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The state Legislature's Joint Finance Committee has endorsed two major tax increases in Gov. Jim Doyle's state budget. The eight Republicans on the panel were not able to stop the eight Democrats Thursday from voting to double the state transfer fee for home sales. By the same vote, the committee also approved a doubling of the limit on local property tax increases, from 2 percent a year to 4. The home-selling fee would be an extra $300 on a $100,000 property. Republicans say the downturn in the housing market makes this a horrible time to raise the fee.
RED WING, Minn. -- After two days, Nick Johnson of Elmwood leads the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour event on the Mississippi River with 39 pounds, 3 ounces. Richard Franklin of Bemidji, Minn., who caught 30 pounds, 5 ounces on Thursday alone, is second with 39 pounds.
Metro Milwaukee has its first baby bald eagle in more than 100 years. The state Department of Natural Resources confirmed this week that the eaglet was born in Mequon. Owen Boyle, ecologist, watched their nest for more than an hour before two adults fed the baby, and the little head suddenly emerged. The nest was built earlier this year near the top of a white pine tree on private land along Lake Michigan. Meanwhile, another baby bald eagle may be on the way in Waukesha County. Two eagles built a nest near Big Muskego Lake.
It's another day of higher gas prices. WisconsinGasPrices.com said the average price for regular unleaded this morning (Friday) was $3.12, 1.5 cents more than Thursday. Milwaukee's gas prices are averaging $3.24, up 2 cents from the day before. State Rep. Tom Nelson, D-Kaukauna, wants both the state and federal attorneys general to investigate alleged price gouging by the oil companies. Gov. Jim Doyle pushed the issue last year but Nelson says a new anti price-gouging law will make those efforts easier.
A bill to include cell phones and small businesses on the state's do-not-call list has taken a step forward in Madison. A Senate committee voted 3-2 this week to endorse a measure that could almost triple the phone numbers telemarketers would have to stay away from. Right now, the no-call list includes 1.1 million home phones on landlines. But Senate Democrat Jon Erpenbach says many folks only have cell phones these days and the telemarketers are eating up their minutes. Also, there are more violators. So the bill wratches up the penalties from $100 per violation to a maximum of $10,000.
Gov. Jim Doyle has signed a bill that lets adult shoppers get free beer samples. Both houses of the Legislature passed the measure last month. It lets grocery and liquor stores give out beer samples totaling up to six ounces a day. The new law will let breweries promote their specialty products, the same as wineries do now. The free samples can be issued between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., only to those of legal drinking age.
Green Bay's Advisory Committee delayed action Thursday night on a plan to revoke city licenses of businesses that hire illegal immigrants. More than two dozen people testified and only two were in favor. Still, the measure appeared to be heading toward passage when its main sponsor, Paul Fradette, council president, called for further discussion in about two to three weeks. Green Bay's Protection and Welfare Committee will take up the same proposal on Wednesday night. Fradette said he proposed the license revocations to stop what he called "illegal aliens" from moving to Green Bay in the f
EDITOR'S NOTE: Sitting in for Dave Wood today is his wife, Dr. Ruth Wood, an English teacher at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. I'm a teacher of international and multicultural literature, so when Coffee House Press sent three intriguing new books by Asian-American writers, I asked to be a guest columnist. This is a great array: A novel by Japanese-born Yuko Taniguchi, a short story collection by Chinese-born Wang Ping, and a poetry collection by Sun Yung Shin, a Korean adoptee. My favorite of the three is Wang Ping's story collection, "The Last Communist Virgin" ($14.95).
If you're fascinated by post-Edwardian society of the Roaring '20s, if you like Evelyn Waugh, if you enjoy the high jinks of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves. If P.G. Wodehouse is your cup of tea laced with gin, of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey is your idea of a gentleman detective, then you'll probably like "The Bee's Kiss," by Barbara Cleverly (Delta, $13 paper). Cleverly, a recipient of the Golden Dagger Award for fiction, sets her sights on Great Britain eight years after World War I. It was time for the Beautiful People to kick up their heels.
Josephine Bazdell, age 75 of River Falls, died Thursday, April 12, 2007 at the River Falls Area Hospital. A Funeral Service will be held on Monday, April 16, 2007 at 12 noon at the Bakken-Young Funeral Home in River Falls. Visitation will be on Monday from 11-12 noon at the funeral home. Interment will be in the Greenwood Cemetery. Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services of River Falls.