A central Illinois woman has been convicted of killing her 19-month-old son by smothering him in his bed one day after she did an internet search for “how do you suffocate?”

A Macon County jury found Jessica A. Logan, 27, guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday following a three-day trial in Jayden M. Comage’s October 2019 death. The Decatur woman is scheduled to be sentenced July 21, the Herald & Review reported.

Macon County Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Friedel portrayed Logan as cold, calculating and eager to claim a $25,000 life insurance policy she held on her son. He told jurors her anguished screams during a 911 call were an act.

“She never expected to be caught, she thought it was a good plan,” Friedel said.

Jayden Comage was found unresponsive and found face-down with a comforter over his head in a Decatur home on Oct. 7, 2019. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Logan claimed her son had accidentally choked to death, but Macon County’s coroner testified that the boy died as a result of asphyxia due to smothering and/or compression of the neck, and that it took minutes for him to die.

Friedel also told the jury that Logan had done a Google search on her cellphone the day before her son’s death for “How do you suffocate?”

Iowa vaccinations slow as state slips in rankingDemand for vaccines in Iowa has dropped dramatically in recent weeks with the state ordering fewer doses each week and sliding downward in its national ranking of fully vaccinated people.

Iowa ordered 2,450 doses for this week with 16 out of Iowa’s 99 counties ordering doses, Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand said. Last week the state ordered 5,210 doses and the week before 7,850 doses.

State public health officials have decided to no longer automatically allocate doses to every county each week and instead will survey the counties and determine the need for each week and order only that amount, Ekstrand said.

State data shows a significant decline in the number of doses administered per day since Mid-April when an average of nearly 31,000 doses a day were being administered in Iowa. That has fallen to an average of less than 7,000 doses a day in the past week.

Iowa has been slipping in its ranking among states for the percentage of the population fully vaccinated. Iowa ranks 21st in the nation with 1.4 million people, or 45.06% fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Two weeks ago Iowa was 17th.

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