WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Daylight Savings Time this evening
Don't forget to fall back tonight. Daylight Savings Time ends at two a-m tomorrow, and you're reminded to turn your clocks back one hour before going to bed. Those out partying will have an extra hour to revel, but most of us will be enjoying an extra hour of sleep.
While you're fiddling with your clocks, Wisconsin Emergency Management says it's also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors -- and replace them if necessary. Officials also say it's a good time to put together a basic home emergency kit if you don't have one. They suggest having a battery-powered radio, flashlights, and a first aid kit -- plus enough food-and-water to survive for three days. November could also bring us more snow, and Wisconsin Emergency Management encourages folks to have a winter car kit in their vehicles. But you won't have to worry about getting stuck for awhile. Forecasters say daytime highs will be well above freezing in the 40's-and-50's at least until late next week. There's a slight chance of rain and snow showers in the forecast today, and there's a chance of light snow on Wednesday.
Low-income Wisconsinites will lose about $89-million in food stamp benefits, after a federal stimulus grant for the program expired yesterday. House Democrat Mark Pocan of Madison has co-sponsored a bill to continue the present level of benefits -- which were cut for an estimated 861,000 Wisconsin residents. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says families-of-three will lose almost $320-dollars per year. The center says 379,000 children in the Badger State will be affected -- and Pocan says they need the Food-Share benefits the most. A second cut in benefits appears to be coming down the line in the new federal Farm Bill. Conservatives in the Club-for-Growth are lobbying to eliminate food stamps altogether, saying the nation can no longer afford it and there are other ways to help the poor. Critics also say the 2009 Obama stimulus program which provided the extra benefits was never meant to be permanent.
A Milwaukee man will spend five years in prison for filing false liens against a number of criminal justice personnel. 35-year-old Cornelius Hill was originally charged with a dozen felony counts of criminal title slander. The state Justice Department said yesterday that Hill was sentenced in Dane County to five years in prison, plus five years of extended supervision on five of the 12 charges. Circuit Judge William Hanrahan also ordered five years of probation on a sixth count, and he stayed sentences on the other six. State prosecutors said Hill filed false liens against police officers who arrested Hill on various charges -- plus judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. He claimed that each of those people owed him anywhere from a half-million dollars to $210-million.
Wisconsin taxpayers have spent over two-million dollars on a redistricting battle which apparently gives people a better chance of being represented by Republicans over the next decade. The GOP majority in both houses had control over the re-drawing of legislative and congressional districts, which happens after every 10-year Census. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said the price-tag recently rose by $200,000, surpassing the two-million dollar mark for a total of $2.1 million. The paper said the latest bills included a criminal defense lawyer for a State Capitol aide, after concerns were raised that the GOP did not completely follow a court order to give documents to plaintiffs who challenged the secret redistricting process. No criminal charges were filed in the matter. State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) said every redistricting effort in Wisconsin attracts high legal bills due to partisan disagreements. He blames the legal bills this time on quote, "liberal special interest groups" that sued over the process.
Two men were sent to prison yesterday for shooting a musician to death in Racine 16 months ago. 22-year-old Kiori Billups was sentenced to 22 years behind bars, plus 13 years of extended supervision after he gets out. In a separate proceeding, Billups' 21-year-old cousin Latriell Thurman, got 37 years in prison and 13 years of extended supervision. 22-year-old Jay Brook was shot-to-death in the heart during a foiled robbery attempt in July of last year. According to prosecutors, Billups told the victim he wanted buy marijuana from him -- and they went to a parking lot where Thurman planned to rob Brook instead. The robbery attempt got botched, and that's when the shooting occurred. Brook's father denied that his son dealt marijuana. Attorneys for the two cousins both expect to appeal the sentences.
AT&T has started to hire 90 new people in Wisconsin, and all but 10 of them are getting newly-created jobs. The communications' giant announced the hirings yesterday in Milwaukee, with Governor Scott Walker on hand. Most work involves the installation of AT&T's "U"-Verse TV and Internet service in people's homes. The rest of the jobs include sales and administrative work. AT&T employs about 3,500 people in Wisconsin, and has spent hundreds-of-millions of dollars in recent years on its wireless network in the state. The firm says about 50 of the new jobs will be in Milwaukee, and the rest will be spread throughout Wisconsin.