Frigid blast will follow snow; DNA hints another invasive fish swimming into Mississippi; more state news
While Western Wisconsin sits on the weather fence between snow and rain, the National Weather Service is advising to prepare for a major cold snap arriving Thursday.
A low-pressure system is bringing in southerly breezes Wednesday into Wednesday night with highs are expected to be above freezing in all of the Badger State, up to the high-40's in the south. Wisconsin will have at least a few days of much colder weather starting Thursday -- when highs will generally be in the teens-and-20's.
By Saturday morning, overnight lows could drop to beyond 10-below in some places. By Sunday, highs will get a tad warmer in the teens-and-20's.
Meanwhile, a second wave of snow hit northern Wisconsin late Tuesday and Tuesday night. Ashland had 9 inches and Cornucopia, 6.5 inches.
In the first wave of snow, Gordon in Douglas County got 10.5 inches before freezing rain began at mid-morning Tuesday. Central and northeast Wisconsin picked up 3 inches to around a half-foot. Wittenberg got the most, with six-and-a-half inches. Southwest Wisconsin got two inches or less. In La Crosse, the snow was covered with freezing rain overnight.
Black ice was also reported in the north, and drivers were urged to be extremely careful. To see the latest coverage on the storm in the Duluth-Superior area, visit
Police defend use of license plate readers
MILWAUKEE -- Police are defending their use of the controversial license plate readers that some state lawmakers want to limit. Milwaukee is among a number of Wisconsin communities that use the technology, which has been getting more attention due to privacy concerns.
The readers are placed on squad cars, and they record license plates of every vehicle that goes by. The numbers are immediately checked to see if their owners are wanted -- and the plates and the vehicles' locations are immediately put on file.
Last month, three state lawmakers of both parties announced a bill to destroy all license plate photos within 48 hours unless they're needed for criminal investigations. They're still seeking co-sponsors.
The American Civil Liberties' Union says the technology allows the government to track innocent people's movements by recording their driving habits.
A Journal Sentinel reporter learned that his license plates were photographed 42 times by Milwaukee Police from May through November. They've been using the readers since 2008.
Milwaukee police officials said it helped them recover 125 stolen cars in one night, caught an armed robbery suspect after the victim gave a partial license plate number, and caught a criminal who skipped out on a mandatory visit with a probation officer.
Milwaukee's Fire and Police Commission says it will create a more formal policy this month on the use of the readers. The policy would include guidelines on usage and who can see the data.
Cheese production up for second straight month
For the second month in a row, Wisconsin increased its cheese production at a slightly smaller rate than the nation as a whole.
New government figures show that the Badger State pumped out 243.5 million pounds of cheese in October. That's an increase of 2 percent from the previous October -- just below the national increase of 2.1 percent percent.
Wisconsin remains the country's top cheese-maker, but second-place California continues to catch up. The Golden State boosted its cheese output by 5.7 percent -- almost 2.5 times the Wisconsin increase.
California made 194.5 million pounds in October, while the U.S. made a total of 950 million pounds.
Wisconsin's production of Italian cheeses was up 2 percent from the previous year. American and Cheddar production both had decreases.
Snowfall blamed for Tuesday traffic death
WAUSAU -- Tuesday's snowstorms in Wisconsin have claimed at least one life.
Marathon County authorities said one person was killed and another was injured when two vehicles collided northeast of Wausau on County Trunk "K" in the town of Maine.
Sheriff's officials said one vehicle lost control, crossed the center line, and hit another vehicle. It happened around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.
Other details were not immediately released.
Walker campaign aide fired in wake of disparaging 2011 tweets
MADISON -- A Scott Walker campaign aide is the latest to learn that what you say on social media can haunt you -- even years after the fact.
The Republican governor fired Taylor Palmisano Tuesday as his deputy campaign finance director, after she was caught making derogatory comments about Hispanics on Twitter.
She was working in a library in March of 2011 when she referred to a library custodian on Twitter as being "illegal," and she wrote "Turn off your Walkman." In January of 2011, Palmisano tweeted that "Nobody speaks English" on a bus she was riding after she watched the Wisconsin Badgers play in the Rose Bowl.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel caught wind if the tweets, and asked the governor's campaign about them.
A Walker campaign spokesman later said that both the governor and his camp "condemn these insulting remarks." Palmisano released a statement in which she apologized, and regretted what she called "offensive and irresponsible remarks."
Health insurers signing up more people for Obama-care
MADISON -- Wisconsin health insurers are signing up more people for Obama-care, now that the program's Web site is closer to being fixed.
Milwaukee's Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative helped 140 people sign up over Thanksgiving. That brings the total to almost 880 since the first of October.
Common Ground CEO Bob De Vita said the sign-ups are better than they were, but not where they need to be.
An estimated 100,000 Wisconsinites are being forced to sign up for Obama-care, since they're losing Badger Care or the state's high-risk insurance that's being phased out.
The Obama-care computer delays are why Gov. Scott Walker proposed a delay in the dropping of state coverage for three months until the end of March.
The Assembly is scheduled to vote on that Wednesday.
The WPS Arise Health Plan picked up 152 new applicants in the past for the coverage offered in the federal exchange. Still, Arise has only has 436 applicants since the sign-ups began Oct. 1. National media reports say Healthcare.gov is working much better, but there are still problems -- including crashes caused by those just hearing the news about the site's improvements.
Skills contest helps students acquaint with welding jobs
Welders are in short supply in Wisconsin -- and a Wausau area company is getting high school students acquainted with the field by holding a skills contest.
Schuette Metals of Rothschild is working to attract interest from at least 100 students at each Wausau area high school, by having them practice welding with a virtual-reality simulator. Holly Peterson of Schuette Metals says the young welders -- both boys and girls -- are very competitive.
The two highest scorers at each school will attend a welding academy at the plant, and the top scorers there will be recognized along with their high schools.
Wausau West technology education instructor Theran Peterson says it helps show students that today's workforce needs more than a high school diploma -- and they'll need post-secondary training to get jobs in welding and manufacturing.
Peterson says his school has a great relationship with Wausau's North-central Technical College.
On Wednesday, job training efforts at all 16 Wisconsin technical colleges will be recognized, when U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is due to appear at Gateway Technical College at Sturtevant in Racine County.
-- Larry Lee, WSAU, Wausau
Former teacher's aide is charged with abusing 17-year-old student
APPLETON -- A former teacher's aide in Appleton is free on a signature bond, after being accused of sexually assaulting a student.
Laura Bates, 44, of Hilbert made her first appearance in Calumet County Circuit Court Tuesday on four felony charges of sexual assault by a school staffer.
Authorities said Bates had a relationship with a 17-year-old boy, and it turned sexual last month at her home. She told authorities she loved the youngster.
Bates was a teacher's aide at Appleton West High School for three years until Monday, when she quit after police questioned her.
She did not have an attorney in court Tuesday, and her initial appearance was adjourned until Dec. 30th.
Overall deer kill down 7 percent MADISON -- Wisconsin hunters shot 7 percent fewer deer than a year ago in the nine-day gun season that ended last Sunday.
The D-N-R released preliminary numbers Tuesday, showing that 226, 582 deer were taken. That's down from about 244,000 last November.
Fifteen percent fewer bucks were shot this year. The antlerless harvest was about the same as in 2012, even though quotas for does were reduced in the north to boost the deer population in that region.
Cold weather hampered the opening weekend, when most of the hunting takes place. It got down to 11-below in northwest Wisconsin on the first Sunday of the season.
In a DNR survey, hunters said the weather the worst they had seen in the five years the agency has been asking about hunter trends.
On Monday, the DNR reported a safer gun season than most, with eight shooting-related incidents statewide. No hunters were shot to death, but at least two collapsed while in the woods.
Woman due in court after allegedly murdering, burying husband
FOND DU LAC -- A Fond du Lac woman is due in court Wednesday, after being charged with killing and burying the husband she reported missing just over a month ago.
Eve Nance, 37, was charged Tuesday with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse.
She's accused of shooting her 37-year-old husband Timothy Nance, whose body was found on Thanksgiving in a wooded area near Milwaukee.
Prosecutors said he had several affairs during their marriage. Eve reported her husband missing on Nov. 1.
Fond du Lac Police said they considered it to be a missing persons' case until they started looking at other explanations.
According to police and prosecutors, Eve Nance first claimed she was in a scuffle with her husband when a gun went off.
It was only later when she reportedly admitted shooting him twice in the head, dumping his body 60 miles away, and tossing out other evidence at various places in southeast Wisconsin. One of Nance's relatives was also arrested, but she was freed after Eve Nance reportedly admitted acting alone. She's jailed under a $100,000 bond.
DNA evidence hints invasive Eurasian Ruffe moving into Lake Michigan and the Mississippi
Another invasive fish could soon start to make inroads on Wisconsin's eastern and western borders.
Scientist Lindsay Chadderton of the Nature Conservancy said Tuesday that DNA evidence from the carp-like Eurasian Ruffe was spotted for the first time in southern Lake Michigan.
It raises new concerns that the fish could migrate into the Mississippi River watershed, joining the invasive Asian carp in taking away the food that native fish eat.
Chadderton said researchers tested the Great Lakes in July, and DNA from the Eurasian Ruffe was found in two samples taken at Chicago's Calumet Harbor.
No ruffe were actually found, but Chadderton suggests that state and federal agencies take the DNA presence seriously and increase monitoring.
The Army Corps of Engineers says the Eurasian Ruffe is one of 29 species most likely to eventually migrate between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi.
Wisconsin is among the states that have tried, and failed, to close a water link in Illinois between the two systems.
Top Michigan GOP official misses Wisconsin court hearing
A top Republican official in Michigan missed a court hearing on Wisconsin criminal charges Tuesday, because he was in jail in Michigan on other charges.
Doug Sedenquist, 51, of Escanaba was arrested last week. The Michigan GOP Central Committee member was later charged with extortion, using a computer in a crime, stalking, and possessing a drug similar to a controlled substance. Details of those crimes were not immediately available.
On Tuesday, Sedenquist was supposed to appear in Brown County Circuit Court in Green Bay, where he was charged in March for not obeying a police order to drop a gun when he apparently threatened to kill himself in his vehicle. He's charged in Brown County with failing to obey a police order, disorderly conduct, and making a threat with a computer. Online court records do not list a new court date in that case.
The Detroit Free Press said all the charges are connected in some way to Sedenquist's estranged wife.
He was the vice chairman of the Delta County Republican Party in Escanaba, and he continues to hold his state committee post for now. His status could be discussed at the panel's next meeting Dec. 14th.
Sedenquist is also a talk radio personality.