Regional briefs: Pride march, gun violence, political debate

WiG and AP reports

Hundreds turn out for Kenosha’s 2nd Gay Pride March

Hundreds of people turned out for Kenosha’s second annual Gay Pride March on July 12, beginning at the Simmons library in downtown Kenosha and continuing down Library Park, Sheridan Road and Seventh Avenue. There were no protestors at the event, which opened with speeches from local leaders and included representatives from the animal rights organization Compassion Over Killing and supporters of Amar Kaleka, a Democratic candidate for the congressional seat held by Republican Paul Ryan.

The march was organized by Dan Seavers, Diamond Hartwell and Dayvin Hallmon. Seavers said the event was designed to be nonpolitical and simply “celebrate who we are and bring people together who may not normally come together.” Another march is planned for 2015.

Wisconsin police chief registered tea party leader with gay dating sites as revenge

A western Wisconsin police chief has been charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly registering a tea party leader for solicitations from gay dating, pornography and federal health care websites.

Campbell Police Chief Tim Kelemen was charged with one count of unlawful use of a computerized communication system, which can carry a maximum penalty of $1,000 in fines and 90 days in jail. According to Kelemen’s attorney, he registered La Crosse Tea Party leader Greg Luce for the sites after Luce allegedly told supporters to harass and threaten Kelemen’s officers. Kelemen is expected to plead no contest and avoid a conviction if he completes counseling and performs 40 hours of community service.

Kelemen oversees a five-officer department in Campbell, a town of about 4,000 just outside La Crosse, and has been at odds with the La Crosse Tea Party since last fall, when the group began staging protests on a town overpass stretching across Interstate 90. Even if convicted, he would be able to stay on as police chief, as only those with felonies or misdemeanor convictions related to domestic violence are barred from being public officers in Wisconsin.

Moore asks Feds to help prevent Milwaukee gun violence

Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to work with local officials to on gun violence. 

“Gun violence is a plague that steals the lives of far too many in our community. Each time we lose a life, our hearts break and the violence continues,” Moore said in a statement.

From January to mid-June, 30 children were shot in Milwaukee, and there were a total of 185 nonfatal shootings and 30 homicides. In a letter to Holder, Moore cited data from the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission that showed a spike in recent gun violence, with 78 people victimized between May 18 and June 15 and 71 percent of those victims between 18 and 34 years of age. Seventy-four percent of the suspects range between 18 and 34 years of age.

In other regional news …

• Wisconsin State Patrol spent $5.7 million to protect Republican Gov. Scott Walker, first lady Tonette Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch 2011-13. The unit spent $570,876 in 2009 and $657,457 in 2010 to protect Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.

• Wisconsin’s Libertarian Party filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board alleging the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is violating campaign finance law with its proposed broadcast debate for gubernatorial candidates. To participate, a candidate must be at 10 percent or higher in polls and must have raised at least $250,000 in campaign contributions. The complaint says the rule is “deliberately designed to ensure a two-party debate in a four-candidate race.”

• Equality Illinois reported in early July that a survey of all 102 Illinois counties revealed that at least 3,274 marriage licenses have been issued to same sex couples and another 1,694 civil unions were converted to marriages.

• Major League Baseball selected Minneapolis, where the All-Star Game took place on July 15, as the place to announce a partnership with Athlete Ally to stamp out homophobia and transphobia in the game. MLB has appointed former ballplayer Billy Bean, who came out as gay after retiring, as an “ambassador for inclusion.”

— from AP and WiG reports

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