No Early Release
A north central Wisconsin woman
accused of trying to suffocate four of her six kids last year will not get an
early release from a mental institution.
Thirty-eight year old Heidi Mann of Rib Lake was in Taylor County
Circuit Court this week for a six-month review of her mental competency. She was rejected for a supervised release,
but she can try again in six months.
Mann was found innocent-by-insanity on four counts of attempted
homicide, and was committed to 25 years of mental health treatment. Authorities said Mann put her four youngest
kids in an S-U-V and let it run in a garage for two hours, saying she wanted to
spare them the grief of dealing with her divorce. She told investigators her two other children
were old enough to deal with it. The
youngsters who survived were 3, 5, 8, and 11 at the time of the incident in
March of last year.
Harvest Time Traffic
It's almost harvest time -- and
that means car-and-truck drivers will share the highways with more farm
equipment. The Wisconsin Corn Growers
Association reminds motorists that most farm units go no faster than
25-miles-an-hour. That can cause drivers to miscalculate how fast they should
be going as they approach the farm machinery. Also, the group has advice for farmers -- like having the orange
slow-moving-vehicle signs and reflective tape on their units so they can be
seen at night. The corn growers group'
also suggests that farmers check their blind-spots when making turns, and
staying as refreshed as possible during the long harvest days that are coming
Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin
was among 22 U-S senators voting no yesterday, as the chamber gave final
approval to a spending bill that authorizes more U-S military efforts in Syria. Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson was among 78
voting yes. The bill paved the way for
the U-S to train-and-equip Syrian troops for a war against Islamic State
terrorists, as part of a strategy President Obama spelled out a week ago. It also provides funding to keep the
government going past September 30th, wiping out any chance of an October
shutdown. Baldwin said she favored the
spending resolution -- but she opposed any expansion of military efforts in
Syria without a full debate about the scope-and-length of the mission. Johnson said the training of Syrian troops
would happen with-or-without America's help. He said U-S involvement would, in his words, "minimize the danger
of training the wrong people."
Johnson said he was more concerned about a lack of thought behind the
ten-week federal spending package -- but he supported it because it's better
than the shutdown we saw a year ago. The
bill was sent to Obama, who mentioned the Islamic State's beheadings of two
Americans including Marquette graduate James Foley. He said the U-S would not
be put off by such brutal tactics and as Americans, "We do not give in to
Oak wilt in washburn
A disease that kills oak trees
continues to make its way north in Wisconsin.
The DNR says oak wilt has been
confirmed for the first time in Washburn County. It was found in a red oak tree
in Spooner. A DNR forest health specialist calls the discovery 'concerning'. Oak wilt is a deadly fungal disease that is
commonly found in the southern two-thirds of the state. The symptoms are wilted
leaves on the ground in the summer, that are partially green and partially
bronze. The DNR says the best way to prevent it is to not prune oak trees from
April through July.
Black Bear In City
A black bear was hauled away,
after he made himself at home in Green Bay. Police said they spotted the
two-year-old animal early yesterday morning.
The D-N-R's Jeff Pritzl said the bear was roaming around a neighborhood,
and he followed his nose toward some restaurants. Officers corralled the bear in a back yard,
as residents were told to stay in their homes and school resource personnel
escorted kids to class. The D-N-R's Bear
Unit tranquilized the bear with four rounds. Once he was knocked out, he was being taken to more appropriate environs
in the Northwoods.
Date Rape Drug
U-W Milwaukee Police are investigating
a campus fraternity whose members might have slipped date-rape drugs into
people's alcoholic drinks at a party. A
search warrant was executed this week at the Tau Kappa Epsilon frat house,
where a party last Friday night resulted in drunk people having memory lapses.
Three women and a man were taken to a hospital in protective custody. One of the female victims told police she
felt a weird sensation and then passed out.
One student has been arrested. The Milwaukee County district attorney's office was considering possible
charges as of yesterday. U-W-M spokesman
Tom Luljak (loo-jack) said the school has temporarily suspended the
fraternity's affiliation with the campus while the matter is being investigated. Further action will be considered once the
probe is over.
Home Depot Hacking
All 26 Home Depot stores in
Wisconsin were hacked as part of the company's recent data breach. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said it found
the underground Web site on which credit card data was put up for sale on the black
market. The news outlet said over 282-thousand
Wisconsin credit-and-debit card numbers were stolen from Home Depot's computers
-- and hackers provided both the names of the stolen card holders and their
numbers when identity thieves buy them.
As of yesterday, the sellers guaranteed that 100-percent of the stolen
cards were valid -- meaning that customers had not taken steps to cancel their
cards yet. Nationally, Home Depot now
says 56-million credit-and-debit cards were breached when customers swiped
those cards at checkout lanes. That's
more than the 40-million cards affected by Target's breach last December. Home Depot said the malicious software that
caused its breach has now been eliminated.
Banks and law enforcement were first alerted on September second. The company said it dealt with the malware as
soon as it learned about it.
A Wausau man accused of beheading
a Minnesota man has struck a plea deal in which he escaped a possible life
prison sentence. Kou Thao pleaded no
contest yesterday to Marathon County charges of second-degree intentional
homicide, hiding a corpse, and illegal firearm possession. Thao, who turned 28 on Tuesday, was
originally charged with first-degree homicide in the death of 58-year-old Tong
Pau Hang of Saint Paul. Authorities said
Hang visited Wausau last April, and was soon reported missing. His body was found just over a week later in
Milwaukee. Officials said Thao's
brother-in-law helped wrap Hang's body in a tarp and placed it in the
defendant's car. Officials said Thao drove
the severed head to a home in Milwaukee, where other body parts and Thao's car
were later found by police. Evaluations
showed that Thao was mentally competent both at the time of the slaying, and
during his court case. He's still jailed
under a million-dollar bond, and is due to be sentenced on January 21st.
Election Dead Heat
A new poll shows that Governor
Scott Walker is still in a dead heat with his Democratic challenger Mary
Burke. And it's got Walker's biggest
financial supporters pumping out more ad money. The National Rifle Association and a Wisconsin arm of the Republican
Governors Association are spending over a half-million dollars on T-V ads this
week alone. The A-P says Republican
groups have spent close to seven-million dollars this year to try and get
Walker re-elected -- while Democrats and their allies have spent
five-point-four million. The governor said yesterday that the longer his race
is tight, the more people realize it will take hard work to get him to win. As Walker considers a 2016 run for the White
House, the G-O-P governors' group has spent three-million dollars on his state
campaign. The N-R-A has a
million-dollars in pro-Walker ads planned through mid-October. The latest Marquette Law School poll released
yesterday showed that Republicans are much more enthused about voting in
November than they've been. As a result,
Walker took away Burke's lead among likely voters, and he's now up 49-to-46
percent. Among registered voters, the
two are tied are 46-percent. Both are
within the poll's margin of error.
Nobody won the Powerball jackpot
last night, so it goes up to 196-million dollars for Saturday's drawing. Tickets sold in New Richmond and Stoughton
won the game's third prize of ten-thousand dollars. One of them doubled the prize, by having the
Power Play multiplier of two. We won't
know until today which ticket won the 20-thousand. Almost 11-thousand-500 Wisconsin players won
smaller prizes ranging from four-dollars to 200. Last night's numbers were 18, 25, 36, 48, and
50. The Powerball was 23. The current jackpot has been building since
August 9th and has rolled over eleven times. It's the highest since a Tennessee player won 260-million dollars on
June 11th. Saturday's cash option is
just under 117-million. In Mega
Millions, the jackpot stands at 72-million dollars for tomorrow night.
We could soon find out whether
almost 600 Wisconsin same-sex couples who tied the knot in June are still
legally married. The A-C-L-U filed a
federal lawsuit in Madison yesterday on behalf of four couples who were married
after Judge Barbara Crabb struck down the state's gay marriage ban -- and then
put the ruling on hold a week later pending appeals. The new lawsuit seeks a legal declaration
that the weddings were valid. Attorney
General J-B Van Hollen has said they were not valid. At one point, he said prosecutors could
criminally charge county clerks who issued marriage licenses to same-sex
couples -- but he backed off from that stand a day later. The state Justice Department has not
commented on the new lawsuit. A federal
appeals court recently affirmed Judge Crabb's ruling, and the state is trying
to get the U-S Supreme Court to make the final decision.
Living In Poverty
More than four of every ten
Wisconsin households with single mothers and kids under 18 live in
poverty. That's according to the U-S
Census Bureau, which said 42-and-a-half percent of homes with single mothers
were below the poverty line in 2013. That's just over three-percent more than the previous year. A U-W Milwaukee official says it's a red flag
which indicates broader problems in society. Public health dean Magda Peck said women are often paid less than men
for equal work -- they don't have as much access to higher-paying jobs -- and
they're more likely to bear the full costs of raising their kids. Peck also said it's no secret that women of
color have even higher burdens, and so do women living in big cities like
Milwaukee. The Census Bureau report also
said poverty grew among Wisconsin's older residents. Nine-percent of senior citizens were in
poverty last year, up from seven-and-a-half percent in 2011. Wisconsin's median household income is the
24th-largest, at almost 51-thousand-500 dollars. That's about the same as the previous year,
but down from 54-thousand dollars in 2009. Women make 79 cents for every dollar men make. That's the 25th-highest gender gap in the
Wisconsin has about 12-hundred
"Little Free Libraries" -- front yard boxes where folks can take
books to read, and bring them back on the honor system. The problem is, not
everyone's honest. Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel columnist Jim Stingl said one of his neighbors had her library cleaned
out -- and another site in Wauwatosa lost all its books twice in the past
week. Residents who host the libraries
have resorted to writing notes telling people to be considerate. One reads, "Please help. We are going broke supplying books for the library." Stingl says vandals are taking them, along
with those trying to make a fast buck by selling them to places like Half-Price
Books. Melissa Eystad, the head of organizational
development for the Little Free Libraries, says it's not a major problem nationally. She says only one-percent of Little Free
Libraries have been hit in the three years they've been around. Eystad says it's a good idea to stamp the
books, so dealers know where they came from.
She also says neighbors should keep an eye on the boxes, and they should
be filled gradually instead of all at once. The movement has Wisconsin roots.
It was co-founded by Todd Bol of Hudson in 2009.
Hail Effect On Fruit
Fruit growers in Door County are
still feeling the effects of a hailstorm from mid-July. In general, growers say their crops look okay
-- but they're behind schedule due a cold spring and late blooms. Apple grower Bob Fellner lost 60 acres of
apples at his site just north of Sturgeon Bay.
He said he couldn't even sell his apples for juice. The U-W agricultural research station at
Sturgeon Bay lost every type of fruit crop grown on a 20-acre spread. The station's superintendent, Matt Stasiak,
said the hail damage to the apples was beyond what he could imagine.
Wi Reduced Food
Wisconsin is one of only four
states that have reduced food stamps as part of the federal Farm Bill that
President Obama signed in February. The
measure was designed to affect 16 states which offer higher amounts of food aid
to those who sign up for federal heating assistance. Some states granted the extra food stamps to
people who got just one-dollar a year in heating assistance, in what's known as
"heat-and-eat" programs. The
Farm Bill provision raised the heating grant minimum to 20-dollars a year --
and the Associated Press found that governors of 12 states have taken steps to
avoid the cuts. In some cases, states
are using their own money, saying they're preserving benefits for their most
vulnerable residents. The A-P review
said Wisconsin, Michigan, New Jersey, and New Hampshire are the only ones that
did not try to work around the federal cuts. Wisconsin did not have an estimate of how many Food-Share recipients
lost their additional aid. Neighboring
Michigan estimates that 170-thousand people in its "heat-and-eat"
program are affected. The A-P said most
states that did the end-runs have Democratic governors, and Republicans were
infuriated. House Energy panel chairman
Frank Upton of Michigan has asked the Obama administration to "hold states
accountable" for dodging the cuts.
Wade House Event
A state historical site in eastern
Wisconsin is gearing up for a fall celebration.
The Wade House at Greenbush will host the event October
11th-and-12th. It features a
two-mile-long wagon ride, lessons on Halloween customs, pumpkin carving, and
frightening stories told by candlelight.
The State Historical Society operates the Wade House, an 1860's
Most Voters Have I-D
Most Wisconsin voters already have
the photo I-D's they'll need to vote on November fourth. State Government Accountability Board
director Kevin Kennedy held a news conference yesterday to answer the questions
that voters may have. He said the I-D's
do not have to exactly match the names listed on their voter registrations,
accounting for name differences like Bob-and-Robert. Voters can show drivers'
licenses for up to two years after they've expired, and addresses on the I-D's
do not have to be current -- although the residences they use for their voter
registrations must be up-to-date. A
federal appeals court allowed Wisconsin to use its 2011 voter I-D law until it
can ruled whether-or-not it's constitutional. The law allows folks to show driver licenses, state I-D's, passports,
military cards, naturalization certificates, tribal I-D's, and certain student
I-D's. U-W Madison plans to issue
special voting I-D's to students who ask for them. Except for U-W Superior, the standard student
I-D's in the U-W System do not include features needed for voting. Those without I-D's can still cast
provisional ballots, and they'll need to produce their I-D's by four p-m on the
Friday after the election or else their ballots won't count. Also, absentee voters who've applied for or
received ballots must provide copies of their I-D's, or else their ballots
A Pierce County teenager,
convicted of luring a former classmate to a park and sexually assaulting her,
was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison.
Zachary Marek was 17 last year
when he was accused of calling the girl and posing as someone else she knew.
The girl said he told her he had hurt his ankle at a park in Prescott and
needed her to give him a ride. Investigators say as she walked into the park,
she was grabbed from behind and a knife was held to her throat while she was
Detectives used DNA to link Marek
to the attack. As part of his sentence, he must register as a sex offender
For the second time this year,
voters in the Wisconsin Dells School District said no to a 30-million dollar
building package designed to ease overcrowding.
Fifty-eight percent of about 35-hundred voters rejected the proposal
yesterday. The same proposal was
defeated by just eight votes a few months ago.
Plans called for a new Wisconsin Dells High School. The current high school would have been
converted to a middle school. Officials
said space is tight due to growing enrollments in grades
one-through-seven. The building package
had attracted almost 25-million dollars in municipal funding and private gifts.
Expect Great FallColors
A cool summer, plus lots of
moisture, could equal a splashier fall color season in Wisconsin. U-W La Crosse biology professor Tim Gerber is
optimistic. He said there's plenty of
moisture in western Wisconsin, so trees are not as heavily stressed as a year
ago. According to Gerber, all we need
now are mild days and cool nights to see more vibrant colors on the trees over
the next few weeks. The latest Fall
Color Report at Travel Wisconsin-Dot-Com shows that Tremepealeau County -- just
north of La Crosse -- has at least 25-percent of peak colors. Fond du Lac and Calumet counties in eastern
Wisconsin also report 25-percent color. Elsewhere, the season has hardly begun.
Colors normally peak in late September in far northern Wisconsin, and
later in October the further south you go. The La Crosse area normally gets its peak colors in the third week of
U-S Senator Ron Johnson has asked
a federal appeals court to revive his lawsuit against part of the Affordable
Care Act. Green Bay District Judge
William Griesbach ruled a few weeks ago that Johnson did not have the legal
standing to file suit over Obama-care. Johnson asked the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court in Chicago to overturn
that ruling. The Wisconsin Republican
says the health care reform law treats members of his own staff
differently. That's because lawmakers
and their official staffers are required to use the federal purchasing
exchanges for their coverage. Staffers
who are not considered "official" still get their previous employee
benefits. Johnson said the law forced
him to choose which staff members are official and which are not. He also said he was being forced to take part
in a program he believes is illegal -- and he looks bad to voters because some
of his staff get health care subsidies that the general public doesn't
get. Judge Griesbach said Johnson's
beliefs about Obama-care and concerns about his image to voters are irrelevant
as far as the lawsuit goes.
Photo I-D Conference
The state elections' agency will
hold a news conference this afternoon with details on how the voter I-D law
will be incorporated into the November 4th elections. Things have already gotten messy since a
federal appeals court put the 2011 photo I-D requirement back in place last
Friday. By then, almost 12-thousand
people mailed in requests for absentee ballots for November -- and they did not
submit photocopies of their I-D's as the law now requires. The deadline for local governments to mail
those ballots is Thursday. Milwaukee
officials said about eight-thousand voters had asked for them. The general public is confused, as well. A state motor vehicle official said people
have asked whether they'll need other I-D's beside their drivers' licenses to
vote -- and they won't. Also, the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says a lot of college student I-D's cannot be used
under the state voting law. U-W Madison
spokesman Greg Bump said his school's I-D's were not designed or intended to
comply with voter I-D laws. The
university is looking into the matter. Reid Magney of the Government Accountability Board expects local clerks
to get guidance today on following the voter I-D law. However, his agency needs help from the state
Justice Department on certain issues. He
warned that some issues might not be resolved in time for the 2 o'clock news
conference his agency plans to hold.
Annual Bus Trip
Outdoor lovers can get a close-up
look at migrating swans and other waterfowl along the Mississippi River. The National Wildlife-and-Fish Refuge is
offering its annual bus trip from Winona to Brownsville Minnesota on November
15th. Riders will get binoculars and
spotting-scopes to seek the various types of birds along the river. Staffers from the refuge will answer
questions. Folks will also get a remote
look at the remaining fall colors in the region. The Upper Mississippi River refuge covers
about 240-thousand acres of marshes, woodlands, and back-waters in Wisconsin,
Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.
No Summer Feeling
Officially, Wisconsin has seven
more days of summer -- but it won't feel like it this week. A weak cold front is drifting across the
state today, with another round of showers. Once that leaves, skies will clear up for at least the next three
days. The National Weather Service says
more patchy frost is projected tonight with lows in the mid-to-upper-30's in
most areas. For the rest of the week,
you can generally expect highs in the 60's and lows in the 40's. Temperatures will warm up slightly near the end
of the week -- and heavy thunderstorms could return Friday and Saturday.
More Black Offenders
The numbers of black people
arrested or cited for marijuana violations in Madison is about 12 times the
numbers of white offenders. That's
according to the Wisconsin State Journal, which analyzed police arrests for
last year and the first half of this year. The report said over 15-hundred people were cited or arrested in that
time span for drug arrests -- around 875 whites and 620 blacks. Based on
Madison's population, about 25 blacks per thousand residents were nabbed,
compared to just over two whites per thousand. Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said the State Journal shows evidence of
racial disparity, and he favors legalizing marijuana in what he calls "a
better way to deal with people who have addictions." Koval said his officers do not selectively
enforce drug laws -- but they do patrol troubled and diverse neighborhoods more
than others. He said they often respond
to citizen complaints about drug-dealing in neighborhoods.
Not In Finals
Miss Wisconsin was not among the
16 semi-finalists at last night's Miss America pageant. Twenty-four year old Raeanna Johnson of
Holmen represented the Badger State in Atlantic City. Her platform dealt with the effects of drugs
and violence on families, after her teen brother Tyler took his own life
following an addition to meth-amphetamines.
Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, was crowned Miss America 2015. Johnson was hoping to become the second
Wisconsinite in four years to win the title, after Laura Kaeppeler (kepp-ler)
won it for 2012.
Wisconsinites who need I-D cards
to vote in November can start applying for them today. The state D-O-T will begin a new system to
accept birth information and pass it on to the state Vital Records Office so in
essence, it won't cost anything for people to vote. More information about that is on the D-O-T's
Web site, accessible at Wisconsin-Dot-Gov.
On Friday, the federal appeals court in Chicago allowed the state to
require photo I-D's for the November fourth elections.
Lack Of Funding
About 20 groups in Wisconsin have
banded together to urge state officials to do something about the lack of
funding for new-and-improved transportation. Government, business, and
road-building officials are all part of the Transportation Investment Coalition. Members have been meeting with major
candidates and state officials to make sure they understand how vital the issue
is -- and that no options are taken off the board, including higher taxes.
They're not recommending any specific funding options to help cover a
680-million dollar shortfall in the state's designated transportation
projects. Neither major-party candidate
for governor has given details about what they might do for the next state
budget which takes effect in July of 2015.
Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb has been meeting with various
people and groups around the state to get input. Earlier this year, he mentioned the
possibility of a higher gas tax -- something that hasn't been raised in 17 years
-- plus vehicle registration fees based on how many miles people drive each
year. Those were among a number of
funding ideas a task force suggested last year. Legislative Republicans rejected them at the time, saying the state
couldn't afford higher taxes and fees.
The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group recently called on the
D-O-T to transfer three-billion dollars for major highway projects to local
road repairs, mass transit, and bike-and-pedestrian facilities.
The Powerball jackpot is at
171-million dollars for Wednesday night.
Nobody won the top prize over the weekend, and nobody from Wisconsin won
the second-or-third prizes. Just over
11-thousand tickets in the Badger State won anywhere four-dollars to 300. Saturday's numbers were 1, 6, 16, 37, and 53.
The Powerball was 27, and the Power Play multiplier was three. The jackpot is the highest since June
11th. Wednesday's cash option is
102-million dollars. In Mega Millions,
the top prize for tomorrow night is 62-million dollars.
Grape Quality High
Wisconsin grapes are said to be
short in number, but high in quality.
The State Journal of Madison says the harvest is 10-to-14 days behind
schedule, and yields are down because of the weather. Dane County grower Dave Mitchell says his
crop of grapes is about average -- and he thought it would be lower due to this
year's rough winter, cool summer, and heavy rains. Philippe Coquard of the Wollersheim Winery
near Prairie du Sac says the quality of his grapes is very good, in spite of a
30-to-40-percent reduction in yields. He
said some varieties survived the growing season better than others. Wisconsin has over 130 vineyards that
generally serve more than 80 wineries. Most grapes are grown in the west and southwest part of the state.
Governor Scott Walker has not
dominated the airwaves this year like he did in his 2012 recall campaign. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the
Republican Walker spent two-point-one million dollars for ads on 19 local T-V
stations in Wisconsin from June through September 9th. His Democratic challenger Mary Burke spent
about one-point-six-million -- or a half-million less than Walker. She's also
being helped by a million-dollar ad campaign started last month by the liberal
Greater Wisconsin Committee. Walker was
able to raise unlimited funds during part of his recall campaign, and it helped
him get a 2-to-1 edge over his opponents on T-V. With 50 days before the election, Walker is
stepping up his ad buys. Also, the
Republican Governors Association has a million-dollar ad campaign for this
month and next. Early in the year, the
G-O-P governors' group spent a million dollars to attack Burke before her
campaign got rolling.
Half of Wisconsin's 72 counties
are now under a state quarantine to fight the spread of the emerald ash
borer. That's after the tree-killing
beetle was confirmed in Calumet County for the first time. State agriculture officials said yesterday
that an infestation was discovered in Sherwood, north of the High Cliff public
golf course. That triggered a quarantine
for Calumet County, and also for nearby Manitowoc, Kewaunee, and Outagamie
counties -- even though the bug has not been found there. Thirty-six counties are now under quarantine
for the emerald ash borer, which made its first official appearance in
Wisconsin in Ozaukee County in 2008. The
Oneida Indian tribe near Green Bay is expected to decide soon whether to order
the same quarantine on its reservation. Virtually the entire southern half of
the state is affected by the ash borer quarantines, along with Douglas County
at Superior. They prohibit individuals
from moving firewood and ash-wood products to places which are not
quarantined. Business must get a state
certification that their products are pest-free before they can be shipped to
I-D Under Microscope
Wisconsin's voter I-D law will be
put under the microscope today, when the federal appeals court in Chicago hears
oral arguments for-and-against it. The
state is challenging a ruling from Federal Judge Lynn Adelman, which struck
down the photo I-D requirement this past spring. State Attorney General J-B Van Hollen wants
the court to put the 2011 law back in place for the November elections, while
the judges decide on a final ruling. The
State Supreme Court upheld the I-D law this summer, but it won't take effect
until the federal courts make their decisions. Advocacy groups challenged the law at both levels, and Adelman agreed
with their position that puts unfair burdens on poor and minority voters. Legal challenges have cropped up in almost a
dozen states over voter I-D's laws, all of which Republicans approved in the
name of fighting voter fraud. Van Hollen
said in a federal court brief that 90-percent of Wisconsin voters already have
acceptable I-D's, and race has nothing to do with the likelihood that a person
would have proper identification.
Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez of the Advancement Project says the
Wisconsin law is one of the nation's strictest. She tells the A-P the Wisconsin case may determine how other appellate
courts handle the issue. The Badger
State has only been allowed to use its voter I-D law once, that being in a
February 2012 primary.
Two days of intense rainstorms
have finally left Wisconsin -- but not before delivering one final punch in the
form of strong winds and power outages.
The Wisconsin Public Service utility had up to six-thousand customers
out last night in north central and northeast Wisconsin. That number was down to about 300 at seven
this morning. Almost half those were in
the Eagle River area. Parts of Door
County had winds up to 48-miles-an-hour.
It started getting much cooler yesterday afternoon as a cold front breezed
through the Badger State. It was 38 at
Siren at six this morning, but almost everyplace else was in the 40's. The wind has also diminished in most parts of
the state, but some places in eastern and southern Wisconsin still had gusts in
the 25-mile-an-hour range. More rain is
likely in the south tomorrow as another low pressure system moves through. But for most of Wisconsin, it's supposed to
start clearing up today. Frost is likely
in the north tomorrow night, but that's not unusual for this time of year. The first killing frost ranges from September
13th in the far north, to October 24th close to Lake Michigan between Sheboygan
Book Festival Coming
Book lovers are gearing up for the
annual Wisconsin Book Festival to be held next month in Madison. It's set for October 16th-through-19th at a
number of places on the U-W campus -- as well as Madison libraries and museums. A number of authors will be on hand. There are dozens of events planned including
poetry performances and a book sale. Among those appearing are mystery writer Deborah Crombie, Wisconsin
author Michael Perry, and Gail Sheehy -- who wrote the national best-seller
"Passages." More information
is available at the festival's Web site, WisconsinBookFestival-Dot-Org.
Denies Report In
A top state prosecutor in two
Walker John Doe probes is denying a report that he's motivated by a political
vendetta, spurred by his wife's job as a teacher. The allegation is posted on Legal Newsline,
an online service run by an affiliate of the U-S Chamber of Commerce. It quotes a former prosecutor as saying that
Milwaukee County D-A John Chisholm was upset over the approval of Act-10, which
virtually eliminated collective bargaining for most public employees. Chisholm's wife is a teachers' union steward. The report said Chisholm felt it was his
"personal duty" to stop the governor from treating people like he
has. Chisholm denies the allegation. His attorney, Samuel Lieb, tells the Journal
Sentinel the claim was "scurrilous, desperate, and just plain
cheap." The first John Doe probe
resulted in convictions of embezzlement and illegal campaigning against a
half-dozen former Walker aides in his Milwaukee County executive's office. The second probe is looking into allegations
that Walker and fellow Republicans illegally set up an illegal campaign
operation and secret donation system to support the governor and other state
Republicans targeted in the 2011-and-12 recall elections.
Nobody won the Powerball jackpot
last night, so it goes up to 149-million dollars for Saturday. That's the highest since June 11th, when a
player in Tennessee won almost 260-million dollars. Nobody from Wisconsin won any of the
Top-three prizes last evening. Just over
ten-thousand players won 500-dollars each by having the Power Play multiplier
of five, and matching either four regular numbers or three-plus-the-Powerball. Last night's numbers were 2, 14, 39, 40, and
43. The Powerball was 13. Saturday's cash option is almost 91-million
dollars for a single winner who takes the whole prize now instead of in annual
installments. In Mega Millions, the
jackpot stands at 52-million dollars for tomorrow night.
Free Photo I-D To
State officials say they've come
up with a system to make sure voters who need photo I-D's can get them without
having to pay for proof of their existence. Starting Monday, those who need I-D
cards but don't have the required birth certificates can supply their
information at D-O-T offices -- and officials will then have the state vital
records' office confirm their birth data for free. The State Supreme Court upheld the
Republicans' voter I-D requirement earlier this summer. But the justices ordered the state to make
sure nobody has to pay for back-up documents to get the required I-D's. Earlier courtroom testimony indicated that
300-thousand poor, minority, and other state residents don't have the
identification required under the law. In announcing the new system yesterday, Governor Scott Walker said a
"very small number" of people don't have those I-D's. The law is still not in effect, because it's
being challenged in a federal appeals court.
One of Wisconsin's most famous
beer executives is about to retire.
Jacob Leinenkugel is stepping down at the end of the year as president
of the brewing company that carries his name. The 62-year-old Leinenkugel has headed the Chippewa Falls business for
about 25 years. He's become a household
name and face in recent years, as Leinenkugel's has dramatically stepped up its
T-V advertising. Jake's brother Dick,
who's 56, will become the new president.
He's been the head of sales-and-marketing, and was mainly responsible
for introducing Leinenkugel's popular Shandy products. During Jake Leinenkugel's watch, the company
said its sales grew from 60-thousand barrels a year to almost a million barrels
for 2014. Miller Brewing bought
Leinenkugel's in 1988. Jake plans to
keep a hand in the business as a consultant and company representative.
It's been just over a year since
Wisconsin required those who get unemployment benefits to look for four jobs a
week instead of the previous two. Now, officials are making the effort a little
easier. John Dipko of the state's
workforce development agency says job search reports with continuing benefit
claims can be filed online, starting this evening. He says it eliminates the need to scan, fax,
and mail documents. A new system will
allow the job search data to be entered from both computers and mobile
devices. Dipko also says the current
telephone filing system will keep running for those who need it. He says benefit recipients will have to keep
written records of their job search activities for a year. Dipko says the new system will start
operating this evening, and it will be fully working tomorrow. Agency employees will help recipients get
used to the new system.
Deadly Bat Disease
State officials say a deadly bat
disease has not spread beyond a mine in Grant County. Final test results showed that white nose
syndrome was not found in 134 Wisconsin mines and caves checked in January and
March. We were first told in April that
the disease was found in eleven bats hibernating at an old mine in southwest
Wisconsin. Bats are important because
they eat insects which damage farm crops and transfer diseases like the West
Nile virus. White nose syndrome is a
fungus that has killed almost six-million bats since 2006 in 23 U-S states and
northeast Canada. The disease came close
to Wisconsin in recent years, but it did not officially arrive here until this
spring. The D-N-R's Erin Crain said the
final test results came back in June, but they were not publicized until
now. That's because the agency has been
busy trying to convince the federal government to keep the northern long-earned
bat off the federal endangered species list. The state fears that an endangered listing would ban loggers from
cutting large areas of timber from April-through-September -- thus putting a
major crimp into one of the state's largest industries. The U-S Fish-and-Wildlife Service is expected
to make its final decision next spring.
State Courts, Not
A federal appeals judge said the
legality of Wisconsin's John Doe probe into the state recall elections should
be decided in the state courts, not at the federal level. A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit
Court of Appeals in Chicago heard arguments yesterday on a request by state
prosecutors to resume the investigation. That was after Federal Judge Rudolph Randa shut it down in May. The
conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth took the case to the federal courts,
alleging that its free speech rights were violated because the secret Doe probe
prevented them from having their side heard.
Chief federal circuit judge Diane Wood said she was uncertain about
intervening in what should be a "state criminal proceeding." The Doe probe involves allegations that
Governor Scott Walker and other Republicans illegally used outside groups to
help run a coordinated campaign for him and G-O-P senators in the 2011-and-'12
recall elections. Recently-released
documents showed that the donors were asked to give to the Club for Growth,
allowing their gifts to remain secret. The appellate panel also heard arguments yesterday on a media request to
release all the John Doe records, since much of the information is already
out. The judges questioned why those
records should be released before decisions are made on possible charges. They also questioned why two targets who
intervened in the case were allowed to remain anonymous
Fifteen insurance companies intend
to sell coverage to Wisconsinites in the federal government's health purchasing
exchanges. That's two more than a year
ago. The state insurance commissioner's
office released the list today. All 13
companies who sold Obama-care coverage the first year want to do it again --
along with Managed Health Services and the All-Savers firm owned by United
Health-Care. The companies must get
federal approval and secure contracts before they can be on the exchange. If they're approved, they can sell coverage
online from November 15th through February 15th. Also, ten insurers plan to offer coverage to
small businesses in Year-Two of Obama-care.
That's one more than a year ago. All-Savers is again the newcomer.
Deficit Caused By
Governor Scott Walker says
Wisconsin has a budget deficit largely because folks are enjoying the
two-billion dollars in tax breaks he gave them.
The Republican governor told the U-W Milwaukee College Republicans today
that state tax revenues are not down because the economy's sputtering. The current state budget has an almost
400-million dollar revenue shortfall, and officials said the next budget is
projected to have a one-point-eight billion dollar deficit by mid-2017. Walker said today that the Legislative Fiscal
Bureau estimate assumed there would be no inflation, no economic growth, and no
policy changes. Meanwhile, his
Democratic election opponent Mary Burke said she would balance the budget
shortfall by cutting spending and taking more federal money -- namely the
increase in Medicaid funds offered by the federal government under Obama-care,
which Walker said would be damaging when-or-if Washington cuts off those funds
in the future. Burke said nine other
G-O-P governors don't agree with him on that, and they took the hundreds of
millions in extra Medicaid. She singled
out New Jersey's Chris Christie, whom like Walker is mentioned as a possible
White House hopeful in 2016. Burke also
said she would only repeal the Walker tax cuts as a last resort.
Record High Ore
For the second month in a row,
shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes are at their highest in six years --
just before the Great Recession began in earnest. Officials said almost seven-and-a-quarter
million tons of iron ore were loaded onto Great Lakes freighters last
month. That's the most since July of
2008, when seven-point-three million tons were shipped from U-S and Canadian
ports. This time, American ports drove
the upturn. Those loadings totaled
almost six-and-three quarter million tons.
Share Fed Dollars
Three Wisconsin groups will share
almost a million federal tax dollars to help people sign up for Obama-care this
winter. The group Covering
Kids-and-Families will get 438-thousand dollars to provide
"navigators" to guide people who sign up under the Obama
exchanges. They'll also help those
clients get the federal tax breaks to which they might be entitled. The Northwest Wisconsin Concentrated
Employment Program of Ashland is getting almost 280-thousand dollars, and the
Partners for Community Development in Sheboygan is getting over
275-thousand. The second annual open
enrollment period in the Affordable Care Act is set for November 15th through
February 15th. Covering
Kids-and-Families is a U-W group which will again sign up Obama-care clients in
Milwuakee. They'll also contract with
community action groups in Racine, Kenosha, and elsewhere. The Partners for Community Development will
reach out to Hispanics, the Hmong and other hard-to-reach segments of the
population. The Ashland-based program
will offer services in 18 job centers in northwest Wisconsin.
Frac Sand Settlement
A frac-sand mine in western
Wisconsin has agreed to pay 60-thousand dollars to settle allegations that it
violated state water pollution laws. The
settlement with Arcadia Sand and Mississippi Sand of Saint Louis was approved
last month by a judge in Trempealeau County. The state Justice Department announced it yesterday. The D-N-R first accused Arcadia Sand in late
2012 of not protecting the silica sand it mined, and the site's topsoil. As a result, three-and-a-half inches of rain
washed sand and sediment into Thomson Valley Creek and other streams. Mississippi Sand took over the mine's
operation ten days after the initial storm -- and officials said no repairs
were made when more rain fell around that time. The D-N-R said it took months for a protective berm to be repaired, and
the agency asked the Justice Department to take the firms to court. Officials said the site is now back in
About one of every four employers
in Wisconsin plans to add workers in the final three months of this year, while
fewer companies expect layoffs. That's
according to the quarterly survey by Manpower Incorporated of Milwaukee. It says the numbers of Wisconsin firms adding
workers are 19-percent more than those which plan to make cuts. Manpower calls that the "net employment
outlook," and it's more than double what it was for the final quarter of
2013. Metro Milwaukee has a net
employment outlook of 16-percent, up from 14 a year ago. Nationally, 15-percent more companies expect
to have larger rather than smaller staffs from October through December. That's the highest since the first quarter of
2008, when the Great Recession was in its infancy.
More Honor Flights
Wisconsin's older veterans
continue to take one-day Honor Flights to their national memorials in
Washington. Yesterday, 86 more vets made
the 17th trip from the Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee. Hundreds of people welcomed them home --
including a couple who've been on Honor Flights before. Korean War veteran Richard Belknap said he
was most impressed with the rousing welcome he received when he landed after
his trip. Former Honor Flight
participant and V-F-W commander Bob Coleman urged veterans who haven't taken
the one-day excursions to do so. They
started in Ohio in 2005. Wisconsin
started running them in '08, to make sure the dwindling numbers of World War
Two veterans saw their national memorial before they died. Now, Korean and Vietnam vets are also making
the trips. Veterans fly free, while
relatives and chaperones pay nominal fees. Appleton has the state's next Honor Flight on Thursday. They'll take off from Milwaukee and Madison
Turkey hunters will be back in the
woods this weekend. About 80-thousand
people have applied for the fall turkey season which opens on Saturday, and
runs through November 20th. Another
turkey hunt is planned for December in the southern three-fourths of Wisconsin.
The D-N-R says hunters should see a good number of turkeys. Biologists said last year's rough winter did
not have a major impact on the overall turkey population. About one-of-every-five hunters shot birds
during the spring season, when the total harvest jumped eleven percent from the
previous year to about 42-thousand.
AEDC VP Resigns
A vice president of the Wisconsin
Economic Development Corporation resigned last month in disgust -- only to
return a couple days later at the urging of department C-E-O Reed Hall. The A-P and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
obtained e-mails in which business-and-industry development V-P Lee Swindall
took issue with the leadership of the agency's chief operating officer, former
Walker deputy chief-of-staff Ryan Murray. Swindall wrote that Murray was causing "deep and lasting harm"
with a control style of management, rather than a more consultative style. Swindall -- who has three decades of business
and marketing experience -- also wrote that Murray "lacks either the
talent or experience" to hold his position within the public-private job
agency. Swindall also wrote that Murray
was "too committed to his own consolidated power to either notice or care
about the swelling discontent" in the W-E-D-C. Murray wrote to Hall last week, saying
Swindall was dissatisfied with agency policies. That included a requirement for
computer security training. Agency
spokesman Mark Maley said leadership remains strong at the W-E-D-C -- which was
formed at the start of Governor Scott Walker's term in 2011. It went through critical audits and claims of
mismanagement before the governor assigned Murray to the agency and hired Hall
to straighten things out.
Medicare Enroll Info
The Centers for Medicare &
Medicaid Services said yesterday that thousands of former BadgerCare
beneficiaries have the opportunity to enroll in private health insurance
through the Marketplace after Wisconsin changed its Medicaid eligibility
earlier this year.
“We are working to ensure people
affected by the State’s change in Medicaid have the opportunity to enroll in
Marketplace coverage,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “Coverage
options are now available to the limited number of people who are no longer
eligible for BadgerCare, after the State made changes to its Medicaid program
earlier this year.”
Outside of major life changes,
people generally enroll in Marketplace coverage during the annual open
enrollment period. However, because of unique circumstances, CMS is clarifying
that a special enrollment period applies to those individuals in Wisconsin who
lost coverage because of the state’s decision to change eligibility for its
Medicaid program, BadgerCare on April 1, 2014.
Individuals eligible for this
special enrollment period will be able to apply for Marketplace coverage
immediately and will have 60 days to do so. Eligible individuals should contact
our federal call center at 1-800-318-2596 to apply. Individuals wishing to
apply for coverage need to act by Nov. 2, 2014.
Pierce Co. Accident
A Minnesota man was flown to a hospital after crashing
his motorcycle in Pierce County. The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said it
happened around 1:30 p.m. Saturday on Co. Hwy O at 480th Ave. in the town of
Deputies said 38-year-old Matthew
Tutehohl of Hastings, Minnesota was driving north when he lost control of his
motorcycle and hit a guardrail. He was flown to the hospital with undetermined
The Stevens Point Fire Department
reports it has recovered its statue. Two
students from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point returned the Boy with
the Boot statue Saturday morning. They
reportedly admitted they took it as part of a bet and kept the stolen statue in
their dorm room. Citations were issued
and the college students are expected to face misdemeanor charges, plus pay
restitution to cover the damage. The
statue was taken between 2:30 and 3 a-m Saturday, but security cameras failed
to record the crime in progress.
Another Chance To
Wisconsin adults who lost their
Badger-Care this year will get another chance to sign up for Obama-care if they
need to. The U-S Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services announced a special enrollment period yesterday. Adults over the poverty line who were dropped
from Badger-Care Plus can sign up on the federal exchanges through November
second. Earlier, officials said
38-thousand adults who were dropped from Badger-Care never signed up for
Obama-care, as Governor Scott Walker had planned. Yesterday, state health officials said the
number has dropped to around 26-thousand. U-S Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin asked for the special enrollment. She's been critical of how the Republican
Walker has handled Obama-care. Among
other things, she demanded that he find out what happened to those who didn't
use the federal system after losing state coverage. Walker said earlier this week that many found
coverage through employers or somebody else -- and without mentioning Baldwin
by name, he said her stance was essentially a solution in search of a
problem. Democrats have criticized
Walker for not taking more federal money to expand Badger-Care. The governor fears the extra funding would
dry up someday -- and the state would be left holding an ultra-expensive bag.
Gogebic change in
Gogebic Taconite is looking at
reducing the size of its proposed iron ore mine so it's only built in Iron
County -- and not Ashland County, where there's more government opposition to
the project. Company spokesman Bob Seitz
tells the Wisconsin State Journal that about a-third of a potential
four-mile-long ore deposit might have to be left in the ground. He said the Iron County portion of the mine
could still produce usable iron ore for decades -- but it might be too
expensive to do the same in Ashland County. That's because the County Board requires the firm to pay the county's
costs of hiring scientists to get an unbiased view of the firm's environmental
studies before it applies for a state permit. Seitz says the ordinance has no limits on what the firm would have to
pay -- and he says it does not it viable to do mining there. County Administrator Jeff Beirl says it's
only fair to charge the mining firm for an objective view of its work. Beirl says a lot of northern Wisconsin
counties are not "flush with money," and the funding is necessary to
perform the county's due-diligence up front.
Republican attorney general
candidate Brad Schimel has unveiled a new plan to prevent human trafficking in
Wisconsin. The Waukesha County D-A says
he would produce a comprehensive campaign to fight the practice of recruiting
and controlling others to profit from crimes like prostitution, drug dealing,
and violence. Schimel says he wants to
monitor the effectiveness of a new law this year which took away the
requirement that trafficking victims had to be controlled without their
consent. It also allowed victims to ask
judges to drop and expunge convictions for prostitution. Schimel said he wants to run a public
awareness effort similar to the state's "Fly Effect" campaign against
heroin. It would also help industries
like trucking and hotels spot signs of trafficking. Police would be trained to recognize it. Victims' rehabilitation would be coordinated
with charities and churches. Schimel is
running against Democrat Susan Happ for attorney general. Her campaign says she supports the general
idea -- but Happ wants to know how much it would cost. For now, Schimel is only saying it would take
what he called an "increase in resources."
One of Wisconsin's major tourist
areas was underwater overnight. Parts of
Door County got five-inches of rain since yesterday morning. The National Weather Service said two resorts
and a home were flooded in Sister Bay -- and streets in Sister Bay, Fish Creek,
and Bailey's Harbor had up to a half-foot water early this morning. Marinette, Abbotsford, and Unity were among
the other places in central and northern Wisconsin which had street
flooding. The Weather Service said
Phillips had up to four-point-nine inches of rain in the past 24 hours -- and
places from Wausau northward had anywhere from three to four-and-a-half inches. Much of the northern half of Wisconsin had
small hail and high winds as well as pounding rains. About 29-thousand electric customers were
still without power at five this morning. Wisconsin Public Service reported 26-thousand outages in north central
and northeast areas -- including 45-hundred at Rhinelander and about
two-thousand each at Crivitz and Townsend. X-cel Energy had 26-hundred outages throughout the northwest quarter of
the state. Public Service officials said
downed lines and broken power poles have delayed the restoring of
electricity. More rain is possible
today, as a cold front moves through Wisconsin. It's all supposed to clear out by tonight, with temperatures dropping
into the 40's and 50's. Clear weather is
expected during the weekend, with highs in the 70's each day.
Gay Marriage Ban
Wisconsin was among 32 states that
asked the U-S Supreme Court yesterday to issue a definitive ruling on whether
gay marriage is legal. The Badger
State's involvement came just hours after the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court in
Chicago ruled that bans in Wisconsin and Indiana are unconstitutional. The justices in Washington are being given
two combined cases to consider. Wisconsin is part of a 17-state group led by Colorado,
which asked the Supreme Court to consider bans in Utah and Oklahoma. All 17 of those states ban gay marriage. Fifteen other states which allow the practice
asked the justices to take up three cases from Virginia, Utah, and
Oklahoma. Those states asked the court
to overturn the three states' bans. The
Wisconsin case did not urge the justices to rule one way or the other. A three-judge panel of the Chicago appellate
court ruled unanimously against the Wisconsin and Indiana gay marriage
bans. They criticized the states'
justifications for the bans, which relied on tradition and the fact that gay
couples cannot create babies on their own. The state Justice Department later issued a statement that the Wisconsin
ban remains in place until all appeals are exhausted -- including the new
one. Fifty-nine percent of voters made
the ban part of the state Constitution in 2006, but polls today show that most
state residents don't object to same-sex unions.
A woman accused of shooting and
wounding a woman at a bonfire in Rusk County will spend a month in jail.
Connie Nicholson, from Glen Flora,
was sentenced Tuesday for recklessly endangering safety and using a gun while
intoxicated. The shooting happened in April 2013 at a trailer park in Glen
Shauna Biller was shot in the leg
while trying to break up a fight between two men. Investigators say Nicholson
told them she fired several shots into the ground because she was angry about
the fight. Detectives say alcohol was a factor in the incident.
Wisconsin deer hunters are gearing
up for the start of the archery and cross-bow seasons. They begin a week from tomorrow. D-N-R biologists say hunters should see more
deer in southern Wisconsin's farm-lands, than in the central and northern
forests where populations are down. This
is the first time that hunters who are not elderly or disabled can use
cross-bows. The governor and Legislature
approved a general cross-bow season earlier this year. The D-N-R Board agreed last month to have the
season run at the same time as the archery season, which runs through late
November. Last year, bow-and-arrow
hunters shot about 88-thousand deer -- six-thousand less than in 2012.
Badger Obesity Rate
Wisconsin's obesity rate went up
by almost two-percent from a year ago, but 21 other states have higher rates
than ours. The Trust for America's
Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said 29-point-eight percent of
Wisconsinites are obese. That's up from
just under 28-percent last year. Being
obese means having a body mass index of 30-or-more. Those with indexes 25-to-30 are overweight --
and about a third of Wisconsin adults fall into that category. U-W Madison associate public health dean
Patrick Remington says it's shocking that so many Wisconsinites are obese. Back in 1990, only about 20-percent of state
adults were obese. That was about
two-thirds of today's rate -- but at the time, Remington said Wisconsin was the
most obese state in the nation. Still,
he takes no comfort in knowing that other states have worse obesity rates than
Wisconsin. Thirty states have at least
30-percent of adults as obese. Remington
said the new figures should be a "call to action" for officials to
adopt policies that promote healthier food choices and regular exercise. A Republican bill in the last session would
have required 30-minutes a day of physical education for first-through-fifth
graders. It never passed.
Stab Victim In
The 12-year-old girl who nearly
died after she was stabbed 19 times in Waukesha is back in school. A spokesman for the girl's family says it has
been a summer of doctor's appointments, surgeries, specialists and recovery.
Stephen Lyons says the girl has been eager to go back to school. She started
the 7th grade on Tuesday. Lyons told
WITI-TV that the girl and her family continue to attend therapy sessions to
deal with the emotional scars of the ordeal. Court documents say two classmates plotted for
months to kill the girl to curry favor with a fictional Slender Man character
they read about online. One of two preteens accused in the stabbing has been
ordered to receive treatment rather than stand trial.
Auto Theft Admission
During the early morning hours of
Wednesday Sept. 3rd the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department received a call
from a motorist that had stopped for a vehicle in the ditch on STH 64 and CTH R
in the Town of Cleveland. The Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of the
Cornell Police Dept. to check on the vehicle as Deputies were busy with another
The complainant had contact with a
male subject who was later identified as Carlton D. Hamilton age 51 of Cameron
Wi. When the complainant was attempting to assist Mr. Hamilton he took the
complainants vehicle w/o permission and preceded W/B on STH 64. The Cornell
officer was in close proximity when the vehicle left the scene and he attempted
to stop the vehicle. Mr. Hamilton failed to stop and accelerated to excessive
speeds to attempt to elude the officer. Chippewa County Deputy joined the
pursuit just East of Bloomer on STH 64 and requested the Bloomer Police officer
to deploy tire deflation device near the intersection of STH 64 and CTH F.
After successful deployment of the tire deflation device Mr. Hamilton stopped
and was taken into custody w/o incident.
Hamilton was arrested for
Operating under the Influence, Knowingly Fleeing and Officer, and operating a
vehicle W/O owners consent.
Mr. Hamilton was later interviewed
by Chippewa County Investigators, Hamilton admitted involvement to two auto
thefts that had been reported to Barron County Sheriff’s office.
Hamilton was issued a signature
bond in Chippewa County Court. He was then transported to Barron County for two
counts of Auto theft.
Nobody won the Powerball jackpot
last night, so it goes up to 110-million dollars for the next drawing on
Saturday. Wisconsin had over 89-hundred
winners, but none of them won any more than 300-dollars. Last night's numbers were 2, 16, 43, 45, and
51. The Powerball was 35, and the Power
Play multiplier was three. The current
jackpot has been building since August ninth and has rolled over seven
times. It's the biggest since July
ninth, when a player in Ohio won 125-million dollars. Saturday's cash option is close to
68-million. In Mega Millions, the top
prize is 33-million dollars for tomorrow night.
A budget crunch is forcing
thousands of Wisconsin Army National Guard members to have their monthly
training delayed. It was supposed to be
this weekend -- but the Guard has a 101-million-dollar national shortfall which
must be covered before the federal budget year ends September 30th. Wisconsin kicked in two-and-a-half million
dollars to help cover that deficit. As a
result, most Guard units in the Badger State delayed their training from this weekend
to the final weekend of the month. Payments for those sessions will be made in October, after the new
fiscal year begins. Soldiers get
anywhere from 284-dollars to 726-dollars for a weekend of training, depending
on their ranks and years of service. Captain John Fesler said the Guard's national shortfall was the result
of fewer mobilizations, and more training sessions than expected during the
past year. When troops are mobilized,
the Defense Department pays the soldiers instead of the Guard.
Debate Over Tribute
Indiana's governor says he does
not buy a Wisconsin group's claim that a veterans' tribute with a large cross
amounts to a government endorsement of religion. Governor Mike Pence says he fully supports a
decision by his state's D-N-R to put a donated sculpture on display at
Whitewater Memorial State Park in eastern Indiana. Officials say it's designed to honor local
World War Two veterans. The Freedom from
Religion Foundation in Madison says the display promotes Christianity. Foundation attorney Rebecca Markert says it
will send a message that the government only cares about the deaths of
Christian soldiers. The wood sculpture
carving depicts a bald eagle above a sign which reads, "All gave some --
Some gave all." It also has a
14-inch-tall white cross at the base.
Labor Day Traffic
Six people died in Labor Day
Weekend traffic crashes in Wisconsin -- four less than a year ago. However, the state D-O-T said traffic deaths
in August were higher than the same month of last year, as well as the average
for the past five Augusts. According to
preliminary figures, 50 people died in state crashes last month -- four more
than the previous August, and seven more than the five-year average. No one knows why fatalities went up last
month, but dry-and-warmer weather and falling gas prices may have had something
to do with it. For the year as a whole,
320 traffic deaths were recorded in the Badger State from
January-through-August. That's 28 fewer
than a year ago, and 44 fewer than the five-year norm for the month.
Give that robot a contract. That's what Brewer fans might say, after a
robot made by high school students throws out the first pitch at Saturday
night's Milwaukee-Saint Louis game at Miller Park. Twenty-six members of the robotics team at
Glendale Nicolet High School made the robot, called "Robot
Yount." It's supposed to throw a
perfectly-calibrated 65-mile-an-hour pitch right over the plate. Nicolet teacher Adam Thiel says it throws a
strong sinker -- although the pitch is not nearly as fast as the 100-mile-an-hour
heaters that some guys throw. Thiel
started Nicolet's robotics program five years ago. There are now about 30 schools throughout
Wisconsin that have robotics teams.
Wisconsin's propane industry does
not expect the kinds of shortages we saw last winter -- when folks struggled to
heat their homes as prices skyrocketed. Chris Tews, president of the Wisconsin
Propane Gas Association, says both customers and their dealers are being more
pro-active. He says customers are
filling their tanks earlier, to take advantage of lower prices. Suppliers, meanwhile, are increasing their
storage capacities to make sure they don't run out. Appleton supplier Garrow Oil added enough
tanks to store about 360-thousand gallons of propane -- double their storage
capacity from a year ago. Tews told W-B-A-Y T-V in Green Bay that the industry
learned a lot from last winter -- when shippers could not get propane quickly
enough to the areas where it was needed. The coldest temperatures in years were partially to blame for the
shortage -- along with a closed pipeline, and a heavy demand by farmers to use
the fuel to dry their grain.
Ice Bucket Challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge has not
only raised awareness and funding for A-L-S. It's also making veterans more
aware of a disease which affects them more than the rest of us. Oneida County Veterans Service Officer Tammi
Walters says veterans have a 60-percent greater chance than non-veterans of
being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. It's a progressive neuro-degenerative condition which affects nerve
cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Walters says veterans with A-L-S can get help from the V-A, and those
who are diagnosed should contact their county veterans' service offices
immediately. Walters says those with at
least 90 days of service can be found 100-percent service-disabled. She says A-L-S is a service-connected
disability regardless of when or where veterans served. Spouses and dependents could also qualify for
benefits. More information is available
from county veterans' service offices.
Law enforcement officers have
resumed their search in Blaine for a man accused of killing his former
All gates to the Anoka County-Blaine
Airport are closed as authorities look for Lyle "Ty" Hoffman.
Officials say a possible sighting was reported early Tuesday in the area of the
airport. The search involves multiple agencies and local SWAT officers.
Officials inspected each hangar at
the airport Monday following a bank robbery at the TCF Bank in Blaine on
Sunday. Authorities said the man who robbed the bank looked a lot like Hoffman.
The 44-year-old Hoffman is wanted for the Aug. 11 shooting death of his former
romantic and business partner Kelly Phillips at an Arden Hills gas station.
A car linked to the Phillips'
homicide was earlier found parked near the airport.
Wisconsin's historical sites are
more popular this year. The State
Historical Society said attendance is up at all but one of its 11
locations. Total attendance from January
through mid-August is four-point-eight percent higher than the same time a year
ago. Officials credit a more comfortable
summer and a number of events -- including the 200th anniversary of the Battle
of Prairie du Chien at Villa Louis, new exhibits at the Wisconsin Historical
Museum, and a chance to ride historic bikes at Old World Wisconsin. The First Capitol near Belmont was the only
site to see a drop in attendance, of almost 12-percent. Officials say there's construction taking
place, and the site is not promoted as much as the others.
A car passenger was killed and 14
others were injured last night, when the auto collided with a school bus with
volleyball players from Pulaski High School.
It happened around nine p-m on the Highway 29 expressway at Highway 156
near Pulaski. Shawano County sheriff's
deputies said the bus was going north on 156 when the westbound car on 29
struck the rear corner of the bus. The
bus then veered into a ditch. A
24-year-old woman from Athens in central Wisconsin was killed. She was in a car driven by a 27-year-old man
from Marathon City. He was hospitalized
in critical condition at last word.
Thirteen Pulaski students were injured on the bus, and at least eight
were taken to hospitals by ambulances. Their conditions were not immediately disclosed. The students were returning from a volleyball
match at Seymour High School, in which the varsity and J-V teams played. Pulaski school officials say counselors will
be available today for students needing help in coping with the mishap. An investigation continues.
Environmentalists say they want to
work with the forest products industry to develop a collaborative solution to a
dispute over the Northwoods' timber management.
Paul Strong, a supervisor at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest,
said a previous collaboration is a great example. He cited the success of an agreement between
Greenpeace and Kimberly-Clark on the use of a material from forests in
Canada. Strong tells the Appleton
Post-Crescent that "a collaborative agreement is much better than
controversy." Strong is part of a
forestry collaborative that seeks a compromise on one-and-a-half million acres
of national forest land that will please both loggers and environmental
interests. It seeks to attract private
investment funds, promote the benefits of forest management, and coordinate
restoration projects. The state's two
U-S senators -- Democrat Tammy Baldwin and Republican Ron Johnson -- made
separate visits to northern Wisconsin last month, and they vow to work together
on the matter until a solution is reached.
Communities along Lake Michigan
from Port Washington to Two Rivers can apply to become marine sanctuaries. The designations could bring more protections
for natural resources, and more research into various shipwrecks in the big
lake. The National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration designates marine sanctuaries. There's only one along the Great Lakes -- the
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena Michigan. It has a visitor center which attracts
80-thousand people a year. Manitowoc
County officials say they could get tourism and educational benefits from a
marine sanctuary status. Officials say
the new application area covers 875 square miles of Lake Michigan, with 33
known shipwrecks and possibly many more.
The N-O-A-A expects the first applications for the new status this fall.
Lack Of Interest
Normally, interest is high in
liquor licenses in Oshkosh. That’s why
city officials are surprised that no one is applying for three licenses which
are available right now. It’s possible
the city will just keep the licenses. An
official with the Oshkosh Tavern League says it may be that potential owners
just recognize that running a tavern profitably isn’t an easy task. The head of the Tavern League of Wisconsin
says today’s changing culture means people are more likely to do their drinking
at home than they are to go to a bar.
The Powerball jackpot is at
100-million dollars for tomorrow night.
It's the first time it's been in nine figures since July 9th, when a
player in Ohio won almost 125-million dollars. Nobody won the jackpot over the Labor Day weekend. Just over 87-hundred Wisconsin tickets won
prizes ranging from four-dollars to 200. Tomorrow's cash option is almost 62-million dollars. In Mega Millions, the jackpot for tonight is
Beating Gets Prison
A young man from Durand, convicted of beating a man beyond
recognition, is going to prison.
Cody Angel, was sentenced last
week to three years behind bars. Angel and two others were accused of breaking
into a man's home in Durand last October
and beating him with metal and wooden broom handles. Police, who knew the
victim, did not recognize him due to the severe injuries to his head and face.
The other two suspects were
sentenced earlier this year to three years in prison each. All three have been
ordered to share in paying for the victim's medical costs, estimated at more
The suspect in a shooting
investigation is in custody following a lockdown in the city of Medford
Saturday. Police Chief Ken Coyer says the suspect, 19-year-old Harrison C.
Davis, is now in custody at the Taylor County Jail. Coyer said officers got a
report just before 3 p.m. Saturday that a suspect was shooting a gun into a
man's home on the 500 block of S. Park Avenue in Medford. The Chief said multiple shots were fired at
multiple locations but couldn't specify where due to the ongoing investigation.
The incident happened within 1000 feet from the Holy Rosary Catholic School
which is in violation of Discharging a Firearm in a School Zone 948.605(3).
During the shooting, officers say students were not in the school but it was
later reported there were people setting up for massing within the church.
Officers say no one was hurt.
Coyer said Davis then took off in
a vehicle away from the city of Medford. He was found using the vehicle's
description at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, near the Chippewa and Taylor County line,
between Gilman and Cornell. Officers say the Davis' vehicle was in the ditch of
the 35000 block of CTH-M in Chippewa Co.
Deputies from Chippewa Co.
Sheriff's Dept., Taylor Co. Sheriff's Dept., Medford Police Dept. and the WI
DNR searched the area where Davis' vehicle was located and took him into
The Medford vs. Chippewa Falls
football game was going on at the time and was put on lockdown. Everyone at the
game was evacuated into the gymnasium as a precaution. After an all-clear the game
resumed just before 6 p.m. (MORE DETAILS BELOW)
Coyer said the school district
completed a lockdown right away. He said it was a precaution because police
were uncertain of Davis' motive, he had an access to a car and firearm and they
didn't want to risk the chance that the suspect would turn his weapon on the
large group of people at the game.
Chief Coyer said charges of 1st
degree reckless endangerment, discharging a fire arm in a school zone and
discharging a firearm into a building are expected.
Medford Police and Taylor County
sheriff's deputies are looking at the circumstances leading up to the incident
as investigation continues.
S-S-M Health Care reports an
estimated six-and-a-half million dollars has been loaned to about four-thousand
patients since it signed a deal with Commerce Bank five months ago. The agreement offers interest-free loans to
patients with unpaid medical bills. They
get the loans without undergoing credit checks and Commerce Bank gets a service
fee for administering them. S-S-M
operates hospitals in four states, including facilities in Madison and
Baraboo. It expects the agreement to
ultimately help drive down its bad debt which now approaches 205-million
dollars. Anyone whose hospital bill tops
300-dollars is eligible.
Pipeline Could Kill
The Wisconsin Department of
Natural Resources says a pipeline construction project could kill several
species on the threatened or endangered species list. Among those are the prairie leafhopper, the
phlox moth, the frosted elfin and the wood turtle. The frosted elfin is a type of
butterfly. Wisconsin Gas L-L-C is
planning to build a 74-mile natural gas pipeline which would extend from an
existing pipeline in Eau Claire to Tomah. The D-N-R says the project likely wouldn’t threaten those species with
extinction and it plans to issue an incidental take authorization. Public comment on the project will be
accepted through September 9th.
Train Kills Person
Western Wisconsin authorities say
a pedestrian was hit and killed by an eastbound train in Tomah Saturday night
just before midnight. The unidentified
person was on the tracks when they were hit and was dead at the scene when
responding police officers arrived. The
incident involved a train from the Canadian Pacific Railroad is still being
investigated by Tomah police.
President Obama brings his worst
approval ratings to Wisconsin in more than two years during today’s visit. His appearance at Laborfest in Milwaukee is
an official visit and not a campaign trip.
He won’t be joined by Democratic candidate for Wisconsin governor Mary
Burke. The president’s Wisconsin approval
ratings are still better than the marks he is given nationwide. And, they are exactly the same at Republican
incumbent Governor Scott Walker. The
figures show how polarized Wisconsin voters are. Democrats give Obama an 89-percent approval
rating, while a poll taken a week-and-a-half ago shows Republicans giving him a
four-percent approval rating.
Best Quality Of Life
Last April, when Madison was
ranked the “greenest city in America,” that was just the start. Now, the personal finance website
NerdWallet.com reports Wisconsin’s Capitol City has the best quality of life in
the U-S. NerdWallet ranked the 100
largest cities in the country. Cities
were ranked by average income, affordability and health benefits, local economy
and work-life balance. Cities in the
Midwest took the top five spots, with Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska, joining
Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.
Milwaukee was ranked 36th.
Timeline Pushed Back
Gogebic Taconite says its
application to develop an iron ore mine in northwestern Wisconsin will be
pushed back until at least the fall of next year.
Gogebic had planned to submit an
application in the spring of 2015 to develop a $1.5 billion iron ore mine in
the Lake Superior region. But a company spokesman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Gogebic won't
finish all fieldwork this year and will be forced to conduct additional
environmental work next year.
The approaching fall is prompting
Gogebic to wrap up some fieldwork already. The inability to get all of the work
done means additional work before the company submits an environmental impact
report and formally asks for permission to construct the mine in Ashland and
One of every five identity theft
victims are in their 20's. And with that
in mind, Wisconsin consumer protection officials are urging college students to
be especially careful about protecting their personal information as they head
to class next week. State officials urge
students to shred documents they don't need to keep -- like school registration
forms, bank and credit card statements, and offers for new credit cards. They're also urged to buy lock-boxes to keep
sensitive items like passports and credit cards. Before they connect onto their campus online
networks, students are urged to check with their college's tech department for
guidance on protecting their Web-accessible devices.
More Jobs In State
A Fox Valley company that makes
industrial pipes says it will hire 155 more people over the next three
years. Team Industries of Kaukauna plans
to add positions that range from welders to accountants. The firm is currently expanding its current
plant, and it plans to put up an additional facility. Kris Levanetz of Team Industries tells
W-L-U-K T-V there's a higher demand for the piping the company provides to
facilities like power plants and oil refineries. She also said Team Industries is expanding
its market area.
Medal Of Honor Delayed
After decades of trying,
descendants of a Wisconsin Civil War hero have finally convinced the president
to give him the nation's highest military honor. The White House said yesterday that President
Obama approved the Medal-of-Honor for Army Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing of
Delafield. He died while standing his
ground against Pickett's Charge in the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. He was 22. The president will present the award to families of Cushing and two
other soldiers in a September 15th ceremony.
Descendants and Civil War buffs lobbied for over 30 years to award
Cushing the Medal-of-Honor, even though it must normally be presented within
three years of an act of heroism. Wisconsin lawmakers previously failed to get Congress to approve an
exception to the policy. Former Senate
Democrat James Webb of Virginia once removed it by saying it could lead to an
endless series of claims -- and as he put it, "The better wisdom would be
for Congress to leave history alone." After being wounded at Gettysburg, Cushing still managed to defend a
Union post to try and keep it away from Confederate forces. He fell into the arms of one of his
subordinates, First Sergeant Fredrick Fuger -- who received the Medal of Honor
Atlas Of Public
As the fall hunting seasons are
about to begin, the state D-N-R is urging outdoor enthusiasts to use the
agency's atlas for access to public lands.
The atlas has almost 450 maps, plus contact information to help hunters
and others identify accessible public lands. State, federal, county, and other public lands are identified. The atlas is available in both hard cover and
D-V-D formats. More information is
available at the D-N-R's Web site, accessible at Wisconsin-Dot-Gov.
Not Ready For App
Gogebic Taconite says it will not
be ready to submit a formal application for its proposed iron ore mine until at
least the fall of next year. The company
was planning to have its application ready for next spring, to get a state
permit for its one-and-a-half billion dollar mine in Ashland and Iron
counties. However, the mining firm says
it will not finish all of its field tests for this year -- and it will have to
do some additional environmental work in 2015.
With fall approaching, Gogebic Taconite is already wrapping up some of
its field work.
Voter Turnout Lower
Just over 550-thousand
Wisconsinites voted in the fall primaries 15 days ago. State elections'
officials said yesterday that 12-point-seven percent of eligible voters went to
the polls -- less than the predicted turnout of 15-percent. Those who stayed home missed some very close
races -- including the Republican primary for the east central Wisconsin U-S
House seat, that was decided by just one-third of one-percent. Republican Glenn Grothman was nominated by
the closest margin for a Wisconsin House contest since 1970. He'll face Democrat Mark Harris in November,
for the state's only open House seat which is being given up by Fond du Lac
Republican Tom Petri. Also, primary
voters chose Democrat Susan Happ over two others to face Republican Brad
Schimel in November for state attorney general.
Both are county district attorneys who hope to replace Republican J-B
Pornography Case To
A Ladysmith man, charged with
child pornography, waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and was bound
over for trial.
Marc Gross, 28, of Ladysmith faces
eight counts of possession of child porn.
Early last month, the Ladysmith
Police Department helped the State Division of Criminal Investigation serve a
search warrant at a home on Corbett Avenue.
They say Gross had a computer
there with pornographic videos of children.
Officers arrested him and
transported him to the Rusk County Jail.
His bond was set later at $50,000
Gross is due in court later this
Two people are in the hospital
after deputies say a truck t-boned a car.
The Pierce County Sheriff's
Department says the crash happened just after 5:00 Tuesday morning at the
intersection of County Highway N and 650th Street, north of Ellsworth.
Deputies say 60-year old Daniel
Peterson was driving his car on 650th Street through the intersection when he
was t-boned by William Goveronski.
Deputies say Goveronski failed to
yield the right of way at a stop sign.
Both are in the hospital with
Apostle Islands Fire
The National Park Service says a
fire has been burning for a month on one of the Apostle Islands. Officials said yesterday they would let the
fire continue on York Island, because rain and humidity have kept the flames
from spreading. The Park Service said a
bolt of lightning apparently started the fire in late July. Visitors saw it, and notified staffers from
the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore last week. Officials said they did not discover the fire
until now, because the flames and smoke could not be seen from Lake
Superior. The affected area is less than
a tenth-of-an-acre. York Island remains
open to the public, along with its three campsites.
Ashley Furniture of Arcadia now
says it plans to add jobs -- not cut them, as allowed under an arrangement for
a state tax break. Senior executive Bill
Koslo says the company is looking to fill 200 vacancies at its Arcadia plant,
and it wants to add more jobs. The
state's Economic Development Corporation approved a deal in January in which
Ashley would get up to six-million dollars in tax breaks to expand its
headquarters. The deal also allowed the
firm to cut its four-thousand member Wisconsin workforce by up to half in
2018. The deal has not been signed or
carried out yet. Ashley said it protects
the company in the event of another disaster -- like the major flood in its
hometown in 2010 which shut down the Arcadia plant temporarily. The company said yesterday the proposed
six-million dollar tax break would go to the city for a flood control project,
after the city was rejected for other funding.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Ashley Furniture told the
state's largest business group it plans to grow its business by seven-percent
this year, and open a newly re-furbished plant in Independence this fall. It's also working on a second expansion to
its plant in Whitehall in the past two years.
While campaigning in De Pere yesterday, Governor Scott Walker said the
city of Arcadia asked for the tax break so it could keep a major employer --
and the amount has not been finalized.
A man killed in a weekend traffic
crash in west central Wisconsin has been publicly identified as 38-year-old
Jessie Fitzl of Stanley. Clark County
sheriff's officials said Fitzl was cresting a hill when he saw two A-T-V's
parked on a shoulder -- and his unit veered out of control and flipped over
several times in the right ditch. It
happened Saturday night on a rural road southeast of Stanley. Fitzl was taken to a Stanley hospital, where
he died a short time later. Investigators said he was apparently driving too fast. He was not wearing a seat belt.
Bugs who? Today's college freshmen have always watched
Homer Simpson cartoons on Sunday nights, and not Bugs Bunny on Saturday
mornings. That's just one of the items
in the annual "Beloit College Mindset List" -- 75 items that give
professors an idea of what their students' worlds are like. Most of this fall's college freshmen were
born in 1996. To them, a selfie with a celebrity is much more cherished than an
autograph -- and the pound sign on the phone has always been the Twitter
hash-tag. They never heard of the old
Internet browser "Netscape."
For today's college kids, the N-B-A has always had female referees --
AIDS was never the death sentence that older people saw in the 1980's --
cloning has always been real -- everybody has always loved Raymond -- and
Jon-Benet Ramsey was never alive in the students' lifetimes. Finally, the Beloit Mindset list shows many
of us how old we're getting. It says
Madonna's daughter Lourdes is going to college this fall -- and so is Sylvester
Stallone's daughter Sophia. Beloit
College officials Tom McBride and Ron Nief have assembled the Mindset List each
year since 1998.
If you want to know more about
Wisconsin waterfowl hunting, keep your noon hour free tomorrow. That's when the state D-N-R is having an
online chat with waterfowl hunters. Experts
from the agency will answer questions.
If you want to take part, go to the D-N-R's Web site, accessible at
Wisconsin-Dot-Gov, and search for the keyword "chat."
Wisconsin fisheries officials are
considering stocking an inland lake with landlocked Atlantic salmon.
The Department of Natural
Resources is weighing a proposal from the Green Lake Coldwater Fish Advisory
Committee to stock Big Green Lake in Green Lake County with the salmon for four
DNR biologists say some anglers
love the fish because it fights hard but they have to consider how stocking
would affect other species. They say the salmon could compete with brown trout
so current brown trout stocking would have to be suspended for the duration of
the salmon project.
The DNR has scheduled a public
hearing on the proposal and a draft environmental impact statement for Sept. 9
in Green Lake. The agency hopes to make a decision in October.
Big At Emmys
U-W Madison graduate Steve Levitan
scored big at the Emmys again last night.
Levitan is the co-creator and executive producer of A-B-C's "Modern
Family," which won its record-tying fifth Emmy Award as the best comedy
series. Levitan, a former Madison T-V
news anchor, signed a four-year deal in March to stay on as "Modern
Family's" executive producer. It
tied "Frasier" as the all-time comedy champion. It also had one other major Emmy winner last
night -- Ty Burrell as the best comedy supporting actor. Meanwhile, Kenosha native Mark Ruffalo was
nominated but passed over for lead actor in a movie-or-miniseries. He starred in the H-B-O drama "The
Normal Heart," which received the Emmy for the best T-V movie.
Two undisclosed targets of the
John Doe probe into the state's recall elections have asked that a federal
appeals court not release anything more about the case. That's after the Seventh Circuit Appellate
Court in Chicago inadvertently posted four documents from the probe
online. They were only up for a few
hours on Friday. Media reports said they
included excerpts from e-mails, showing that the Walker election campaign
instructed donors to give funds to the Wisconsin Club for Growth -- and that
Gogebic Taconite secretly gave the group 700-thousand dollars. That donation was never made public until
now. And it raised suspicions that the
mining company was paying to win state approval of bills paving the way for the
firm's proposed iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties. A mining firm official denied any "pay
for play." The Republican Walker
said he never asked for donations from the mining firm. He denied any wrongdoing in his relationship
with the conservative Club for Growth.
The unnamed parties went to court Saturday, saying the disclosure
"caused real harm to real people." The John Doe probe was halted in May, pending an appeal from prosecutors. It was looking into allegations that Walker
and other G-O-P recall candidates were illegally coordinating with the Club for
Growth and other outside conservative groups on the 2011-and-'12 state Senate
and gubernatorial recall elections.
Ashley Work Force
Ashley Furniture says it's not
true that it will reduce its four-thousand member workforce in half, while
taking up to six-million dollars in state tax breaks. The Wisconsin State
Journal said the state's Economic Development Corporation quietly approved the
tax breaks in January, as part of the company's plan to expand its
headquarters. A W-E-D-C spokesman was
quoted as saying the firm needs to cut its rising health care costs, and it's
considering the use of automated production equipment. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was given a
statement from Ashley saying it's not reducing its workforce -- and the numbers
of job cuts listed in the approved agreement are "very conservative"
projections which prevent the firm in case they economy goes south again
soon. Also, Ashley took issue with the
apparent assumption it would pocket the state tax breaks. It says they'll be donated to the City of
Arcadia for a flood control project.
Ashley Furniture said the company is in a flood-prone area -- and if
nothing's done to control it, many jobs will be lost. A 2010 flood closed down the Ashley plant for
Rip Current Detector
The death of a teenager two years
ago is prompting a U-W Madison researcher to create a detection system for rip
currents on the Great Lakes. Engineering
professor Chin Wu was given a 200-thousand dollar federal grant this summer to
come up with a system which shows heavy-and-dangerous waves on color-coded
maps. The goal is to provide a real-time
warning system for rip currents, which are narrow and fast-moving channels of
water that flow quickly away from shorelines.
Fifteen-year-old Tyler Buczek drowned in September of 2012, when he was
swept off a sandbar by a rip current on Lake Michigan at Port Washington. Wu was conducting nearby erosion studies at
the time. He said he couldn't believe
that a real-time warning system for rip currents didn't exist. Wu is now working on a system that includes
underwater camera observations near the shorelines, which help translate the
waves on maps. Wu said it would make
Great Lakes swimmers more confident and better informed as they head into the
Hearing On Pipeline
Wisconsin officials will hold a
public hearing today on a proposed new crude oil pipeline from the North Dakota
oil fields to a terminal in Superior. Environmentalists have raised concerns
about Enbridge Energy's Sandpiper line from the Bakken oil fields across
Minnesota. It's a 600-mile project. Ben Callan of the state D-N-R says the final
14 miles would be laid under Wisconsin soil.
Also, Enbridge would replace another pipeline heading into its Superior
oil terminal. Callan says the project
will need an environmental impact statement, and the D-N-R wants the public's
help in deciding what the analysis should include. Enbridge has received heavy criticism in
recent years, in the wake of some major oil leaks along its Upper Midwest
network. Over the weekend, the company's
Lorraine Little said Enbridge has spent four-billion dollars in the last two
years on upgrades designed in part to prevent and detect leaks. She told the "The Big Wild"
syndicated radio show that Enbridge will spend 75-thousand hours this year
reviewing the safety of having the Sandpiper line along its proposed
route. The Superior hearing runs from
3:30-to-8 p-m today at Indianhead Technical College. People can also give written comments to the
D-N-R by September 30th.
Shots in Buffalo Co.
Friday, Aug. 22, around 5 a.m. a
female advised that two unknown men entered her home near the Buffalo City Ball
The Buffalo Co. Sheriff's Office
arrived and found that the rear door of the home had been forcibly entered. The
female advised she was assaulted and threatened with a knife. Information by
the victim led officers to believe that this may not be a random but a targeted
The victim was able to fire
multiple gun shots from a handgun at the suspects. The Buffalo Co. Sheriff's
Office is investigating the matter and believes this is an isolated incident.
The victim's name is being withheld at this time.
Anyone that may have heard or seen
anything in the general vicinity at that time is asked to contact Buffalo Co.
Sheriff's Office at (608)-685-4433.
The Mega Millions' jackpot is back
to the minimum of 15-million dollars for tomorrow night. That's after a ticket sold in California won
the 180-million dollar prize on Friday night. Nobody from Wisconsin won the million-dollar second prize. The numbers of state players winning smaller
prizes were not immediately available. In the previous drawing last Tuesday, over 22-thousand Wisconsin tickets
won anywhere from one-dollar to two-thousand. In Powerball, the jackpot is at
80-million dollars for Wednesday night.
The state Transportation
Department is writing new administrative rules on how it would provide free
I-D's if people need them to vote in November. Governor Scott Walker officially
assigned the task to the D-O-T last week. Department Secretary Mark Gottlieb
says his agency will implement whatever's required -- but at this point, he's
not saying how. According to the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the agency has budgeted 200 hours of staff time to
come up with something. It was almost a
month ago when the State Supreme Court upheld the Republicans' photo I-D law
for voting. But the justices said the
state must find a way to give I-D's without forcing people to buy birth
certificates to prove their identity. The court ruled that any such payment would be equivalent to an illegal
poll tax. Meanwhile, the federal appeals
court in Chicago continues to hold up the voter I-D law. Federal Judge Lynn Adelman ruled it
unconstitutional this spring. The state
is appealing, and a three-judge panel of the Chicago appellate court will hear
oral arguments in the case on September 12th.
Charges are expected early this
week against a former Dane County sheriff's deputy suspected of killing his
wife and sister-in-law at his home in Fitchburg. Police said 39-year-old Ashlee
Steele and 38-year-old Kacee Tollefsbol of Lake Elmo Minnesota were found shot
at the Steeles' home on Friday. Ashlee
was dead, and Tollefsbol died later at a hospital. Police have not said exactly how the two
women died. They're only calling it
"homicidal violence" while the matter remains under investigation by
Fitchburg Police. Officials confirmed
Saturday that Steele's husband -- 39-year-old Andy Steele -- has been
arrested. He's at an undisclosed medical
facility with a non-life-threatening injury from the incident. Andy was diagnosed in June with A-L-S. He recently took a medical retirement from
the Dane County sheriff's office. Yesterday, Sheriff Dave Mahoney called it an "overwhelming tragedy
for so many." The sheriff said his
office is providing resources to help his staffers cope with the incident. The sheriff's office is not involved in the
investigation. Media reports said Andy
Steele took the Ice Bucket Challenge on T-V to help raise money for the disease
he contracted. A number of family
members took it as well. Ashlee Steele
helped raise 25-thousand dollars by Friday in an A-L-S fund-raising campaign on
the "Give Forward" Web site.
The large fishing spider has been
spotted again – several times. The
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says it has received 10 reports this
year. One D-N-R official says she had
actually seen four of the spiders with her own eyes. The spiders can grow to three inches across,
but they’re not harmful to human beings. They are found near rivers, streams or lakes and can be so aggressive
they will hunt small fish or tadpoles.
Scientists report a noticeable increase in sightings, especially the
“dark fishing spider,” which is one of six variations of the species.
Apparently, geese can tell the
difference between cardboard dogs and the real thing. Stevens Point city officials are trying to keep
geese off the grassy area in some locations. When the three black cutouts are erected, those geese usually try to
stay 40-to-50 yards away. The cutouts
cost about 20-dollars each. The city
says it is going to make more of the cutouts, while also putting reflective
kites up in the limbs of trees. Other
strategies tried in the past include asking people going to the park to use toy
“clappers” to make a sound which would scare geese away.
State Holding Money
The state of Wisconsin is holding
nearly 440-million dollars worth of unclaimed property. The Green Bay Packers and former quarterback
Brett Favre are among the more well-known names on the list. Green Bay-based Associated Bank is listed as
holding more than one-thousand dollars from the Packers, listing its address as
“unknown.” United Healthcare owes the
Packers more than one-thousand dollars because it officially can’t find the
professional football team – even though it’s been located in Green Bay for 95
years. A-T-and-T reports it hasn’t been
able to get a response from Favre about two accounts holding money for
him. J-P Morgan Chase Bank has failed to
locate Deanna Favre to return her money, listed as 100 to one-thousand dollars.
Consumer scams against
Wisconsinites keep growing. Sandy
Chalmers of the state's consumer protection agency says there are new scams and
variations of old ones -- but the one constant is that there's always somebody
trying to scam folks by phone and online. This year, Chalmers says the most prevalent scams involve callers
claiming to be with the I-R-S -- either to con people into thinking they owe
back taxes, or they can get refunds if they provide their bank account
numbers. Other common scams tell victims
they missed court dates, and they need to pay their fines on the phone -- and
they need to pay 85-dollars to someone to get property deeds which are much
cheaper at the courthouse. Chalmers says
folks always have to be vigilent because there are so many scams right
now. She says those getting suspicious
calls should hang-up, not open suspicious e-mails, and contact the state Ag,
Trade, and Consumer Protection agency to report the scams.
A year-long moratorium on new
frac-sand mines is about to end in Trempealeau County. The County Board in Whitehall voted 8-to-7
this week against extending the mining ban. A study committee has spent the last year examining the public health
and safety effects of mining silica sand -- which the oil-and-gas industry uses
in its domestic drilling equipment.
County health director Cheryl Rhoda says the panel's final report is
still being finalized, and will be presented to the county supervisors in
mid-September. Western Wisconsin has
seen a boom in frac-sand mines in recent years.
At one point, Trempealeau County had up to a quarter of the state's
approved operations. There are now
around 115 frac-sand mines throughout the state.
The National Weather Service now
says a weak tornado landed in the Fox Valley earlier this week. Officials said yesterday that a weak twister
came down late Monday afternoon about two miles southeast of Medina in Winnebago
County. Two utility poles were pushed
over, and there was no damage reported to any buildings. Wisconsin has had plenty of hailstorms and
downpours in recent weeks -- but the Weather Service says the cool summer has
kept tornadoes to a minimum. Meteorologist Jeff Last of the Weather Service in Green Bay says his
office has issued only about half the average numbers of warnings this
season. The area has had above-average
rainfalls. Coloma in Waushara County had
a one-point-four-inch downpour yesterday.
Warm and humid conditions are expected through the weekend in the Badger
State. There's a chance of showers and
thunderstorms each day. Highs will be in
the 70's and 80's today and tomorrow. Parts of southwest Wisconsin could get into the 90's on Sunday.
A Michigan man is accused of
breaking into the home of Wausau's police chief, and stealing his pick-up
truck. A Marathon County judge set bond
at 20-thousand dollars yesterday for 39-year-old Jason Warner. He's charged with felony counts of burglary
and vehicle theft, and misdemeanor counts of theft and criminal damage. The break-in was reported Tuesday at Wausau
Police Chief Jeff Hardel's home in the town of Maine. Officials said Warner left another vehicle in
the chief's yard before stealing the truck.
Later that day, officials said Warner left Hardel's vehicle at a truck
stop and got a ride from somebody else. State troopers later got a report that a man was walking along
Interstate-94, and they arrested Warner -- who had been reported as missing and
endangered by his Michigan family. He's
due back in court next Wednesday in Wausau for a preliminary hearing.
The sequel to the 2013 horror
movie "The Purge" is out. The
plot of "The Purge: Anarchy" revolves around a 12-hour period of
lawlessness when criminal acts are legal.
The hoax that first hit
Louisville, Kentucky this past weekend is now hitting Wisconsin. It involves
images promoting The Purge, listing a time and date, as well as a list of
cities, including Milwaukee, Appleton, Green Bay, Fond du Lac and Madison.
A spokesperson at the FBI's
Milwaukee office says they are aware of the hoax, both locally and
nationally. Madison Police Spokesperson
Joel DeSpain says they too are monitoring the situation and hopes it is nothing
more than a hoax.
Other cities have reported no
The Appleton Post-Crescent reports
a high school student admitted to starting the Louisville hoax.
Appleton Police told the
Post-Crescent they are monitoring the situation there and working with other
Wedding Night Beating
A newlywed from Sheboygan is
accused of beating his wife twice on their wedding night. Twenty-six year old Jeffrey Schuette pleaded
innocent this week to two misdemeanor counts of domestic abuse-battery. A 500-dollar bond was ordered, and a
tentative trial date is set for October 8th.
Prosecutors said Schuette insisted on driving his 22-year-old bride to a
hotel even though he was intoxicated. She reportedly said no and got a ride from somebody else. At the hotel, authorities said Schuette hit
his new wife several times in the face after she said he ruined her wedding
night. Officials said he punched the
bride again later while the two were in bed.
Police said one of the bride's eyes was swollen, and her face was numb. She told officers that he was violent toward
her several times in the past -- but she never reported it until now.
Voter I-D Delay
Wisconsin voters will have to wait
awhile to find out if they'll have to show photo I-D's at the polls on November
fourth. Yesterday, the federal appeals
court in Chicago said it would not act on the state's request to restore the
voter I-D law, until after the court hears oral arguments in the case on
September 12th. The state is appealing a
ruling from Federal Judge Lynn Adelman which found the Wisconsin I-D law
unconstitutional. Attorney General J-B
Van Hollen asked the court to at least temporarily put the law back into place
while the appeal is being considered -- thus requiring voters to show I-D's in
the November fourth elections.
State officials are reporting
success in their efforts to stop identity thieves from beating income tax
filers to their refunds. It's a growing
problem nationally. In Wisconsin, the
state Revenue Department began a program earlier this year to verify the
identities of certain taxpayers before their refunds go out. The agency now says the program and other
initiatives stopped just under 50-million dollars in falsely-claimed refunds
from going out during the last fiscal year. That includes almost 18-million dollars in earned income tax credits for
the poor that were fraudulently claimed -- plus another 15-million for
Homestead tax relief for low-income residents.
The figures were announced by the governor's office. It said the revenue agency stopped a total of
134-million dollars in fraudulent refunds and tax adjustments in the past four
years -- up from 60-million the previous four years. The current state budget included almost
seven-and-a-half million dollars for anti-tax fraud enforcement.
West Nile Death
Wisconsin has confirmed its first
human case of the West Nile virus for this summer. State health officials said yesterday the
mosquito-borne virus infected a resident of Ashland County. No other details were disclosed, including
the person's current condition. The
first confirmed case comes about a month later than a year ago. State epidemiologist Diep Hoang Johnson says
a relatively cool summer has kept mosquito populations down. Last year, the Badger State had 16 confirmed
West Nile cases and five probable ones, with two deaths. Those were small numbers compared to 2012,
when a major West Nile infestation in the nation's mid-section caused five
deaths and 44 confirmed human cases in Wisconsin. Health officials say most people who get West
Nile never feel symptoms like fever, headaches, and muscle aches. Johnson tells the Wisconsin Radio Network
that most West Nile infections go unreported unless the symptoms are
serious. Also 20 birds and one horse
have been infected with West Nile this year. The equine case was reported earlier this week.
Fire Kills Cows
Charter School Top
A charter school in Waukesha had
Wisconsin's top score in the A-C-T college entrance exam. Nine students from the Waukesha Engineering
Preparatory Academy average 27-point-one of a possible 36. Whitefish Bay again had the top score among
the state's traditional public high schools, at 26-point-72. A year ago, Whitefish Bay topped the state
results with a slightly lower average of 26. These numbers are well above the statewide average of 22-point-two -- which
was the nation's second-highest score among state administering the A-C-T. Williams Bay High School near Lake Geneva had
the state's third-highest score at 26-point-one. Mequon Homestead was fourth, followed by
Middleton and Waunakee.
Glenn Grothman had his U-S House
primary victory confirmed yesterday. An
official canvass of last Tuesday's ballots had the Campbellsport Republican
winning his Sixth District primary by 219 votes over fellow state Senator Joe
Leibham of Sheboygan. Grothman gained
six votes from the unofficial Election Night returns, and Leibham gained one
vote. About 64-thousand people voted in
what was a four-way G-O-P primary. Grothman's winning margin was about one-third of one-percent, the smallest
for the Wisconsin congressional contest since 1970. The canvass totals gave Grothman
23-thousand-247 votes, and Leibham 23-thousand-28. Leibham says he and his campaign staff will
review the canvass results, then decide whether to seek a recount. For now, Grothman will face Democrat Mark
Harris in November, for the right to replace retiring House Republican Tom
Petri of Fond du Lac. Meanwhile, a
recount begins tomorrow in the 87th Assembly District in northwest
Wisconsin. Michael Bub asked for the
recount, after losing by 17 votes to James Edming for the G-O-P nomination for
the Assembly seat given up by Medford Republican Mary Williams.
Taxpayers in Durand will soon get
to cast their vote on two referendums for school improvements.
On November 4th, the first
question has the school district is asking for $17.5 million.
That money would be used on
renovations at Caddie Woodlawn Elementary School and the Durand Middle and High
In the second question, the school
is asking for $1.5 million to help renovate the football field and track
If the first question is approved
the school district says taxes would increase by $8.75 per month on a $100,000
home, and $1.33 if the second question passes.
Foley Of Marquette
President Obama sent special
operations' troops to Syria this summer to rescue Marquette graduate James
Foley and other hostages -- but they didn't find them. The White House National Security Council
said it never intended to disclose the operation, but they had to confirm it
because a number of media outlets were preparing to report on it. Intelligence agencies thought they identified
a place in Syria where Foley, a U-S freelance journalist, was being held along
with other hostages. Several dozen
forces were dropped by aircraft. They
couldn't find the hostages, and they got into a fire-fight with Islamic State
militants before leaving. Several
militants were killed, but only one American had a minor injury after an
aircraft was hit. The operation was
revealed one day after the Islamic State released a video showing a beheading
of the 40-year-old Foley, with threats to kill a second hostage if Obama did
not call off airstrikes against militants in Iraq. The U-S responded with a new barrage of
airstrikes yesterday -- and it would not rule out a military operation in Syria
to bring those responsible for Foley's death to justice. Foley, a 1996 Marquette grad, will be honored
at a vigil on the Milwaukee campus next Wednesday.
12 Cases Melanoma
At least 12 people were found to
have melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, after they were screened
at last week's Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.
Over 600 people took advantage of screenings arranged by the National
Farm Medicine Center at Marshfield Clinic. Two dozen doctors joined ten farm center staffers and others in
conducting the tests, held at the state's largest farm show near Plover. Outreach specialist Tammy Ellis said the goal
is to make it as easy as possible for farmers to take advantage of the
screenings. She said some farmers had
not been screened for skin cancer since the last two Farm Technology shows in
Marathon County in 2011, and Clark County in 2005. Nationally, health experts say 76-thousand
new melanoma cases will be diagnosed this year -- and about 97-hundred people
will die from the disease.
Minutes To School
Students at Green Bay Preble High
School will stay in class 18 minutes longer this school year, to make up for a
two-week delay in starting the fall term.
A fire at the school this month caused the start of classes to be
delayed from September 2nd to the 15th. State law no longer requires schools to be in session for 180 days, but
they still have mandatory numbers of classroom hours. As a result, Preble says two minutes will be
added to each of nine periods during the day -- and school will be in session
from 7:30 a-m to 3:18 p-m. Also, Preble
students will be in class October 31st while other Green Bay students get the
day off. And they'll have full days
while other city schools get half-days. The recent fire caused smoke damage in the entire school, and fire
damage in the gym. Authorities said it
started when employees did not correctly dispose of rags used to re-surface the
Wisconsin gas prices are at their
lowest since mid-February. The
Triple-"A" says the statewide average is 3.46-a-gallon this morning
for regular unleaded. That's eleven-cents cheaper than a month ago, and
seven-cents less than on this date a year ago. Motorists in neighboring Minnesota are getting an even better deal. They're paying around 3.35, the lowest for an
August in the past decade. Gail
Weinholzer of Minnesota's Triple-"A" says crude oil prices have
stabilized, and the demand for gas has dropped this month. She and other experts predict that fuel
prices will keep falling, as we head into the Labor Day weekend eight days from
A fire killed dozens of cattle and
destroyed a barn in Barron County Monday morning.
A passerby spotted the blaze at
Dave and Tricia Yoder's farm between Almena and Barron around 4:30 a.m. The
Almena fire chief says the barn had already caved in when firefighters arrived.
The chief says 64 cows were
killed, and the barn was destroyed. One firefighter had minor injuries. The
cause is still being investigated, but is not considered to be suspicious.
The Mega Millions' jackpot is up
to 180-million dollars for Friday night.
That's after nobody won the top prize last night. No Wisconsin players won the million-dollar
second prize. Game officials did not
immediately release the numbers of Badger State players winning smaller
prizes. In the previous drawing last
Friday night, almost 21-thousand Wisconsinites won prizes ranging from
one-dollar to 500. Last night's numbers were 22, 39, 56, 67, and 71. The Mega Ball was 15, and the Megaplier was
four. Friday's Mega Millions jackpot is
the largest since March 18th, when players from Florida and Maryland split a
400-million-dollar prize. In Powerball,
the top prize is 60-million dollars for tonight.
A Milwaukee County sheriff's
captain is on desk duty, after being arrested for driving drunk in
Minnesota. Police in Red Wing said they
stopped 41-year-old Catherine Trimboli at 2:30 last Sunday morning because her
tail lights were off. Milwaukee sheriff's
officials said Trimboli flashed her badge to the officer, and asked that she be
let go as a "professional courtesy."
Her blood alcohol level was point-14 on a breath test -- almost twice
the legal limit of point-zero-eight. Red
Wing Police released her after she was booked on her first O-W-I offense, and
she faces a criminal misdemeanor charge in Minnesota. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said
asking for a pass aggravated an already-bad situation -- and she'll be dealt
with appropriately if she's convicted.
High A-C-T Scores
Wisconsin continues to have the
nation's second-best scores on the A-C-T college entrance exam. However, the results show that about half of
last year's seniors would struggle to succeed in a first-year college reading,
science, and math course. Wisconsin had
an average composite score of 22-point-two of a possible 36 on the A-C-T. That puts Wisconsin in sole possession of
second-place, after tying with Iowa a year ago. Minnesota continues to have the top scores on the A-C-T, which is the
predominant college entrance exam for Midwest colleges. Schools on both ends of the country mainly
use the S-A-T test. The A-C-T also
released benchmark scores that would give students a 75-percent chance of
getting a "C" or better in college courses, and a 50-percent chance
for a "B." One of every five
Wisconsin high school grads in May failed to reach any of the benchmarks on the
exam. Seventy-five percent met or
surpassed benchmarks in English -- but only around half did the same in
reading, math, and science. However, at
least ten-percent of the students were just a point-or-two short in reading and
science. The numbers of Wisconsin
youngsters taking the A-C-T have grown immensely. Seventy-three percent of the Class-of-2014
took the test, and the state is requiring it for all public high school
students next year.
Vending Beer ForBaseball
The way beer is regulated, you
might think it's impossible to buy it from vending machines. But baseball fans in Minneapolis are doing it
-- and the food vendor for the Milwaukee Brewers wants to offer it, too. Sports-Service Incorporated has filed an
application with Milwaukee's licensing division for the okay to install two
self-service beer vending units in Miller Park.
A city panel will consider the request next month. The idea of course, is to speed up purchases
for baseball fans so they can get back to the action on the field. Fans would go to a cash register, show I-D's,
and then buy cards for certain monetary amounts. Those cards would be scanned at the vending
machines, where buyers could choose the brands and amounts of beer that they
want. Monitors would be at the machines
to double-check I-D's and ban those who look like they've had
one-too-many. The Minnesota Twins were
reportedly the first Major League Baseball team to offer self-service beer, a
couple weeks before they hosted the All-Star Game in mid-July.
West Nile Season
August and September are when we
start seeing humans get the West Nile virus in Wisconsin -- but it hasn't
happened yet. State health officials
report no confirmed human cases this summer, and just one probable case --
which cropped up before the Fourth of July in Saint Croix County. Fifteen birds have come down with the
mosquito-borne West Nile this year. The
state has reported its first case of a horse getting the virus. State Veterinarian Paul McGraw said a
four-and-a-half year old mare became ill in Saint Croix County, and is now
recovering. That agency encourages horse
owners to vaccinate their animals for both West Nile and Eastern Equine
Encephalitis. Officials say West Nile kills about a third of the horses it
infects, while the encephalitis kills 90-percent of affected horses. State agriculture officials also advise
everyone to eliminate places where infected mosquitoes can breed -- like
buckets and old tires. They also suggest
keeping birdbaths clean and outdoor pools chlorinated.
Special Deer Hunt In
A special deer hunt begins in
early October for Wisconsin's disabled residents. The D-N-R is reminding those hunters that the
deadline to sign up is September first. Property owners are allowing the special hunt on 76-thousand acres in 44
counties throughout the Badger State.
Disabled hunters must enroll with a property owner -- and a list of
those owners, plus more information, are available on the D-N-R's Web site
accessible at Wisconsin-Dot-Gov.
Ryan Book Out
Paul Ryan's new book is being
released today. In it, the former vice
presidential candidate from Janesville said the G-O-P is doomed to future
election defeats, unless it can expand its base beyond older white voters. Ryan's book is called "The Way Forward,
Renewing the American Idea." The House
Budget chairman is speculated to be a 2016 White House hopeful -- and a book is
normally what candidates put out a couple years in advance. Governor Scott Walker did the same thing
earlier this year. In calling for more
inclusion, Ryan is following the lead of Republican National Committee chairman
Reince Priebus from Kenosha -- who commissioned a study which reached the same
conclusions. Ryan's book cites his own
previous rhetoric as part of the problem.
He repudiated his previous claim that America is made up of "makers
and takers" -- the takers being those who get more from the government
than they put in. Ryan said a
constituent called him on it at the Rock County Fair, asking if a taker is the
person who lost a job and is on unemployment -- or a veteran who served in Iraq
and now gets his care through the V-A.
Ryan's book also discloses that his father had an alcohol problem before
Jet Ski Explodes
On Sunday, August 17th 2014, at
approximately 2:29 p.m., the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a
Jet Ski accident with injury on the Saint Croix River. A Jet Ski operated by
Scott D. Czaplewski, 50 years old from Eagan, Minnesota was traveling
northbound on the Saint Croix River when his Jet Ski started malfunctioning.
Czaplewski re-fueled the Jet Ski and after attempting to start the machine, the
Jet Ski exploded and propelled Czaplewski and his passenger Nichole Ashley
Montez, 20 years old from S. St. Paul, Minnesota into the air. Czaplewski was
uninjured in the explosion and Montez sustained injuries after she landed.
Montez was transported to River Falls Area Hospital by River Falls Area
Ambulance Service with undetermined injuries. The Pierce County Sheriffs Office
was also assisted by the River Falls Fire Department and the Washington County
Sheriffs Office. This accident is still under investigation by the Pierce
County Sheriff's Office.
Home Sales Lower In
Wisconsin Realtors sold fewer
homes in July than the same month a year ago -- but the average resale prices
kept going up. The Realtors' Association
said today that its members sold 72-hundred existing houses last month -- about
175 fewer homes than in June. The median
selling price was 158-thousand-700 dollars, almost two-and-a-half percent
higher than the previous July. Realtors'
home sales were down four-point-two percent for the first seven months of the
year, while median prices rose by almost three-percent. Steve Lane, who chairs the board of the
Wisconsin Realtors Association, said the market remains solid -- noting that
last year was extremely strong for home sales.
Home sales dropped the most in south central Wisconsin, at
six-and-two-thirds percent -- but the region also had the largest selling price
increase, at just over five-and-a-half percent. Association C-E-O Mike Theo said Midwest housing markets do not tend to
"overheat" like other parts of the nation -- and therefore prices
remain "on a more even keel."
Share Bucket List
Want to share your bucket
list? A Wausau-based funeral home chain
is giving folks in central Wisconsin the chance to share what they want to do
before they pass on. The
Peterson-Kraemer Funeral Home has a customized trailer with chalkboards on its
sides. It travels between five central
Wisconsin communities, giving folks a chance to write down their bucket
lists. It was inspired by an
international movement called "Before I Die." Artist Candy Chang was the first to put up a
chalkboard on an abandoned building in New Orleans, and asked everyone to share
their aspirations if they wish. Now,
dozens of countries have more than 525 similar walls. The Wausau Daily Herald says the local
"Before I Die" lists are part of the 100th anniversary of the
Peterson-Kraemer Funeral Home. Some of
the desires include "go to Canada and fly a kite," "visit Paris,"
and "love and be loved completely."
Wheel Tax Comeback
The local "wheel tax" is
making a comeback. At least a couple
places in Wisconsin are considering their own tax for each vehicle registered
within their boundaries, to help pay for road maintenance and repairs. The Chippewa County Board discussed the idea
of a wheel tax last week, in part to keep the roads clear of snow. The county highway department in Chippewa
Falls said snow removal is already a half-million dollars over its budget for
this year, due mainly to the long-and-hard winter. Appleton's finance committee endorsed a
20-dollar-a-year wheel tax last week, and it goes to the Common Council. The Appleton tax would not apply to larger
trucks and semis -- and it would partially eliminate special assessments for
major street work. The cities of
Milwaukee, Janesville, and Beloit collect annual wheel taxes, along with Saint
Croix County. They cost an average of
20-dollars per car.
The University of
Wisconsin-Stevens Point plans to go tobacco-free this month.
Starting Aug. 25, no one will be
allowed to use tobacco on campus property, including parking lots and
sidewalks. UW-Stevens Point health officials say they want to encourage
healthier lifestyles. They say they'll help students quit using tobacco, including
counseling, free or reduced-cost nicotine replacement products such as nicotine
gum and prescription medication.
Tobacco use will be allowed in a
designated area at Treehaven, a UW-Stevens Point natural resources research
facility in Tomahawk, until the fall 2015. University officials say they
created the phase-in period to give organizations that rent the center ample
notice of the ban.
The university says more than 700
college campuses across the United States have banned tobacco.
Teacher Pay Issue
More Wisconsin public school
teachers will be paid according to their performance this fall. That's the apparent result of a new statewide
teacher evaluation system which takes effect in the coming school year -- plus
the near-elimination of collective bargaining as the state's Act-10 begins its
fourth year. Wauwatosa was among the
school districts approving the move toward the type of performance incentives
often seen in the private sector. The
Journal Sentinel says compensation in the 'Tosa schools will now be based on
the leadership roles teachers take, the levels of their professional
development, and incentive bonuses. Also, the district is flattening its pay scale by giving larger pay
raises to less-experienced teachers. Act-10
has caused school districts to be less reliant on previously-negotiated pay
plans that are based on mainly on experience and years of service. A few months ago, it was reported that some
teachers were getting higher salary offers to move to other districts --
something often seen among talented pros in the private sector.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
officials are searching for whoever is shooting federally protected raptors in
A spokeswoman for the service's
Midwest region tells (Wisconsin Rapids) Daily Tribune Media at least one osprey
and one barred owl were shot in Bayfield County in recent weeks. Both species
are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. She says the adult male osprey was shot in
the wing and was eventually euthanized.
Raptor Education Group director
Marge Gibson says an osprey chick jumped from a nest into traffic and died. The
mother's body was later found decomposing nearby. Gibson says orphaned chicks'
options are to starve in the nest or jump.
She says people usually shoot
osprey because they think birds are eating fish that people otherwise would
Wounds To Arm &
Last Thursday at approximately
7:18 p.m., the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a male
requesting an ambulance for “wounds.” The address was 8244N Ochu Road, Town of
Bass Lake. The caller would not give any medical information.
A Sawyer County deputy and
ambulance responded. A female was found inside the residence with gunshot
wounds to her arm and leg. EMS rendered aid and after statements made by the
male on scene, he was arrested and transported to the Sawyer County Jail.
The gunshot victim was transported
to a hospital, where she is in fair condition.
The crime scene was secured and
the incident is being investigated by the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Office, with
assistance from the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigations and State
The investigation is ongoing.
The Mega Millions' jackpot is the
largest since March 18th. It's at
160-million dollars for tomorrow night, after nobody won the top prize on
Friday night and nobody from Wisconsin claimed the one-million-dollar second
prize. The jackpot is the largest since
players in Maryland and Florida split a 400-million dollar Mega Millions' prize
on March 18th. Tomorrow's cash option is
95-million dollars for a single winner who takes the whole prize now instead of
in yearly installments. In Powerball,
the top prize is at 60-million dollars for Wednesday night.
They were not acting. The six people who claimed in a Walker T-V
commercial that they got jobs during the Republican governor's term actually
did so. That was after the Walker camp
refused to identify the workers, and state Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate
called it a "phony" ad while wondering if any the workers' stories
were true. The Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel said it tracked down all four men and two women in Walker's campaign
ad -- and they did indeed found jobs in the Milwaukee region. The individuals, their employers, and public
records were all used to check them out.
Jobs are one of the hot-button issues in the governor's race, as Walker
touts the 100-thousand-plus job created in the past four years while his
challenger Mary Burke cites Wisconsin's slower-than-normal job growth. The paper said the six workers filmed the
commercial at an advertising agency in suburban Milwaukee. The Democratic Party's Tate says he won't
apologize. He said he was glad the six
people in question found jobs -- thousands of Wisconsinites do have share
similar success, including over a-thousand workers who lost their jobs in mass
layoffs in the past month alone.
Animal Matter Discharge
An official with the Wisconsin
Department of Natural Resources had reported four years ago of seeing a tanker
truck discharging animal matter within the Upper Rock River drainage
basin. The D-N-R official described
seeing decomposing animal matter, entrails and thousands of flies going into a
pit. That has resulted in a fine of
27-thousand-500 dollars for an animal food facility in Marshall. There were 14 claims against Bailey Farms,
which turns dead livestock into animal food. More violations were spotted by the D-N-R in 2012 and last year,
including an instance where pollutants ran from a storage facility to the
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