Regional Round-up

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Forbeck to seek re-election

Rock County Judge Kenneth W. Forbeck announced today that he will seek re-election in the spring to Branch 5 of the Rock County Circuit Court.

Forbeck was appointed initially to fill Judge John Rothe’s term in 2007. He was re-elected for an additional term in April of 2009.

Forbeck is currently one of the criminal court judges for Rock County.

“I take seriously the responsibility of being a circuit court judge,” Forbeck said in an emailed statement. “I have the capability and capacity of handling complex cases, as proven in my private practice and as a judge”.

Before becoming a circuit court judge, Forbeck handled various types of litigation both criminal and civil, from 1970 when he first started to practice law until he was appointed judge.

Rock County District Attorney David O’Leary and Rock County Family Court Commissioner Mike Haakenson also have said they will run for the Branch 5 Judge’s seat on April 7.

Volunteers needed to wrap presents

Dads and Lads Barber Shop in South Beloit and Pat James will be wrapping presents collected in the local toy drive on Dec. 20 and volunteers will be needed.

The presents will be wrapped at the Beloit Masonic Temple, 229 W. Grand Ave. Volunteers are asked to arrive around 8 or 8:30 a.m. The gifts will be distributed to area children and families in need.

AIDS Network, ARCW announce merger

AIDS Network and AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) have announced plans to merge effective Feb. 1.

Leaders of both organizations say the merger will preserve continuity of care for patients and clients.

ARCW President and CEO Michael Gifford will continue to serve as president and CEO of the merged organization.

Once the merger is complete the organization will provide services through its offices and clinics in Appleton, Beloit, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Cross, Madison, Milwaukee, Superior and Wausau.

Former editor to lead watchdog group

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The former editor of The Progressive magazine is taking over as leader of a campaign finance watchdog group that maintains a frequently visited database of political contributions.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign announced Thursday that Matt Rothschild is replacing Mike McCabe as the group’s executive director.

McCabe had announced in April that he was leaving the group after 15 years as its leader.

He was only the second director of the independent group that was founded in 1995.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is a frequent critic of the role money plays in politics.

Rothschild says in a statement that “We will never have real democracy in Wisconsin until we curb the power of money in politics, and I look forward to throwing my energy into this crucial battle.”

Santa to visit Kids Spot in Roscoe

ROSCOE — Santa Claus will be making two appearances next week at Kids Spot, 9461 N. Second St., Roscoe.

Santa is scheduled to visit from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Monday, and from 6:15 - 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20. The community is invited to come join in the excitement, and have their picture taken or share their secret Christmas wish.

Monday’s visit is free of charge and open to all kids. On Dec. 20, the cost will be $6 per child. For more information call 815-623-5437.

Cook County inmate attacks attorney

CHICAGO (AP) — Authorities say a Cook County Jail inmate has attacked his public defender during a jail visit.

A Cook County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman says the inmate struck the assistant public defender Wednesday as the attorney and his legal partner were ending their visit with the 39-year-old inmate.

She says the inmate who was awaiting trial on sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping and contraband charges was handcuffed during the visit.

The spokeswoman says the victim was taken to an area hospital for treatment of injuries that didn’t appear to be life threatening. Correctional officers took custody of the inmate and called 911 after the attack.

Charges tied to the Wednesday incident are pending.

Ill. wins $80M for early childhood education

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois has won an $80 million federal grant to increase access to early childhood education.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced the award Wednesday. His office says the state will receive a maximum of $20 million per year for four years.

The federal program is intended to help four-year-olds from low-income families attend preschool. In a news release, Quinn’s office says the grants will help more than 33,000 additional kids nationwide attend high-quality preschool programs.

In Illinois, more than two dozen school districts and organizations will receive funding. They include preschool programs in Chicago and its suburbs, Rockford and Monroe and St. Clair counties.

Quinn says “Providing high-quality early childhood education is a game changer for our economy.”

Rockford schools using reserves to cover deficit

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — An audit shows the Rockford School District’s $8.8 million deficit was the result of an accounting change and higher-than-anticipated salaries.

The Rockford School Board has voted to approve a financial audit of the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Cedric Lewis is the district’s chief financial officer. He says the $8.8 million deficit represents 2 percent of the district’s $412 million annual operating budget.

Lewis says $3.7 million of the deficit is because the district’s new auditor recommended counting revenue received in July in the current fiscal year, rather than last year. Higher salaries reached by union negotiations also contributed.

Lewis says the district has enough in cash reserves to cover the deficit. No programs or staff are expected to be cut.

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