Morning Headlines - Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022

U.S. & World and Wisconsin trending headlines, and today's daily meme.

Morning Headlines - Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022

U.S. and World Headlines

Is Biden's Student Debt Forgiveness Fair?

On Wednesday, Mr Biden announced he will cancel up to $10,000 in federal student loans - used to fund higher education costs such as tuition and housing - for millions of Americans who earn less than $125,000 each year.

Mr Biden will also forgive $20,000 of debt for students on Pell Grants, which applies to those in greatest financial need.

The news, political analysts have suggested, was announced to drum up support ahead of the November midterm elections, and increase young voter turnout. More than half of Americans who have student debt are under 35, an age group that Mr Biden is keen to win over.

Ben Tulchin, a Democratic pollster who has worked on campaigns for Bernie Sanders, said recent action on abortion, climate change, and now student loans, have helped build the president's profile with Millennials and Gen Z.

"So I think it's very helpful to kind of boost turnout among young voters and typically when younger voter turnout is higher, Democrats do better," he said.

But the student loan plan, which will cost an estimated $300bn, is not without its detractors - on both sides of the aisle - who say it doesn't get help to those who need it most.

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Who Qualifies For Student Loan Forgiveness Under Biden’s Plan?

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday his administration's plan for student loan debt forgiveness, following through on a key campaign promise of canceling debt for low- and middle-income borrowers.

Here’s how the decision will impact some 43 million people with student loan debt nationwide.

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Uvalde School Board Unanimously Approves Police Chief Pete Arredondo's Termination

Uvalde school board officials unanimously voted Wednesday to fire Pete Arredondo, the school district's police chief, exactly three months after the school shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers.

The termination is effective immediately.

Arredondo was not in attendance at his termination hearing out of concerns over his safety, his attorney, George Hyde, said in a 17-page statement released shortly before the community gathered Wednesday evening.

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Democrats Show Reluctance To Campaign With Biden

Some Democrats running in competitive reelection races in November are still reluctant to attach themselves to President Biden, even as he and the White House have been buoyed by a few weeks of good news.

Biden has in recent weeks racked up a series of major legislative victories, and he’s seen his poll numbers rebound slightly from all-time lows earlier in the summer. But that has yet to translate to enthusiasm among Democrats to embrace him on the campaign trail.

There have been some signs of that changing as primary season comes to a close, and a few experts believe Democrats are better off embracing Biden in the wake of his recent hot streak.

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Jury Awards Vanessa Bryant $16 Million In Kobe Bryant Crash Site Photos Trial

A federal jury found Wednesday that Los Angeles County must pay Kobe Bryant's widow $16 million over photos of the NBA star's body at the site of the 2020 helicopter crash site that killed him.

The nine jurors who returned the unanimous verdict agreed with Vanessa Bryant and her attorneys that deputies and firefighters taking and sharing photos of the remains of Kobe Bryant and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna invaded her privacy and brought her emotional distress.

The pictures were shared mostly between employees of the LA County sheriff's and fire departments including by some who were playing video games and attending an awards banquet. They were also seen by some of their spouses and in one case by a bartender at a bar where a deputy was drinking.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Johnson Reiterates Call To Make Social Security, Medicare Part Of The Discretionary Budget Process

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson isn’t backing away from his call to make funding Social Security and Medicare part of the discretionary budget process.

Dems have taken aim at the Oshkosh Republican over his comments, accusing him of wanting to put the programs on the chopping block.

Johnson touted a post on his website Tuesday as laying out a “comprehensive plan for the future viability of the programs.” In it, Johnson again called for making the programs part of the discretionary budget process, which involves an annual review of funding levels. But he offered no other specific proposals to shore up the programs, instead focusing the post largely on how he would change the annual budget process.

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Republican Leaders Quick To Reject Evers’ Tax Cut Plan

Governor Tony Evers has made an election year tax cut pitch, one that was quickly rejected by Republican leaders in the Wisconsin legislature.

With latest Marquette poll seeming to show the Democratic governor in a tight reelection race with millionaire business executive Tim Michels, Evers on Tuesday announced a plan to provide $600 million in tax relief to working Wisconsinites. Evers would tap part of the state’s projected projected $4-billion budget surplus to cover the costs.

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New Wisconsin Website Steers Future Meat Processors

Wisconsin’s agriculture department has teamed up with educators to guide potential new meat processors to the right training.  Secretary Randy Romanski with the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection tells Brownfield the Meat Pathways website is now available. “It’s meatpathways.wi.gov for those who want to take a look at it, and it’s an important part of the Meat Talent Development Program.”

Romanski says the Meat Talent Development Program was set up with five million dollars from the American Rescue Act to help prepare the next generation of meat processors by helping them find the right training options, “whether that’s at the technical college system or at the campuses in Wisconsin that were fortunate to have, UW Madison, Platteville, UW River Falls, that have programs that could lead to it, but it’s a way for people to kind of help find their next job adventure and get meaningful employment in a crucial Wisconsin industry.”

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Ice Age Trail Alliance Requests New Wisconsin DMV License Plate

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) received an application from Ice Age Trail Alliance requesting a new specialty license plate.

The Ice Age Trail Alliance (iceagetrail.org) is a non-profit organization that aims to conserve, maintain and promote the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. The trail is a 1,200-mile footpath located entirely within Wisconsin. The application is available for public comment through September 23, 2022.

The public comment period is the first step in a process for groups interested in sponsoring an Authorized Special Group license plate. The public can review each application submitted to become a special group plate and submit an objection if they do not approve of the special group plate. The public review period is open for 30 days. All objections are passed to the legislative Transportation Committee for final decision on the plate’s status.

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DNR Asks Public To Help Count Chimney Swifts Before They Migrate South

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asks the public to report chimney swift sightings to help monitor populations and locate important roost sites before they begin their migration south. The call to count is part of Swift Night Out, a continent-wide effort held to raise awareness about the decline of chimney swifts.

According to the Wisconsin Chimney Swift Working Group, after swifts have finished raising their young, they gather in groups at communal roosting chimneys before beginning their fall migration to South America. While migrating through Wisconsin from mid-April to early May, you can find large numbers of chimney swifts and hear their chittering sounds in the early evenings, ready to roost overnight in brick chimneys.

“Volunteers all over the state of Wisconsin have counted thousands and thousands of swifts roosting in chimneys over the past decade,” said Nancy Nabak, chair of the Wisconsin Chimney Swift Working Group. “It’s fascinating to watch, count and listen to swifts as they circle and whirl above chimneys before they roost for the night – it’s a visual sky concert.”

Although volunteers have counted large numbers of swifts since the program began, they’ve also documented the loss of many chimney swifts due to the demolition or capping of chimneys, resulting in a loss of habitat for this federally protected bird. The Wisconsin Chimney Swift Working Group hopes to bring attention to finding ways to protect existing chimneys, therefore protecting the chimney swift population.

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Last Update: Aug 25, 2022 5:55 am CDT

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