Afternoon State News Briefs: Three state cheesemakers to expand plants
Three Wisconsin cheese makers are expanding. Wisconsin is the nation's top cheese producer. The Badger State has about 135 cheese plants - about 15 more than a decade ago.
Emmi Roth USA has announced plans to build a $44-million-dollar facility in Platteville. It's expected to open next year and will hire up to 60 people to create specialty cheeses. In central Wisconsin, Holland's Family Cheese says it will build a new plant at Thorp in Clark County. It's expected to be three times bigger than its current plant, and will add around 10 jobs. And Bel-Gioioso Cheese of Green Bay is building a plant in nearby Pulaski. It will be the company's sixth plant in that area. Each specializes in a different type of cheese.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker returned to the campaign trail today, kicking off a statewide tour at a farm just north of Madison. Walker faces a recall election, including a primary May 5th. The Republican told about 50 supporters earlier today the state is headed in the right direction. Walker was joined by Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, also the target of a recall election. The governor will make campaign appearances in La Crosse, Eau Claire, Mosinee, Green Bay and Milwaukee.
All four Democratic candidates in the governor's recall election filed their nomination papers by noon today, hours before the 5 p.m. filing deadline. Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said she submitted four-thousand nominating signatures - twice as many as required, and the maximum number allowed by law. State Senator Kathleen Vinehout of Alma marched from the Capitol to the Government Accountability Board offices with a box of 3,300 signatures. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was joined by former Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton in filing his papers. Lawton said she's endorsing Barrett. And Secretary-of-State Douglas La Follette said he filed more than 2,000 signatures he needs to get on the ballot. All four, along with a fake Democrat, will square off in the May eighth primary. Republicans put up fake Democrats to assure primaries in all races, to guarantee that all the general elections will take place on June fifth. The Republican targets are automatically on the ballot - including Walker, who campaigned around the state along with Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. Four GOP senators have also been targeted. The governor said he had no preference in who he'll face in June.
The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is offering people living in the county a chance to dispose of unwanted household hazardous waste. A drive-thru collection will be offered Friday and Saturday at State Fair Park. Stuff like anti-freeze, brake fluid, driveway sealer, paint thinner and varnish, cleaning solvents, batteries, swimming pool chemicals and weed killers will be accepted. A district contractor calling itself the Dukes of Hazardous Waste will also take glues, gasoline, gas-oil mixtures, pesticides and turpentine during the two days.
Home building will be on the rise this year in Wisconsin's largest metro areas. According to MTD Marketing Services, building permits for new one-and-two-family houses grew by almost nine-percent in the first three months of this year. Local governments issued 567 home-building permits in Greater Milwaukee, Racine-Kenosha, Dane County, the Fox Valley, and the Green Bay-Door County area. That's up from 521 in the first three months of 2011. Permits rose almost four-percent in March compared to the same time a year ago. Dominic Collar of MTD Marketing said activity was up in most areas in March, and more builders were putting up structure on speculation that they'll be sold. But construction activity is still a fraction of what it was before the Great Recession. Building permits for January-through-March were only a third of what they were during the same period in 2006.
The provost at UW-Stout is one of three finalists to become the new chancellor at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. Julie Furst-Bowe was one of 37 original candidates to replace Vaughn Vandegrift, who's retiring. Besides being the provost at Stout, Furst-Bowe is also a vice-chancellor for academic-and-student affairs. The other finalists Carl Stockton, provost and senior vice-president at the University of Houston in Clear Lake - and Raymond Alden, provost and vice-president at Northern Illinois. A search committee will nominate a finalist to SIU president Glenn Poshard - and then the system's board is expected to select the new chancellor next month.
We know that Mitt Romney won the state's GOP presidential primary a week ago. But what we don't know is how much it cost taxpayers to provide security while the candidates campaigned here. The Brown County sheriff's department billed Rick Santorum's campaign 43-hundred dollars for a bomb-sniffing dog and several officers who worked during Santorum's visit to a Green Bay area restaurant. And several Green Bay area law enforcement agencies say they're preparing bills for appearances by Newt Gingrich and Romney. But officials say they're not holding their breaths are getting paid. And Ashwaubenon Public Safety Commander Kris VerVaren tells the Green Bay Press-Gazette it's not even worth the effort to collect - so this time, they didn't even try. Sheriff John Gossage says the best chance of being paid is for an event that's strictly a fund-raiser. But the candidates' pre-primary appearances were in search of votes, and not necessarily dollars. Santorum made over 20 appearances in the southern two-thirds of Wisconsin over a week-and-a-half before last week's primary. Romney spent five entire days on a path from Madison to Milwaukee to Green Bay. Gingrich appeared a couple times after admitting his campaign was floundering. And Paul showed up for one big student rally at UW-Madison.
A large black bear was killed in Marshfield last night. The 500-pound animal had been spotted numerous times in the city - and police officers shot it around 10 p.m, after being told by the state DNR not to let the bear escape if it appeared it might do so. A resident called police after seeing the animal in a west side neighborhood. Police Chief Gary Jepsen said his officers had exhausted every option they had for trying to snare or trap the bear. Eventually, he said officers had to consider the safety of residents - especially after the bear had stood on its hind quarters and challenged people. Jepsen said the bear was probably not the same one that was trapped by the DNR in Marshfield last month. That animal was caught on March 28th, and was taken to a location away from the city.