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WISCONSIN NEWS BRIEFS: Computer glitch shuts down NASDAQ trading

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News Ellsworth,Wisconsin 54011 http://www.piercecountyherald.com/sites/all/themes/piercecountyherald_theme/images/social_default_image.png
Pierce County Herald
715-273-4335 customer support
WISCONSIN NEWS BRIEFS: Computer glitch shuts down NASDAQ trading
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

NEW YORK CITY - A technical glitch is to blame for a three-hour blackout on the NASDAQ stock exchange today, causing headaches for some Wisconsin traders.

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Officials say the outage occurred sometime before 12:30 this afternoon, it was back up and running just before 2:30. One Wisconsin trader says other markets took advantage of the outage, as their stocks rose slightly today. The outage is also raising questions and concerns about computer-driven stock trading and how an outage could put a damper on daily trading. 

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A Menominee County woman killed in last night’s heavy thunderstorms was identified this afternoon as Marlo King. Menominee Tribal Chairman Craig Corn confirmed the victim’s name. Authorities said King was driving in her car in Keshena when a tree fell onto the vehicle. The storms damaged a dozen homes at Bonduel in Shawano County. Lightning strikes caused at least three fires at homes in Wausau and Oconto County, and a nursing home in Shawano County where residents were moved to another facility. As of mid-afternoon, about 3,700 electric customers were still without power in northeast Wisconsin. Alliant Energy said about 2,300 of those were in Menominee County. Alliant reported a total of 2,600 outages in the region as of 2:30 p.m. Wisconsin Public Service still had about 900 customers out, and We Energies 200. Also, heavy rains hit southeast Wisconsin today. South Milwaukee had almost one-and-a-half inches in a half-hour period. 

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Drought conditions are returning to more of Wisconsin. The U.S. Drought Monitor said this morning that almost 42-percent of the state’s land area is abnormally dry or worse. That’s way up from 23-percent just a week ago. Superior is in a moderate drought, and so is the western half of surrounding Douglas County and far northern Burnett County. Abnormally dry conditions cover about the western third of Wisconsin, stretching as far east as Wisconsin Rapids and Wisconsin Dells. It’s been relatively dry for almost two months in most of Wisconsin, after the state had just ended its worst drought in decades. Storms went through most of the Badger State last night, offering at least some relief from the dry conditions. Chippewa Falls had two-and-a-half inches of rain in a one-hour period, and Medford had about an-inch-and-a-half. Lingering rain is moving out of far southern Wisconsin today. Forecasters say there’s a chance for more storms on from Saturday through at least Monday. 

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 A 49-year-old man was killed this morning in a motorcycle crash in Hartland in southeast Wisconsin. It happened around 7:40 on Walnut Ridge Drive. The biker was not wearing a helmet at the time. Other details, including the man’s name, were not immediately released. 

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A judge said no today to letting Jeremy Wand withdraw his guilty pleas to burning down his brother’s house in Argyle and killing three kids inside. The 19-year-old Wand testified that he did not believe all of the state’s witnesses were “totally honest.” His lawyer, Frank Medina, said there were questions that should be addressed by a jury. Prosecutors said it did not make sense for Wand to withdraw his guilty pleas. Visiting Judge Thomas Vale agreed, and Wand is scheduled to be sentenced this afternoon to at least one life prison term. Wand pleaded guilty earlier this year to setting a house fire last September that killed his brother Armin’s three sons. The blaze also injured Armin’s wife Sharon and killed her unborn daughter. After Jeremy was convicted, Sharon Wand recanted her previous statements to police. She now says the Armin brothers did not set the fire – but her sister has raised doubts about Sharon’s apparent change-of-heart. Wand remains convicted of three counts of homicide, plus counts of attempted homicide and felony murder. Armin Wand is serving three life terms plus 105 years for his reported role in the blaze.   

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One of the nation’s largest mail-order food and gift companies is getting a new owner as early as September 30th. That’s when the Mason Companies of Chippewa Falls plans to finalize its purchase of Figi’s Incorporated of Marshfield. Terms were not disclosed. Several out-of-state companies have owned Figi’s over the years. Mason – which is best-known for its direct sales of Mason Shoes – will be the first Wisconsin-based owner since John Figi started the company in 1944. Figi’s has locations in Marshfield, Stevens Point, and Neillsville. Mason CEO Dan Hunt says all three facilities will stay open. Figi’s has been up for sale for about a year. The Ascena Retail Group bought it last June, and immediately announced plans to sell it because Figi’s operations were different from the other Ascena brands. 

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A performance report of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation shows many areas are doing well, but there is room for improvement. A spokesperson for the department says a MAPSS Performance Improvement Scorecard and Review shows traffic fatalities and injury crashes in the state are down, both year-to-date and the five-year average. Seat belt wearers in the state are also at an all-time high, up to 83-percent – still below the national average of 86-percent. The report says there is room for improvement in two areas: Highway road conditions in the state (just under 90-percent of roads are fair or better) and wait times at DMV centers across the state. Additional information on the report is available on the department’s website at DOT.WISCONSIN.GOV (www.dot.wisconsin.gov). 

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A crossbow hunting season takes a step closer to fruition. The state Senate Natural Resources Committee passed a bill that would create an open crossbow season in Wisconsin. By a vote of 4-1, the bill now goes to the Senate. Currently, crossbows are allowed for anyone over the age of 65 or has a disability. This bill would drop limitations and allow all legal ages to hunt deer, rabbits, coyotes and other wildlife. The public has shown support for the bill during a series of chats with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and its Deer Implementation trustee. The bill will likely see discussion in the Senate by next month.

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President Obama praised the University of Wisconsin’s new flexible degree program today, in a speech about making college more affordable for the middle class. Appearing in Buffalo, the Democratic president was unveiling his college affordability agenda, when he cited the UW program as an example. The Wisconsin program begins late this year at UW-Milwaukee and the two-year Colleges. It allows working adults to get college degrees by proving what they’ve learned in life – plus taking online courses at their own pace. Governor Scott Walker helped introduce the flexible degree program in June of last year, saying it would help train people for thousands of jobs that employers cannot fill – and help adults who’ve never had the time to obtain their desired degrees. The Board of Regents approved it two months later. Outgoing UW System President Kevin Reilly said the university was pleased that Obama recognized quote, “the innovative work being done” on the new program. Wisconsin is the nation’s first full-scale university system to adopt the flexible degree option, although individual schools have done it in the past. 

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All Wisconsinites will have at least two health plans to choose from, if they use the new purchasing exchanges to buy coverage that’s required under the Obama health law. The Citizen Action group examined the coverage areas of 14 insurance carriers that will sell plans in the exchanges. At least 68-percent of the state is covered by at least four insurance companies. Ninety-nine percent of the state has at least three carriers – and in the remaining one-percent of the state, folks can still choose from two insurers. We still don’t know what’s in those plans, or how much they’ll cost. State officials say they’re still working on the numbers. Buyers will need that information once they start signing up for the exchanges on October first. The plans themselves will take effect January first.

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State auditors say tax dollars are being wasted, because the Health Services Department does not have written policies on renting houses for treated sex offenders. The Legislative Audit Bureau said 33 offenders were on a supervised release program at the end of March, and the state was paying an average rent of $1,560 a month on 28 residences. The number of offenders in the program rose by 22-percent between 2009 and last year, while the price-tag jumped 33-percent in that time. The audit also found that the health agency paid more for its contracts to transport sex offenders on supervised releases, than what the Corrections Department pays for similar services. The auditors said the health department should cut costs by identifying companies willing to buy and lease places for the offenders to live.   

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State officials were expected to announce a new motorcycle safety campaign today, as thousands of bikers get ready to converge on Milwaukee for Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary. WISN-TV in Milwaukee says the Transportation Department’s campaign includes a new mobile training facility that will be at the Harley bash – which starts a week from today and runs through September first. Wisconsin has recorded 52 motorcycle deaths this year. That’s down about 30-percent from last year, as a late winter and a wet June has shortened the season for motorcyclists.   

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Paul Poberezny – who started the Experimental Aircraft Association 60 years ago in Wisconsin – died today. The EAA said Poberezny ended a battle with cancer. He was 91. Poberezny was a former military pilot. He brought recreational flying enthusiasts together in Milwaukee in 1953, to start a club for those who made and restored their own planes. The EAA moved to Oshkosh in 1983. Today, it has a sprawling facility at Wittman International Airport with educational and training programs. Each summer, it hosts a week-long Air-Venture Show which attracts many of the giants of aviation, along with 10,000 planes and nearly one million visitors.

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