Sections

Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement

High court hearing Act 10 arguments Monday; Assembly mulls 'revenge porn' ban; more state news

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
News New Richmond,Wisconsin 54017 http://www.newrichmond-news.com/sites/all/themes/newrichmondnews_theme/images/social_default_image.png
New Richmond News
715-246-7117 customer support
High court hearing Act 10 arguments Monday; Assembly mulls 'revenge porn' ban; more state news
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Supreme Court was to hear arguments Monday on whether the Act 10 public union bargaining law should apply to local governments and public schools.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The justices will hear arguments about a circuit court ruling 14 months ago. Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled back then that the union was unconstitutional as it applied to the plaintiffs in that case -- Madison Teachers Inc. and a Milwaukee city union.

Colas later clarified that his ruling applied statewide, and he held the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission in contempt-of-court for preparing annual re-certification elections required by public unions. That was a separate ruling which is being appealed by the state.

The state had challenged Colas's larger ruling some time ago. That's the case which is being heard Monday.

Assembly plans busy final week while Senate winds down

MADISON -- Both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature will hold their final meetings of 2013 this week.

The Senate plans to ease up on the most controversial legislation, while the Assembly plans to forge ahead. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he wants to tackle some of the hottest issues now, to avoid the usual log-jam at the end of the two-year session next spring.

Starting Tuesday, the Assembly plans to take up a host of issues that include a modified photo ID law for voting, limits on early absentee voting, and allowing recalls of state elected officials only if they're accused of criminal or ethics violations.

The Senate plans to wait on the voter ID adjustments until the courts determine if the current ID laws are unconstitutional.

The Senate's GOP leadership has also decided not to consider two anti-abortion bills until next year, if at all. The Assembly has passed those bills, which would ban abortion based on the child's gender, exempt religious groups from including contraceptives in their employees' health insurance, and banning abortion coverage for public workers.

The Assembly is expected to vote on a compromise bill passed by the Senate to limit public access to some, but not all, of the land where Gogebic Taconite is working on its proposed iron ore mine.

The lower house will also consider bi-partisan bills to reform the state's mental health system -- including grants to law enforcement teams to respond to people with mental illnesses. The Assembly will also consider a bill banning so-called "revenge porn" -- jilted lovers placing nude or compromising photos of their exes online. The Senate will consider banning employers from prying into employees' social media accounts by asking for their passwords.

Both houses could also act on a proposed constitutional amendment to change the way the Supreme Court names its chief justice.

Programs, remembrances mark Veterans Day

It's Veterans Day -- and while it's a business day for most of us, officials hope we'll take a moment to remember veterans who've preserved our freedoms.

The state was holding two official programs Monday at the Veterans' Homes at King in Waupaca County and Union Grove in Racine County. Also, Marcus Theaters are showing movies about the Honor Flight program. They're free for veterans and military members.

Almost 400,000 veterans live in Wisconsin.

Veterans Affairs Secretary John Scocos says the Badger State is the best for veterans with a host of outreach programs that include job fairs, and efforts to deal with drug and mental health issues. Scocos said his agency is also working with the national VA to combat suicides among veterans.

Scocus tells the Wisconsin Radio Network "We've seen that if we don't reach out to that veteran within the first six months in the issues he or she might have, we'll probably lose that veteran." Scocos also highlighted the veterans' resource center his agency opened a year ago. It has handled 8,000 calls, plus interactive chats as part of the state's efforts to remain in touch with vets.

The state saluted them this past weekend. Events included a program Sunday in Chippewa Falls, a female veterans' expo in Janesville on Saturday, and a State Capitol observance Friday in which the Vietnam War was given a special remembrance.

Snow, chill typify the weather this week

Folks in much of central and southern Wisconsin are seeing their first measurable snow of the fall.

The National Weather Service said a strong cold front was moving through northern Wisconsin this morning, with rain ahead of the front and snow behind it. Forecasters predicted slippery roads in many areas for at least the morning commute.

La Crosse had just under three-quarters of an inch by 7:30 a.m. Parts of far southwest Wisconsin were expecting up to an inch. Folks in the north have had several light snows this fall. A couple inches were expected Monday in the Lake Superior Snow Belt, with an inch in north central and far northeast Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, the Weather Service says parts of the west and northwest can expect their coldest temperatures of the season Monday evening, with temperatures in the single-digits and teens, and wind-chills around zero through the night.

The Weather Service says we'll have highs in the 20's Tuesday, which are normal for mid-December -- but the cold snap will be short, and more normal readings in the 30's and 40's are expected by the end of the week.

One 'cyclist killed, second injured near Kenosha

KENOSHA --One motorcyclist was killed and another was critically injured in a pair of Kenosha County crashes that happened within 30 minutes of each other during the weekend.

The first accident occurred Saturday afternoon in the town of Randall. Authorities said four bikers were riding together when a gust of wind caused 51-year-old Joseph Fox of Bristol to veer out of control. He fell from his cycle, struck his head on the roadway, and died later at a Burlington hospital.

The other crash happened about a half-hour later in the Kenosha County town of Brighton. A man lost control of his bike on a curve, was thrown from the unit, and hit his head. He was in critical condition at last word.

Sheriff's officials said neither Fox nor the other injured biker were wearing helmets.

Skydivers offer up video proceeds to buy new airplanes

SUPERIOR -- Nine skydivers who survived after their two planes collided in Superior are selling their video, to try and save the company that provided the aircraft.

Five of the skydivers had cameras on their helmets which showed the dramatic collision on Nov. 2nd. Skydiver Barry Sinex came up with the idea of selling the video to media outlets, to try and raise $150,000 to keep the firm of Skydive Superior in business -- and to maintain their landing zone at Superior's airport.

NBC bought exclusive access for two weeks. One media report said the network paid $100,000, although Mark Androsky of Skydive Superior told the Duluth News-Tribune the exact amount is still being negotiated. Other outlets can buy the footage after that.

Androsky said the skydivers are customers of his, and the video is theirs but he's grateful they're giving the proceeds to his company.

Skydive Superior had liability insurance on its two planes -- but they did not insure the aircraft themselves because the company couldn't afford it.

Androsky said it would cost about $150,000 to fix the aircraft, and $10,000 per plane to insure them.

PCB clean-up project uncovers some maritime history

GREEN BAY -- The long-running effort to dredge polychlorinated biphenyls from the Fox River has turned up some maritime history in northeast Wisconsin.

Five sunken tugboats and barges were discovered behind the Tetra Tech facility in Green Bay. The company has contracted with J.F. Brennan for the PCB clean-up project -- and because the area is nominated for the National Register of Historic Places, it needed federal approval to move the boats.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported several state-and-federal agencies were involved. Tetra Tech said the barges and tugboats either sank or were abandoned years ago, because they couldn't be used anymore.

A maritime archaeological firm found that at least one vessel was so badly deteriorated, it could not be identified as either a vessel or a dock. Tetra Tech proposed saving the more recognizable parts, and making a display of them at Green Bay's Neville Public Museum.

Government officials have approved it. Dredging work will end soon for the season and then Brennan will start bringing up the sunken ships.

Apartment fire injures 3, displaces 20 near UW-M

MADISON -- Authorities in Madison are trying to determine the cause of a fire that displaced around 20 U-W students.

It happened at the Casa Blanca Apartments on Madison's University Avenue. Three people were injured. Two fire-fighters were treated at a hospital and later released, while a third person who's not a U-W student remained hospitalized in an undisclosed condition at last word.

Media reports said two people were trapped on the top floor of the three-story building and firefighters rescued them.

Fire Chief Steve Davis said it appeared that the blaze originated in the kitchen area of a first floor apartment, but an investigation is ongoing.

U-W Madison Dean of Students Lori Berquam said her campus would offer resources and support to those affected and she was thankful for the city agencies and tenants' friends for keeping them safe.

Elderly man killed in tree-cutting accident

WHITELAW -- A 73-year-old man died after a weekend tree-cutting accident in Manitowoc County.

Coroner Curtis Green said the man, who's from Whitelaw, was cutting down a tree in the town of Franklin when the mishap occurred. He died later at a hospital. Autopsy results were expected to be released later Monday.

The victim's name and other details of the accident are not being released.

--Damon Ryan, WOMT, Manitowoc

Planned vigil for missing teen becomes celebration

About two dozen people gathered at a church in Waukesha County last night, to celebrate the return of a missing 15-year-old girl.

Great Mission Church in Wales had planned the event as a vigil, to pray for the safe return of Kathryn Stalbaum of the town of Genesee. She turned up safe and sound in Chicago on Friday, where a TV station said the girl flagged down a police officer and asked for help.

Stalbaum was missing since Tuesday, after she missed a school bus and then texted a friend to say she would ride her bike to Kettle Moraine High School. She never made it there, and her bike was found abandoned in Waukesha.

Authorities have not said why the girl disappeared, or how she ended up in Chicago. Family friend Pallin Allen said many questions remain, and the parents chose not to go to the media because "This needs to be about Kathryn."

Church Pastor Jay Cavaiani said it doesn't matter what happened and "We're just glad she's safe."

WDNR seeks volunteers to help monitor wolves

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is looking for volunteers to help find wolves and other carnivores this winter.

The state has been monitoring the animals since 1995. Last year, about 150 volunteers surveyed about 8,000 miles of roads.

The volunteers look for tracks as they drive slowly on isolated roads. They also use snowmobiles, cross-country skis, and snow shoes. The new volunteers will need to attend tracking and wolf ecology classes.

For more information visit http://dnr.wi.gov

Lanky teenager finalist for 'Country Showdown'

MILTON -- A Wisconsin high school senior is one of five finalists in a national country music contest.

Seventeen-year-old Zach Molitor of Milton beat out 50,000 other hopefuls for a chance to win the Texaco Country Showdown.

The event has helped more than a few country superstars launch their careers -- like Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, and Martina McBride. The finals are set for Jan. 16th at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the home of the Grand Ole Opry. The winner gets $100,000 and a recording contract for an album.

At 6-foot, 4-inches tall, Molitor is a lean country performer who goes by the name Zac "The Mule" Matthews.

Over the past three months, he won a local competition at the Rock County fair -- as well as a state contest and one of five regional competitions in Walker, Minn. with songs he wrote himself.

Milton is located about 15 miles northeast of Janesville.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement