Wisconsin Roundup: Vinehout runs again for Governor, but will leave Senate seat; and more state news
ALMA, WI — State Senate Democrat Kathleen Vinehout of Alma will try again to win the governor's office next year. She announced her candidacy Monday, saying she would "turn the state's priorities upside down" by changing the state school aid formula, expanding health coverage, and giving free tuition to all technical and two year U-W college students. One report said Vinehout would give up the Senate seat she has held since the start of 2007. She ran and lost in Republican Scott Walker's 2012 recall election — and she was going to run in 2014 before being seriously injured in a traffic crash almost a full year before that contest. Vinehout joins a crowded Democratic field that includes state school Superintendent Tony Evers, businessman Andy Gronik, Assembly Democrat Dana Wachs, and watchdog Mike McCabe.
State Looking For Answers On Early Flu Season
MADISON — Wisconsin health officials are still trying to find out why the flu season has gotten off to an early start. Nineteen cases have been confirmed, eight people have been hospitalized, and state officials say both numbers are four times higher than last year. State influenza surveillance coordinator Tom Haupt says his agency is submitting more samples to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control — but they have not found any kind of a trend. Officials say people should get their annual flu shots as soon as possible. Haupt also says people need to practice good hygiene by covering their coughs, staying home when they don't feel well, and get plenty of rest and liquids.
Walker Names DNR Chief, Administration's Foxconn Pointman
MADISON — Governor Scott Walker has again named a former G-O-P state lawmaker to head the state Department of Natural Resources. The Republican Walker today Monday named Dan Meyer, a former Eagle River mayor and chamber of commerce director, to replace Cathy Stepp who's taking a job with the federal EPA. Meyer represented the Eagle River area in the Assembly for 12 years before stepping down almost five years ago. Walker's office says Meyer "understands the balance between protecting our natural resources and supporting economic prosperity." Also, Walker named deputy chief of staff and former deputy DNR secretary Mark Moroney as a new strategic economic initiatives director for the Administration Department who will help coordinate job creation efforts in a post funded by the state incentives for Foxconn.
Jakubowski's Federal Jury To Start Deliberating
MADISON — A federal court jury in Madison will start deliberating today, Tuesday, in the case of Joseph Jakubowski, the man accused of burglarizing a gun shop and spending 10 days on the run. The 33-year-old Janesville man testified Monday in the first day of the proceeding — and he admitted that he committed the April gun shop burglary, in which 18 weapons and two silencers were stolen from Armageddon Supplies in Janesville. Jakubowski's lawyer also told jurors that his client committed the break in — but he cited a "hole" in the prosecution's case and told jurors to listen for it. Jakubowski is charged with federal counts of stealing firearms in a burglary, and possessing weapons as a convicted felon. He also faces a state trial next month.
Brookfield Police Probe Fatal Crash In Waukesha Chase
WAUKESHA, WI — An investigation continues into a police chase that ended in a fatal crash in Waukesha County. Officials say a 24-year-old Milwaukee man was stopped for speeding late Sunday night at a business intersection near Waukesha. A deputy reported smelling marijuana in the vehicle, and officials say the driver took off and the chase ensued. The driver crashed the car near another intersection, and he died despite life-saving measures being performed. The victim's name was not immediately released — Brookfield Police are doing an independent investigation — and the two deputies in the chase are on paid administrative leave.
UW Study: Voter ID Law Kept Thousands Home In Election
MADISON — A study from UW Madison concludes that up to 23,000 people in Dane and Milwaukee counties did not vote last November because of the state's voter ID law. The Dane County clerk's office in Madison funded the study — in which almost 300 people returned questionnaires and 7 percent said they believed they did not have the types of IDs necessary. UW political scientist Ken Mayer used the data to estimate that 17,000 to 23,000 voters in two of the state's most Democratic counties thought they didn't have the IDs to comply with the law that Republicans passed in 2011. The study says blacks and the poor were affected the most, and Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson said he's "furious to see that Jim Crow laws are alive and well." The governor's office says the ID law has protected the "integrity of the voting process."
Police: Foul Play Ruled Out For Fire That Killed Two Kids
MILWAUKEE — Foul play has been ruled out in a weekend apartment fire that killed two young children in Milwaukee. That's what police said Monday, when they identified the victims as 2-year-old Stephanie Robinson and her 4-year-old brother Romeo. Their father, Steve Robinson, was still hospitalized Monday with injuries from the fire. The flames destroyed one apartment and damaged a second, and investigators are still trying to figure out what caused it. The children's maternal grandmother, Lourdes DeLeon, tells the Journal Sentinel that a grease or oil container was kept on a stove — and it might have caused the flames to spread.
White House Officials Pick Wisconsin Christmas Tree
SHAWANO, WI — White House staffers came to Shawano on Monday to pick what will become the official Christmas tree of the presidential mansion. White House grounds superintendent Dale Haney and chief usher Timothy Harleth chose the nearly 20-feet-tall balsam fir from Hanauer's Tree Farms. Jim, Diane, and David Chapman of Endeavor in Marquette County will present the tree to First Lady Melania Trump on Nov. 20. That's the prize for winning the National Christmas Tree Contest, but the Chapmans don't grow trees as tall as what the White House requires — so the family worked with Hanauer's to provide one of theirs.
State Lawmakers Talk Tough On Twitter About Pack Sitdown
MADISON — Wisconsin legislators talk tough about Sunday's response to the president's call that NFL players be fired if they protest during the national anthem. Most Packers locked arms and three players sat as the anthem was played at Lambeau Field — and Gannett's USA Today Network surfed the lawmakers' Twitter feeds on this day after. Assembly Republican Jesse Kremer of Kewaskum says he never came back to baseball after the 1990s strike that canceled the World Series — and he's ready to shut the Packers off, too. GOP Representative Ron Tussler of the Appleton area called the anthem controversy a "convenient distraction" from the NFL's "domestic violence and concussion problems." But Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Dana Wachs called the Packers' protest a "show of solidarity against prejudice and our divisive president." And Milwaukee state Assembly Democrat David Bowen said performers have a "real important role supporting justice."
Fond du Lac Murder Victim Identified
FOND DU LAC, WI — Fond du Lac Police said today Monday that a 30-year-old man found dead in a vacant parking lot appeared to be murdered. Officials say the body of Logan Foster of Fond du Lac was found with apparent injuries in a lot across from the Press Box Tavern early Saturday. No one is in custody, and police say they're looking for information from those at or near the tavern late Friday or early Saturday.