Afternoon State News Briefs: Drinking water advisory issued for Jackson
JACKSON - Wisconsin officials issued a drinking water advisory this afternoon in the Washington County town of Jackson.
That's where a gasoline pipeline broke two weeks ago, spilling over 50,000 gallons of gasoline and contaminating at least seven water wells. The pipeline company has given bottled water to those residents - and the DNR says all private well-owners in the area should use either bottled water, or a source of water that they know is safe. Homes around the spill are advised to use their well water only for flushing toilets. Houses in the nearby city of Jackson are not affected, because the municipal water system there is safe. Meanwhile, residents can get their questions answered about the gas leak at a meeting tonight. State health and DNR officials will be there, along with officials from the West Shore Pipeline Company. The meeting starts at seven o'clock at the Jackson Area Community Center.
The federal government said today it will not let Enbridge Energy re-start its crude oil pipeline that broke in Adams County, until the line is upgraded or replaced. Just over 50,000 gallons of crude oil leaked out last Friday, after the 24-inch pipeline broke in the town of Grand Marsh. The oil gushed a-thousand-feet into the air and it covered a house, an acre of woods, five acres of farm pasture, and some farm animals. The DNR now says contaminated soil was removed from the pasture, plus oil-covered trees. The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration says Enbridge must submit a plan to re-start the entire pipeline from Superior to Chicago - and it has to conduct special tests and a failure analysis for the section that busted last Friday. In a statement, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called the incident unacceptable. LaHood said he would meet soon with top Enbridge officials - and they'll have to show why they should be allowed to keep operating the line without a major overhaul or replacement. The cause of the leak is not known. Three other adjacent Enbridge oil pipelines continue to operate.
New Democratic state Senate Majority Leader Mark Miller now has copies of the files related to work done while redrawing Wisconsin's political boundaries. Miller had asked the law firm Michael Best & Friedrich to forward the information. He made the request as soon as his Democratic party took control of the Senate earlier this month. The Wisconsin Legislature has the job of using the Census count every 10 years to redrawing political lines. It's called redistricting. Two Assembly districts in the Milwaukee area were redrawn following a federal lawsuit. No other boundaries were changed.
Skipping ahead in a line for a free meal earns a homeless man a beating in Madison. It happened Saturday afternoon in the 100 block of Mifflin Street. The 65-year old man was apparently eager to get something to eat. He jumped in the line ahead of a 72-year old man. Robert Reever wasn't having that, so he jumped back in front of the younger man. Reever then attacked the 65 year old after they got their food. The younger man says he didn't fight back because of the suspect's age. Reever was charged with battery. He's accused of pushing the younger man, causing his head to hit the wall, scratching his face and slapping him.
Some Wisconsin residents are being startled when they see black and yellow wasps, much larger than the normal ones. A University of Wisconsin-Madison entomologist says the wasps are not an exotic invasive species. Cicada killer wasps have recently moved in to the state with the warmer weather. They are active and will defend their nests, but they usually aren't a stinging threat. The males aren't capable of stinging.
The state government is getting $20 back for every dollar it spends to root out fraud in various social service programs. That's according to a new report released today by Governor Scott Walker's task force designed to dig up and eliminate fraud, waste, and abuse. With Walker's blessing, the Health Services Department has set up an Inspector General's office to investigate fraud and other internal concerns. The task force said the savings came from the parameters set up by the health agency's inspector general. The task force report also said the health agency was reviewing the reasons that overtime at its 24-hour facilities had dropped by 18-percent from the past year. Today's report also said community corrections' programs like probation-and-parole had their employee overtime go down by almost 90-percent. And as the administration first reported in May, the task force cited a $2.1 million savings in prison guard overtime. That's after Walker and lawmakers ended what they called past abuses in correctional overtime, as required by union contracts that no longer exist.
A southeast Wisconsin woman has been sentenced to a year in jail for letting her twin babies drown in an overflowing bathtub as she fell asleep. 27-year-old Melody Butt of East Troy was sentenced today in Walworth County. She must also spend 14 years under extended supervision when she leaves jail for good. Butt pleaded guilty to two counts of felony child neglect while causing death. Two misdemeanor neglect counts were dropped in a plea deal. Authorities said she placed her 11-month-old boy-and-girl twins in a bathtub at her home last September 22nd, and then fell asleep in her bedroom. A roommate came home a short time later and found the infants in an overflowing tub - and that's when Butt woke up.