Speculation begins on Van Hollen's successor; asbestos found at proposed mine site; more state briefs
Wisconsin's outgoing attorney general says a prosecutor would be his best replacement. J.B. Van Hollen announced Monday that he won't run for a third four-year term next fall.
Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel said he would consider running as a Republican -- and he expects to make an announcement in a couple days. Two Democratic state representatives also said they might also join the contest.
Milwaukee Democrat Jon Richards said he has thought about the attorney general's post for some time -- and he expects to make an announcement soon. Madison Democrat Chris Taylor, a former Planned Parenthood leader, said she's also considering a bid.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel listed other possibilities who have not commented. They include Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, Dane County D.A. Ismael Ozanne, and former state Senate Democrat Jessica King of Oshkosh.
Van Hollen says he hopes the job stays in Republican hands. He was first elected in 2006. He said he achieved his first big campaign promise of eliminating the state's backlog of DNA evidence processed at the state crime labs.
Van Hollen also mentioned crime-fighting efforts to protect children, and the concealed weapons law as some of his other major accomplishments.
Van Hollen says he'll focus on completing his term over the next 15 months, and is not sure what he'll do after that.
Democrat Burke says jobs will be focal point of gubernatorial campaign
Democrat Mary Burke promises to make job creation a focal point of her campaign against Governor Scott Walker next year. The former state commerce secretary and Trek Bicycle executive held her first news conference Monday, after announcing her bid in a YouTube video.
Burke ran the commerce department for two years before the Great Recession hit. Now, she said Wisconsin is recovering a lot more slowly than most other states.
Burke repeatedly pointed out that Wisconsin is the sixth-worst state in projected job growth. She said the state has 84,000 fewer jobs now than it did before the recession when she served under former Gov. Jim Doyle. Burke did not say what she might do to boost the economy if she's elected.
She also made no promises about Walker's signature legislation which virtually ended most public union bargaining. Burke said she believes that collective bargaining is appropriate for public employees, but did not say if she'd try to repeal the law.
The Republican Walker said a few months ago that his campaign message would be the same with any Democrat running against him -- that the opposing party would take Wisconsin back to the days of high taxes, high deficits, and high unemployment.
On Monday, Walker said all those things about Burke. It's not known whether Burke will have a primary opponent. Senate Democrat Kathleen Vinehout of Alma said she'll decide early next year whether she'll run.
Asbestos found in samples at proposed Gogebic mine site
ASHLAND -- Asbestos has been found in a rock sample at the proposed Gogebic Taconite iron ore mine -- and one opposing group says the project should be tabled because of it.
The DNR said Monday that mineral fibers of the cancer-causing asbestos were confirmed by the state's Geological and Natural History Survey. That's after a DNR geologist suspected the carcinogen during a visit to the proposed mine in Ashland- and Iron counties this spring.
Gogebic Taconite has been conducting exploratory work at the site of the four-mile long mine that could cost up to $1.5 billion.
Members of the Penokee Hills Education Project inspected wetlands Monday, and later said the mine should be put off because of the asbestos that was found.
The DNR says the extent of the asbestos is not known yet. State hydrogeologist Larry Lynch says that if Gogebic Taconite applies for the mine, it would have to determine the amounts of the mineral and explain how it would control the spread of airborne emissions.
The company said earlier it did not believe asbestos was at the site, based on exploratory work done by U.S. Steel several decades ago. Gogebic spokesman Bob Seitz says his company will conduct its own studies to determine the extent of the asbestos.
New Amazon distribution hub expected to employ 1,100
KENOSHA -- The Kenosha City Council has paved the way for Amazon-Dot-Com to open a new distribution center. The vote was 13 to nothing late last night to approve a development agreement and use permit for the project -- plus $18.2 million in tax incremental financing for related streets and utilities.
Mayor Keith Bosman says Amazon will hire 1,100 full-time people to distribute a host of merchandise from the Internet giant. About 25-hundred seasonal workers are also expected.
Developers plan to start construction as soon as possible, and open the warehouse by next fall. State assistance is still possible. Officials have not said anything about that publicly.
Detroit Lions president apologizes for Raiola's mouth
The president of the Detroit Lions has apologized for obscenities and offensive remarks that center Dominic Raiola made to the UW Madison marching band at Sunday's Packer game.
A band member wrote on Facebook that he was marching up the field to perform the national anthem when Raiola questioned his sexuality -- and among other things, he shouted obscenities to a trombone player and a female band member later on.
The veteran Raiola tells Fox Sports the story has been blown way out of proportion, and the Lions have more important things to worry about like wins and losses.
Apparently, Raiola's bosses don't agree. Lions' president Tom Lewand promised a full investigation when he called the UW and apologized Monday. Coach Jim Schwartz said he'd also look into it.
Band director Mike Leckrone told WISC TV in Madison that Raiola went beyond the normal razzing that band members get from opposing players -- and the insults got really personal and offensive.
Packers' coach Mike McCarthy said he didn't know what Raiola was thinking -- and he said the Packers love the Badgers, and fans love the UW band when they play at Lambeau.
Marquette County tornado was small, but mighty
A weekend tornado in Marquette County was rated Monday as an "F"-Zero, the weakest classification from the National Weather Service.
The Saturday night storm toppled trees, tore off part of a metal roof, and knocked a tree onto a car and a house.
Weather Service investigators checked the damage, and concluded that the twister was on the ground for seven minutes.
The damage followed a path one-and-three-quarter miles long near Endeavor. The tornado was part of a massive storm system throughout the Midwest last Thursday through Saturday, which also dumped several inches of rain in much of Wisconsin.
All that's gone now, and Wisconsin is enjoying drier-and-warmer weather on the back side of a high pressure system to our east.
Highs will reach the mid 70's over the next couple days, as much as 10 degrees above normal. More rain is expected on Friday, and into the weekend. A cool-down is predicted for Sunday.
Marquette students in 'DC experiencing shut-down first-hand
As Week Two of the federal government shutdown begins Tuesday, 18 Marquette student interns at the university's Les Aspin Center for Government in Washington D.C. are witnessing the excitement first-hand.
The program is structured so they attend classes and spend three days a week volunteering at federal agencies and congressional offices. But three of the 18 interns are out of work right now. The rest are on Capitol Hill taking phone calls and messages from constituents who are sharply divided over the shutdown.
Marquette senior Emily Wright tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel it was a nice to get a break for the first couple days -- but as the shutdown drags on, it's getting more frustrating. Wright fears it will be "stressful and crazy" when the shutdown's over and she goes back to work. She figures it will happen soon.
Wright believes the mid-October deadline for raising the debt ceiling will forge a deal. On Monday, President Obama said he'd be willing to support an increase in the debt limit to avoid a default.
Meanwhile, the shutdown is not the only thing the Marquette students have seen up close. They live about a half-mile from the Naval Yard where a gunman killed 12 people almost a month ago.
Another baby dies from unsafe sleeping with parent
MILWAUKEE -- A 12th baby has died in Milwaukee this year from unsafe sleeping conditions.
The medical examiner's office said a three-month-old girl was sleeping in the same bed as her mother and another youngster, and the infant became unconscious. It happened early Sunday morning at an apartment on Milwaukee's north side.
Firefighters tried reviving the baby, but could not. She was the 12th known infant to die from unsafe sleeping conditions in Milwaukee this year. Advocates urge parents to have their babies sleep alone on their backs in their own cribs.
On Sunday, Milwaukee's religious leaders will create community awareness of the problem during its third annual Safe Sleep Sabbath.
No leads as to who released mink
NEW HOLSTEIN -- The FBI and Calumet County authorities say they have no leads in the release of 2,000 mink from a farm near New Holstein last weekend.
The FBI calls the incident "domestic terrorism," an indication that an animal rights' protest group was responsible.
The Animal Liberation Front, which has pulled off several releases of Wisconsin mink in the past, has not claimed responsibility for the latest incident. The group's Peter Young told WLUK TV in Green Bay that it supports the action. Friends and neighbors scrambled to recover about 1,500 of the 2,000 mink on Saturday from Bonlander Farms near town. Virginia Bonlander says about at least 100 are still missing. Young said there have been at least eight raids on fur farms throughout the U.S. in the last two-and-a-half months -- and more could be on the way.
New Holstein is located about 30 miles southeast of Appleton.
DMV closing centers on Columbus Day
MADISON -- The state Division of Motor Vehicles will close its customer service centers next Monday, Oct. 14th.
Staff members will be tied up with training, and will get updates on their job procedures.
Officials tried to pick a day that affects the general public the least. Next Monday is Columbus Day.
State government offices remain open -- but it's a federal holiday, and officials say the numbers of visitors to the DMV is normally smaller that day.
DMV phone centers will also be closed Monday, as the live voices will be busy with training. The department's automated phone line will remain available -- along with all services on the agency's Web site at www.WisconsinDMV.gov.
Firefighters look to rebuild hall; equipment temporarily replaced
GORDON -- A small northwestern Wisconsin town that was headquarters during a May wildfire is rebuilding its fire hall after it was destroyed by fire last month.
The Gordon Volunteer Fire Department in Douglas County is back in action, using donated fire trucks and equipment, but the 15 volunteer firefighters are missing a large piece of their puzzle, a fire hall.
The fire department has received loaner trucks from Grantsburg and the town of Jackson along with equipment from departments statewide.
The blaze completely destroyed the fire hall, six trucks, and all of the personal protective equipment inside. Douglas County Emergency Management Director Keith Kesler said the support from surrounding communities has been overwhelming.
“As emergency management, we were pleased with how people stepped up with donations in the first 24 hours, and within 48 hours for the fire department to be back in business,” Kesler said in an e-mail statement.
State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, says the insurance company is still evaluating the coverage.
“It is expected there will be a sizable difference between what the insurance will cover, which will be substantial, and the need to raise additional funds in order to make sure they can replace all of the lost equipment and rebuild the facility,” he said.
Jauch hopes that a year from now, Gordon will have a brand new facility.
Gordon has scheduled a town meeting at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the town hall to grant authority to the town board to rebuild the fire hall.
Jauch says they should have the financial calculations done for the town meeting, and the beginning stages of planning should be on the agenda
-- Brad Phenow, Wisconsin Public Radio & Superior Telegram