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Sentencing repeat drunk drivers is a challenge, say local judges, partly because they can't be sure which penalty will work and partly because they'd like to use some alternatives sooner. "For the most part, you're making a lot of these decisions, and there's no way of knowing if you're making the right one," said Robert Wing, who has been Pierce County judge for 24 years. Wing knows the anguish of sentencing a drunk driver responsible for taking a life. With the family of the victim on one side of the courtroom and family and friends of the offender on the other, the atmosphere is emotiona
In a decision released Dec. 23, a Wisconsin Court of Appeals agreed that a Minnesota company has no obligation to pay a Minnesota worker's compensation claim under a policy issued to a Hudson company. The District III Court of Appeals ruling affirms a decision by Judge Eric Lundell in a case brought by Wayne and Dianna Brown, doing business as Sky High Crane Rental, 1214 N.
Most St. Croix County administrators and managers won't get a salary raise in 2009. Instead 157 of them will each get a flat $520 lump sum. The 2008 salary grid will carry over to 2009. The lump sum payment will go to those who are at step 7, the top of their pay grade. The 21 employees who aren't at the top of their pay grades, will get their scheduled step increase. As finance committee members struggled to prepare a balanced 2009 budget and asked departments to look for every spending cut they could find, the issue of pay increases came up.
Two young teams with frail confidence levels met when the New Richmond girls basketball team traveled to Somerset last Tuesday. Both teams had lost two straight games and were in desperate need of some good news. Somerset got its good news, while the New Richmond girls saw their performance drop far below what they'd shown in their first two games of the season. Somerset won last Tuesday's game by a 64-20 score. The game was competitive through the first quarter. Somerset led 11-5 after a quarter, but New Richmond may have had more close-range shots in the opening quarter.
It's too late to pursue legal action for possible faulty design or careless workmanship that may have led to water damage in the walls of the St. Croix County Government Center. Instead Finance Committee members agreed last week to follow a gentler course and ask the design and construction companies to help fix the damage.
St. Croix County Board minutes will be printed only in the two newspapers with the largest circulations in the county, according to action taken by the county's Finance Committee Dec.
The St. Croix County Board has adopted a 2009 budget, but while the tax levy can't change, supervisors were put on notice that at least one department will try to get more money. Property tax levy limits mandated by the state will result in a mill rate of $3.051 per $1,000 of valuation. That means an owner of a $200,000 house will pay a county tax of about 40 cents more than the owner of a house valued at $200,000 paid this year. The total property tax levy will be $26.2 million, an increase of $956,777 over this year.
Contractors preparing to replace the roof on the St. Croix County Government Center got a nasty surprise -- the walls are deteriorating too. If the problems continue around the building, repair costs could be about $750,000, guessed Facilities Manager Art Tobin. An engineer who examined the building said the leaking may be due to improper design or to poor workmanship.
St. Croix residents voted nearly 2-1 to continue using tax dollars to support the county-owned nursing home, but County Board members are divided on exactly what that vote means. The tally last week was 27,425 to 14,765 in favor of operating the nursing home using property tax money. The 2009 budget calls for tax levy support of $1 million. The question carried with at least 57 percent of the vote in every municipality, said Administrative Coordinator Chuck Whiting. Highest rates of "yes" votes were in the New Richmond area and the northern tier of towns.
Fifty-two workers at Andersen Corporation's Menomonie assembly plant were told today their jobs have been eliminated and were sent home. The plant currently had 245 employees and had a workforce of about 275 at its peak. The jobs that were cut were production workers and office support staff. "We've taken the cuts we need to take for now, based on what we know," said Maureen McDonough, Andersen's director of corporate communications.