STATE NEWS ROUNDUP: Calm and cool temperatures in store the next four days
It’s warmer in Wisconsin this morning than it was yesterday – when Tomahawk hit the freezing mark, and a half-dozen cities tied or set new record lows for the date. Eagle River was the state’s only reporting station to be under 40-degrees at four a.m. They were at 39. Milwaukee, La Crosse, Janesville, and Monroe were all at a balmy 59. About this time yesterday, Rhinelander and Merrill set new record lows for the date at 34 degrees. Stevens Point and Antigo set new marks with 36. Appleton and Manitowoc tied previous marks at 45. The National Weather Service said a high-pressure system brought us yesterday’s fall-like temperatures. That system’s moving east today, leaving us with clear to partly cloudy skies and warmer readings. It’s supposed to be in the 70’s today. Forecasters say we’ll be in the more normal 80’s as early as tomorrow and definitely by the weekend. Our next chance of rain is on Monday.
A pilot and his wife escaped injury when their single-engine plane made an emergency landing at a farm field in Muskego. Joel Friedman said he was in the air for 11 minutes when his craft lost power late yesterday afternoon. A chopper from WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee found the plane while the Friedmans were waiting for help to arrive. He said he was hoping to find a smooth field to land in – but it ended up in rough terrain, and he was not immediately sure how he could remove the plane. He landed between the southeast side of Muskego Lake and a busy Loomis Road.
The leaves are not falling just yet, but Wisconsin gas prices continue their normal pre-autumn drop. The state’s Triple-“A” said the average statewide price was almost $3.55-a-gallon this morning for regular unleaded. That’s almost a penny less than yesterday, seven cents cheaper than a week ago, 14-cents less than a month ago, and 36-cents less than at this time in 2012. The Triple-“A” said last year was an exception, when Hurricane Isaac and refinery issues caused a sudden spike in fuel prices. Analysts expect no such issues this year – although the hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico could affect gas prices in late summer and fall.
Two days after filing for bankruptcy, the parent company of Wisconsin’s fourth-largest bank said it lost over twice as much money in the last quarter as it did a year ago. Anchor BanCorp of Madison said it had a net loss of eight-point-nine million dollars from April through June, compared to a three-point-four-million dollar loss in the same quarter of 2012. Earnings dropped by 42-cents a share, compared to a loss of 16-cents the year before. On Monday, Anchor Bank’s parent company said it filed for Chapter-11 bankruptcy to get out from under previous debts, and to put $175 million in newly-raised capital toward new loans. Yesterday, the Wisconsin State Journal said Anchor blamed its bankruptcy filing on Associated Bank of Green Bay – which refused to reduce debt on a loan which Anchor borrowed from that bank and two others in 2008. The other two banks went along with the loan. Associated refused comment on the matter. Anchor Bank repeated yesterday the bank itself did not file for bankruptcy, and it will keep operating as normal.
A new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison says children exposed to lead are three times more likely to be suspended from school. The study looked at lead blood levels in three-thousand Milwaukee children during the first two years of their lives. One of the study authors say it also revealed children were being suspended at a very young age. Children are often exposed to lead through old pain on homes built before the 1970s, through dust and paint chips falling onto the soil. The author says car exhaust is also to blame for contaminated soil, since gasoline used to contain lead. He adds the state is doing a good job raising lead contamination awareness – but the problem is a big one and more needs to be done. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has a website with information to safely and effectively remove lead paint (http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/lead/)