Wisconsin roundup: Study names Wisconsin among best states for lovers; schools closed, delayed around state; 9 more state news stories
EAST LANSING, Mich. — If you're looking for love, Wisconsin is a great place to find it.
A new study from Michigan State University says Wisconsin, Utah, and Mississippi are essentially tied for first place among the best states to fall in love -- and North Dakota is rated the worst. Researchers Bill Chopik of Michigan State and Matt Motyl of Illinois Chicago reviewed data from 127,000 adults from around the country.
Chopik says the best states for lovers have high marriage rates, relatively few people living by themselves, and weather that's conducive to people getting together. He says the best states are least likely to have people worried that their live partners will leave them -- and those who are cold and distant toward their partners.
Wisconsin schools closed, delayed due to weather
Most schools in Wisconsin are closed Tuesday due to the ice storm in the Badger State.
River Falls and Ellsworth schools were among the districts that decided to shut down for the day. Hudson, New Richmond and St. Croix Central schools were on a two-hour delay due to the weather.
Madison and Milwaukee schools remain open -- but a number of larger districts decided to shut down including Green Bay, Appleton, Eau Claire, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, and Wausau. Some schools plan to open two hours late Tuesday morning -- and U-W Eau Claire is among the schools with that schedule. Wisconsin has been hit with a mix of freezing rain, sleet, snow, and rain since Monday morning. The precipitation is expected to head east by the noon hour.
State Democrats want referendum on medical marijuana
MADISON — Wisconsin Senate Democrats have proposed a bill to allow the medical use of marijuana, as well as non binding statewide referendum to see how residents feel about it.
Sens. Jon Erpenbach of Middleton and Lena Taylor of Milwaukee announced the measure. Conservative Republicans have previously opposed any of use of marijuana, despite evidence it helps relieve intense body pain.
GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos recently said he would be at least open to allowing medicinal marijuana -- but Senate Republican leader Scott Fitzgerald said not "that far" in supporting it, although he wasn't sure what his GOP caucus thinks.
Green Bay-Dallas game draws record TV ratings
Almost one of every seven Americans watched the Green Bay Packers upset Dallas on Sunday.
Nielsen's early ratings show that 48.5 million people watched at least some part of the game -- and the network that carried it, Fox, says the overnight rating of 28.2 was the highest for any NFL second round playoff game shown on any network. It was the most watched TV program of any kind since last year's Super Bowl, and it even outdrew Game 7 of the World Series in which the Chicago Cubs won their first Major League Baseball championship in 108 years.
Hundreds gather for state MLK Day ceremony
MADISON — Poetry, songs and speeches were all a part of Wisconsin's official observance of Martin Luther King Day.
Hundreds attended the 37th annual ceremony on Monday at the State Capitol, where speakers like Jonathan Overby urged the crowd to not only reflect on the impact of the slain civil rights leader -- but to recognize the work that needs to be done in achieving King's goals. The Wisconsin ceremony is the oldest official celebration of King's life in the United States.
Also, UW-Madison held its inaugural King Day ceremony -- where Vice Provost Patrick Sims said King's dream of freedom and justice is in "peril." Sims says small acts can form a "chain of hope" if they're linked together -- and in his words, "Be part of the first link in the chain."
Ryan talks deadly force with police chiefs
JANESVILLE — House Speaker Paul Ryan was briefed by six United States police chiefs on new ways to reduce tense situations without officers using their weapons.
Ryan held a listening session Monday at a hotel in his hometown of Janesville to learn more about a training program from the Police Executive Research Forum. Janesville Police have trained six officers on the new techniques -- and all of its officers will get the training during the next three years.
Forum director Chuck Wexler says it can especially reduce tensions when officers deal with unarmed suspects with mental health issues -- and it could have prevented as many as 400 police shootings in the United State last year alone. Last summer, Ryan started a congressional working group on police/community relations, soon after five officers died in a shooting incident in Dallas.
Teen arrested in school threat
WAUPACA — A 17-year-old student at Waupaca High School faces a possible charge of making a terrorist threat, after being arrested during classes Monday morning.
Police say somebody called Crime Stoppers just after 8 a.m. to report that somebody threatened to "shoot up" a school -- and police say comments were posted on Facebook. All Waupaca schools went into lockdowns until police learned the identity of the suspect and held him for questioning. Police say they'll refer the case to prosecutors for possible charges.
DNR chief: I didn't know during Trump campaign he sought to end EPA
MADISON — The head of Wisconsin's natural resource agency says she didn't know where Donald Trump stood on the environment when she campaigned for him last year.
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp tells the Wisconsin State Journal she was not aware the Republican Trump has called for a dismantling of the federal EPA, and he claims that global warming is a "Chinese hoax." Stepp says she campaigned for Trump because she wanted to see a true businessman make business based decisions for what she calls "the first time at the federal level" -- and says it's not clear how Trump's new administration will affect the DNR.
The outgoing Obama administration is deciding whether to do its own enforcement of the Clean Water Act in Wisconsin after the federal government cited slow progress by the state in protecting water and air. But Stepp says the state could work with from to solve regulatory issues if Washington would stop interfering with what she calls "common sense and good practices."
Priebus to Dems: 'Grow up'
WASHINGTON — Wisconsin's Reince Priebus says President Barack Obama should tell his fellow Democrats to "grow up" and accept that they lost the November election.
Priebus will be the incoming president's chief of staff -- and he says it's "disappointing" and "irresponsible" for Georgia House Democrat and civil rights advocate John Lewis to bring up the legitimacy of a Trump presidency. The Republican Trump responded forcefully on Twitter, and Priebus said on ABC's "This Week" that if people don't like it, "too bad."
A few hours after Priebus made his remarks Sunday, Madison House Democrat Mark Pocan said he would join Lewis and two dozen other congressional Democrats in boycotting Trump's inauguration on Friday. Pocan said he made his decision after reading the classified document on Russia's reported election hacking. And he said it's time for Trump to act like a president and not what he called an "immature, undignified reality star with questionable friends and a Twitter addiction."
Car crashes into Madison condo building
MADISON — Nobody was injured Monday morning when a car slammed into a two-unit condominium building in Madison.
Police were called about 6:15 a.m., and officials say the driver left the scene as the auto remained lodged into the structure. One of the units was vacant, and those living in the other unit were said to be out of town. Firefighters were checking to see how stable the building was at mid morning.
Super Bowl ticket prices plunge after Packers win
HOUSTON — Packer fans dreaming of watching their team in Super Bowl 51 might have gotten a big price break after Green Bay's playoff victory at Dallas.
The cheapest ticket on Stub Hub dropped from $4,200 before Sunday's Packer win to about $3,300 Monday morning. ESPN says Cowboys fans bought lots of tickets, while speculating that their team would make the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Houston -- which is only a four hour drive from Dallas where fans have been hungry to see a team that has not made the pro football championship game since the 1995 season.
Houston ticket broker Patrick Ryan says it may also be cheaper to attend the major parties during the week before the Super Bowl, as fewer fans will be in town. Packers and New England Patriots fans normally have lots of people traveling to road games -- but as ESPN points out, they've had a number of chances to make a Super Bowl trip in recent years.