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Anthony Wahl 

Janesville Parker’s Robert De Long brings the ball up the court while defended by Verona’s Jonah Anderson during their game in Janesville on Friday, Jan. 24.

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Dementia for deputies: Officers delve into a confusing, frightening world


Rock County deputies, correctional officers and one news reporter put on thick cotton gloves, eyeglasses that severely limited their vision, and headphones that blasted a confusing array of voices and other sounds at them.

Then they were told to complete tasks: Sort the plastic cutlery. Add 16 and 23 on a calculator. Button a shirt and hang it up. Pick a pill (actually a mint) from a box and eat it. Write the names of three family members in a notebook.

Many found this part of Friday’s training session difficult. The reporter jumped when a loud noise suddenly blasted over the rest of the confusing noise. Most couldn’t remember all the tasks.

Now imagine doing that while suffering from memory loss or hallucinations, among other problems that people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia suffer.

“We can turn it off,” said Jennifer Thompson, division manager of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Rock County. “They can’t. So when they’re talking to themselves as they’re walking around or when they’re yelling, it’s because they’re hearing all kinds of stuff in their heads.”

Resource center staffers have given the training to most other law enforcement agencies in Rock County, and they offer it to the public.

The training is more useful than one might think. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates 3,800 people in Rock County have some kind of dementia. That’s one out of 42 people.

Anthony Wahl 

Deputy Preston McIntosh smiles moments after donning a pair of Dementia Live headphones that play loud noises during a dementia simulation experience Friday at a Rock County Sheriff’s Office training center. The simulation allowed participants to better understand what it’s like to live with dementia.

Only about 20% of them live in nursing homes. About 30% live alone. Dementia usually leads to wandering at some point. Those who wander in their cars rarely stop until they run out of gas.

Cops are used to people trying to mess with them, but when someone with dementia ignores a direction or reacts strangely, “it’s not because they’re trying to be jerks. It’s because they don’t know what you are saying,” or they aren’t seeing what others see, Thompson said.

Dementia might limit their peripheral vision, so if an officer comes at them from the side, “You might get punched,” Thompson said. “They can’t see you very well. All they hear is this noise that popped up in their ear. … You get punched, you get mad, things happen. We don’t want that to happen. ...

“What you want to do with someone with dementia is get in front of them and work with them eye to eye,” Thompson said.

If a wife tells a cop that her husband has dementia, “you probably can believe that she’s not lying to you,” Thompson said.

Anthony Wahl 

Correctional Supervisor Larry Klusmeyer tries to fit puzzle pieces together while participating in a dementia simulation at a Rock County Sheriff’s Office training center in Janesville on Friday.

“If you tell them to get their coat, depending on the stage of dementia, they may not even know what a coat is,” she said. “So don’t get too frustrated with that. Help them through that, and everything’s about being slow, being kind, being patient.”

Cori Marsh, dementia care specialist for the resource center, also offered pointers about dementia.

African Americans are three times as likely to have dementia as Caucasians, she said. Hispanics, twice as likely. “We don’t know why that is.”

Sufferers might not remember who their loved ones are. They might wear clothing that doesn’t fit the weather. They might not know that their behavior is dangerous.

They might sense time differently: “I called you hours ago!” when in reality it was 10 minutes ago, Marsh said.

Marsh asked people with dementia what bothers them most. They told her: People talking too fast or giving them too much information, loud or distracting environments and people making them feel rushed or stupid.

Ask simple questions, Marsh advised the officers. Avoid jargon and long explanations.

Anthony Wahl 

Michael Rear struggles to complete a task while wearing gloves during a dementia simulation through the Rock County Sheriff’s Office on Friday in Janesville.

Count to 10 after asking a question, Marsh said. It takes them longer to process information.

Repeat what you said, but repeat it the same way you asked it the first time. People with dementia might hear only two or three syllables out of five.

Not all people with dementia are old. Increasing numbers are diagnosed at ages as low as their 20s.

Don’t argue with an older patient: “Can you imagine if you don’t remember that your parents had died and you get told that (they are dead) over and over?” Marsh said.

Be gentle, respectful, and smile if you can, Marsh said.

“Never tell a person with dementia that, ‘You’re wrong.’ … You will never win an argument with someone with dementia.”

And if you pull them over for traffic offenses, cite them. Loved ones might need that proof to get a person’s license taken away.

But even if that happens, he might not remember he can’t drive anymore.

Should you panic about the coronavirus from China? Here’s what the experts say

It’s a virus scientists have never seen before. Health officials don’t know exactly where it came from, but it has traveled more than 6,000 miles since it was discovered late last month in central China. New infections are confirmed every day despite an unprecedented quarantine. The death toll is rising, too.

If this were a Hollywood movie, now would be time to panic. In real life, however, all that most Americans need to do is wash their hands and proceed with their usual weekend plans.

“Don’t panic unless you’re paid to panic,” said Brandon Brown, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Riverside who has studied many deadly outbreaks.

“Public health workers should be on the lookout. The government should be ready to provide resources. Transmitting timely facts to the public is key,” Brown said. “But for everyone else: Breathe.”

More than three weeks into the outbreak that has spread to at least 941 people in 11 countries, scientists have learned some important things about the virus.

It is a coronavirus, which makes it a relative of the pathogens that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Those diseases have sickened thousands of people around the world and caused hundreds of deaths.

Other coronaviruses result in nothing worse than a common cold.

In addition to humans, coronaviruses can sicken cows, pigs, cats, chickens, camels, bats and other animals. Most of the outbreak’s early victims said they had visited a large seafood and live animal market in the Chinese megacity of Wuhan, suggesting that the virus originated in another species before jumping to humans.

When experts examined the organism’s genetic code, they found a sequence that was entirely new to science. That means many people have not had a chance to develop sufficient natural immunity to the coronavirus that has been dubbed n-CoV2019—an important consideration since vaccines take years to develop.

Fortunately, the virus seems to cause only minor symptoms—such as fever and difficulty with breathing—in people who are young and healthy. Most of the 26 deaths tied to the coronavirus to date have been in people who were at least 50 years old with underlying medical problems or weakened immune systems, Chinese officials said.

“We don’t have evidence yet to suggest this is any more virulent than the flu you see in the U.S. each year,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiology researcher at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Most people, with proper medical attention, will do just fine.”

In fact, it’s possible that hundreds or even thousands of people in China and elsewhere have been infected but have had such mild reactions that no one even noticed, said Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Some might have fought off the bug without showing any outward symptoms at all.

“It’s too soon to know,” Inglesby said. “Often in new outbreaks, the most serious or severe cases are recognized first,” and that might result in a skewed picture of just how dangerous the virus truly is.

Epidemiologists are also trying to nail down when the new coronavirus gained the ability to jump directly from human to human. More than 85% of patients identified in the past week said they had not visited the Wuhan market that is believed to be ground zero for the outbreak (the market is now closed).

“It is clear the growing outbreak is no longer due to ongoing exposures at the Huanan seafood market,” according to the latest situation report from the World Health Organization.

Patients in Guangdong province have spread the virus to family members who had not traveled to Wuhan, which is about 600 miles away. The WHO also reports a few cases of hospital employees and other health care workers becoming sick after treating infected patients.

Public health officials said they expect to see human-to-human transmissions continue in the short term. That means new cases are sure to emerge throughout Asia and even in the United States.

Information is spreading faster than the pathogen—and that’s just as novel.

The 2003 SARS outbreak that began in China’s Guangdong province in 2002 sickened 8,098 people and killed 774 in 29 countries by the time it ended in 2003. But in the outbreak’s early days, the Chinese government obfuscated the number of cases, hindering foreign leaders’ efforts to help and regular citizens’ ability to protect themselves. The resulting public backlash prompted the dismissals of the country’s health minister and mayor of Beijing.

This time around, Chinese officials have moved swiftly to alert other countries to the outbreak’s developments. They’ve also shared the virus’s genetic sequence, which can help epidemiologists track its spread and make predictions about what it might do next.

“This is definitely not 2003,” said Rebecca Katz, the director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University. “The speed with which this virus was identified is testament to that.”

Within 24 hours of receiving the coronavirus’s genome, the CDC programmed a real-time diagnostic test called an RT-PCR assay, said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the agency’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. The tool quickly confirmed that a man in Washington state and a woman in Chicago were infected with n-CoV2019 and not some other pneumonia-causing virus. Other institutions around the world have used the genetic code to design similar tests.

That leads to another reason to avoid alarm: The rapidly rising case counts might be deceiving you. Before these new tools were developed, doctors had no surefire way to confirm a case of n-CoV2019. That means that, as testing becomes available, infections appear to skyrocket.

“You’ll see a spike of 300 cases, but maybe those 300 were there all along,” Mina said. “This might not reflect a growing epidemic as much as it reflects better detection.”

Until they have a better count of the number of people infected, experts can’t calculate the coronavirus’s death rate. And since viruses are capable of mutating quickly, much of the information scientists have gathered might only be temporarily accurate.

“In any evolving outbreak, you need to make response decisions with imperfect information,” Katz said.

Mina said he has “absolute faith” in the CDC’s ability to stay on top of the situation. The health agency alerted doctors to be on the lookout for patients who might have the virus in early January, and last week it began screening passengers at U.S. airports that receive flights from Wuhan.

But the CDC isn’t running the show, and questions still abound about global preparedness. On Thursday, WHO officials said the outbreak did not rise to the level of “a global health emergency,” but that “it may yet become one.”

Dr. Guan Yi is almost certain that it will. Yi, an infectious disease expert at the University of Hong Kong, told reporters that even the drastic quarantine measures affecting 36 million people in and around Wuhan won’t be enough to keep the coronavirus from spreading because the Chinese government acted too late.

Obituaries and death notices for Jan. 25, 2020

Thomas R. Brunette

Leslie “Les” Golz

Charles I. McCue

Violet Eileen (DeGarmo) McVay

Debra S. Ortiz

Felipe Rivera Jr.

Judith Root

Dems say oust Trump or he'll betray again; 'He is who he is'


Closing out their case, House Democrats warned Friday in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial that the president will persist in abusing his power and endangering American democracy unless Congress intervenes to remove him before the 2020 election. They implored Republicans to allow new testimony to be heard before they render a final verdict.

“Give America a fair trial,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic impeachment manager. “She’s worth it.”

Schiff closed Democrats’ case after three days of methodical and impassioned arguments detailing charges that Trump abused power by asking Ukraine for politically motivated probes of political rivals, then obstructed Congress’ investigation into the matter. The president’s lawyers get their first chance to defend him Saturday, and are expected to argue he did nothing wrong.

The opening days of the Senate trial appear to have done nothing to shake Republicans’ support for Trump or persuade enough centrist GOP lawmakers to call for new witnesses, including Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton. In his final appeal to lawmakers and a divided nation, Schiff argued that the Senate impeachment powers are the only remedy left to curb what he called the “‘imminent threat” posed to the nation by Trump’s unconstitutional impulses.

“He is who he is,” Schiff declared. “You know it’s not going to stop. ... It’s not going to stop unless the Congress does something about it.”

The moment of history was apparent—only the third impeachment trial of a U.S. president—as were the partisan views of the Trump presidency and the effort to end it.

When Schiff cited a news story that quoted someone close to Trump saying any Republican voting with Democrats would have their “head on a pike,” GOP senators in the chamber began murmuring, “That’s not true.”

The House impeached Trump last month, accusing him of abusing his office by asking Ukraine for politically motivated probes of Biden and other matters while withholding military aid from a U.S. ally that was at war with bordering Russia. A second article of impeachment accuses him of obstructing Congress by refusing to turn over documents or allow officials to testify in the House ensuing probe.

Said Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, “We’re going to rebut and refute, and we’re going to put on an affirmative case tomorrow.”

Republicans are defending Trump’s actions as appropriate and are casting the impeachment trial as a politically motivated effort to weaken him in his re-election campaign. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and eventual acquittal is considered likely.

Before that, senators will make a critical decision next week on Democratic demands to hear testimony from top Trump aides, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton who refused to appear before the House. It would take four Republican senators to join the Democratic minority to seek witnesses, and so far the numbers appear lacking.

“This needs to end,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a Trump confidant.

With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, Friday’s session opened with a sweeping and impassioned argument from Democrats that Trump’s actions with Ukraine were not unique but part of a pattern of “destructive behavior” now threatening the core foundations of American democracy.

Schiff told the senators that Trump has shown repeatedly that he is willing to put his personal political interests above those of the country he is sworn to protect.

The evidence shows, he said, that Trump bucked the advice of his own national security apparatus to chase “kooky” theories about Ukraine pushed by lawyer Rudy Giuliani, resulting in “one hell of a Russian intelligence coup” that benefited Vladimir Putin at U.S. expense.

This was not simply a foreign policy dispute, Schiff argued, but a breach of long-held American values for Trump to leverage an ally—in this case Ukraine, a struggling democracy facing down Russian troops—for the investigations he wanted ahead of 2020.

When the House started investigating his actions, Democrats said, Trump blatantly obstructed the probe. Even then-President Richard Nixon, they argued, better understood the need to comply with Congress in some of its oversight requests.

Drawing on historical figures, from the Founding Fathers to the late GOP Sen. John McCain and the fictional Atticus Finch, Schiff made his arguments emphatically personal.

“The next time, it just may be you,” he said, pointing at one senator after another. “Do you think for a moment that if he felt it was in his interest, he wouldn’t ask you to be investigated?”

The impeachment trial is set against the backdrop of the 2020 election as voters assess Trump’s presidency and his run for a second term. Four senators who are Democratic presidential candidates are off the campaign trail, seated as jurors.

A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed the public slightly more likely to say the Senate should convict and remove Trump from office than to say it should not, 45% to 40%. But a sizable percentage, 14%, said they didn’t know enough to have an opinion.

One issue with wide agreement: Trump should allow top aides to appear as witnesses at the trial. About 7 in 10 respondents said so, including majorities of Republicans and Democrats, according to the poll.

No president has ever been removed by the Senate, neither Andrew Johnson in 1868 nor Bill Clinton in 1999. Nixon left office before a House vote that was likely to impeach him.

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Former UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper retires


Former UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper retired from the university Jan. 5, a UW-W spokesman said Friday.

After Kopper resigned as chancellor about a year ago after her husband’s sexual harassment scandal, there were plans for her to return and teach psychology classes this school year.

UW System President Ray Cross wrote to her Dec. 6, 2018, that she would be on paid leave with her chancellor salary of $242,760 through August 2019, when she would start with a nine-month salary of $118,308—which was 50% more than the psychology department’s chairwoman.

It does not appear Kopper taught at the university this school year, however.

She was on paid leave at the beginning of the fall semester and her classes had been reassigned, Jeff Angileri, a UW-W spokesman, said in September.

The Gazette on Sept. 4 filed an open records request with the university for documents about Kopper’s paid leave from teaching fall classes. More than four months later, the university has not fulfilled the request.

Her retirement came before the start of the spring semester, which started this week.

The Whitewater Banner first reported on Kopper’s retirement Thursday.

Angileri responded to The Gazette on Friday, confirming her retirement and saying the classes she was set to teach during the spring semester were reassigned to other instructors.

This all comes at a time when the university is struggling financially. The current chancellor, Dwight C. Watson, announced Thursday that UW-W needs to enact layoffs and cut its budget by $12 million over the next two years because of a 4% drop in enrollment.

Kopper resigned as chancellor Dec. 31, 2018, about six months after Cross banned Kopper’s husband, Alan “Pete” Hill, from campus after multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

Investigators found no direct evidence Kopper knew of her husband’s “pervasive and well-known” harassment, according to documents released in April. Nonetheless, investigators said the matter was “at best” a “blind spot” for her.

Kopper at the time said the investigative report that also raised questions of her leadership ability was “rampant with speculation.”{span class=”print_trim”}

This story was updated at 12:47 p.m. Friday after the university confirmed Kopper’s retirement information.