Mayor's group begs state for pothole help; New 'Alice' named, 9 more state stories
MADISON -- Wisconsin lawmakers are being asked again for emergency funding to fix the larger number of potholes created during the rough winter.
The Urban Alliance and its president, Racine Mayor John Dickert, said many communities are struggling to keep up with needed repairs and his own crews are "absolutely slammed right now."
The Urban Alliance is a coalition of Wisconsin mayors. Dickert said the group's members estimate it will cost an extra $12 million to fix roads, water mains, and other infra-structure damaged by the extreme cold and deep frost.
Earlier this month, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett made a similar request for state aid on behalf of his city but the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee never took it up a couple days later.Dickert says cities have no choice but to make the repairs and if the state doesn't help, the money would have to come from somewhere else.Last week, Gov. Scott Walker said local communities were already given more state funds that should be used for fixing potholes. He said a 4 percent funding increase for local road repairs was approved in the current state budget that was adopted a year ago. He told Wisconsin Public Radio it was a "pretty substantial increase" from previous years.
Funeral is Monday for soldier slain in Kosovo
KIEL -- An eastern Wisconsin soldier was to be buried Monday, 10 days after she was shot and killed at her Army base in Kosovo.A funeral service at Saint Peter's Church of Christ was planned for 5 p.m.The Pentagon has still not announced the death of Sergeant Heidi Ruh, 33, of rural Kiel.Her family said Ruh spent 11 years in the Army, and she repaired surgical machines in a medical unit.
Walker deflects veteran criticism for refusing pardon, curbing asbestos claims
Gov. Scott Walker has made his support for Wisconsin veterans a big part of his re-election campaign.However, a number of service members are upset that Walker signed a bill they say will hurt their ability to recover damages in court from exposure to cancer-causing asbestos. Also, the Associated Press says a number of veterans remain upset over Walker's reversal of a 2009 law making it easier for job discrimination victims to win damages in state courts.They're also bothered by the governor's refusal to grant a pardon to decorated Iraqi war veteran Eric Pizer, who cannot become a police officer because he has a felony conviction from an old tavern fight.In all cases, Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster said the governor's actions involved larger issues that had nothing with to do with veterans -- like Walker's refusal to grant all pardon requests.She added that not a single veteran filed a lawsuit under the 2009 job discrimination act before it was repealed. Walker himself has said that veterans misinterpreted the asbestos law, saying it was meant to prevent defense lawyers from double-dipping in damage awards.State American Legion Commander Ken Rynes said Walker has done a lot for veterans. Among other things, Walker has spent millions to prop up the state veterans' benefit fund, provided incentives to help former service members start businesses or find jobs, and added staff at veterans' nursing homes.
Federal court will hear arguments on Wisconsin abortion law
MADISON -- A federal court trial is scheduled to begin next Tuesday to decide whether a Wisconsin abortion law is constitutional.Judge William Conley of Madison will determine whether abortion doctors should be required to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.The state's Republican majority approved the law a year ago, saying it would provide consistent care should a woman suffer complications from an abortion. Plaintiffs say it's almost impossible for their abortion doctors to get hospital admitting privileges and therefore, the law would effectively shut down abortion clinics in Appleton and Milwaukee. Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services filed the lawsuit just hours after Gov. Scott Walker signed the law last summer.
Intruder's death at off-duty detective's home under investigation
PLOVER --State and local authorities continue to investigate a weekend shooting death at the home of an off-duty Portage County sheriff's detective.No new information was released Sunday about what happened early Saturday in Plover, south of Stevens Point.Officials said an intruder entered detective Anthony Gischia's home, and a shooting death followed the details of which have not been disclosed.The victim's name was not released. Gischia was not seriously hurt. There was no word on any possible arrests.The state Justice Department is looking into the matter, and a Plover police official expects that agency to release more information Monday.The sheriff's department plans to start its own administrative investigation this week into the incident.Chief Deputy Dan Kontos wrote on Facebook that such investigations take time and it would be improper to say more about the incident right now.-- Raymond Neupert, WSAU, Wausau
Man faces felony charge for killing dachshund
EAU CLAIRE -- an Eau Claire man is due in court next Tuesday after he was accused of killing a dachshund by slitting the dog's throat.Christopher Bong, 18, is charged with a felony count of causing an animal's death by mistreatment, plus two misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and illegally carrying a concealed weapon.The dog was owned by a 15-year-old girl, and prosecutors said her mother apparently wanted the seven-year-old animal dead because it attacked her.Bong was arrested after he showed up at another woman's house May 10th with blood on his hands. Officials said he told the woman he had just killed the dog.The girl told officers that she and the dog had met Bong and he offered to take the pet back to her house, but she never told him to the kill it.
Shooting incident Sunday claims two lives
MILWAUKEE -- Two men were killed and another was wounded in a shooting incident on Milwaukee's north side.Media reports said the three were hit outside of a liquor store around 1:40 p.m. Sunday after a man ran down an alley and shot at cars and people.A 31-year-old man died at the scene and a 49-year-old man died later at a hospital. A 48-year-old man was hospitalized in stable condition at last report.There was no immediate word about a suspect. The shootings occurred at the end of "Cease-Fire Week" in Milwaukee which included a "buy-back" of guns on Saturday.The city gave prepaid cards to people gave up their weapons during a four-hour lineup.Mayor Tom Barrett said over 350 firearms were given up, including four assault-type weapons.
Newly-minted ag grad named new Alice in Dairyland
CURTISS -- Zoey Brooks of Waupaca graduated Saturday from U-W Madison and her first job out of college will be to promote Wisconsin's $59 billion agriculture industry.Brooks was chosen Saturday night as Wisconsin's 67th Alice-in-Dairyland during a banquet in Curtiss.
She was among six finalists who competed for the Alice job at the finals in Clark County.Brooks is part of the sixth generation of her family's dairy and grain farm in Waupaca County. Her UW degree is in animal science.For the next year, Brooks will travel about 40,000 miles for interviews, speaking engagements, and numerous public appearances to promote the state's food products.She has been the Dane County Farm Bureau's Ag in the Classroom coordinator, and was a director at-large for her collegiate Farm Bureau.Brooks also had internships with the U-W Extension and the Export Association of the Midwest. She replaces Kristin Olson as the next Alice-in-Dairyland.-- Mike Warren, WDLB-WOSQ, Marshfield
Family of murdered Purdue student awarded son's posthumous degree
The Purdue University student from West Bend who was murdered in a classroom in January has been given a posthumous degree.Andrew Boldt, 21, was awarded a bachelor of science diploma in electrical engineering Sunday at Purdue's commencement in West Lafayette, Ind.Boldt was serving as a teaching assistant when he was shot and stabbed on Jan. 21st.The alleged killer, fellow Purdue engineering student Cody Cousins, claims he was insane at the time and his attorney said last week he was preparing an insanity defense for a trial.
Johnson Controls joint venture with Yanfeng will raise firm's profile in China
MILWAUKEE -- Wisconsin's largest company will try to get a little smaller, by merging its auto interiors business with a Chinese firm.Johnson Controls of suburban Milwaukee signed a merger agreement Sunday with Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems of Shanghai.Yanfeng will have a 70 percent share of the new company which will make instrument and door panels and a host of other vehicle interior components. Johnson Controls CEO Alex Molinaroli said the move is in line with his company's efforts to scale back its auto interiors business, to put more emphasis on its building controls and hybrid auto battery operations.Molinaroli said Johnson's total sales would be cut by around $3 billion dollars a year but the merger with Yanfeng would still give his firm more of a presence in China.Johnson Controls has 26,000 thousand employees in China, 170,000 worldwide, and 3,200 in Wisconsin, where the firm says there would not be a significant impact from the merger.Yanfeng is affiliated with Japan's largest automaker. It has $7.5 billion in annual sales.
Longtime Journal-Sentinel editor dies
MILWAUKEE -- A former editor of Wisconsin's largest newspaper died yesterday. 92-year-old Richard Leonard worked at the old Milwaukee Journal for 39 years, and was the top editor for 18 years before retiring in the mid-1980's.Under Leonard's watch, the newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes, established an ombudsman for readers, and boosted international coverage by sending the Journal's reporters and photographers to cover the Vietnam War and other foreign assignments.Former editor Sig Gissler said Leonard believed in bringing the world to Wisconsin. Former Milwaukee Sentinel editor Bob Wills said Leonard was good-humored and wanted a newspaper that would be of interest to everyone in Metro Milwaukee.Funeral services are pending.