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Saturday, January 31, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 34.0° F  Overcast
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UW System approves plan to keep tuition flat and raise fees and room-and-board costs; Mary Burke promises to have a bipartisan approach to governing; Toxic algae blooms reported in Lake Mendota

Thursday, 6.5

Justin Brooks, 33, pleads guilty to first-degree reckless homicide for beating a homeless man, 61-year-old Robert Kuntz, to death with a table leg on the Capitol Square last June. Brooks is found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a state mental hospital for up to 46 years.

Four members of a state task force looking at ways to reduce driving under the influence resign, saying that tavern owners have too much influence over it. In a letter to the state's Department of Transportation, the members write: "The group has -- as best -- a serious conflict of interest."

The UW System Board of Regents approves a plan that will keep tuition flat next year but increase fees and room-and-board costs.

Mike Basford, chair of the Dane County Democratic Party, challenges Brett Hulsey's nomination petition for governor, claiming that about 200 of the 2,131 signatures have potential problems. Basford claims that some people who gathered the signatures had felony convictions and others appeared to have an address filled in by someone else. Hulsey admits he paid some homeless people with felony convictions $13 an hour to gather the petitions but says they are no longer on parole, making it legal.

A Dane County jury acquits Jason D. James, 34, of first-degree reckless homicide in the January 2012 death of a 22-year-old man. James was charged with providing the heroin that killed Darrel Thurow. But the jury convicts James of three counts of heroin delivery.

Friday, 6.6

In a speech at the state's Democratic Party convention in Lake Delton, gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke promises she'll have a bipartisan approach to governing. "I'll put an end to the politics-first approach of the last three years." She apparently wasn't joking.

Tuesday, 6.10

The state Government Accountability Board approves Brett Hulsey's nomination papers for governor, meaning he'll be on the ballot against Mary Burke in the Aug. 12 Democratic primary.

Toxic algae blooms are reported in Lake Mendota near UW-Madison's Memorial Union and the Hoofers Sailing Club pier. The algae can cause eye, throat, nose and skin irritation, vomiting and diarrhea.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration finds that wooden boards are unsanitary for aging cheeses, fearing they might become contaminated with a potentially fatal bacteria. Wooden boards are integral to the production of a wide variety of cheeses. "It's a potential game-changer for the face of artisan cheeses in the United States," Chris Roelli, owner of Roelli Cheese Haus, tells the Wisconsin State Journal. The FDA later backs down from its statement, but some are concerned that wood will be banned in the future.

Wednesday, 6.11

The State Journal reports that Michael Sanchez, a 57-year-old Madison Metro bus driver, has returned to work after a fatal accident on May 19. Sanchez was found to be not at fault for running over a 68-year-old man, who was intoxicated and stumbled underneath the bus after getting off on East Washington Avenue.

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