STATE NEWS ROUNDUP: Madison developer writes Gov.'s office inquiring about purchasing state buildings
Governor Scott Walker says as far as he knows, nobody from his office responded to Terrance Wall’s apparent interest to buy several state office buildings. The Associated Press said yesterday that the Madison developer wrote the governor last month, to express an interest in buying Madison’s state administration building, crime lab, and D-O-T facility among others. Eleven days later, the Joint Finance Committee endorsed Walker’s request to give him the authority to sell state facilities without having to seek bids – as long as the finance panel and the State Building Commission give their blessings. That provision is now part of the new state budget. Finance co-chair John Nygren says a good purchase offer will always be considered – whether it’s from Wall or somebody else. Many folks outside of Madison didn’t know who Wall was until 2010, when he briefly ran for the U-S Senate. Walker says his “primary interest” at the moment is to sell state-run power plants to utilities. His administration said a few weeks ago it wants to sell rights-of-way which are no longer needed for highway projects. Walker made his comments yesterday in Green Bay, after he helped dedicate the Packers’ new 143-million-dollar renovation of Lambeau Field.
A proposed Wisconsin bill goes after a podiatrist who admits telling patients that their treatments are covered by insurance when they’re really not. Milwaukee Assembly Democrat Fred Kessler wants to avoid a repeat of what John Lanham has admitted doing. The Milwaukee area foot-doctor tells the Journal Sentinel that he told patients he’s in their insurance network when they’re really not. It forced them to pay high bills, and Lanham got business he might not have otherwise received from those not covered. Kessler told the paper he’s offended by Lanham’s quote, “arrogance.” Lanham said his survival hinged on what he called the “ignorance” of patients who don’t know the details of their insurance coverage. The Journal Sentinel said Lanham was the target of 92 complaints to the state – but officials rejected all of them, saying there was no evidence of wrong-doing. A state group of podiatrists objects to Kessler’s proposal. Steven Frydman of the Wisconsin Society of Pediatric Medicine says Kessler – a former judge – is wrong to single out foot doctors, condemning all of them for the actions of one. Frydman blames the state Department of Safety and Professional Services for not being aggressive enough in stopping Lanham.
Most of Wisconsin can expect one more day of temperatures in the 90’s, before a nearly week-long heat wave finally ends. The National Weather Service said a cold front was heading into northwest Wisconsin during the night, bringing spotty thunderstorms and cooler readings. A heat advisory expired last night in the northwest, but it still steamy overnight. It was 83 at three o’clock this morning in Eau Claire, Menomonie, and Osceola. Kenosha and Racine had 82. For the second day in a row, Milwaukee set a record for the warmest overnight low – 79 early yesterday. Wausau set a similar record with 74. Yesterday’s heat index hit 110 near La Crosse. Forecasters say the cold front will reach southern Wisconsin late today. Until then, heat advisories continue until 5 p-m in north central and northeast areas, and until seven tonight in the south. Tonight’s lows could drop into the 50’s in the north – where it might not get above 70 tomorrow. We might see 80 again until Monday and Tuesday.
Wisconsin fashion lovers will have two designers to cheer for, as the 12th season of “Project Runway” begins on the Lifetime cable channel. Timothy Westbrook and Miranda Levy, both of Milwaukee, where among 16 contestants given their first designing assignments on the season debut last night. Skydivers came down and handed the designers their parachutes – which were used to create new dresses. Angela Bacskocky was the first to be eliminated. This year, viewers chose a previous contestant as the 16th designer. They’re competing for about a half-million dollars in prizes. New “Project Runway” shows air on Thursday nights at eight on Lifetime.
The West Nile Virus made its presence known in Wisconsin this week. Six dead birds tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus since Monday, bringing the total to 10 so far. State health officials have still not reported any human cases yet, but the bird deaths are a sign that human cases are just around the corner. Officials urge folks to take precautions that include using repellent, and wearing long pants while outside. A dead crow in Oneida County is among the latest victims. Other West Nile bird deaths have been reported in Vilas, Chippewa, Dunn, Wood, Fond du Lac, Washington, Jefferson, and Rock counties. Four of every five people who get virus don’t get sick. The virus most affects the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems. Last year, 57 Wisconsinites fell ill – but that was an unusual year which saw hundreds of deaths from the virus in the nation’s mid-section. Wisconsin had four West Nile deaths a year ago.