Wisconsin roundup: Senate Foxconn vote begins busy legislative week; comforter protects would-be stabbing victim; 8 more state news stories
MADISON — A busy week begins Tuesday in the Wisconsin Legislature, as the Senate considers the state's incentive package for Foxconn.
The Assembly has approved almost $3 billion in tax breaks and environmental law exemptions to encourage Foxconn to put its first American smartphone and TV screen plant in Racine County with a promise of up to 13,000 jobs. Last week, the Joint Finance Committee added several amendments — including a controversial plan to let Foxconn and its legal opponents bypass the state appellate court and let only the Supreme Court hear appeals.
The Assembly would have to ratify the changes the Senate approves, and that's expected to happen on Thursday. Also, the Assembly will meet Wednesday to act on a new two year state budget that's two and half months overdue.
Quilt becomes shield for college student protecting himself from knife attack
MADISON — A man returning to his dorm at UW-Madison after a weekend at his parents' home escaped injury by using the comforter he was carrying to deflect a knife attack.
Television station WKOW reports that police say the 23-year-old student was carrying some things to his dorm early Monday morning, including a large comforter. Officers say the comforter It likely saved him from serious injury. The victim told police that a mumbling stranger approached him and pulled out a knife. The suspect lunged at the victim, stabbing at him with the blade.
The victim believes he would have been hit in the head or upper torso save for the fact he used the quilt to shield himself from the weapon. The student dropped all of his school supplies and ran to a nearby convenience store to call police. Police arrested 36-year-old Richard L. Wasley for the crime. Wasley is facing charges of reckless endangerment, carrying a concealed weapon, disorderly conduct while armed and bail jumping. The name of the student was not released.
Appleton man injured while car surfing
APPLETON — A 27-year-old Appleton man was taken to the hospital Monday morning after attempting to car surf on a stranger's vehicle.
Appleton Police and Fire was dispatched at 5:50 a.m. to a city street where a man had suffered a a head injury. Television station WBAY reports that a witness told police the man had been riding the hood of the car before ending up in the roadway. He was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police say the man was intoxicated and uncooperative.
The 27-year-old told police while attempting to surf the hood, he was thrown from the car and hit his head on the pavement. The driver was a 33-year-old Menasha man. He told officers he was driving when a man with a skateboard jumped on his car. The driver said he was driving to the police station when the man refused to get off his vehicle. He said the man he did not know jumped from his car.
Watchdog McCabe joins governor's race
MILWAUKEE — Former state government watchdog Mike McCabe is throwing his hat in the ring for Wisconsin governor.
He's in his native Clark County Tuesday to kick off his campaign in a Democratic field that already includes state school Superintendent Tony Evers, Assembly Democrat Dana Wachs, and businessman Andy Gronik. McCabe headed the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign for 15 years until he started Blue Jean Nation in 2015, a group that helps everyday Wisconsinites challenge the political status quo.
McCabe tells reporters that if he can beat Republican Gov. Scott Walker in November, he would push first for a repeal of the Act 10 public union bargaining limits — seek a minimum wage as close to 1$15-an-hour as possible — and try to let all Wisconsinites buy into Badger Care.
Kenosha throws in the towel on Foxconn
KENOSHA — Kenosha is no longer in the running to host Foxconn.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Mayor John Antaramian cannot pursue the giant LCD screen plant without other changes in state laws. Wisconsin's largest outlet obtained a letter from Antaramian, who's a former Democratic state lawmaker, saying Kenosha could not support the development based on what's presently in a state bill for up to $3 billion worth of state incentives.
On Friday, reports surfaced that Foxconn is in final talks with Racine County about locating the $10 billion plant there with up to 13-thousand jobs in the coming years. The Wisconsin Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the state's incentives.
Another guard unit heads to Florida
Another Wisconsin National Guard unit is taking off Tuesday for Florida to help with the relief and cleanup efforts from Hurricane Irma.
Members of the 127th Infantry unit from Appleton are among 2,500 Guard troops called to active duty — which is about one quarter of the state's total, and they'll be in Florida for as long as they're needed. On Monday, about 100 members of the 120th Field Artillery unit left Oconomowoc in "high water trucks" that can maneuver through areas hit with record rainfall and surges from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. This is the first deployments for many in the Oconomowoc unit, and Sgt. Terry Tackes of Sullivan says they're "prepared for anything." Other Guard troops plan to take off Wednesday, and most are expected in Florida by the end of the week.
Minn. agency: Shut down Enbridge pipeline
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's Commerce Department says a crude oil pipeline from Canada to northwest Wisconsin should be shut down.
Enbridge Energy has started replacing its 50-year-old "Line Three" in Alberta and near Superior. But the vast majority of the pipeline is between those two bookends in northern Minnesota — and on Monday, the Gopher State's Commerce agency told the state utilities commission that Enbridge has not proven the need for an updated pipeline and it might be better to shut the old one down.
Commerce officials say the Upper Midwest already has enough crude oil without much ability to refine more, and the long term demand for gas is not likely to increase. Enbridge disagrees, saying the old line is only putting out half its original capacity.
Hoarder charged in shootout with officers
WAUPACA — A hoarder from New London is charged with 11 felonies for a shootout with law enforcement officers last Friday.
A Waupaca County judge set bond at $5 million Monday for 62-year-old James Dax, who's scheduled to continue his initial court appearance one week from Tuesday) Prosecutors say Dax allegedly tried shooting three Waupaca County sheriff's deputies, a county detective, and two city police officers from New London. Officials say Dax was wanted for a domestic violence incident, and a standoff with officers later began.
Deputies say a robot from a bomb unit went into the house but could not find Dax because of all the hoarded items — officers then used tear gas to try and get him out — and officials say Dax fired shots, surrendered, and shot again as one officer was struck and had non-life threatening injuries.
Fitzgerald backs away from U.S. Senate race, supports Vukmir
MADISON — State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he will not run for the U.S. Senate next year.
He's endorsing his GOP Senate colleague Leah Vukmir of Wauwatosa, calling her one of the best leaders Wisconsin has to offer. Fitzgerald also says Vukmir has the "strength and determination" to defeat incumbent Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who's expected to be unopposed in seeking her second six year term in the U.S. Senate. Vukmir and former Marine Kevin Nicholson of Delafield have declared their GOP candidacies for a primary next August — and 2012 candidate Eric Hovde says he'll decide next month whether to jump into the race.
State corn status remains varied
MADISON — A little more of Wisconsin's corn crop is being harvested for animal feed, while the corn that was planted late is still struggling.
Maturity levels are running three to seven days behind schedule, and the Wisconsin Ag Statistics Service says 70 percent of the crop is rated good to excellent — two points below the previous week. The state's other big cash crop, soybeans, are late in turning color — but 77 percent of the beans are good to excellent, two points higher than the week before.
The harvesting of oats for grain is at 93 percent, one week behind the norm — but the state's potato harvest remains ahead of schedule, and it's 40 percent finished. Light and scattered rainfall allowed wet fields to dry last week, but southwest Wisconsin is said to be in need of more rain.