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Legislative committee wants audit of all foster care agencies

All of the foster care agencies in Wisconsin are under scrutiny.

The joint Legislative Audit Committee has unanimously agreed to ask for an audit of all foster care agencies operating in Wisconsin.

It's fallout from the alleged fraud of about $6 million at a Middleton company called Middleton's Community Care Resources Inc.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families said an audit showed the state was billed by CCR for lavish lunches, luxury vehicles and pricey travel.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families alleges $6 million in fraudulent expenses from CCR, and it has revoked the company's license.

Attorneys for CCR have denied the allegations.

A complete audit could take three to five years to complete.

Basement fire damages Middleton home

Basement fire damages Middleton home

A basement fire damaged a home in Middleton Friday, according to the Middleton Fire Department.

Firefighters were called to 7505 Voss Parkway late Friday morning by a neighbor who said he came home to smell smoke in his house and saw heavy smoke coming from his neighbor's home.

Fire officials at the scene told WISC-TV the fire was coming from the basement, transferred through the floor to the main entry area and was well-advanced by the time they arrived.

A backdraft resulted in heavy smoldering inside the home, according to fire officials. The floors of the home partially collapsed.

The cause of the fire and damage estimates are yet to be determined.

Verona, Middleton, Madison West advance in WIAA Hockey

Verona, Middleton, Madison West advance in WIAA Hockey

The top seeded Verona boys hockey team took the first step toward returning to the state finals this year by beating Sun Prairie at the Eagle's Nest in Verona Thursday.

Verona beat Sun Prairie 7-1 to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

Craft brewing business is growing in Wisconsin

Craft brewing business is growing in Wisconsin

Craft brewing is a booming business in Wisconsin, which ranks ninth among breweries per capita by state.

Last fall, Brian Destree took over brewmaster duties at Middleton's Capital Brewery, one of southern Wisconsin's craft brew staples since 1986.

Before Capital Brewery, the University of Wisconsin-Madison grad worked for Miller-Coors, giving him a unique perspective between craft brewers' personal touch and the bottom line of big business brewing.

"Kind of as I progressed from the corporate ladder at Miller, the farther and farther away I got from actually being in a brewery and doing hands-on brewing work," Destree said.

And while beer makers Miller-Coors and Anheuser-Busch sell the most beer, Wisconsin's craft breweries continue to find a larger piece of the market.

There are 75 breweries statewide, which translates to about 75,000 people for every Wisconsin brewery.

Lawmakers seek answers following foster care fraud allegations

State lawmakers said they want to know what changes could be made to prevent fraud in the state's foster care program following alleged fraud by Middleton's Community Care Resources Inc.

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services called Wisconsin Department of Children and Families officials to testify at a hearing Thursday to ask how luxury cars, boats and pricey travel were allegedly charged to accounts by CCR using taxpayer money.

Lawmakers are anxious to get to the bottom of the alleged fraud, but based on testimony from DCF, they may not have an immediate solution to prevent it from happening again.

State DCF officials said CCR's alleged fraud was caused by a lack of financial oversight. DCF officials told the Senate health committee that CCR's unusual expenses reports caught their attention in November 2011, when several counties reported missing the company's expenses reports.

Teacher awarded for commitment to literacy instruction

Teacher awarded for commitment to literacy instruction

Accolade honors West Middleton staff member    

An area elementary school received the Outstanding Service Award from the Wisconsin State Reading Association at its state convention last week at the Delta Center in Milwaukee.

"I was pleased just to be nominated for the award and was very excited about receiving it,'' West Middleton staff member Judy Ellickson said.

Ellickson has worked in education for about 25 years, including the last 12 in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District. Prior to that she worked in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin Dells and Johnson Creek.

She became involved in WSRA in 1990 while serving as a reading specialist in the Johnson Creek School District. She has served on the WSRA executive committee and been a state officer serving previously as recording secretary and now as the Southwest Zone coordinator.

10 residents displaced in Middleton apartment fire

A fire at an apartment complex in Middleton Tuesday night displaced at least 10 people from their homes.

The fire was reported just before 10 p.m. at a multi-unit apartment building at 2070 Allen Blvd in Middleton.

According to Middleton fire spokesperson Brad Subera, no one was injured in the blaze, and firefighters managed to save a cat from the fire.

However, Subera said one unit was heavily damaged, and much of the second floor of the complex suffered smoke damage.

Subera said the fire started after a resident planned to cook something on the stove, but changed his mind and fell asleep. However, he left the stove on, along with some storage items on top of the burner, which caught fire.

Fire officials hope to have a damage estimate later Wednesday.